Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Review: Taylor Swift’s 7th Album, “Lover”: Title Track Shines But 18 Songs Are Too Much, and Too Similar


Only a few of the 18 songs on Taylor Swift’s 7th album are much different than what she’s been doing since “1989” turned her into a pop sensation.

A lot of this, you’ve heard before.

Eighteen songs? Too many. This collection would have benefited from pruning. The stand outs are the title track, plus “The Archer,” “Cornelia Street,” and the clever “The Man.”  I might let “Daylight,” the album closer, grow on me.

But a lot of these songs sound the same. Even if the lyrics are interesting, the orchestrations are redundant. Very rarely does it sound like real instruments are being played, and no one involved gets a solo.

Part of the problem is that Swift’s music leaves no tracks. She doesn’t seem to share music influences, almost as if she’s not influenced by anything in music history. Maybe she isn’t. Her songs have no trace of blues, R&B, jazz, reggae, or even country, which used to be her area. What do you call this? Sometimes I’d call it tedious.

I guess what us “old people” find so perplexing about Taylor’s class of pop acts is that you feel their interest is only in money and getting out a release. Even Madonna has musical influences, even if we’re not always crazy about them. But this generation feels like it’s been created, like androids.

Funny: on Spotify, when “Lover” ends, the next Taylor Swift that plays is “All Too Well” from her “Red” album. It’s so far superior to anything on this record, it’s a little sad. “All Too Well” feels so genuine and exciting, you’re surprised it’s the same person. What happened to that collaborator, Liz Rose? I don’t know. And the producer, Nathan Chapman? It’s like Mariah Carey, and her “Vision of Love” collaborator, Ben Margulies. Oh to hear a banjo on “Lover,” or any thing human.

It doesn’t matter what say, “Lover” will sell a million copies this week, set records, pave the way for Taylor’s Stella McCartney line of clothes, and so on. We’re not in Kansas, anymore.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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