A Song by Song Review of Taylor Swift's "Lover"

First Listen by Phoebe Harris
North Fitzroy, VIC, 24 August 2019
8:24 am


I Forgot That You Existed 8:24 am
I love the intro and the whole idea. The backing track was awesome, very clipped and poppy. Her singing was also clipped, but followed by softer, longer period. Overall, an awesome song, and a great start to the album.

Cruel Summer 8:29 am
Already, the intro draws me in. The chorus almost made my heart stop. AWESOME!!! I loved the synth and the beats. The bridge is a showstopper. Everything is just amazing. All of it. ❤️

Lover 8:33 am
Lover was a single, so I’ve heard it already. It’s a slower song, beautiful and simple. Not my favourite, but they’re on my list. The lyrics paired with the soft drums and the subtle piano really made my heart jump.

The Man 8:37 am
Really cool! Starts with just her and synth. The chorus is fast and rapid-fire. It talks about how she’s put down because she’s a woman, and how if she was a man, she’d be the man. It’s really heartfelt but still poppy, and a bit like a firework.

The Archer 8:41 am
The Archer was a single, like Lover. It was mediocre, but I still like it. It’s a totally honest song where Taylor talks about all those bottled-up feelings she’s finally letting go. She feels hunted and targeted.

I Think He Knows 8:46 am
Catchy start with bouncy synth and finger clicks (yes. I love some good finger clicks in a song). Fast! There’s a really fast sequence in the pre-chorus. Really high, rapid fire, breathy chorus. Super cool! Revving synth. Maybe the best one on the album!

Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince 8:46 am
Slower start, but kickdrum picks it up. Chorus makes me want to dance. It’s really cool, and I love the line “she’s a bad, bad girl.” I like the shouty backing. It really makes it.

Paper Rings 8:55 am
Really cool start. Electric guitar & rock voice and yelling backing, but still Taylor vibes. Start is like second verse. I love the pre-chorus (1 for, 2 for, 3 for…). Just really different and unique. Stands out in the album. Love it.

Cornelia Street 9:00 am
Vibrating synth start. A slower one, to start. The chorus is high and breathy. I like the beats. Beautiful, yet still fits in with the other poppy songs on the album. Doesn’t stand out as much as the others, but still great.

Death By A Thousand Cuts 9:05 am
Different start, but the guitar makes it pretty. Drums make it dance-worthy. The arpeggio doesn’t seem to fit at first, but eventually it does. I like the synths & the backings in the bridge. Very pretty, & I like the guitar.

London Boy 9:09 am
Starts with some random talking in an English accent. I think the talking doesn’t seem right, but a but like Billie Eilish. I think the synth is cool, but I don’t like the train-sounding twang. Other than that, it’s really cool. I like the beats in the bridge.

Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. Dixie Chicks) 9:14 am
Guitar starts. Pretty. Talks about Jesus (?) and sickness. The whole thing’s slow, but really nice. Not a stand-out but still good.

False God 9:17 am
Starts with sax or something, but drops to beats, synth and singing. Some sax towards the middle. There’s some goose noise that’s a bit odd, but kind of fits? I like the bridge/end bit.

You Need To Calm Down 9:21 am
A single. Was my favourite song pre-Lover, so I already know it. I love how it’s about LGBQI+ rights. Love the synth and the beats and EVERYTHING!

Afterglow 9:26 am
Starts with drums. I like the tune and the feel of it all. The chorus is really cool, and I think the tune is great. Really pretty. I like the bridge with the drums.

ME! (feat. Brendon Urie) 9:31 am
Drum roll is cool. It’s a single, so I’ve heard it already. It’s okay, just really corny. I don’t mind it, I just wouldn’t say it’s great. A but…bubblegummy? The bridge is super cheesy, but missing a line from the single version (“Hey kids, spelling is fun!).

It’s Nice to Have a Friend 9:34 am
A bit of an odd start, but pretty cute without all the “errrkk” of ME!. A wind instrument in the middle. Touchy piano, nice message but kind of creepy backing, though. Structure not usual.

Daylight 9:37 am
Started with her just singing. It’s a bit like the “New Year’s Day” of Lover. Like the pre-chorus. Rapid-fire. Very pretty. The bridge is nice. I like the backing track by itself, too. It’s a bit longer than I expected (4:53). I like that she talks at the end about who she is.


  1. I Think He Knows
  2. Paper Rings
  3. The Man
  4. Cruel Summer
  5. You Need To Calm Down
  6. I Forgot That You Existed
  7. Daylight
  8. Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince
  9. Afterglow
  10. Lover
  11. Cornelia Street
  12. The Archer
  13. Death By A Thousand Cuts
  14. London Boy
  15. Soon You’ll Get Better
  16. False God
  17. It’s Nice to Have a Friend
  18. ME!


I thought the whole album was fantastic, but it dropped a bit towards the middle. I thought she was definitely moving away from her “reputation” album and back to “Red” or “1989” vibes. Her songs are either optimistic and poppy, a “Shake It Off” or “Stay Stay Stay” idea, or softer and sadder, like “Clean” or “Love Story.” I think most of it will withstand the test of time, but ones like “ME!” and “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” will be left behind. I think ones like “I Think He Knows,” “Paper Rings,” and “The Man” will stay in the spotlight for a while.

It was definitely one of my new favourite albums, and she had a nice flow from song to song. At the end of “Daylight,” she stops singing and starts talking about what she wants to be defined as. This was a really beautiful end to the album, especially since we’ve been getting the message of “I want to be defined by what I love, not what I hate” (the gist of the Daylight speech) throughout the album. The ending really set the message for us: this new happy, bright Taylor is here to stay.