Taylor Swift released her seventh studio album, Lover, on Aug. 23. Throughout her career, Swift has been known to leave Easter eggs, or hidden references, in her lyrics and music videos. This album was no exception.
The release of the single, “ME!” featuring Brendan Urie of Panic! at the Disco, was teased in the album reputation when she sings “reputation precedes me.” The music video for “ME!” then foreshadowed the release of “You Need to Calm Down,” her second single off the album. The music video for this song also contained many Easter eggs for the album.
In Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” music video, viewers can see a sign reading “Mom, I am a Rich Man” hanging in her trailer. This is a reference to an interview Cher conducted in 1996, and it also alludes to the fourth track of the album, “The Man.” This particular track is about the double standard that exists for women in pop culture.
You may be thinking, there’s no way there can be any more Easter eggs; however, the “You Need to Calm Down” video is filled with even more hidden references. Around the one-minute mark, Swift is shown skipping down 16th Avenue, which is a reference to a lyric from her track titled, “I Think He Knows.” In yet another Easter egg, an arrow was fired at a target, landing on a bullseye labelled “5.” This was a reference to Swift’s third single off the album and fifth track, “The Archer.” In another scene, Adam Lambert is seen giving Ellen DeGeneres a tattoo that says, “Cruel Summer,” which is another track title off of Lover.
Swift also has many Easter eggs hidden throughout the lyrics of her album. In the song “London Boy,” Swift states, “don’t threaten me with a good time.” This is a reference to the Panic! at the Disco song by the same name. As mentioned earlier, Urie was featured on the album in the song “ME!”; however, Urie was not the only celebrity referenced in the album. Swift also name-drops designer Stella McCartney in the same song, perhaps alluding to the line of merchandise they released together.
One of Swift’s subtler references on the album comes from “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” which on its surface appears to be a song about a high school romance, but on further review carries heavy political undertones. Swift publicized her political views in an article from The Guardian earlier this year, and this song further speaks on political issues.
Swift also quotes her earlier albums on Lover. The titular track of her album Red contains a lyric that states love was “burning red.” She revisits this lyric on the final track of her album, “Daylight” by saying she “once believed love would be burning red, but it’s golden like daylight.”
Many fans have also speculated that Swift was alluding to a recent engagement to her long-time boyfriend Joe Alwyn on this album through tracks such as “Lover” and “Paper Rings.” Swift includes references to the wedding tradition of something borrowed and something blue as well as utilizing the language traditionally typical of wedding vows. She also states, “I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings.” While Swift has not confirmed this rumor, fans will be eagerly waiting for her to address it.
This album represents a sound unlike anything Swift has released before. In my opinion, it contains some of her best work both lyrically and sonically, and it manages to be unyielding in its honesty. Swift opens up about the struggles of a relationship and fighting with the person you love but working it out. While she has previously written about break-ups, as well as many lighthearted songs about her relationships, this represents something new. She seems happier than she has previously, and the love she represents in this album is unlike that shown in the others. Many of the lyrics in this album struck a chord with me, with “Cruel Summer” conveying the pain of a toxic relationship and “I Forgot That You Existed” representing the point at which you have finally been able to move on from someone — passing into a state of indifference. My top three favorite songs off the album are “Afterglow,” “Death By A Thousand Cuts,” and “Daylight.” I believe this is Swift’s best album to date, and I would encourage everyone to listen to it.