Lover August 23, 2019 This article is about the album. For its title track, see Lover (song).Lover is Taylor’s seventh studio album. It was released on August 23, 2019, through Republic Records. It is her first album to be released under the label since her heavily publicised departure from Big Machine Records in November 2018.
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Getting Into A Light Place
When a superbloom of wildflowers lured a mesmerizing deluge of Painted Lady butterflies to Los Angeles in mid March, Taylor marked it with an Instagram post, before she attended the iHeartRadio Music Awards that night in a sequin romper and stilettos with shimmery wings attached. When accepting the award for “Tour of the Year” for her “reputation Stadium Tour,” she concluded her speech with the following message to her fans: “I love your passion. I love your attention to detail. I love how much you care. I love seeing all the things you’re posting online, and I just wanted to let you know when there’s new music, you will be the first to know. I love you so much.”
Taylor continued that glittery, pastel aesthetic into late spring, with posts of pink-hued tulle, iridescent rings and a sparkling heart-shaped brooch. Then, on April 13, her promise of new music finally became a reality, as she turned her website into a countdown clock to April 26 and began increasing her social media posts captioned with the date “4.26.” It pretty much confirmed that this teasing would all eventually lead to new music. A mere hours before her 13-day countdown expired, fans flocked to see an art piece they assumed Taylor’s team commissioned from street artist Kelsey Montague. The crowd started screaming in disbelief, when Taylor herself actually showed up to the site shortly after its unveiling. “You guys are amazing for figuring this out because no one knew we were coming, no one knew this was a part of the campaign and what we’re doing,” she said. The image featured a pair of giant, colorful butterfly wings with the caption “ME!”. That same night, Taylor joined ABC’s Robin Roberts for a live television interview in a rainbow-colored sparkling dress, confirming the release of her new single “ME!” – a collaboration with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco. It was released at midnight on April 26. In the music video for the (conspicuously) bubblegum song, a hissing pastel-pink snake explodes into a kaleidoscope of butterflies. The new era had begun.
In the wake of 2016, stung by the backlash, Taylor took a three-year break from interviews. The mantra of reputation and subsequent tour was “No explanations.” But her press blackout was a passing phase. With Lover, she could hardly have been more about the explanations. It was clear that she’d come back into a season of openness, and that she considered it her natural habitat. But she had also become better at being able to prioritize what’s important to her. In interviews, she first and foremost wanted to talk about the new music, of course, but she was also ready to explain the past three years of her life, in depth, for the first time. The conversations were often not light ones. “You feel like you’re being completely pulled into a riptide,” she told Rolling Stone when talking about 2016. “So what are you going to do? Splash a lot? Or hold your breath and hope you somehow resurface? And that’s what I did. And it took three years. Sitting here doing an interview — the fact that we’ve done an interview before is the only reason I’m not in a full body sweat.”
The Equality Act
The Sale of Her Master Recordings
Scott Borchetta, the head of her former label, Big Machine Records, had sold the Big Machine Label Group and its master recordings to Scooter Braun, a manager-mogul, for a reported $300 million – including all masters of Taylor’s first six studio albums. Upon news of the sale, Taylor wrote in a Tumblr post that this was her “worst case scenario” since Braun had been incessantly “bullying” her throughout her career, together with multiple of his clients, first and foremost Kanye West, who had tried to bury her career multiple times. But the worst part, to Taylor, was the fact that Scott Borchetta had decided to sell to Scooter Braun out of all people. She told Rolling Stone:
Braun and Borchetta tried to silence her multiple times: In November 2019, they were blocking her from performing her past hits at the American Music Awards, and again forbid her from using them in her yet-to-be-announced Netflix documentary. But Taylor never waivered and instead started teasing that she was looking forward to rerecording: “It’s going to be fun, because it’ll feel like regaining a freedom and taking back what’s mine. When I created [these songs], I didn’t know what they would grow up to be. Going back in and knowing that it meant something to people is actually a really beautiful way to celebrate what the fans have done for my music.”
Originally, “Lover Fest” was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On February 26, 2021, Taylor announced that “Lover Fest” had been canceled and will not be rescheduled. In a social media post she said, “This is an unprecedented pandemic that has changed everyone’s plans and no one knows what the touring landscape is going to look like in the near future. I’m so disappointed that I won’t be able to see you in person as soon as I wanted to. I miss you terribly and can’t wait til we can all safely be at shows together again.”
Fighting For Artists' Rights
Some may have had forgotten Taylor’s influence and power during her more quiet years. But the battle over her masters once again proved that she was the single most important advocate for artists’ rights — everyone from Halsey to Elizabeth Warren rallied behind her cause. For a long time now, she had been unafraid to use her voice on industry matters, whether they pertained to her own stellar career or the thousands of other artists out there struggling to make a living. All of which made her not just the greatest star of the 2010s, but perhaps the most important to the future development of the industry as a more artist-centric, songwriter-friendly business:
Artist of the Decade
Lover Fest Cancelled | 2020 “Lover Fest” was Taylor’s planned sixth concert tour and first music festival tour, in support of her seventh studio album, Lover (2019). It was originally set to begin on April 5, 2020, in Atlanta and conclude in Foxborough on August 1 of the same year.
An Era Cut Short
At first, Taylor was disappointed and sad that she had to let go of her plans for the rest of the era. But then she got to work. In the isolation of lockdown she found new, unprecedented inspiration, which would lead to her two most acclaimed projects so far.