Taylor released Lover on August 23, 2019. As one of the few remaining pop stars to prioritize physical sales, she offered her devoted fan base four special-edition
CD versions of the album, each accompanied by a booklet containing a reprinted selection of handwritten journal entries spanning her career, from ages 13 to 27.
These diary pages might somehow be the single most revealing cumulative artifact when it comes to establishing what kind of person, artist and operator Taylor had become by 2019 — and had always been. Taylor herself talked about the “Lover Diary” during her “Lover’s Lounge” livestream in August 2019:
The result, for any close reader of Taylor’s work, is a meticulously curated glimpse into the her real-time feelings on an array of issues, people, ideas and squabbles that have defined her life as a musician and celebrity. “I frequently and drastically changed my opinions on love, friends, confidence and trust,” she notes in the introduction to the selections, and then proceeds to show just how.
Across the four unique assortments, Taylor tells a piecemeal story of her rise in the industry, where label meetings as a young teenager turn into radio play, record sales, the Grammy Awards and the Met Gala, mixing landmark moments with mundane personal updates, drafts of lyrics and other marginalia.