Lover (album)

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Lover
Taylor Swift - Lover.png
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 23, 2019 (2019-08-23)
RecordedNovember 2018 – June 2019
Studio
  • Electric Lady (New York City)
  • Golden Age West (Auckland)
  • Golden Age (Los Angeles)
  • Electric Feel (Los Angeles)
  • Metropolis (London)
Genre
Length61:48
LabelRepublic
Producer
Taylor Swift chronology
Reputation Stadium Tour Surprise Song Playlist
(2018)
Lover
(2019)
Taylor Swift studio album chronology
Reputation
(2017)
Lover
(2019)
Singles from Lover
  1. "Me!"
    Released: April 26, 2019
  2. "You Need to Calm Down"
    Released: June 14, 2019
  3. "Lover"
    Released: August 16, 2019
  4. "The Man"
    Released: January 27, 2020

Lover is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on August 23, 2019, through Republic Records. As the executive producer, Swift worked with producers Jack Antonoff, Louis Bell, Frank Dukes and Joel Little on the album. Described by Swift as "a love letter to love itself", the album celebrates the ups and downs of love, incorporating brighter and cheerful tones, departing from the dark sounds of its predecessor, Reputation (2017). The album's cover art and music videos marked a change in Swift's visual appearance, which now embodies a summer aesthetic, consisting mainly of pastel colors. Musically, it is a pop, synth-pop, electropop and pop rock record that contains influences of country, dream pop, bubblegum pop, funk, R&B, pop punk and indie pop.

Lover features collaborations with the Dixie Chicks and Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco. It was preceded by three singles, all peaking inside the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100; "Me!" and "You Need to Calm Down" peaked at number two, while the title track reached number 10. All 18 tracks of the album charted simultaneously on the Hot 100 chart upon the album's release. "The Man" was released as the fourth single on January 27, 2020. The album received positive reviews from critics, who commended Swift's songwriting conveying emotional maturity and honesty. However, a few commentators found the album "lengthy" and "inconsistent" in places.

Lover debuted atop the US Billboard 200 chart, moving 867,000 units in its first week. It also debuted at number one in many countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the UK. Lover was certified double platinum by the RIAA for moving over 2 million units in the US. It was the best selling album of 2019 in the country. Globally, Lover was the best selling album by a solo artist of 2019. As of January 2020, it has sold over 3.2 million pure copies worldwide. To promote the album, Swift is set to embark on the Lover Fest, her sixth concert tour and first music festival tour, beginning on June 20, 2020.

Lover received a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards, which is Swift's third consecutive nomination in the category, following 1989 (2014) and Reputation (2017), while its singles "You Need to Calm Down" and "Lover" were nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year, respectively. The album appeared on numerous year-end best music lists of 2019.

Background[edit]

Speculation of the album started on February 24, 2019, when Swift posted a photo of seven palm trees to her Instagram account,[1] which the singer later confirmed was the day she finished the album.[2] On April 13, Swift released a countdown on her official website, counting down to midnight EDT (UTC−04:00) on April 26.[3] At midnight, she released the album's lead single, "Me!" featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, along with its accompanying music video.[4] Swift encouraged fans to find hints about the album title in the video and many fans pointed out that at one point in the video, the word "Lover" appeared on a neon light up sign at the top of a building in the background.[5]

On June 13, 2019, she confirmed the album title in a live stream on Instagram, and that the album would be released on August 23, 2019.[6] Swift also announced that the album's second single, "You Need to Calm Down", would be released the next day on June 14, followed by its music video three days later.[7] She described the album as a romantic one, stating that it was "not just simply thematically, like it's all love songs or something. The idea of something being romantic, it doesn't have to be a happy song. You can find romance in loneliness or sadness or going through things in your life... it just looks at those things through a romantic gaze."[6] In a Vogue interview published in August 2019, Swift described the album as a "love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory."[8] On August 16, Swift posted the track listing of the album on her social media.[9] While promoting the album in a YouTube live stream on August 22, Swift revealed that the album was originally named Daylight before she wrote the song "Lover".[10] On August 23, Swift described the album as "a celebration of love, in all its complexity, coziness, and chaos."[11] In an interview with Ryan Seacrest on his radio show On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Swift further explained that:

[Lover is] an album about all different forms of love. Even when love hurts, this album is about the full spectrum that love makes us feel, so I was like, this album is definitely going to be called Lover.

— "Taylor Swift Talks Newfound 'Freedom', 'Lover' Tour Plans and So Much More", On Air with Ryan Seacrest[12]

In an Instagram post dated September 17, 2019, Swift defined Lover as an album that feels like "fields, sunsets, + SUMMER".[13] In an interview with Zane Lowe for Beats 1 on October 30, 2019, Swift said she considered Lover a return to "singing about my life in the way I actually experience it", unlike "through a filter of extremes" as is the case with Reputation. She added the album was the first time she wrote about "love that was very real", compared to earlier songs such as "Love Story" (2008).[14] In December 2019, Swift told People that compared to the "theatricality" of Reputation, where she "said everything [she] needed to say", Lover turned out to be the album where [she was no longer] "answering to something".[15]

Recording[edit]

Man performing with a guitar
Jack Antonoff co-produced the majority of Lover.

Swift stated that she wrote Lover from an "open, free, romantic, whimsical place", adding that the album felt "aesthetically very daytime", whereas its predecessor Reputation, was "all cityscape, darkness, full swamp witch".[16]

Swift produced Lover with frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, as well as first-time collaborators Joel Little, Louis Bell, Frank Dukes, and Sounwave.[17] Swift and Antonoff first worked together on the song "Sweeter than Fiction" for the 2013 film One Chance; Antonoff went on to write and produce on two of Swift's albums—1989 (2014) and Reputation (2017), as well as the song "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" for the 2017 film Fifty Shades Darker. Antonoff co-wrote eight and co-produced eleven songs in the album.

Little, known for being the lead singer of the punk band Goodnight Nurse and for his work with Lorde, co-wrote and co-produced four songs, including the singles "Me!" and "You Need to Calm Down". Bell and Dukes, who worked with artists including Camila Cabello and Post Malone, co-wrote and co-produced three songs. Sounwave is credited with a co-writing and co-producing credit on the song "London Boy". Other artists with writing credits include St. Vincent, Cautious Clay, and Brendon Urie. Swift was the sole writer of three songs, including the third single and title track "Lover", and co-wrote every other song on the album. She also co-produced every song, and served as the executive producer of the album.

Swift co-produced tracks with Bell, Dukes, and Little from November to December 2018. Meanwhile, Swift worked with Antonoff on the album from January to February 2019.[citation needed]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Swift said she started recording the album after the conclusion of her Reputation Stadium Tour in November 2018.[2] The album was recorded in three months, finishing on February 24, 2019,[2] though a Cautious Clay sample used for "London Boy" was approved in June of the same year.[18] Much of the album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City,[19] while some recording took place at Golden Age West in Auckland, New Zealand, Golden Age and Electric Feel Studio, both in Los Angeles, and Metropolis Studios in London.[17] Swift said she approached the recording as though she were giving live performances, and that much of the album were nearly whole takes.[20]

In January 2020, in an interview with Variety's Chris Willman, Swift revealed that the song for her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, "Only the Young", was held back from being included in Lover.[21]

Music and lyrics[edit]

At eighteen tracks, the standard edition of Lover is the longest album in Swift's catalogue.[22] The deluxe edition adds two voice memos. Lover is a departure from the darker, heavy, hip hop-influenced sound of its predecessor Reputation,[23][24] and returns to the 1980s-influenced synth-pop of 1989.[25][26] Lover is primarily a pop album,[27] incorporating synth-pop, pop rock,[22] and electropop,[26][28] while also drawing from country, pop punk, folk rock and quiet storm.[29] The album incorporates cheerful and brighter sounds; described by Swift as "a celebration of love, in all its complexity, coziness, and chaos".[11]

Reputation was so far from what I usually do. And Lover feels like a return to the fundamental songwriting pillars that I usually build my house on. It's really honest; it's not me playing a character. It's really just how I feel, undistilled. And there are a lot of very personal admissions in it. And also, I love a metaphor. I love building on the metaphor for a very long time. You know, the whole of Reputation was just a metaphor, but this is a very personal record. So that's been really fun.

— Taylor Swift, "9 Taylor Swift Moments That Didn't Fit in Our Cover Story", Rolling Stone[30]

Songs[edit]

The album's opening track "I Forgot That You Existed" is a punchy, cheery farewell to the events that inspired Reputation,[24][31] set to a minimalist arrangement of piano and finger snaps.[32][33] "Cruel Summer" is a synth-pop[34] song co-written with St. Vincent, which, according to Swift is about "the feeling of a summer romance... where there's some element of desperation and pain in it, where you're yearning for something you don't quite have yet".[31][35] "Lover", the title track and third single, is a slow country waltz with a whimsical tone, nostalgic instrumentals, swaying acoustics and romantic lyrics,[36][37][38] that has been compared to Mazzy Star's "Fade into You".[23][39] The fourth track on the album is "The Man", where over an upbeat production complete with flashing harmonies & murking synths, Swift imagines the media's treatment of her if she were a man.[40][8] The song is a commentary on patriarchy and sexist double standards women undergo.[38] The promotional single "The Archer" is a synth-pop and dream pop song, with a slow groove and artful lyrics, in which Swift reflects on her flaws in relationships; some commentators compared the song to "All Too Well", a track from Swift's 2012 album Red.[23][25] The funk-infused sixth track "I Think He Knows" sees Swift examining the blossoming of a relationship, while also referencing Nashville's Music Row.[27][41]

"Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" employs a high school metaphor, complete with cheerleader chants; the song is reminiscent of Swift's 2009 song "You Belong with Me".[42] The gloomy synth-pop song sees Swift expressing disillusionment over the current state of US politics. [43][26] The song has been compared to the work of Bruce Springsteen and Lana Del Rey.[35][36][37] The upbeat and high-spirited "Paper Rings" contains elements of pop punk, in which Swift sings about committing to a relationship.[24][25] "Cornelia Street" is a narrative song, named after a street in Greenwich Village where Swift rented an apartment;[44] in the piano-backed ballad, she expresses fears that her fledging relationship will not survive.[39] The upbeat breakup song "Death by a Thousand Cuts" has been described as a "nostalgic recollection of a great, lost love".[38] It was inspired by the 2019 Netflix film Someone Great, which in turn was inspired by the song "Clean" from 1989, Swift's 2014 album.[39][45] The eleventh track "London Boy" features a spoken word intro from Idris Elba and James Corden, both of whom star with Swift in the film Cats, namechecks the designer Stella McCartney, with whom Swift launched a fashion line in connection with the album, and is presumed to be about Swift's partner, actor Joe Alwyn.[31][27] Some commentators drew parallels with Ed Sheeran's "Galway Girl".[43][46] The country ballad "Soon You'll Get Better" features slide guitars and the Dixie Chicks contributing banjo, fiddle, and backing vocals;[35][47] Swift addresses her parents' battle with cancer, especially her mother's second bout, using detailed and intimate lyrics.[48][38]

"False God" is a sensuous R&B-influenced[23] quiet storm tune, where a lone saxophone intertwines with lyrics invoking religious imagery.[35][39] It sees Swift discussing the worthwhile "trials and tribulations of love".[38] The second single "You Need to Calm Down" is an LGBT-friendly electro-pop anthem that takes aim at internet trolls and homophobes alike.[49] The incandescent ballad "Afterglow" sees Swift apologizing to a romantic partner for the failure of a relationship.[40][43] It has been described as a "stadium anthem" , showcasing some of Swift's best vocal performance.[50] In the bubblegum pop[51] and synth-pop[52] song "Me!", the album's catchy lead single, Swift duets with Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco about themes of self-affirmation and individualism.[53][41] The indie pop cut "It's Nice to Have a Friend" paints the progression of a romance from childhood into adulthood,[41][54] with Swift's vocals backed by steel drums, harps, and punctuated by a trumpet solo near the middle.[54][23] The song also samples the track "Summer in the South" from the album Parkscapes by the Toronto-based Regent Park School of Music.[55] The introspective closing ballad "Daylight" calls back to the song "Red" from the 2012 album of the same name; some publications interpreted it as a sign of Swift's personal growth and more mature understanding of love.[43][25] The song and album conclude with a spoken-word monologue from Swift: "I want to be defined by the things I love. Not the thing I hate, not the things I'm afraid of, not the things that haunt me in the middle of the night. I think that you are what you love."[40]

Artwork and aesthetic[edit]

The cover artwork of Lover was shot and designed by 24-year-old Colombian photographer and collage artist, Valheria Rocha, who also handled the art direction of the photographs used for the album's campaign.

I think about Lover, and all the glitter heart eyes it inspired and the way people photoshopped themselves on the cover: everyone, from my neighbor to Ellen DeGeneres. There's a level of iconicness and relatability that made the cover influential. People saw they could easily make their own versions of Lover and I think it makes them feel a little closer to Taylor.

— Valheria Rocha, "We've Entered a New Age of Kitschy Album Artwork", Entertainment Weekly[56]

The artwork features Swift in her signature red lips, with a heart-shaped pink glitter arrangement surrounding her right eye, before a cloudy sky dominated by pink, blue and yellow hues and light leaks.[57] The aesthetic and imagery of Lover has been described as daytime,[16] summer,[41] butterflies,[38] hearts,[58] and kitschy, consisting mainly of pastel colors.[56] Swift further defined Lover as open fields and sunsets;[13] calling it a "festival-y" album, while discussing the album's accompanying tour, the Lover Fest.[59]

Release and promotion[edit]

Distribution[edit]

The album was released on August 23, 2019, by Republic Records, the first by Swift to be released under the label since her departure from Big Machine Records in November 2018.[60] The album is also the first to be owned by Swift herself.[37] The standard edition was physically released on CD, cassette tape,[61] and vinyl,[62] as well as made available for digital download and streaming. It is the first time Swift released an album the initial release day for streaming and the first time she sold an album directly on her website for digital download. The deluxe edition comes in four versions, each containing a CD, two bonus audio memos and a blank journal, with different bonus content of Swift's old diary entries, photos, and a poster.[63] The deluxe editions are distributed exclusively by Target in the US,[64] and on Swift's official website globally.[65]

Promotion[edit]

A few weeks before the expected release of the album, Swift invited select group of fans to private listening parties called Secret Sessions, a tradition which began with the album 1989 in 2014. Secret Sessions were held in London,[66] Nashville,[67] and Los Angeles.[68] Audio recordings of the Secret Sessions were played on iHeartRadio.[31] Swift partnered with Amazon in the lead-up to the release, with Amazon featuring Lover-themed designs on some of their cardboard delivery boxes.[69] On August 20, Swift released an exclusive playlist on Spotify, which incrementally revealed lyrics from the album.[70] The next day, Swift unveiled a line of clothing and accessories designed in collaboration with Stella McCartney.[71]

Singles[edit]

Lover is supported by four singles and a promotional single.

"Me!" featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco serves as the album's lead single. It was released along with its music video on April 26, 2019.[4] The music video amassed 65.2 million views within its first day of release, breaking the 24-hour Vevo record previously held by Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next". The video also broke Swift's personal record set in 2017 with the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video, which garnered 43.2 million views on August 28, 2017. "Me!" broke several streaming and sales records, including the biggest single-week jump in the Billboard Hot 100 chart history, when it moved upward by 98 spots.[72] It peaked at number two in the United States and in Canada,[72] while it debuted and peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart.[73]

"You Need to Calm Down" was announced as the second single during Swift's album announcement livestream on Instagram on June 13, 2019, and was released the following day, along with the lyric video.[6] The accompanying music video, which was released on June 17,[74] had special appearances from a variety of guests, including Katy Perry, Ryan Reynolds, and LGBTQ+ personalities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Cox and RuPaul.[75][76] It debuted and peaked at number two on the Hot 100.

"Lover", the title track, was announced as the third single on August 16, 2019, by Swift at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards.[77][78][79] On August 15, 2019, Swift announced on her social media that the music video for the song would premiere during a live Q&A session on YouTube the day before the album release, on August 22, 2019.[80] The music video adapts a Christmas aesthetic, featuring a house with seven distinctly-colored rooms, inside a snow globe.[81] The song debuted at number 19 on the Hot 100 and peaked at number 10, becoming the third consecutive top 10 single from Lover.[82]

"The Man", the fourth track on Lover, was serviced to the US adult contemporary and pop radio formats on January 27 and 28, 2020, as the fourth single from the album.[83][84] The single quickly became pop radio's most added song of the week dated January 27, 2020, picked up by 87 Mediabase-monitored pop stations.[85] It further became adult contemporary radio's most added song of the week, picked up by 26 Mediabase-monitored Hot AC stations.[86] The song debuted and peaked at number 23 on the Hot 100, buoyed by the album's release.[87] Its music video was released on February 27, 2020, which saw Swift play a male alter-ego named "Tyler Swift", voiced by Dwayne Johnson. The video was solely directed by Swift, becoming her solo directorial debut. The video was met with praise from critics, and features cameos from Swift's father Scott Swift and TikTok star Loren Gray.[88]

Promotional singles[edit]

"The Archer" was released as the album's only promotional single on July 23, 2019.[89] Swift explained it would not be a single and it was meant to showcase a side of the album unseen by fans with the two singles; therefore, the song would not receive an accompanying music video. A lyric video was released on YouTube on the day the track was released.[90] It debuted at number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated August 3, 2019, eventually peaking at number 38 on the chart dated September 7, 2019.[91]

Live performances[edit]

Swift promoted the album and its songs on several live performances. On May 1, 2019, Swift made the first live performance of "Me!" at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards with Urie at Las Vegas, Nevada.[92] Swift and Urie performed the song again at the season finale of the sixteenth season of The Voice on May 21.[93] Swift performed "Me!" solo at the finale of the fourteenth season of Germany's Next Top Model on May 22.[94] On May 24, she appeared on The Graham Norton Show as a musical guest, performing "Me!".[95] On May 25, Swift performed "Me!" at the quarter-finals of the eighth season of The Voice: la plus belle voix, the French edition of The Voice.[96]

On July 10, Swift headlined the Amazon Prime Day Concert 2019 in New York City, performing "Me!" and for the first time "You Need to Calm Down", as well as a selection of songs from her previous albums.[97] On August 22, the day before the album's release, Swift performed a concert at Central Park in New York City on Good Morning America.[98] Swift then performed "The Archer" on a YouTube livestream later that day.[99] Swift opened the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards with a medley of "You Need to Calm Down" and "Lover" on August 26, where she also won three awards.[100] On September 2, Swift performed "London Boy", "Lover", "The Archer" and "You Need to Calm Down" for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.[101] On September 9, she played a one-off concert at L'Olympia in Paris, France, where she performed "Me!", "The Archer", "Death by a Thousand Cuts", "Cornelia Street", "The Man", "Daylight", "You Need to Calm Down", and "Lover", along with songs from previous albums.[102]

On October 5, Swift performed "Lover" and "False God" on Saturday Night Live.[103] On October 11, she performed "Lover", "The Man", "Death by a Thousand Cuts", along with "All Too Well" from Red on a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR Music at Washington, D.C.[104] On October 19, Swift performed "Me!", "Lover", and "You Need to Calm Down" at the We Can Survive charity concert in Los Angeles.[105] On November 7, she performed "Me!" on the Sukkiri Morning Show in Tokyo, Japan.[106] On November 10, she performed "Me!", "Lover", and "You Need to Calm Down" at the Alibaba Singles' Day Gala in Shanghai, China.[107] On November 24, Swift performed a medley of her greatest hits, including "The Man" and "Lover", at the 2019 American Music Awards in Los Angeles.[108] On December 8, she performed "Me!", "London Boy", "Lover", and "You Need to Calm Down" at Capital FM's Jingle Bell Ball 2019 in London.[109] On December 13, Swift performed "Me!", "Lover", and "You Need to Calm Down" at iHeartRadio Z100's Jingle Ball in New York City.[110] On December 14, she performed "Lover" at the finale of BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing.[111]

Tour[edit]

On September 17, 2019, Swift announced the Lover Fest, set to begin in the summer of 2020, starting on June 20, 2020, in Werchter, Belgium and concluding on August 1, 2020, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Swift will play two shows at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles as part of the "Lover Fest West", and two shows at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough as part of the "Lover Fest East", in addition to ten dates in Europe and two in Brazil. Swift explained on social media that "The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic. I want to go to some places I haven't been and play festivals. Where we didn't have festivals, we made some."[112]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.2/10[113]
Metacritic79/100[114]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[115]
The A.V. ClubA−[43]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[26]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[53]
The Guardian3/5 stars[35]
The Independent4/5 stars[116]
NME4/5 stars[27]
Pitchfork7.1/10[25]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[22]
The Times4/5 stars[117]

Lover was met with mostly positive reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received a weighted average score of 79, based on 26 reviews, the highest Metascore for any of Swift's albums.[114]

Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone called the album "overpowering" and a "career-capping masterpiece".[118] Also in Rolling Stone, Nick Catucci wrote Lover was "evolutionary rather than revolutionary" and "Swift at her most liberated".[22] Annie Zaleski from The A.V. Club called the album "one of [Swift's] strongest, most relatable albums to date... unburdened by external expectations and her own past."[43] Jon Caramanica from The New York Times described Lover as "reassuringly strong", and "a palate cleanse, a recalibration and a reaffirmation of old strengths" compared to Reputation (2017).[24] Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times commended the album's maturity and emotional wisdom, calling it "very impressive". He further described the album as "grown-up, complex pop".[119] Billboard's Jason Lipshutz summarized the album as "whimsical, moving, imperfect, exhilarating", adding it was "a towering work that's worth both close analysis on headphones and scream-alongs on stadium speakers".[120] Writing for Vulture, Craig Jenkins stated that "the old Taylor Is back on Lover and the best she's been in years" and added that the album is "the most complete full-length she's delivered in years".[121]

Nick Levine from NME considered Lover to be "more sprawling and further from flawless" than 1989 (2014), but it succeeds due to Swift's "frequently dazzling" melodies, and the "loved-up lyrics are ultimately quite touching." He concluded that despite "the odd dud", the album is a "welcome reminder of her songwriting skills and ability to craft sonically inviting pop music."[27] Alexandra Pollard from The Independent awarded the album four stars out of five, writing "there is a brilliant album among the 18 songs, if only it had been pruned a little."[47] Reviewing in his "Consumer Guide" column, Robert Christgau preferred the album over Reputation's celebrity concept and admired Swift for focusing her talents on songs about lovers, which he said is a more relatable theme "for female pop fans with their own lives, not just unfortunates ensnared by the vicarious vagaries of celebrity culture". While conceding that "a romantic history as footloose as Swift's comes easier to a gal with unlimited access to desirable men", the critic pointed out that "there are millions of women who manage serial relationships, and this one's for them."[122]

In a less favorable review, Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine wrote the album "attempts to be something to everyone" but "lacks a unified sonic aesthetic".[23] Alexis Petridis from The Guardian called Lover "too long" and appear to be an attempt by Swift to "reassert her commercial dominance". However, he remarked Swift's songwriting as better "than any of her competitors" and praised "False God" and "It's Nice to Have a Friend" for being "more satisfying".[35] Writing for The Observer, Kitty Empire summarized the album as a "kitsch-leaning festival of humour, pastels, butterflies and the desire not to be defined by negatives", but also wonders if it might be "a partial retrenchment until Swift decides what to do next", giving it three stars out of five.[49]

Year-end lists[edit]

Chris Willman of Variety[123] ranked Lover at number-one on his list of the best albums of 2019. Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone also ranked the album as the top album of 2019.[124] Annie Zaleski of The A.V. Club listed the album as the second best of the year.[125] Billboard,[126] People[127] and USA Today[128] named the album the third best album of 2019. Billboard further listed its tracks "Cruel Summer" and "Lover" as the tenth and twenty-first best songs of the year, respectively.[129] A separate list by Rolling Stone ranked the album as the fourth best of the year,[130] and named "Cruel Summer" as the fourth best song of 2019.[131] Good Morning America placed Lover at number six in their list titled "50 of the Best Albums of 2019"[132] and named it as one of the 50 most notable albums of the decade.[133] Us Weekly,[134] Star Tribune[135] and The Music[136] named the album the seventh best album of the year. San Diego Union-Tribune[137] ranked the album at number eight in their lists of best albums of 2019.

The Los Angeles Times[138] and The Harvard Crimson[139] listed Lover as the tenth best album of the year. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times[140] placed the album at number fourteen on his list of the best albums of 2019. Flood[141] and PopBuzz[142] named Lover the fifteenth and eighteenth best album of 2019, respectively. The Independent ranked the album at number 19 on its list of 50 best albums of the year.[143] Paper[144] and musicOMH[145] named Lover as the twentieth and twenty-second best album of 2019, respectively. Uproxx named the album as the twenty-fifth best album of the year,[146] and "Cornelia Street" as the seventh best song of 2019.[147] The Guardian,[148] PopSugar,[149] Q[150] and NME[151] ranked the album at number 27, 30, 35 and 41 on their respective lists of best albums of 2019. The Sunday Times[152] listed the album as one of the 100 best records of 2019. Slate[153] listed Lover as one of the best albums of 2019, and its title track as one of the top 10 best songs of 2019. Esquire,[154] PopCrush[155] and MTV[156] included the album on their lists of the best albums of 2019. The Fader listed the album as one of the best albums of 2019,[157] and placed the album track "I Think He Knows" at number eight on its list of 25 best pop songs of the year.[158] Paste named Lover as one of the 15 best pop albums of 2019.[159]

Critic/Publication List Rank Ref.
The A.V. Club Annie Zaleski's 10 Best Albums of 2019 2 [125]
Billboard The 50 Best Albums of 2019 3 [126]
Chorus.fm Chorus.fm's Top 25 Albums of 2019 7 [160]
City Pages The 75 Best Albums of 2019 19 [161]
Esquire The Best Albums of 2019 N/A [154]
The Fader The Best Albums of 2019 N/A [157]
Flood The Best Albums of 2019 15 [141]
Good Morning America 50 of the Best Albums of 2019 6 [132]
The Guardian The 50 Best Albums of 2019 29 [148]
The Harvard Crimson The Top Albums of 2019 10 [139]
The Independent The 50 Best Albums of 2019 19 [143]
Las Vegas Weekly Favorite Albums of 2019 8 [162]
Los Angeles Times The Best Albums and Songs of 2019 10 [138]
MTV Albums of 2019 N/A [156]
The Music The Music's Best Albums Of 2019 7 [136]
musicOMH musicOMH's Top 50 Albums Of 2019 22 [145]
The New York Times Best Albums of 2019 14 [140]
NME 50 Best Albums of 2019 41 [151]
Paper Paper's Top 20 Albums of 2019 20 [144]
Paste The 15 Best Pop Albums of 2019 12 [159]
People The 10 Best Albums of 2019 3 [127]
PopBuzz The 20 Best Albums of 2019 18 [142]
PopCrush 25 Best Albums of 2019 N/A [155]
PopSugar 47 Albums That Made 2019 Seem Almost Bearable 30 [149]
Q Q Magazine's 50 Albums of the Year 2019 35 [150]
Rolling Stone 50 Best Albums of 2019 4 [130]
Rob Sheffield's Top 25 Albums of 2019 1 [124]
The San Diego Union-Tribune 9 Albums That Helped Me Survive 2019 8 [137]
Slate The Best Albums of 2019 N/A [153]
Star Tribune Our Music Critic's 10 Best Albums and Concerts of 2019 7 [135]
The Sunday Times The 100 Best Records of the Year N/A [152]
Uproxx The Best Albums of 2019, Ranked 25 [146]
USA Today The 10 Best Albums of 2019 3 [128]
Us Weekly The 10 Best Albums of 2019 7 [134]
Variety Best Albums of 2019 1 [123]
WJBC Best Albums of 2019 3 [163]
The Young Folks Top 50 Albums of 2019 31 [164]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Lover and its singles received three nominations at the 62nd Grammy Awards. The album was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album, which is Swift's third consecutive nomination in the category, following 1989 (2014) and Reputation (2017). "You Need to Calm Down" was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance while the title track "Lover" was nominated for Song of the Year.

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2019 People's Choice Awards Album of 2019 Won [165]
American Music Awards Favorite Pop/Rock Album Won [166]
2020 Universal Music India Album of the Year Won [167]
Grammy Awards Best Pop Vocal Album Nominated [168]
Gaana User's Choice Icons Best International Album Won [169]
Japan Gold Disc Awards Album of the Year (Western) Won [170]
Best 3 Albums (Western) Won

Commercial performance[edit]

Pre-release[edit]

With 178,600 pre-adds on Apple Music within one day, Lover is the most pre-saved album by a female artist as of July 2019.[75] On August 20, 2019, Variety, quoting Republic Records founder and chairman Monte Lipman, reported album pre-sales worldwide were nearly one million.[171]

United States[edit]

In the United States, Lover sold roughly 450,000 copies within its first day,[172] and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 867,000 units, of which 679,000 are pure sales, making Swift the first female artist to have six albums sell more than 500,000 copies in a single week.[173] The album sold more copies than all the other 199 albums on the chart combined that week, the first album to achieve this feat since her own Reputation in 2017.[174][175] Swift tied Beyoncé for most consecutive number-one debuts on the Billboard 200 for a female artist, at six albums.[176] In its second week on the Billboard 200, Lover moved 178,000 units and descended to number two. This marked the largest second week sales of 2019 in the US. In its third week, it remained at number two with a further 104,000 units moved. By January 2020, Lover had spent 17 weeks inside the top 10 of the chart, 5 weeks more than its predecessor Reputation.[177]

All 18 tracks from the album charted simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100, breaking records such as the most simultaneous Hot 100 entries for a female artist and the most simultaneous Hot 100 debuts by a female artist.[91] The album sold 386,000 digital copies and 699,000 physical copies for a combined 1.085 million copies in 2019, becoming the year's best-selling album and the only release to surpass 1 million sales.[178][179] When the album was made available on vinyl, it sold 18,000 copies in one week, giving Swift the fourth-highest selling week for female vinyl albums in the history of Nielsen SoundScan and the second-biggest week for a female artist in 2019.[180] Lover and its singles are noted for having better chart performances compared to Reputation and its singles.[177]

As of February 2020, Lover has earned over 2.3 million album-equivalent units in the US.[181] In March 2020, Lover was certified double platinum by the RIAA, denoting 2 million units moved.[182]

Other markets[edit]

In the United Kingdom, Lover debuted at number one on the albums chart with 53,000 album-equivalent units that consisted of 35,000 traditional sales. It helped Swift became the first female artist, and seventh overall, to have four chart-topping albums in the 2010s decade.[183] It also was the year's fastest-selling female download album in UK, surpassing Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next.[184] The album is certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry for selling over 100,000 copies in the country.

In Ireland, the album debuted at number one on the Irish Albums Chart, making Swift the only female artist with four chart-topping albums in the country in the 2010s decade.[185]

In Australia, Lover debuted at number one on the ARIA Albums Chart, becoming Swift's fifth consecutive chart-topper in the country. It also posted the biggest first-week sales of 2019 in the country and all of the tracks from the album appeared in the top 75 of the ARIA Top 100 Singles Chart.[186][187] The album was certified 2× Platinum in the country, for selling over 140,000 copies there.

In China, Lover was a massive success, becoming the first international album in the country's history to surpass one million combined total streams, downloads and sales within a week of its release.[188][189] As of November 2019, it is one of the best-selling digital albums in Chinese history, becoming Swift's third consecutive album to make it to the top 15, after 1989 (2014) and Reputation (2017), giving Swift the distinction as the only western artist to do so.

Worldwide[edit]

Lover has moved over 5 million album units worldwide,[190] including 3.2 million pure sales.[191] The strong global sales of Lover led the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry to name Swift the number-one best selling artist of 2019, earning the honor for the second time, her first being in 2014 after the release of 1989.[192] Lover became the best selling album by a female artist of 2019, and second overall, behind Japanese band Arashi's greatest hits album 5x20 All the Best!! 1999–2019.[191]

Track listing[edit]

Track listing and credits adapted from the album liner notes, Apple Music and Tidal.[17][193][194]

LoverStandard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."I Forgot That You Existed"
2:51
2."Cruel Summer"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
2:58
3."Lover"Swift
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
3:41
4."The Man"
  • Swift
  • Little
3:10
5."The Archer"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
3:31
6."I Think He Knows"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
2:53
7."Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince"
  • Swift
  • Little
  • Swift
  • Little
3:54
8."Paper Rings"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
3:42
9."Cornelia Street"Swift
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
4:47
10."Death by a Thousand Cuts"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
3:19
11."London Boy"
3:10
12."Soon You'll Get Better" (featuring Dixie Chicks)
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
3:22
13."False God"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
3:20
14."You Need to Calm Down"
  • Swift
  • Little
  • Swift
  • Little
2:51
15."Afterglow"
  • Swift
  • Bell
  • Feeney
  • Swift
  • Bell
  • Dukes
3:43
16."Me!" (featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco)
  • Swift
  • Little
  • Urie
  • Swift
  • Little
3:13
17."It's Nice to Have a Friend"
  • Swift
  • Bell
  • Feeney
  • Swift
  • Bell
  • Dukes
2:30
18."Daylight"Swift
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
4:53
Total length:1:01:48
LoverTarget and Japanese deluxe edition[195][196]
No.TitleLength
19."I Forgot That You Existed" (piano/vocal)3:30
20."Lover" (piano/vocal)5:39
Total length:1:10:57
LoverJapanese special edition DVD[196]
No.TitleDirector(s)Length
1."Me!" (music video)4:09
2."Me!" (lyric video)
  • Swift
  • Jordan Lynn
3:15
3."Me!" (behind the scenes: The Story of Benjamin Button) 3:09
4."Me!" (behind the scenes: Je Suis Calme) 3:17
5."You Need to Calm Down" (music video)
  • Swift
  • Drew Kirsch
3:31
6."You Need to Calm Down" (lyric video)Cheryl Lee2:58
7."You Need to Calm Down" (behind the scenes: Pop Queen Pageant) 2:55
8."You Need to Calm Down" (behind the scenes: Taylor Park) 2:55
9."You Need to Calm Down" (behind the scenes: Morning Routine) 3:01
Total length:29:10

Notes[edit]

  • ^a signifies a co-producer
  • "Me!" is stylized in all caps, and the album version does not contain the spoken lyrics "Hey, kids, spelling is fun!"[200]
  • "It's Nice to Have a Friend" contains a sample of "Summer in the South" by the Toronto-based Regent Park School of Music.[201]

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from the album liner notes.[17]

  • Taylor Swift – all vocals; writer (all tracks); producer (all tracks); executive producer; journal entries (deluxe); personal photographies (deluxe); packaging creative direction; percussion (track 8)
  • Jack Antonoff – producer, keyboards, programming, recording (tracks: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8–13, 18); writer (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 8, 10–13); piano (tracks: 3, 8, 9, 12, 18); live drums (tracks: 2, 3, 8, 9); acoustic guitars (tracks: 3, 6, 8, 12); electric guitars (tracks: 6, 8, 18); percussion, bass (tracks: 3, 8, 11); vocoder (track 2); synthesizers (track 10); guitar (track 10); wurlitzer (track 12); background vocals (track 8)
  • Louis Bell – producer, writer, programming, recording (tracks: 1, 15, 17); keyboards (track 1)
  • Frank Dukes – producer, writer, guitar, programming (tracks: 1, 15, 17)
  • Joel Little – producer, writer, recording, keyboards, drum programming (tracks: 4, 7, 14, 16); synths, guitar (track 16)
  • Laura Sisk – recording (tracks: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8–13, 18); background vocals (track 13)
  • Annie Clark – writer, guitar (track 2)
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing (all tracks)
  • John Hanes – mix engineer (all tracks)
  • Randy Merrill – mastering (all tracks)
  • Grant Strumwasser – assistant (track 1)
  • John Rooney – assistant (tracks: 2–6, 9–13, 18)
  • Jon Sher – assistant (tracks: 2, 6, 8, 11)
  • Nick Mills – assistant (tracks: 8, 11, 18)
  • Joe Harrison – guitar (tracks: 1, 15, 17)
  • Serafin Aguilar – trumpet (track 1)
  • David Urquidi – saxophone (track 1)
  • Steve Hughes – trombone (track 1)
  • Michael Riddleberger – live drums (tracks: 2, 13)
  • Sounwave – co-producer, writer (track 11)
  • Cautious Clay – writer (track 11)
  • Sean Hutchinson – live drums (track 11)
  • Mikey Freedom Hart – keyboards (track 11); background vocals (track 13)
  • Evan Smith – keyboards, saxophones (tracks: 11, 13)
  • Emily Strayer – banjo (track 12)
  • Martie Maguire – fiddle (track 12)
  • Dixie Chicks – featured artist (track 12)
  • Brandon Bost – background vocals (track 13)
  • Cassidy Ladden – background vocals (track 13)
  • Ken Lewis – background vocals (track 13)
  • Matthew Tavares – guitar (tracks: 15, 17)
  • Brendon Urie – featured artist, writer (track 16)
  • Valheria Rocha – photography
  • Andrea Swift – personal photographies (deluxe)
  • Scott Swift – personal photographies (deluxe)
  • Joseph Cassel – wardrobe stylist
  • Riawna Capri – hair
  • Lorrie Turk – makeup
  • Josh & Bethany Newman – packaging art direction
  • Parker Foote – packaging design
  • Jin Kim – packaging design
  • Ryon Nishimori – packaging design
  • Abby Murdock – packaging design

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[255] 2× Platinum 140,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[256] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[257] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[258] 2× Platinum 2,300,000[181]
Summaries
Worldwide 3,200,000[191]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Edition(s) Label Ref.
Various August 23, 2019 Standard Republic [194]
CD [259]
Deluxe [260]
United Kingdom Cassette tape Standard Virgin EMI [261]
Europe Universal [261]
United States August 30, 2019 Republic [262]
Australia November 1, 2019 Universal [263]
Brazil November 2, 2019 CD [264]
United States November 15, 2019 Vinyl Republic [62]
United Kingdom Virgin EMI [265]
Europe Universal [265]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
Footnotes
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