Staff Picks: Taylor Swift's 'Lover' is a grown-up take on the Taylor fans love

By Abby Del Vecchio/Digital Producer
Taylor Swift has returned to the story-telling, love-song songwriter fans fell in love with more than 10 years ago with her new album "Lover."
Nearly two years ago, Swift released her sixth studio album "Reputation," a dark tale of her life in 2016 when she felt the whole world was against her. (You may remember the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West versus Taylor Swift feud that forced Swift into the shadows for a year -- and with that "Reputation" was born).
"Lover" brings back the light-hearted Taylor. The love-song singing, feel-good Taylor who somehow manages to write what nearly every person is feeling or has felt at some point in their lives -- whether it be songs about being in love or songs about intense heartbreak.
The album starts with "I Forgot That You Existed," where Swift sings of finally letting go of someone who hurt her. It's a light, fun way to open the album, and her new chapter.
Title track "Lover" is said by some fans to be the best, most romantic song she has ever written. Swift sings about finding the person she wants to spend the rest of her life with. The bridge has a wedding-theme vibe to it, with "Ladies and gentlemen will you please stand?" and "I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover." Swift said she wanted this song to feel timeless. It'll probably be played at many Swifties' weddings in years to come. And maybe even some non-Swifties -- it's that good.
"Lover" has some political undertones other Swift albums did not have. The single, "You Need to Calm Down" is about her support of the LGBTQ community and how hating someone for who they are will never stop that person for being themselves. The line "'Cause shade never made anybody less gay" is a reminder to haters to take a seat. "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" takes place in a fictional high school setting, but it's really about the state of the United States today. "I'm feeling helpless, the damsels are depressed. Boys will be boys then, where are the wise men? Darling, I'm scared," seems to be about the way women are treated in the world. Some fans think Swift is acknowledging the audio tape that was released in 2016 of then presidential candidate Donald Trump saying "he can do anything" to women because he is a star.
"Soon You'll Get Better" features the Dixie Chicks. It details Swift's feelings as her mother goes through cancer treatments. The bridge, "And I hate to make this all about me, but who am I supposed to talk to? What am I supposed to do if there's no you?" can bring tears to just about anyone's eyes.
The lead single "ME!" is probably the most boring song on the album -- in typical Swift fashion. She always releases a fun, catchy song as her lead single, but it's never her best.
It's hard to pick a favorite off of "Lover." A few that I personally love(r) are, "Daylight," "Paper Rings," "Cornelia Street" and "Afterglow."
"This album is a love letter to love itself -- all the captivating, spellbinding, maddening devastating red, blue, gray, golden aspects of it (that's why there are so many songs)," Swift writes in the forward of the album. "I want to be defined by the things I love -- not the things I hate, the things I'm afraid of, or the things that haunt me in the middle of the night...We are what we love."
Is "Lover" Taylor Swift's best album? It may be too soon to tell (I have a tendency to think everything is the best upon immediately receiving it). But something tells me it is. It's Taylor Swift, the way we once knew her, but all grown-up. So I think "Lover" just may be the best we've ever seen her.