The Archer (song)

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"The Archer"
Taylor Swift - The Archer.png
Promotional single by Taylor Swift
from the album Lover
ReleasedJuly 23, 2019 (2019-07-23)
  • Jack Antonoff
  • Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift promotional singles chronology
"Call It What You Want"
"The Archer"
"Only the Young"
Lyric video
"The Archer" on YouTube

"The Archer" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from her seventh studio album Lover (2019). It was written and produced by Swift and Jack Antonoff. The song was released as the first promotional single from the album on July 23, 2019. "The Archer" is a synth-pop and dream pop ballad that features heavy synthesizers, soft house beats, minimalistic sounds and a slow groove. Praised for its artful lyrics, the song documents Swift's anxiety and insecurities. It received acclaim from music critics, who compared it to "All Too Well" (2012).

Background and composition[edit]

"The Archer" was written and produced by Swift and Jack Antonoff within two hours, when they were in California. The two have also previously collaborated on "Sweeter than Fiction" (2013), 1989 (2014), "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" (2016) and Reputation (2017).[1] On July 23, it was unveiled as the fifth track from her seventh studio album Lover (2019), through its pre-order on the iTunes Store.[2][3] Regarding the song's placement at number five on the track list, Swift explained that she puts the most "honest, emotional, vulnerable, and personal" track at the position.[4]

"The Archer" is a midtempo synth-pop and dream pop ballad that features heavy synthesizers,[5][6] minimalistic sounds and a slow groove.[7][8][9] The song, described as "darker and more introspective" than preceding singles, showcases a "more vulnerable and confessional" side of the singer, as it features her as "both hunter and hunted".[10] According to Paper's Jael Goldfine, it "builds up to a feverish climax", after which Swift interpolates lyrics from the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty" to "describe her emotional anguish", then "brings it all back to how her life has been marked by haters and betrayal".[4] The song's title "The Archer" is also a reference to the symbol of Swift's zodiac sun-sign, Sagittarius.[5][11]

Critical reception[edit]

"The Archer" received widespread acclaim from music critics, who praised the dream pop production and poetic lyrics evoking vulnerability.

Rolling Stone's Claire Shaffer called the song "a somber, synth-heavy ballad centered around the metaphor of the archer".[5] Rania Aniftos of Billboard opined that it is "sparkling, airy", and that Swift "tears down the wall she puts up, asking the person she loves to accept all of her as she chants".[12] Writing for Forbes, Caitlin Kelley stated that the lyrics of "The Archer" scan "as a more nuanced acknowledgment of the well-documented highs and lows of her high-profile relationships", adding that "the song's biggest strength is the artfulness of [its] lines".[13] NME's Sofiana Ramli wrote that "the song exposes the singer's insecurities", describing it as "delicate and dreamy in the same minimalistic vein" as "All Too Well" (2012).[14]

Chris Willman of Variety opined that its "lyrics reflect a suspicious state of mind in a seemingly happy relationship where old fears arise easily", and also drew comparisons to "All Too Well".[15] Medium's TJ Lovell labelled the song as Swift's "most delicate song" and stated that Swift "slows things down and indulges in her most romantic tendencies", over a production of "competing synths that simultaneously twinkling and rumble open the song before giving way to an incessant, house-lite beat, creating a feeling of urgency as the track propels itself forward".[16] Vox's Constance Grady wrote that the song "is spare and minimalist, and it's a little bit self-hating in the way Swift can occasionally get when she's at her most vulnerable as a songwriter", adding that it is "exponentially more emotional and powerful" than preceding singles.[17] Writing for V Magazine, Alex Kazemi called the song "a beautiful classic Taylor Swift ballad, that is both violent and exquisite". He stated that the lyrics are "full of heart-stabbers" that "attest to the songwriting skills and poetics" of Swift, and complimented the "goth-epigrams and glossier production" which "paint a vivid landscape".[11]

Stereogum named "The Archer" as one of the top 10 best songs of 2019.[18] Slant named it the sixth-best song of 2019.[19]

Lyric video[edit]

On July 23, 2019, a lyric video for the song was released on YouTube. The lyrics in the video use a handwritten font, while the background of the video is made up of colorful clouds moving. At the end, there are a few seconds of snow falling down. The lyric video has surpassed 17 million views on YouTube.[20]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, "The Archer" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 69, becoming Swift's 80th song to enter the chart, later repeaking at number 38 after the release of Lover. It also debuted and peaked at number six in the Billboard Digital Song Sales chart.[21] The song debuted at number 100 on the UK Singles Chart, later peaking at number 43. Additionally, the song entered and peaked at number 17 in Scotland and number 31 in Ireland. Other places where it charted include, number 28 in New Zealand and number 41 on the Canadian Hot 100. In Australia, the song debuted at number 55 and moved to number 19 the following week.[22]

Live performances[edit]

Swift's first live performance of the song was an acoustic rendition on the "Lover's Lounge", a Q&A session live streamed on YouTube on August 22, 2019.[23] The next day, she again performed the song acoustically at a SiriusXM Town Hall.[24] The song was included in Swift's setlist for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge on September 2.[25] On September 9, Swift performed the song at the City of Lover one-off concert in Paris, France.[26]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[27]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Jack Antonoff – producer, songwriter, programmer, recording engineer, keyboards, studio personnel
  • Laura Sisk – recording engineer, studio personnel
  • John Rooney – assistant recording engineer, studio personnel
  • Serban Ghenea – mixer, studio personnel
  • John Hanes – mix engineer, studio personnel


Chart (2019) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[22] 19
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[28] 28
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[29] 41
China Airplay/FL (Billboard)[30] 2
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[31] 69
Estonia (Eesti Ekspress)[32] 32
Greece (IFPI)[33] 19
Hungary (Single Top 40)[34] 22
Ireland (IRMA)[35] 31
Lithuania (AGATA)[36] 23
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[37] 28
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[38] 17
Singapore (RIAS)[39] 18
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[40] 63
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[41] 6
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[42] 43
US Billboard Hot 100[43] 38
US Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[44] 6
US Rolling Stone Top 100[45] 23


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[46] Gold 35,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various July 23, 2019 Republic [27]
Australia August 1, 2019 Contemporary hit radio [47]


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  4. ^ a b Goldfine, Jael (July 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift's Big, Sad Jack Antonoff-Produced Ballad Is Here". Paper. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Shaffer, Claire (July 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Releases Intimate New Song 'The Archer'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  6. ^ Cinquemani, Sal. "Review: Taylor Swift's Lover Course Corrects in Multiple Directions". Retrieved 2019-08-24.
  7. ^ McHenry, Jackson (July 24, 2019). "Ready, Aim, Listen to Taylor Swift's New Song 'The Archer' From Lover". Vulture. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
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  9. ^ Burks, Tosten (July 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift – 'The Archer'". Spin. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  10. ^ Murphy, Rhodes (July 24, 2019). "In Her New Song, Taylor Swift Interrogates the Fragility of Identity". Slate. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
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  12. ^ Aniftos, Rania (July 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Unveils Vulnerable New Song 'The Archer'". Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  13. ^ Kelley, Caitlin (July 24, 2019). "Taylor Swift Releases Vulnerable New Song 'The Archer'". Forbes. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  14. ^ Ramli, Sofiana (July 24, 2019). "Taylor Swift gets real on honest new song, 'The Archer'". NME. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  15. ^ Willman, Chris (July 24, 2019). "Taylor Swift Turns 'Red' Again With Third Song from New Album: 'The Archer'". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Lovell, TJ (July 24, 2019). "Review: "The Archer" — Taylor Swift". Medium. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Grady, Constance (July 24, 2019). "Taylor Swift's new single, 'Archer,' is Swift at her most intimate and vulnerable". Vox. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  18. ^ Breihan, Tom (December 10, 2018). "Stereogum's 100 Favorite Songs Of 2019". Stereogum. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  19. ^ "The 50 Best Songs of 2019". Slant Magazine. December 11, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
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  21. ^
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  24. ^ Warner, Denise (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Reveals Which 'Lover' Song She May Never Play Live During SiriusXM Town Hall". Billboard. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  25. ^ Hussey, Allison; Monroe, Jazz (September 2, 2019). "Taylor Swift Covers Phil Collins' "Can't Stop Loving You": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  26. ^ Mylrea, Hannah (September 10, 2019). "Taylor Swift's The City of Lover concert: a triumphant yet intimate celebration of her fans and career". NME. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
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  28. ^ " – Taylor Swift – The Archer" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  29. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  30. ^ "China Airplay Chart/Foreign Language - 29/07/2019". Billboard China (in Chinese). Retrieved August 9, 2019.
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  32. ^ "EESTI TIPP-40 MUUSIKAS: Kuidas on lood Maxtracti staminaga?" (in Estonian). Eesti Ekspress. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  33. ^ "Official IFPI Charts – Digital Singles Chart (International) – Week: 30/2019". IFPI Greece. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  34. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  35. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  36. ^ "Savaitės klausomiausi (TOP 100)" (in Lithuanian). AGATA. August 3, 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
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  38. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  39. ^ "RIAS International Top Charts Week 31". Recording Industry Association (Singapore). Archived from the original on August 7, 2019.
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  41. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker, vecka 31". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
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  45. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. August 29, 2019. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  46. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2019 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  47. ^ Tuskan, Peter (August 22, 2019). "It's a milestone week for Taylor Swift at Australian radio". The Music Network. Retrieved November 8, 2019.

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