Every Track in Taylor Swift’s Lover, Ranked

A deep dive into each song from a Swift’s 7th studio album.

Every+Track+in+Taylor+Swift%27s+Lover%2C+Ranked

@taylorswift13 / Twitter

Luke Chinman and Abigail Segel

It’s finally here. After a 5-month promotion cycle (one for every hole in the fence), Taylor Swift, the songwriter of the century, has released her seventh album to worldwide popular and critical acclaim. Whether you’re a Swiftie, a Taylor Hater, or anywhere in between, this album is a must-listen. Here’s our guide and rankings to help you navigate all 18 tracks of this lyrical pop masterpiece.

18. It’s Nice To Have A Friend

Put simply, “It’s Nice To Have A Friend” was an experiment that never fully landed and likely shouldn’t have been included on Lover. It is her shortest recorded song at 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and the tune never travels. The background strumming feels shrill and the sycapation of the lyrics is uninteresting. This song is partially redeemed with its lyrics, telling the sweet story of a friendship that blossoms into a marriage. It’s easy to imagine that “It’s Nice To Have A Friend” started as a poem, and it should have probably stayed that way.

Best line: “Rice on the ground, looks like snow”

17. ME! (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco)

“ME!,” the worst lead single in Swift’s career, just proves that even the biggest stars have their fair share of missteps. This track is sickly-sweet pop, completed with a load of unspecific lyrics—rare for a Swift song, especially on this album. The collaboration with Brendon Urie makes little sense, and the music video for this track—full of strange special effects and overstuffed with easter eggs—makes even less. The infamous “Spelling is fun” line (which has since been cut from the song), shows how ridiculous this song truly is. Enough said for a song that should have never been on this album.

Best line: “I never leave well enough alone”

 

16. You Need To Calm Down

“You Need To Calm Down,” the second single from Lover that gained much more traction than the first, strips away most of what makes a Taylor Swift song, leaving a collection of viral-hungry lyrics and a single catchy hook. It caused quite the summer controversy (Swift just can’t seem to avoid them), sparking a valuable conversation about allyship and queer-baiting in various forms of media. The music video has an incredibly star-studded cast (think “Bad Blood,” but gay) and is a colorful compliment to the song with enough giffable moments to keep Twitter Swifties busy for a while. And, of course, who could forget the iconic Katy Perry reconciliation? So…the song? Meh. The internet reaction? Gold.

Best line: “But I’ve learned the lesson that stressin’ and obsessin’ ’bout somebody else is no fun”

 

15. Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. Dixie Chicks)

“Soon You’ll Get Better” was difficult to rank; it doesn’t feel right to even compare it to all the other bombastic tunes on the album. It’s about Swift’s mother, Andrea, and her multiple battles with cancer. Heavy and raw, it’s truly a beautiful song. The Dixie Chicks, Andrea’s favorite artists, feature in the song, but they aren’t prominent; Swift’s heartbreaking vocals, however, are. It’s not the kind of song you’d seek out to listen to unless you were going through a very similar situation, but it is certainly breathtaking and serves its purpose very well. 

Best line: “I know delusion when I see it in the mirror”

 

14. I Forgot That You Existed

The first track on the album, “I Forgot You Existed” is Swift’s transition from the reputation era—all of the double-crossing, diss tracks, and drama—to the glittery, pink era that is Lover. It’s certainly fun and definitely shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but it’s lacking a certain fullness and build to the sound. The chorus almost feels like a let-down when it retains the same energy that it had in the verse, rather than growing to something bigger and bolder. What elevates this song is the inflection of Swift’s voice: her talk-singing and her laughs that cut the later choruses make you want to laugh along with her, celebrating the end of the darkest chapter of her career. 

Best line: “And I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t”

13. Paper Rings

“Paper Rings” brings the punk-pop side out of Swift—more than any song she has ever recorded. It’s a fun track that is lyrically complex but a little overly happy-go-lucky at times. The song culminates with a stripped down chorus where her vocals shine without the distraction of crowded instrumentation. At its core, though, “Paper Rings” is a stellar idea that shows off Swift’s ability to turn a small concept into a full-fledged musical moment.

Best line: “Honey, without all the exes, fights and flaws // We wouldn’t be standing here so tall”

 

12. Death By A Thousand Cuts

In an album celebrating love, “Death By A Thousand Cuts,” feels slightly out of place. With hectic background music, one of the few songs where it sounds like Swift is singing without much production on top feels slightly overwhelming. The song makes more sense if you watch its inspiration, the movie Someone Great on Netflix. However, it is a catchy tune and is sure to be a comfort to many people mourning lost loves. 

Best line: “I ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright // They say, ‘I don’t know’”

 

11. False God

On “False God,” Swift shows her more sensual side with this slow-moving track about her hips and lips. It is anti-climatic and reminiscent of sounds from reputation, filled with a handful of confusingly vague lyrics. Yet something about “False God” makes it work—maybe it’s the omnipresent trumpet, the driving chorus, or the almost laughable theories that fans have written about the meaning behind this song. (Look it up.)

Best line: “We were stupid to jump // In the ocean separating us”

 

10. The Man

“I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man,” sings Taylor Swift, and every woman ever. This thought experiment about how Swift would be perceived if she was a man (not, in fact, a knock-off of Beyonce’s excellent “If I Were A Boy,” as they are are about totally different things) is sure to get you riled up at the patriarchy. However, it sounds like a remix of a better song, because the mostly sharp lyrics are buried under heavy production. 

Best line: “They wouldn’t shake their heads // And question how much of this I deserve”

 

9. Lover

“Lover” is Taylor Swift’s favorite Taylor Swift song, and for good reason. Its soaring melody and acoustic music feels like a warm hug. It’s her most romantic song to date, destined to be played at every Swiftie wedding. The album’s title track is a culmination of all that Swift has been through. She’s had a lot of ups and downs, and has written a song for virtually all of them with a lot of guitar string scars on her hand and musical triumphs to show for it. 

Best line: “All’s well that ends well to end up with you” 

 

8. Daylight

“Daylight” as a song works well enough to deserve a place on this album. But it truly shines as the culminating track to the rollercoaster of sounds and emotions that is Lover. She sings about letting go of past grievances and taking a full breath of fresh air, sprinkling in great lines throughout the verses and pre-chorus. True Swifties, however, have understood this song on an entirely new level. On “Daylight,” she has come full circle, recognizing that she finally has found love, singing “I once believed love would be burnin’ red, but it’s golden,” a direct reference to her song and album Red. She ends the song and the album with a spoken section that perfectly ties together this chapter in her discography.

Best line: “Step into the daylight and let it go”

 

7. London Boy

Who doesn’t want a London boy after listening to this joyful song? Many Londoners have pointed out that the itinerary laid out in the complicated lyrics would be virtually impossible to complete in a day, but the song isn’t meant to be used as an audio tour guide. It’s a nostalgic proclamation of love for a man and a city, evoking feelings of adventure and the comfort of home all at once. It’s a lyrical victory and perfect to dance to: a Taylor classic if we’ve ever heard one. 

Best line: “They say home is where the heart is // But God, I love the English”

 

6. Afterglow

Slow-moving with a driving beat, “Afterglow” isn’t necessarily notable at first listen. However, the rhymes come effortlessly, and the layering of the voices makes for a complex track. She admits her missteps on this track (something she hadn’t done much before this album) with lines like “I blew things out of proportion, now you’re blue // Put you in jail for something you didn’t do.” This is a welcome change of pace from some of her more antagonizing songs that have brought critics to claim she too frequently “plays the victim.”

Best line: “Meet me in the afterglow”

 

5. The Archer

“The Archer” is a hidden gem in Lover. A raw, self-reflective ballad, this track highlights Swift’s ability to express her emotions through her lyrics. Critics say the sound doesn’t build, but that anticipation adds to the overall feeling of anxiety Swift means to portray in the song. Once again, she includes her self-awareness, which so many criticize her for not having, especially in the emotional line, “They see right through me, I see right through me,” which she croons repeatedly. We can’t wait to hear Swift sing this one alone, with only a piano to accompany her heartbreaking lyrics. 

Best line: “And all of my heroes die all alone // Help me hold onto you” 

 

4. Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince 

On this track, Swift manages to craft a new sound that still feels familiar. She juxtaposes the drama of a high school with American society, an interesting metaphor that she largely pulls off. The bridge invokes the “go, fight, win” cheerleading chant, cleverly intercut with various iterations of lyrics. Ultimately, the song excels in its chorus with perfectly-scripted rhymes that transform the phrase “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” from a clunky title to a line that you can’t get out of your head.

Best line: “Boys will be boys, then // Where are the wise men?”

 

3. I Think He Knows

“I Think He Knows” has all the elements of the best kind of song: fun lyrics that tell a story and a melody that builds to a satisfying crescendo. It just gets better and better with each verse and chorus, eventually landing at the bridge, which kicks off the most sonically full section of the song, a victory in danceable earworms. This song will have your heartbeat skipping down the 16th Avenue of any city.

Best line: “Lyrical smile, indigo eyes, hand on my thigh // We could follow the sparks, I’ll drive”

 

2. Cornelia Street

Taylor Swift has the incredible ability to write a song chock-full of personal anecdotes that still manages to be relatable to anyone who listens. This soft-pop song verbalizes how a place can evoke a powerful feeling, a beautifully poetic sentiment. It reminds you of the special place where you feel most alive, and of who you want to be by your side through it all. This song takes you to where your heart graviates, to the home where the streetlights lead you.

Best line: “And baby, I get mystified by how this city screams your name”

 

1. Cruel Summer

This track is the epitome of Taylor Swift’s ability to craft the perfect pop song. The lyrics are fast and furious, packing this song with an album’s worth of remarkable lines (although, they can be confusing at times). But the highlight of this song is its chorus, which makes you want to drive with the windows down in the middle of the night, dance alone in your bedroom, cry under the covers, and sing from the rooftops all at once. If only she had released this song as the lead single—Swift could have dominated the song-of-the-summer slot with this anthem. Alas, we can only dream of this missed opportunity. 

Best line: “I don’t wanna keep secrets just to keep you”