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Lover

Single & Remix feat. Shawn Mendes | Lover (2019)

This article is about the song. For the album, see Lover (2019).
“Lover” is the romantic title track for Taylor’s seventh studio album, Lover (2019). It is dedicated to her partner, Joe Alwyn. It takes a wedding-like perspective on their relationship and shares information about their romance, revealing how deeply Taylor feels for him.

Background

Describing her seventh album Lover as a “love letter to love”, Taylor attempted to convey an emotional spectrum and vulnerability by looking at emotions including sadness and loneliness “through a romantic gaze”. The album took under three months to record; recording ended in February 2019. The track list of Lover consists of 18 songs, of which three were solely written by Taylor: “Lover“, “Cornelia Street”, and “Daylight“. All three songs were produced by Taylor and Jack Antonoff.

Lyrical Theme

Taylor wrote “Lover” late one night at her home in Nashville, Tennessee on the piano, and sent a voice memo of the song to Jack Antonoff. 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. Taylor played the song on the piano for them; she and Antonoff produced the final version of the song during a six-hour recording session, using reverberation, a piano and a Mellotron. Taylor told Rolling Stone:

«This song is really special to me because I wrote it alone when I couldn’t sleep one night in my Nashville apartment. I just wandered over to the piano, I had this melody that was keeping me awake, I couldn’t really get past it, and it ended up being the chorus melody for ‘Lover.’ I wanted to paint a picture of two people who are learning to live together for the first time. Realizing you can make your own traditions, you can stay up as late as you want, you can keep the Christmas lights up as late as you want, you can let your friends stay over if the night goes too long, because this is your life and your family that you’re choosing. That’s kind of a really beautiful thing that happens when two people decide to spend their time together. And so, it’s sort of a celebration of taking that very adult step of living with someone and deciding that this is the path forward for you, walking alongside somebody else. »

Taylor Swift
In 2020, Taylor detailed the inspiration behind the song during an acceptance speech, when she won the “10 Songs I Wish I’d Written” award for “Lover” at the 2020 Nashville Song Awards from the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). She has won and treasured those accolades in the past, as they specifically recognize her songwriting prowess. In regards to the bridge, she said:

«I really wanted the bridge to sound like when people write their own vows and they change certain traditional parts of the vows to fit them, or their relationship, or their life. I think my favorite line is, ‘Ladies and gentlemen will you please stand, with every guitar string scar on my hand I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover.’ Obviously, I have a lot of guitar string scars on my hand from tuning and changing strings on my hands over the years. But there’s also a symbolic part of it, which is like, I’ve written a lot of breakup songs, and songs about letdowns and bad times, so you kind of hope that if someone’s going to choose you, they’re going to choose you along with all the things that have hurt you in the past and all the damage. And if you’re going to choose someone, you’re going to do the same for them.»

Taylor Swift

Critical Reception

“Lover” received acclaim from music critics for its songwriting and retro sensibility. 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”. 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”. 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”. Jay Willis of GQ predicted the song would be a popular choice for first dances at weddings. The Boston Globe‘s Nora Princiotti called the song a “waltz with a stellar bridge” that “notably pairs themes of loving bliss with ownership”.

Cosmopolitan named “Lover” as the third best song of 2019. Slate named the song as one of the top 10 best songs of 2019, while Billboard named “Lover” the twenty-first best song of 2019; Insider named it one of the best songs of both 2019 and the 2010s. Genius listed the song as one of the best 50 songs of 2019, while Herald-Tribune named it the number-one best song of 2019.

Commercial Performance

In the United States, “Lover” debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart of August 31, 2019, tying Taylor with Madonna as the female artist with most top 20 hits (44). Following the release of the song’s music video and parent album Lover, the song rose nine positions to a peak of No. 10 on September 7, 2019, becoming Taylor’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. “Lover” spent 22 weeks on the Hot 100. The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Digital Song Sales chart, becoming her 18th number-one single on the chart, and spent three weeks atop the chart.

In Canada, it peaked at No. 7 on the Canadian Hot 100. In Europe, “Lover” charted at No. 61 in Germany, No. 9 in Ireland, No. 12 in Scotland, No. 37 in Sweden and No. 52 in Switzerland. The song reached No. 14 on the UK Singles Chart and was commercially successful in Oceania, peaking at No. 3 in both Australia and New Zealand.

Music Video

The music video of “Lover” adopts a Christmas aesthetic, and follows a couple living inside a dollhouse that has seven distinctly colored rooms, located inside a snow globe. Each room represents one of Taylor’s seven studio albums and a period of her life since releasing her first album. Taylor and Drew Kirsch directed the music video for “Lover,” after already having worked together on “You Need to Calm Down.” 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“, the fifteenth track on the deluxe edition of Taylor’s fifth album, 1989 (2014). In the video, dancer Christian Owens, who worked as a background dancer on Taylor’s “The 1989 World Tour” (2015) and the “reputation Stadium Tour” (2018), appears as her love interest. Taylor called him “one of the most talented people” she knows.

Taylor teased the some lyrics from another Lover track, “Cruel Summer“, in the video; “Devils roll their dice, Angels roll their eyes”, which are written on a board-game box. Another track referenced is “Afterglow“, the title of which is spelled out on a Scrabble board.

Other Versions

On November 13, 2019, Taylor announced the surprise release of a remixed version of the song, featuring reworked instrumentals, lyrics and guest vocals from Canadian singer Shawn Mendes. Mendes contributed verses written by himself.

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

Accolades

“Lover” was nominated for “Song of the Year” at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, becoming Taylor’s record-tying fourth nomination in the category, following “You Belong with Me” (2010), “Shake It Off” (2015) and “Blank Space” (2016).

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
We could leave the Christmas lights up ‘til January
This is our place, we make the rules
And there’s a dazzling haze, a mysterious way about you, dear
Have I known you twenty seconds or twenty years?

[Chorus]
Can I go where you go?
Can we always be this close?
Forever and ever
And take me out, and take me home
You’re my, my, my, my
Lover

[Verse 2]
We could let our friends crash in the living room
This is our place, we make the call
And I’m highly suspicious that everyone who sees you wants you
I’ve loved you three summers now, honey, but I want ’em all

[Chorus]
Can I go where you go?
Can we always be this close?
Forever and ever
And take me out, and take me home (Forever and ever)
You’re my, my, my, my
Lover

[Bridge]
Ladies and gentleman, will you please stand?
With every guitar string scar on my hand
I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover
My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue
All’s well that ends well to end up with you
Swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover
And you’ll save all your dirtiest jokes for me
And at every table, I’ll save you a seat
Lover

[Chorus]
Can I go where you go?
Can we always be this close?
Forever and ever
And take me out, and take me home (Forever and ever)
You’re my, my, my, my

[Outro]
Oh, you’re my, my, my, my
Darling, you’re my, my, my my
Lover

General Information
AlbumLover
ReleasedAugust 16, 2019
StudioElectric Lady (New York City)
GenreCountry
Indie Folk
Pop
Length3:41
LabelRepublic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
LOVER CHRONOLOGY
Cruel SummerLoverThe Man
Single Certification
Single Artwork
Making of
Music Video
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Lover Remix Lyric Video
Lover First Dance Remix
Official Live Audio