UPDATE: Following the release of the title track, Taylor Swift revealed Lover‘s entire 18-song track list, featuring the previously released singles as well as a Dixie Chicks collaboration titled “Soon You’ll Get Better.”
Lover💕 Friday, August 23.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) August 16, 2019
Taylor Swift is releasing Lover, her seventh album and first with Republic Records, on August 23rd. In contrast with her dark, secretive Reputation era, Swift is offering up more and more hints about what the LP will entail.
The build-up to the release of Lover has been chock-full of “easter eggs,” as Swift and her fans have referred to them: The video for lead single “ME!” alone features several references to Swift’s next release, “You Need to Calm Down.” And in the “You Need to Calm Down” video itself, the number “5” bullseye points to the release of Lover track “The Archer,” which Swift released nine days later.
Swift has not revealed everything about the 18-track album, of course, but the bread crumbs paint a pastel-hued picture, much like her recent videos and the LP’s cover. Here’s what we know about Lover so far.
The title track is a big, woozy Antonoff number
The track “Lover” was co-produced with Jack Antonoff, a frequent collaborator with Swift since 1989. Vogue calls it “a romantic, haunting, waltzy, singer-songwritery nugget: classic Swift.” We even have a tidbit of the lyrics: “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue/All’s well that ends well to end up with you.”
“This has one of my favorite bridges,” Swift told Vogue. “I love a bridge, and I was really able to go to Bridge City.”
Swift plays around with gender roles in “The Man”
The second track that Swift shared with Vogue during her interview for her September cover story is “a thought experiment”: What would public perception of her be like if she were a man?
“If I had made all the same choices, all the same mistakes, all the same accomplishments, how would it read?” is how Swift describes the song’s premise. (Side note: has Swift heard Neko Case’s “Man”?)
The track, which is described as a “synth-pop earworm,” gives a pretty undiluted answer to the question: “I’d be a fearless leader. I’d be an alpha type. When everyone believes ya: What’s that like?”
Possible Lover collaborations include the Dixie Chicks
No collaborations have been confirmed by Swift, aside from Brendon Urie’s appearance on the previously released single “ME!”. Rumors have circulated, however, that the Dixie Chicks will make an appearance, especially since the country trio appeared in a portrait in the background of the “ME!” video, as well as on a jacket pin featured on Swift’s recent Entertainment Weekly cover. Plus, the Chicks have been working in the studio with Antonoff on their own upcoming album, so it’s almost certain that they would have crossed paths with Swift during her Lover sessions.
Also featured on that Entertainment Weekly cover? A Drake pin, as well as ones for Troye Sivan, Faith Hill and Selena Gomez. But those could just be Swift showing her appreciation.
Swift considers Lover “her favorite album yet,” and also her happiest
“There are so many ways in which this album feels like a new beginning,” Swift told Vogue. “This album is really a love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory.”
Swift goes on to explain the rollout for her previous album, 2017’s Reputation, as a “grieving process,” referencing the “great cancellation” she experienced when Kim Kardashian called her a “snake” on Twitter and launched a months-long troll campaign in Swift’s direction. Lover marks her finally being “at peace” with herself.
“It’s so strange trying to be self-aware when you’ve been cast as this always smiling, always happy ‘America’s sweetheart’ thing, and then having that taken away and realizing that it’s actually a great thing that it was taken away, because that’s extremely limiting,” said Swift. “We’re not going to go straight to gratitude with it. Ever. But we’re going to find positive aspects to it. We’re never going to write a thank-you note.”
The Reputation-Lover dichotomy may have been inspired by Loie Fuller
Swift dedicated her song “Dress” to Fuller, the openly gay Parisian who pioneered both modern dance and theatrical lighting, every night on her Reputation tour. Swift’s Vogue interview points out the parallels between the two. Fuller “fought for artists to own their work,” something that Swift has also used her platform to fiercely campaign for. Fuller was also fond of illusions, using “swirling fabric and colored lights” to play games with her audience. And Fuller had two particularly famous dance pieces that should prick the ears of any Swift fan: “Serpentine Dance” and “Butterfly Dance.” After all the snake imagery during the Reputation era, it’s only appropriate that Swift fill the Lover rollout with butterflies.
Swift is hosting “secret session” listening parties for her fans around the world
As she had done for 1989 and Reputation, Swift has invited super fans into her homes around the world to have the official first listen of her new album in full right alongside Swift herself. So far, sessions have taken place in London, Nashville and Los Angeles. Obviously, since the purpose of the sessions are for them to be “secret,” loyal Swifties have kept mum on further information about the album besides how much they enjoy what they heard (as well as their personal photo ops with the singer).
— Taylor Swift Updates (@SimplySFans) August 5, 2019