The Man (Taylor Swift song)

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"The Man"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Lover
ReleasedAugust 23, 2019 (2019-08-23)
Format
GenreSynth-pop
Length3:10
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Joel Little
  • Taylor Swift
Audio video
"The Man" on YouTube

"The Man" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her seventh studio album Lover (2019). Swift wrote and produced the song with Joel Little. Musically, it is a synth-pop song which features flashy harmonies and murky synths. Over an uptempo production, Swift imagines the media's treatment of her if she were male.

"The Man" received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its feminist message. In the US, the song peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also entered the top 40 on charts in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

Background and composition[edit]

The recording process for Taylor Swift's seventh studio album Lover took under three months, and concluded in February 2019.[1] Joel Little was revealed as one of the producers for the album with the release of lead single "Me!" in April. He co-wrote and co-produced four of the eighteen tracks for the album.[2] The song title was revealed along with the lyrics "I'd be a fearless leader. I'd be an alpha type. When everyone believes ya: What's that like?" in a Vogue interview published on August 8, 2019.[3]

"The Man" is a synth-pop song which features flashy harmonies and murky synths. Over an uptempo production, Swift imagines the media's treatment of her if she were male. She challenges societal sexist double standards, with lyrics including a noteworthy reference to American actor Leonardo DiCaprio.[4] Swift uses the actor as an example to explain sexism, singing "And they would toast to me, oh, let the players play/I'd be just like Leo in Saint-Tropez".[5]

According to Billboard's Gil Kaufman, "The Man" is a pointed statement about "how much harder women need to work than men to get to the same finish line".[6] Jason Lipshutz of the same magazine described the song as a "biting look at gender dynamics within both the pop industry and celebrity-driven culture", noting that it is sonically composed of a rumbling beat and crackling synths and lyrically provides wry humor and an honest perspective.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

"The Man" received positive reviews from music critics. The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber described "The Man" as "one of the most straightforwardly catchy songs" on Lover, and further called it Swift's "most explicit musical statement on sexism".[8] He opined that the DiCaprio reference is the "most memorable" line of the song.[8] Allie Gemmill of Teen Vogue stated that the song "gives women permission to keep challenging sexist double standards, and fans are here for it", adding that the "fierce" song includes "many incredibly good lyrics".[9] Writing for Billboard, Jason Lipshutz called it "a complete jam" and ranked it as the 12th best track on the album, and further expanded that it "will draw attention for its searing subject matter, but it's also one of Lover's most complete productions".[7] The same magazine's Gab Ginsberg opined that "The Man" is "catchy-as-all-heck".[10] Writing for The New York Times, Jon Caramanica described the song "excellent and pointed" and stated that the song is a "stern synth-pop take" on sexism.[11] Jordan Sargent of Spin negatively compared the song to "You Need to Calm Down", stating that the lyric "If I was a man, then I'd be the man" doesn't really offer much insight.[12]

Commercial performance[edit]

Following the release of its parent album Lover, "The Man" debuted at number 23 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart of September 7, 2019.[13] In Europe, the song charted at number 16 in Ireland,[14] 62 in Netherlands,[15] 24 in Norway,[16] 82 in Scotland, 63 in Sweden and 80 in Switzerland.[17][18][19] It reached number 21 on the UK Singles Chart.[20] "The Man" was more commercially successful in Oceania, peaking at number 17 in Australia and 15 in New Zealand.[21][22]

Live performances[edit]

On September 9, 2019, Swift performed an acoustic version of the song at the City of Lover one-off concert in Paris, France.[23] On October 11, she performed the song at a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR Music.[24]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[25]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Joel Little – producer, songwriter, drum programmer, keyboards, recording engineer, studio personnel
  • John Hanes – mix engineer
  • Serban Ghenea – mixer
  • John Rooney – assistant recording engineer

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[21] 17
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[26] 66
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[27] 21
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[28] 33
Estonia (Eesti Ekspress)[29] 34
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[30] 30
Ireland (IRMA)[14] 16
Malaysia (RIM)[31] 12
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 62
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 15
Norway (VG-lista)[16] 24
Portugal (AFP)[32] 52
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[17] 82
Singapore (RIAS)[33] 10
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[34] 31
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[18] 63
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[19] 80
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[20] 21
US Billboard Hot 100[35] 23
US Rolling Stone Top 100[36] 4

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various August 23, 2019 Taylor Swift Productions [37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Suskind, Alex (May 9, 2019). "New Reputation: Taylor Swift shares intel on TS7, fan theories, and her next era". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  2. ^ Lover (CD liner notes). Taylor Swift. Republic Records, Taylor Swift Productions. 2019. B003061202.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ Aguirre, Abby (August 8, 2019). "Taylor Swift on Sexism, Scrutiny, and Standing Up for Herself". Vogue. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  4. ^ Pollard, Alexandra (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift, Lover review: The sound of an artist excited to be earnest again". The Independent. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Eckardt, Stephanie (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Uses Leonardo DiCaprio As an Example to Explain Sexism in 'The Man'". W. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Kaufman, Gil (August 23, 2019). "Drake, Idris Elba, Leo DiCaprio & More: All Of the Celeb Moments On Taylor Swift's 'Lover'". Billboard. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (August 23, 2019). "Every Song Ranked on Taylor Swift's 'Lover': Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Kornhaber, Spencer (August 29, 2019). "Why Taylor Swift Wants to Be 'The Man'". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  9. ^ Gemmill, Allie (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift's New Song 'The Man' Calls Out Leonardo DiCaprio in Saint Tropez and Sexist Double Standards". Teen Vogue. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  10. ^ Ginsberg, Gab (August 29, 2019). "What Should Taylor Swift's Next 'Lover' Single Be? Vote!". Billboard. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  11. ^ Caramanica, Jon (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Emerges From the Darkness Unbroken on 'Lover". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  12. ^ Sargent, Jordan (August 26, 2019). "Taylor Swift's Lover Shines in Its Quietest Moments". Spin. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  13. ^ Trust, Gary (September 3, 2019). "All 18 Songs From Taylor Swift's New Album 'Lover' Chart On the Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  14. ^ a b "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – Taylor Swift – The Man" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "VG-lista – Topp 20 Single uke 35, 2019". VG-lista. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  17. ^ a b "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Veckolista Singlar, vecka 35". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – Taylor Swift – The Man". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Taylor Swift – The Man". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. September 2, 2019. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Mamo, Heran (October 11, 2019). "Are You '…Ready For It?' Taylor Swift's Tiny Desk Concert Is About to Drop". Billboard. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  25. ^ "Lover by Taylor Swift". Tidal. United States. August 23, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  26. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Taylor Swift – The Man" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  27. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  28. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 201935 into search. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  29. ^ "EESTI TIPP-40 MUUSIKAS: Taylor Swifti "Lover" vallutas ka Eesti". Eesti Ekspress (in Estonian). Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  30. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  31. ^ "Top 20 Most Streamed International & Domestic Singles In Malaysia" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  32. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Taylor Swift – The Man". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  33. ^ "RIAS International Top Charts Week 35". Recording Industry Association (Singapore). Archived from the original on September 5, 2019.
  34. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 201935 into search. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  35. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  36. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. August 29, 2019. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  37. ^ "The Man". Spotify. August 23, 2019. Retrieved September 1, 2019.

External links[edit]