“Lover” follows her first single from the album, the upbeat track “ME!” featuring Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie, and the equally bright and anthemic pop tune “You Need to Calm Down” which came with a music video filled with celebrity cameos and famous friends. She also released the more introspective track “Archer” earlier this summer, co-produced by Jack Antonoff.
But “Lover” is something different than the bright singalong pop that has marked the two singles and the moodiness of “Archer.” It’s certainly catchy, but it treads a more acoustic, folksy path. You can even hear a tambourine. It’s a laid-back love song that draws on her particular style of highly specific storytelling: “We can leave the Christmas lights up til January,” she suggests. “This is our place, we make the rules.” Fans of earlier work like “All Too Well” and “White Horse” will be satisfied with this return to form.
In an interview with Vogue, she said the song has one of her “favorite bridges.” “I love a bridge, and I was really able to go to Bridge City,” she said of her musical approach to the track. That proves a fair description: the distinctive bridge features a plinking melody and tender singalong lyrics, seeing her lean fully into her romantic side: “Ladies and gentlemen will you please stand / With every guitar string scar on my hand / I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover,” she sings, breathy and sweet. “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue / All’s well that ends well to end up with you.” And then the kicker: “Swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover.”
Out Aug. 23, Swift’s album of the same name will feature 18 tracks, her longest project to date. It’s also her first release at her new label home: Republic Records. Previously, Swift was with Big Machine for over a decade, with whom she split ways earlier this year.