The day finally came, Swifties. Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album, Lover, dropped on Friday (August 23), and it’s everything fans could’ve hoped for. The 18-track LP, which spans roughly one hour from start to finish, perfectly encapsulates love in all its blazing and heart-wrenching glory.
On social media, Swift took the opportunity to briefly explain the album and why she’s so proud of what she’s created. “This album is very much a celebration of love, in all its complexity, coziness, and chaos,” she wrote. “It’s the first album of mine that I’ve ever owned, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
While each song is very much on-theme, no two tracks explore love from the exact same lens. And whether you’re crying over a love lost or you’re perfectly smitten and it feels like nothing else exists around you, there’s so much variety — a song for every mood. So if you’re wondering which track you should listen to based on how you’re feeling at this very moment — especially as you wait for Swift’s performance at the 2019 VMAs on Monday (August 26) — we broke it all down for you. You can thank us later.
- “I FORGOT THAT YOU EXISTED”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: finally over the person who hurt you.
Key lyric: “I forgot that you existed / And I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t”
We’ve all wasted too much time and energy on someone who broke us. But “I Forgot That You Existed” feels like freedom. Gone are the grudges held against ex-boyfriends, fellow pop stars, and rappers (and their wives). Here, Swift creates a blank slate — one that replaces contempt with indifference.
- “CRUEL SUMMER”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: in the midst of a chaotic summer romance.
Key lyric: “Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes / And if I bleed, you’ll be the last to know”
If you’ve ever thrown caution to the wind because of an undeniable attraction without regard to the implications it could have on your heart, this song is for you. It’s a reminder that whirlwind romances — with all their steamy moments and drunken words of adoration — are often doomed from the start.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: head-over-heels in love.
Key lyric: “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue / All’s well that ends well to end up with you”
Lover‘s title track puts into words a specific type of love that can be hard to articulate: one that makes it feel like everything else has disappeared. For others, it’s a reminder of what we deserve — a love so deep that it makes every past heartbreak and betrayal worth it. And while many of us may have never experienced feelings this intense, the track still has a way of making you want to dance around an empty bar as it plays on a dusty old jukebox.
- “THE MAN”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like a total boss.
Key lyric: “If I was out flashing my dollars I’d be a bitch not a baller / They’d paint me out to be bad / So it’s OK that I’m mad”
Swift has never shied away from speaking openly about sexism in the music industry and all the double standards she’s faced. “The Man” finds her contemplating how her life — through the good decisions and the bad — would’ve been different if she was a man. This one’s for any woman who’s seen men get praised for decisions they’d likely get crucified for.
- “THE ARCHER”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: vulnerable.
Key lyric: “They see right through me / I see right through me”
“The Archer” shows many signs of maturity. With lines like “I never grew up / It’s getting so old” and “I’ve been the archer / I’ve been the prey,” this song is for anyone who’s able to look back on their past decisions and own up to the fact that perhaps they weren’t always the right ones.
- “I THINK HE KNOWS”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: flirty.
Key lyric:: “I think he knows / He better lock it down / Or I won’t stick around / ‘Cause good ones never wait”
Like on Reputation‘s “Dress,” the sexual tension of “I Think He Knows” is palpable. It speaks to a specific relationship status where a couple know they’re into each other but haven’t quite made any big moves. It straddles a fine line of sexiness and frustration. Who can’t relate?
- “MISS AMERICANA & THE HEARTBREAK PRINCE”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: frustrated with the world.
Key lyric: “The whole school is rolling fake dice / You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”
On the surface, this track brings up many of Swift’s earliest songwriting themes, from homecoming queens and marching bands to prom dresses and rose thorns. But more deeply, the track could also be a statement about our country’s current political climate. “American stories burning before me,” she sings in reference to the families torn apart at the U.S./Mexico border. But Swift has one question, perhaps one we’ve all wondered lately: “Where are the wise men?”
- “PAPER RINGS”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: unadulterated relationship bliss.
Key lyric: “Went home and tried to stalk you on the Internet / Now I’ve read all of the books beside your bed”
“Lover” isn’t the only album cut about all-consuming love. But while the title track will likely become a first-dance staple at weddings, “Paper Rings” is a straight-up bop that we’ll all be banging our heads to at the reception. This fast-paced, often abrupt track will beg you to shout along at the top of your lungs.
- “CORNELIA STREET”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: scared of losing the one you love.
Key lyrics: “I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends / I’d never walk Cornelia Street again”
Unlike the rose-colored tinge of “Lover” and “Paper Rings,” “Cornelia Street” takes a more honest, realistic look at love. This one, too, describes a love deeper than most. But it also addresses the fear that this great love might someday fall apart. For those who just can’t help but fear an unbearable heartbreak, this song understands you.
- “DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like you can’t get over a breakup.
Key lyric: “You said it was a great love, one for the ages / But if the story’s over, why am I still writing pages?”
Goodbyes are hard, and few (if any) walk away from meaningful relationships emotionally unscathed. No song sheds light on that better than this one, as Taylor evokes the harshness of picking up the pieces and reclaiming the parts of herself that matter.
- “LONDON BOY”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like taking a romantic little trip to London.
Key lyric: “Took me back to Highgate, met all of his best mates / So I guess all the rumors are true / You know I love a London boy”
Swift has made it very clear that she loves her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, andhis hometown. But underneath her ever-present love for London and several of the city’s hotspots, “London Boy” is about making a home out of a person rather than a place. Sure, she shows love for her stateside spots from Tennessee to SoCal. But when she’s with her lover, it doesn’t really matter where they are; it all feels like home.
- “SOON YOU’LL GET BETTER”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: helpless and scared for a loved one.
Key lyric: “I’ll paint the kitchen neon, I’ll brighten up the sky / I know I’ll never get it, there’s not a day that I won’t try”
Swift bares it all here on this heartbreaking ballad detailing her mother’s battle with cancer. The extremely visual track takes us to doctor’s offices and shows us images of prescription pill bottles. But perhaps the most gut-wrenching part of it all is in the bridge, when Swift contemplates the possibility of having to live without one of the most important people in her life. It’s a nice reminder that we’re never alone in our pain, helplessness, and confusion.
- “FALSE GOD”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: desperate to save a crumbling relationship.
Key lyric: “And I can’t talk to you when you’re like this / Staring out the window like I’m not your favorite town / I’m New York City.”
“False God” speaks to a very specific turning point in a relationship: a point where you have to decide if you’re going to give up or continue to have “blind faith” that things will work out. Littered with religious references, the song is relatable to anyone trying to save a forlorn relationship that they’ve previously placed on a pedestal.
- “YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like calling out haters and homophobes.
Key lyric: “‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay”
With the release of “You Need to Calm Down,” Swift made it clear that she has a zero-tolerance policy for those who feel the need to spew homophobic hate. If you, too, are fed up with homophobes and their “urges to scream” about the LGBTQ+ community, feel free to blast this song and join Swift in telling these people to “take several seats.” It feels good.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like you overthought the whole thing.
Key lyric: “Hey, it’s all me, in my head / I’m the one who burned us down / But it’s not what I meant / Sorry that I hurt you”
Where “The Archer” showed a more grown-up Swift owning up to some bad decisions, “Afterglow” is her taking responsibility for a relationship gone awry. And if you too find yourself constantly overthinking relationships to the point of self-destruction, let “Afterglow” be the apology you wish you could’ve come up with on your own.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: confident.
Key lyric: “Baby doll, when it comes to a lover / I promise that you’ll never find another like me.”
Whether you loved “ME!” when it came out or not, chances are it’s been stuck in your head many times since. And while it’s nearly impossible to be in colorful and cheery mood at all times, “ME!” is an instant mood-booster that’s perfect for reminding those who’ve wronged you that they will never find anyone better. Let’s be real: It’s what they deserve.
- “IT’S NICE TO HAVE A FRIEND”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: a friendship progress into something more.
Key lyric: “Something gave you the nerve / To touch my hand”
At first, this ballad seems pretty straightforward: Yes, it is nice to have a friend. But as the song evolves, the lyrics suggest that a relationship could be nice, too. By the end, the lines blur when Swift sings about calling this person “babe” and feeling at home with them. Friendships often make great foundations for serious relationships.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like it’s time to forgive yourself for past mistakes.
Key lyric: “You gotta step into the daylight and let it go”
Swift closes the album with “Daylight,” a ballad that feels like not just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but living in it. After admitting that she’s “wounded the good” and “trusted the wicked,” Swift’s ready to leave her mistakes behind and move on. If you see yourself in her words, let this song be a sign that it’s OK to release that heavy burden. Just let it go!