Lover (Taylor Swift song)

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"Lover"
Taylor Swift - Lover (First Dance Remix).jpg
First Dance Remix version cover artwork
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Lover
ReleasedAugust 16, 2019 (2019-08-16)
Format
StudioElectric Lady, New York City
Genre
Length3:41
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"You Need to Calm Down"
(2019)
"Lover"
(2019)
"Beautiful Ghosts"
(2019)
Music video
"Lover" on YouTube

"Lover" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her seventh studio album of the same name (2019). Swift produced the song with Jack Antonoff, and it was released on August 16, 2019, by Republic Records as the third single from the album. "Lover" is a country, indie folk and pop ballad that features a booming snare, slow tempo and guitar-centric sound. Over a retro-styled musical motif, Swift sings lyrics about devotion to her partner, in this case, English actor Joe Alwyn.

The song received universal acclaim from critics, who praised its nostalgic quality and Swift's songwriting. In the US, the song peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the album's third consecutive top ten single on the Hot 100. It also entered the top ten in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. "Lover" is nominated for Song of the Year at the 62nd Grammy Awards. It was named as one of best songs of 2019 by several publications.

The music video for "Lover" was directed by Swift and Drew Kirsch, and features dancer Christian Owens as Swift's love interest. Premiering on August 22, 2019, the video is set in brightly colored rooms and a dollhouse, and shows the couple fighting and making up. Swift performed the song at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards.

On November 13, 2019, Swift released a remix featuring Canadian singer Shawn Mendes. On November 26, 2019, Swift released a second remix with a reworked orchestral arrangement, titled "First Dance Remix". Both remixes received positive reviews from music critics.

Background[edit]

Picture of American artist Jack Antonoff
Jack Antonoff co-produced "Lover".

Describing her seventh studio album Lover as a "love letter to love",[1] Taylor Swift attempted to convey an emotional spectrum and vulnerability by looking at emotions including sadness and loneliness "through a romantic gaze".[2] The album took under three months to record; recording ended in February 2019.[3] Jack Antonoff co-produced the album; his role was announced with the release of "The Archer" in July. Antonoff, who co-produced 11 of the 18 tracks for the album and co-wrote eight of them,[4] had collaborated with Swift on "Sweeter than Fiction" (2013), 1989 (2014), "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" (2016) and Reputation (2017).[5]

Swift wrote "Lover" late one night at her home in Nashville, Tennessee on the piano, and sent a voice memo of the song to Antonoff.[6] She flew to New York City the next day to work on the song with Antonoff and recording engineer Laura Sisk at Electric Lady Studios. Swift played the song on the piano for them; Swift and Antonoff produced the final version of the song during a six-hour recording session, using reverberation, a piano and a Mellotron.[7] Sisk and John Rooney recorded the song while Serban Ghenea mixed it with additional engineering from John Hanes.[8]

I was sitting up at the piano up in my loft, and I had the chorus. It just kind of happened immediately. It was one of those ones that I wrote very very, very quickly. And I was working out the cadence of the first verse and it just sort of fell together. But then I took some time to write the bridge because I wanted to really level up with that bridge. That one would for me would be less of a ranting bridge and more of a story-time fable type bridge. Sometimes I like to imagine a bridge as like a sort of fairy-tale lullaby fable expanding upon a song that has been not as detailed until that point. "Can I go where you go/ Can we always be this close forever and ever" is less detail, then when you go to the bridge and you realize like, oh, it just got really personal in the bridge. It expands on it all.

— Swift describing the songwriting process of "Lover".[9]

The song's title was revealed along with the lyrics; "My heart's been borrowed and yours has been blue / All's well that ends well to end up with you" in a Vogue interview published on August 8, 2019. Three days later, Swift announced its release date at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards.[10] "Lover" was released as the third single from the album on August 16, 2019.[11][12][13] A lyric video showing home videos of Swift projected onto a white sheet with the song's lyrics overlaid was uploaded to YouTube.[14]

Composition[edit]

"Lover" was written by Swift and produced by Swift and Antonoff. It runs for three minutes and forty-one seconds,[15][16] and is written in the key of A♭ major and set in 12
8
with a tempo of 74 beats per minute, with Swift's vocals ranging between E3 to D5.[17] Alice Vincent of The Daily Telegraph and Louise Bruton of The Irish Times characterized "Lover" as a country song,[18][19] although Billboard's Jason Lipshutz disagreed with this assessment; " 'Lover' is not a country song, but it certainly nods to the bare songwriting that marked much of Swift's early career".[20] Lars Brandle of Billboard considered it a pop song.[21] The A.V. Club's Annie Zaleski called it an indie folk and country torch song.[22]

Rolling Stone said "Lover" has "tender lyrics about devotion over a retro-styled musical motif".[23] Billboard described it as "an old-school ballad with a booming snare, keys and a '60s vibe".[24] NME's Karen Gwee considered the "guitar-centric" song a throwback to Swift's "country days".[25] Abby Aguirre of Vogue described it as a "romantic, haunting, waltzy, singer-songwritery nugget".[1] Hindustan Times wrote that the song "is rather slow and more of a romantic melody" and said the lyrics "make it seem like the song is an ode to someone".[26]

Several publications interpreted the track's subject as Swift's partner Joe Alwyn and some compared the track's lyrics with the poem "Something old". Alyssa Bailey of Elle said the opening lyrics might be about Swift's and Alwyn's relationship.[27] Paper's Katherine Gillespie had a similar opinion, writing, "it's a slow, sugary sweet guitar ballad presumably written for her longtime beau Joe Alwyn".[28] Writing for Seventeen, Tamara Fuentes said the lyrics in the bridge "feel like wedding vows, likely hinting at the fact that they are open to taking the next step in their relationship".[29] Mary Elizabeth Andriotis of Teen Vogue noted the lyric "All's well that ends well to end up with you" might be a reference to Swift's 2012 song "All Too Well".[30]

Critical reception[edit]

"Lover" received critical acclaim upon release, with praise towards Swift's songwriting and the throwback quality.

Billboard's Jason Lipshutz called it the "song you should slow-dance to with your partner this weekend", and also said it "effectively transmits its romantic signals by putting the songwriting of Swift – a masterful writer who gets the solo credit here – front and center".[20] Louise Bruton of The Irish Times said the song "is the grand gesture that proves that all the heartache she's sung about" in the past "was worth it", and that it "has autumnal vibes stamped all over it".[19] Writing for Vox, Constance Grady called the song "a welcome reminder of what made Swift such an unstoppable force when she first emerged onto the music scene".[31] BuzzFeed News' Ellie Bate wrote that "Lover" is "a love letter to a person you want to be with forever", describing the bridge as "wedding vows".[32] Jay Willis of GQ predicted the song would be a popular choice for first dances at weddings.[33]

Craig Jenkins of Vulture wrote that "Lover" is reminiscent of Mazzy Star's "Fade into You" (1993) and Cowboy Junkies' 1988 cover of "Sweet Jane".[34] Vulture's Nate Jones ranked it in thirty-second place in his list "All 128 Taylor Swift Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best".[35] Writing for Forbes, Hugh McIntyre said the song has "a lovely nostalgic quality to it" and is "undeniably pretty, sweet, and a fair final play to get people excited for the album", but added that it is hard to imagine it becoming "a true smash" or "a long-lasting hit".[12] Teen Vogue's Mary Elizabeth Andriotis wrote that the song is "just as romantic as pretty much everyone expected", and a likely "wedding song for Swifties everywhere".[30] Alyssa Bailey of Elle interpreted "Lover" as one of Swift's "most personal" songs so far, saying it conveys her commitment to Alwyn.[27] Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Alice Vincent gave the song four stars and said it is an "endearing return to country" for the singer.[18]

Cosmopolitan named "Lover" as the third best new song of 2019, while Pitchfork named it the eighty-seventh best.[36] Slate named the song as one of the top 10 best songs of 2019.[37] Billboard named "Lover" the twenty-first best song of 2019.[38] Insider named "Lover" one of the best songs of both 2019 and the 2010s.[39][40] Genius listed the song as one of the best 50 songs of 2019.[41] Herald-Tribune named "Lover" the number-one best song of 2019.[42]

Year-end lists[edit]

Critic/Publication List Rank Ref.
Billboard The 100 Best Songs of 2019 21 [38]
Complex The 50 Best Songs of 2019 35 [43]
Cosmopolitan 19 Best New Songs of 2019 3 [44]
Elite Daily The 15 Best Songs of 2019 10 [45]
Elle The 19 Best Love Songs Of 2019 2 [46]
Genius The 50 Best Songs of 2019 16 [41]
Herald-Tribune Countdown 2019: Top Songs of the Year 1 [42]
Idolator The 75 Best Pop Songs Of 2019 63 [47]
Insider The 9 Best and 9 Worst Songs of 2019 N/A [39]
Marie Claire The Best New Songs of 2019 N/A [48]
New York Post Best Songs of 2019 10 [49]
The Philadelphia Inquirer The Best Songs of 2019 N/A [50]
Pitchfork 100 Best Songs of 2019 87 [36]
Slate 100 Best Songs of 2019 N/A [37]
Us Weekly 10 Best Songs of 2019 2 [51]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, "Lover" debuted at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart of August 31, 2019, tying Swift with Madonna as the female artist with most top 20 hits (44).[52] Following the release of the song's music video and parent album Lover, the song rose nine positions to a peak of number 10 on September 7, 2019,[53] becoming Swift's 25th top 10 hit on the chart, tying her with Elvis Presley as the artist with tenth most top 10 hits in the chart's history.[54] The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Digital Song Sales chart, becoming her eighteenth number-one single on the chart, and spent three weeks atop the chart.[55]

In Canada, it peaked at number seven on the Canadian Hot 100.[56] In Europe, "Lover" charted at number 61 in Germany,[57] 9 in Ireland,[58] 12 in Scotland, 37 in Sweden and 52 in Switzerland.[59][60][61] The song reached number 14 on the UK Singles Chart and was commercially successful in Oceania, peaking at number three in both Australia and New Zealand.[62][63]

Music video[edit]

Swift and Drew Kirsch directed the music video for "Lover".[64] On August 15, 2019, Swift announced on her social media the music video would be premiered during a live Q&A session on YouTube the day before the album release on August 22, 2019.[65] The video's concept was inspired by the lyric "You two are dancing in a snow globe round and round" from the song "You Are in Love" from her fifth studio album 1989 (2014).[66] In the video, dancer Christian Owens, who worked as a background dancer on Swift's The 1989 World Tour (2015) and the Reputation Stadium Tour (2018), appears as Swift's love interest.[67] Owens' role in the video was revealed during the Lover's Lounge YouTube livestream, which preceded the music video's release; Swift called him "one of the most talented people" she knows.[68] The video was filmed on a set in Hollywood, California.[69]

Synopsis[edit]

The seven distinctly-colored rooms of the house inside a snow globe in the music video.

A child receives a snow globe as a gift on a Christmas day; the video focuses on the house inside the snow globe. Swift and Owens portray a couple who live in the house, which has seven distinctly-colored rooms, each representing one of Swift's seven studio albums and a period of her life since releasing her first album.[70][71] The couple fight and make up, and the snow globe is shown to be a Christmas gift to the child, who is the couple's daughter.[72] The video uses color-blocking following scenes showing the couple swimming in a fishbowl and dancing slowly.[73][74] Swift teased the some lyrics from another Lover track, "Cruel Summer", in the video; "Devils roll their dice, Angels roll their eyes",[75] which are written on a board-game box. Another track referenced is "Afterglow", the title of which is spelled out on a Scrabble board.[76]

Reception[edit]

The Fader's Salvatore Maicki wrote that the "lovey-dovey" video is exactly how he would imagine a Swift-led Lifetime movie to play out.[77] Writing for Teen Vogue, Mary Elizabeth Andriotis compared the video's scenery with the work of Wes Anderson. She commended the choice of Owens as Swift's love interest, writing that it is "a refreshing, long-needed change for Taylor's typical landscape of broody white boys".[72] Lauren Huff of Entertainment Weekly described the video as "so romantic", and said it "features a more muted color palette" than the video for "You Need to Calm Down".[78]

Accolades[edit]

The song was nominated for Song of the Year at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, becoming Swift's record-tying fourth nomination in the category, following "You Belong with Me" (2010), "Shake It Off" (2015) and "Blank Space" (2016). It was the only self-written song to be nominated. For his work on the music video, Kurt Gefke was nominated in the category of "Short Format: Web Series, Music Video or Commercial" at the 24th Art Directors Guild Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards.[79]

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2020 Grammy Awards Song of the Year Pending [80]
ADG Excellence in Production Design Awards Short Format: Web Series, Music Video or Commercial Pending [79]
iHeartRadio Music Awards Best Cover Song Pending [81]
Universal Music India Track of the year Won [82]
Universal Music India Most Popular Track Of The Year Won [83]

Live performances[edit]

Swift first performed "Lover" as part of a medley with "You Need to Calm Down" at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, on August 26, 2019; she played a pink guitar and was surrounded with blue lights and a hovering moon.[84] A performance of the song at the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge premiered on September 2, 2019.[85] On September 9, Swift performed the song at the City of Lover concert in Paris, France.[86] On October 5, she performed a stripped-down, piano-led version of the song on Saturday Night Live.[87] On October 11, Swift performed the song at a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR Music.[88] On October 19, she performed "Lover" at the We Can Survive charity concert in Los Angeles, California.[89] On November 10, Swift performed the song on the piano at the Alibaba Singles' Day Gala in Shanghai, China.[90]

During the 47th Annual American Music Awards, held on November 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, Swift performed a medley of her hits including a newly-arranged, orchestral version of "Lover" on a piano, which featured a ballet performance by Misty Copeland and Craig Hall.[91] This version was later released as the "First Dance Remix".[92] On December 8, Swift performed the song at Capital FM's Jingle Bell Ball 2019 in London.[93] On December 13, she performed the song at iHeartRadio Z100's Jingle Ball in New York City.[94]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[95]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Jack Antonoff – producer, programmer, recording engineer, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, piano, keyboard, drums, percussion, 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

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[130] Platinum 70,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[131] Gold 15,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[132] Silver 200,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various August 16, 2019 Republic [15]
United Kingdom August 17, 2019 Contemporary hit radio Virgin EMI [133]
Italy September 6, 2019 Universal [134]
United States September 14, 2019 Republic [135]

Shawn Mendes remix[edit]

"Lover (Remix)"
Taylor Swift feat. Shawn Mendes - Lover (Remix).png
Single by Taylor Swift featuring Shawn Mendes
ReleasedNovember 13, 2019 (2019-11-13)
Format
Studio
Genre
Length3:41
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Shawn Mendes singles chronology
"Señorita"
(2019)
"Lover (Remix)"
(2019)
Lyric video
"Lover (Remix)" on YouTube

Background and composition[edit]

On November 13, 2019, American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift announced the surprise release of a remixed version of the song, featuring reworked instrumentals, lyrics and guest vocals from Canadian singer Shawn Mendes.[136]

Swift explained in a video posted to her social media platforms:

There is a new version of "Lover" coming: a remix featuring someone who I'm such a huge fan of and I've known for a really long time, and someone that I have always really been dying to collaborate with... He [Mendes] has taken "Lover" and he has re-written parts of it, which I think is so important because I love him as a writer. And I also think that everybody would write a different love letter to their lover and I think his take on it is so beautiful.[137]

Following the release, Mendes thanked Swift on his social media accounts for "letting [him] join [her] on such a beautiful song".[138] Elle speculated that Mendes's lyrics in the second verse and bridge reference his partner, Camila Cabello, just as Swift's pay tribute to her own boyfriend, Joe Alwyn.[139] Zubin Thakkar, Mendes' guitarist and engineer, stated on Instagram that Mendes recorded his vocals just one week before the remix's release while touring in Brisbane, Australia and New Zealand for Shawn Mendes: The Tour.[140]

Critical reception[edit]

The remix was met with positive reviews. Brittany Vincent of MTV called the remix "a beautiful anthem that expands upon the original, with Shawn giving it his own flavor, complete with rewritten lyrics and plenty of falsetto. It was already a warm and cozy love song, but it's been beefed up considerably into something transcendentally romantic."[141] Jael Goldfine of Paper wrote that Mendes "brings the song's sugar factor up to about a million" and that the song manages to be both "enjoyable and cloying".[142] Hannah Yasharoff of USA Today praised the duo's remix, stating that they "breathed new life into Swift's romantic seventh album title track, transforming her ballad into a duet with fresh verses and harmonies that'll have fans falling in love all over again".[143]

Accolades[edit]

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards Best Remix Pending [144]
Girls Choice Awards Most Empowering Musical Collaboration of the Year Pending [145]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[146]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Shawn Mendes – vocals, songwriter
  • Scott Harris – songwriter
  • Jack Antonoff – producer, programmer, recording engineer, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, piano, keyboards, drums, percussion, 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
  • Zubin Thakkar – vocal producer, recording engineer
  • George Seara – vocal engineer, studio personnel
  • Mike Gnocato – vocal engineer, studio personnel

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Lithuania (AGATA)[147] 26
Malaysia (RIM)[148] 20
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[149] 95
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[150] 5
Singapore (RIAS)[151] 20

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various November 13, 2019 Republic [152]
Australia November 15, 2019 Contemporary hit radio [153]
Italy Universal [154]

First Dance Remix[edit]

On November 26, 2019, Swift released a second remix titled "Lover (First Dance Remix)", based an orchestral arrangement used in her performance of the song at the 2019 American Music Awards on November 24, featuring a ballet performance by Misty Copeland and Craig Hall.[155] The term "first dance" in the title refers to a newlywed couple's opening dance at a wedding ceremony.[156]

Critical reception[edit]

The remix received acclaim from music critics, who described it as "more romantic" and dance-leaning than the original version. PopSugar's Kelsie Gibson wrote that the remix "manages to make the track even more romantic by slowing things down and adding a few string instruments".[157] Derrick Rossignol of Uproxx described the remix as "a fresh and stirring take" on the original and called it "the perfect wedding song that was literally made for an emotional first dance".[158] Writing for iHeartRadio, Regina Star opined that the remix is "an even more romantic version" and "a captivating and charming rendition made perfect for prom".[159] Describing the remix as "more stripped-down", Emily Belfiore of E! News complimented the remix for its orchestral arrangement and named it as "her [Swift's] most gorgeous yet".[160] CapitalFM referred to the remix as an "orchestral update for an extra dose of romantic feels".[156]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various November 26, 2019
  • Digital download
  • streaming
Republic [161]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]