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The Daily Tar Heel

COLUMN: Unapologetically loving "Lover"

Ava Eucker
Ava Eucker is a part of the Arts & Entertainment desk at The Daily Tar Heel.

In 2006, I spastically danced in clogs to Taylor Swift's self-titled album as I belted along to “Our Song” and “Picture to Burn.” Since then, I have been nothing short of a committed fan through her exodus of self-exploration with albums featuring songs: “Breathe,” “Never Grow Up,” “Begin Again," “Clean” and “End Game.” I  taped pictures of her to my middle school locker, and I cried when Santa Claus magically knew that tickets to her Speak Now concert were my dream come true. 

Now you know you are reading the highly biased opinions of a true “Swiftie,” so feel free to take my thoughts on her latest album with a grain (or heap) of salt. 

The eras of Swift have deepened my appreciation for her artistry and her ability to connect with heart-broken, soul-searching and hopeful listeners.  Her latest album, Lover, has only emphasized my adoration for a voice that can resonate with many. Adopting a dazzling daydream aesthetic, “Lover” is a soundtrack that evokes badass energy and self-reflection. 

Swift extends an invitation to enter a magical realm where it is acceptable to emote hope, pain, desire and an abyss of confusion that muddles the heart. The breadth of her album speaks to an array of life experiences that are akin to a rollercoaster, and Swift paints this ride using pastels, shiny things and a sentiment that love is all prevailing. 

Her album has been my antidote during a time of personal hardship. “Soon You’ll Bet Better” was the last song I listened to before hearing news of my uncle’s passing. Cancer took his life, as it threatened to do to both of Swift's parents. Her words are heavy with pain and a sense of accompanying hope — a necessary garment of grievance. 

“Death By A Thousand Cuts” is another reminder that it is OK to not be OK, and how many micro-aggressions and needles of hurt can cause immense pain. These songs came into my life when I needed them, and I know I am not alone in reveling in the power of hopefulness Lover emanates. 

Still looking for another reason to transform yourself into a “Swiftie?” Here’s one: Swift speaks out about inequality of the sexes. Recent data from the World Economic Forum estimates it will take the world an average of 108 years to reach gender equity. This sucks, and Swift agrees. 

In her song, “The Man,” she articulates masculine toxicity: “What’s it like to brag about raking in dollars and getting bitches and models?”  Swift has finally embraced her voice to speak out about issues in our country and around the world. Thank you, Taylor, for the refreshing message of empowerment and for validating the frustrations of many women.

Now committed to pop, Swift still intertwines her lyrics with ideas debuted in earlier albums. “Cruel Summer,” a song off her new album, mentions summer nights spent sneaking through garden gates for love — anyone else reminiscing back to “Love Story?” 

Love has certainly been a central theme in all of Swift's albums, a fact that has drawn criticism from those commenting on her lack of diverse lyricism. Lover is the epitome of her multi-faceted quest to encapsulate a verb, emotion and intangible presence that haunts us all. Love cannot be overwritten because it is universal. The power of love drips from the glamorous frame Taylor uses to draw in listeners. 

In all of her albums, she speaks to the highs and lows of the world of love. And if Taylor Swift, a woman with a net worth of 360 million, says she would marry someone with a paper ring, then I can believe in love, too.  

I will admit there are a couple of songs on her latest album that I am not a fan of, but this is insignificant in comparison to my respect for Taylor Swift as an artist. Not every beat or lyric will resonate with each listener, but love and its butterfly effects is a theme to rally behind; a unifier not just for 'Swifties,' but for everyone trying to find a place in this world. 

@ava_eucker

arts@dailytarheel.com

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