As the new school year is ushered in, it is accompanied by a slew of new music. And the breakup of Miley and Liam (RIP for real this time). But I digress. We recently were blessed with Lana del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell and Miley Cyrus’ new single, “Slide Away.” Both are dreamy, soft summer bops.
We were also bombarded with the newest addition to the Taylor Swift canon, the hella long, 18-track album, Lover, which will be the topic of this article. Joining in on one of America’s favorite past-times, I will be using this column to… critique art I have nothing to do with.
So Taylor. You know her, you know people who love her and you’re likely indifferent. It’s cool; we all feel the same way. Which is why I was surprised when this album got pretty good reviews from music platforms I actually trust. Plus, Jack Antonoff was super involved, which always adds points in my book. So before I decided to embark on this album’s hour-and-two-minute run, I warned myself to not hate it before I heard it.
Over the course of the summer we heard the releases of her singles to promote the album, “You Need to Calm Down” and “ME!” Just the title of the second song made me dry heave. The danger of the Swift songs are that though they may be, put simply, kitschy bubblegum pop, they are so damn catchy. I don’t have any problems with the production of her music — most of it is really good. But why must she yell, “Spelling is fun!” in the middle of a song dedicated solely to how awesome she is? She had Brendon Urie agree to sing, and she didn’t even take advantage of the sweet tenor range (that E6 on “Death of a Bachelor”? Chills).
But Claire, Taylor won a Video Music Award for “You Need to Calm Down,” you’re probably saying to this article as you’re driven into a frenzy. And my reply is yes, I know. It doesn’t make the song better; it just means she is good at making things pretty. Plus all those incredible celebrity cameos were fantastic. The cast of Queer Eye? Laverne Cox?! To quote Lady Gaga, “talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before…”
But then you see Taylor in a wig wagging her head at you and reprimanding you. No thanks. While I can of course appreciate the message, Taylor has tried to do the whole uplifting-pop-star thing before, and she ended up with snakes in a bathtub.
The one song that I just could not believe got green-lit was “London Boy.” If you haven’t listened, you simply must. It is just Taylor singing about how she likes London. An actual lyric is, “London boy / boy, I fancy you.” I FANCY you. FANCY. She really did that! Another gem is, “I enjoy walking Camden Market in the afternoon / He likes my American smile.” Is a smile not… just a smile?
Even the most die-hard Taylor Swift fan I know couldn’t defend “London Boy.” When asked for further comment, she said, “Claire, are you just gonna use this to make fun of Taylor?” To which I obviously replied, “No, haha! Well…” Sorry. I don’t hate Taylor Swift. I really don’t! I just feel like she didn’t try on the majority of these tracks. They feel like what I would write in my diary in the pre-teen days.
But I wasn’t smart enough to make a killing off my middle-school musings.