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For a healthier option, stream ‘Lover’

If you’re reading this, it’s August 23rd! The Brandeis Hoot is back for its first issue of the new school year, but more importantly, the new Taylor Swift album just dropped. I haven’t even listened to it yet, but I’m positive that it’s the best album of 2019. Needless to say, I’m incredibly excited for this release. “Lover” is being released much faster than Taylor’s typical album cycle of two years, and far sooner than “Reputation,” which took three years. Despite the quick turnaround, this album seems to be just as good (better?) than all her other albums. 

Back on April 26, Taylor shocked the world by dropping “ME!” featuring Brendon Urie. I still don’t think I’ve fully recovered from the power that these two working together have. The other collaboration on the album is with the Dixie Chicks, one of her mother’s favorite bands, but that doesn’t take away from the immediate success of “ME!” The song broke numerous records, including the 24 hour Vevo Record, most streams on Amazon Music and most voice requests using Alexa. 

Her next single, “You Need To Calm Down,” dropped about two months later, celebrating Pride Month. The star-studded music video featured LGBTQ icons of all backgrounds, matching the song about being unbothered in the face of criticism. It’s playful and political. This single might not have had the booming success of “ME!,” but it’s undeniably a better song, full of sassy lyrics and catchy hooks, and has left a longer-lasting impression on fans. 

Jack Antonoff, who helped Taylor make hits like “Out Of The Woods” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” helped produce the third song we heard off of “Lover,” and he has shown once again that he cannot make a bad song. “The Archer” is not the next single (as Taylor made sure to mention in an Instagram live), but it is a glimpse into the other side of the album: slow, sad, soft. The production of the track is haunting, sounding as if Taylor is far away, just an echo. It tells the story of Taylor’s insecurity in relationships, a classic track five song. Track five is usually the saddest song on the album, but attendees of this era’s secret sessions (listening parties for fans at Taylor’s houses) tell a different story. They claim that track ten is actually so sad that the entire room was in tears after listening to it. 

The most recent single from “Lover” is the title track, which fans have taken to calling “little Lover.” Released a week before the actual album (which fans are calling “big Lover”), this is a love song through and through. This song is lyrically stunning, with what might just be her best bridge ever released. The production is soft, but in a different way than “The Archer.” Instead of a melancholy feeling, this feels like floating on a cloud, or watching newlyweds cut the cake, or any other warm and fuzzy feeling. 

“Lover” is eighteen songs, making this album the longest Taylor’s ever made (not including deluxe versions). Already we’ve gotten to see so many different sides of the album, from pure bubblegum pop to songs that make you want to cry. This matches the releases she did with her previous albums. For “Reputation,” the first single was “Look What You Made Me Do.” It was dark and angry, taking aim at the media’s treatment of Taylor. The song was lyrically weak, but incredibly catchy (just like “ME!”). The next song we got to hear was “…Ready For It?” It was not necessarily dark or angry, but this song was edgy, featuring a heavy bassline throughout the whole song and sassy lyrics (hi, “You Need To Calm Down”). The third song to drop wasn’t a single, just a glimpse into a lighter side of the album. “Gorgeous” was pure bubblegum pop, and nothing like any of what we had heard before (do I even need to say it?). The fourth song that was released before “Reputation” was “Call It What You Want.” This slow ballad was strong lyrically, and had a rather country feel, making it feel like it could have fit in some of her older albums (her mind scares me sometimes). The parallels between these two continue in that both of the lyric videos feature home videos of Taylor. 

The rest of the album remains a beautiful mystery. The tracklist is full of long titles, like the opening track “I Forgot You Existed” and “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” which is rather unusual. The secret sessioners have described it as her best album yet, full of incredible lyrics, and oddly sad. They say it has the lyrical quality of “RED,” the sonic cohesiveness of “1989” and the feel of “Speak Now.” Taylor herself described it as “a love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory” in an interview with “Vogue.” So basically, I have no idea what to expect, other than something fantastic. By the time you’re reading this, I’m sure I’ve already listened to the album the whole way through… probably twice. Stay tuned for a full review of the album next week!

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