It hasn’t even been out for a full 24 hours, and Taylor Swift‘s seventh album Lover is undoubtedly a hit among fans and friends. Swifties have been freaking out over the meaning behind every song (especially “London Boy”), while famous friends and admirers are taking to social media to congratulate the star on the big release.
But is it a critical hit?
See below for more of what the critics are saying so far.
“Lover is an album of revelation through pain that sees Swift pushing herself in surprising ways. Her motifs include heaven, angels, devils, the colors pink and gold, and the notion of rebirth, all of which inform a solid new chapter in a long-running narrative…Winning pop culture’s popularity contest came with inevitable complications, and the chaotic Reputation offered a joking-but-not-really embrace of the drama. She’s now claiming transcendence with Lover, but it’s the hard-earned, hard-kept kind, with musical wobbles — in sonic character and in quality — to match.” –The Atlantic
“The middle of the middle is exactly where Swift’s latest album, Lover, stands. It’s as satisfying or as bland a listening experience as you’re inclined to have. Spontaneity and ambiguity remain her mortal enemies, and across 18 tracks, she vanquishes them 18 different ways. Every melody sounds expertly prim, every lyric feels completely literal. You know what you’re in for, which seems to be the entire point.” –The Washington Post
“Swift albums tend to sound better with time — Reputation’s reputation, for instance, began to rise after it was out for a year or so. But even on a first night of listening, Lover shows more strengths than lapses. She’s ensured the efforts of Antonoff, Little, Dukes, and the other producers all cohere, with none of the ungainly stretches for on-trend sounds that Reputation was prone to. Swift’s vocals are also in peak form throughout, with varied timbres and layers of harmony and spontaneous sounding interjections that constantly catch me by surprise.” –Slate
“Lover is, fittingly, evolutionary rather than revolutionary. But nevertheless it feels like an epiphany: free and unhurried, governed by no one concept or outlook, it represents Swift at her most liberated, enjoying a bit of the freedom she won for her cohort.” –Rolling Stone, 4/5 stars
“As it is, Lover offers plenty of evidence that Swift is just a better songwriter than any of her competitors in the upper echelons of pop, but its something-for-everyone approach feels like consolidation, not progress, designed to keep Swift as one of the world’s biggest stars without provoking the kind of backlash that led her to start evoking the end of days in her diary.” –The Guardian, 3/5 stars
“Even as the romantic reveries keep on coming, she can’t help recalling just how effed up things were in prior situations, and just how concerned she is about effing up this one, too — and this minor war between past doubts and current happiness adds sophisticated lyrical shadings to what is, in large part, sure, one big pop bubblegum blast of a record. It’s an album with a lot of froth to it, but weighted froth — her most mature collection as well as her most fun one.” –Variety
“On an album premised on leaving the past behind, these are the songs that suggest a way forward. In recent years, it’s been clear that the less Swift sets her own terms, the more challenges she’ll face. And so on Lover, she’s back to steering. Being a pop star, she’s learned, is different from being yourself — except when it isn’t.” –The New York Times
“Taylor Swift, you see, can still write the shit out of a song. So it doesn’t matter if her imperial phase is over. It doesn’t matter if all her corporate partnerships dry up, or if she never scores another hit. As long as she can still do that, she has something.” –Stereogum
“As a start-to-finish dive into Swift’s world, Lover is her best effort since Red, the album that transitioned her from teen phenom to grown-up superstar.” –Vanity Fair