Lover, the album, drops tonight. Apparently the video for “Lover”, the song, will drop tonight too. Right now I’m more excited about the video, because of the lyrics, because of all the speculation about Joe Alwyn and their relationship, I’m wondering what Taylor Swift will be showing us, and what she’ll be hinting. The intention, of course, given the timing, is for the album to dominate the weekend and beyond. She wants this to be a takeover. Lover has apparently already sold almost a million copies before its release. For most artists, this is already a major championship title. For Taylor Swift, though, it’s just a beginning. Taylor’s going for a grand slam. Everything about the last few weeks, and especially the “Lover” video, is in service of getting to that goal.
Including her appearance this morning on Good Morning America, for an interview with Robin Roberts and a mini-concert in Central Park. Right off the top, when asked about Lover, she makes her motivation clear:
“I mean one thing about this album that’s really special to me is that it’s the first one that I… will own, of my work.”
At this point her fans go bonkers, and she smiles at them, knowingly.
She then goes on to confirm that she will indeed be re-recording her music:
“It’s something that I’m very excited about doing because my contract says that starting November 2020, so next year, I can record albums one through five all over again, so…I’m very excited about it. Because I just think that artists deserve to own their work, I just feel very passionately about that.”
There it is. When all that went down between her and Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta back in July, speculation began about whether or not Taylor would re-record her masters so that Scooter and Scott couldn’t make money off of them. Now she’s fully committing to it, and she’s specific about it. This is not a casual “yeah, we’ll try to make it happen” answer. She’s throwing out contract details and the way she emphasises “starting in November 2020…albums one through five all over again”, enunciating every.single.syllable – that’s a shot fired, that’s a promise.
But first… Lover has to be a supernova. Taylor has always been the kind of artist who celebrates sales achievements, and I appreciate this about her. Every time a song goes to #1, every time an album reaches a sales milestone, every time a tour sells out, she’s out there making sure we know about it – and with Lover, the hope is that it will be no different, that it will break records, sell more than this, that, and the other. Is it boastful? Sure. Should that be the conversation? There’s an article I go back to often that was published in The Atlantic last year about confidence in the workplace. It’s not that women are less confident in their abilities, it’s that they know that their self-advocacy about their abilities, “boasting” about their accomplishments, can and could be used against them because we’ve been socially conditioned to expect modesty from women and not men. One of the proposed solutions is, in tandem with encouraging women to be more comfortable with taking credit for their wins, is to normalise the practice of self-promotion for everyone.
Taylor is going for it on Lover because, as she says, this is the first album that she “will own”. There’s no pettiness here either. The issue is about claiming what’s hers, not the he said, she said, “they ganged up on me when Kim and Kanye dropped the receipts” drama she leaned into when she first put Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta on blast back in July, muddying the real crusade about artists owning their own masters. She’s stepped away from that now – and it’s a much smarter approach. Per Beyoncé:
Best revenge is your paper
How much paper?
As much as possible. The album and the video are on the way. She’s hoping that will carry the weekend. Then she opens the MTV VMAs on Monday night, a decade after … you know. Monday night is the ten year anniversary of Kanye West interrupting her acceptance speech. The point of this performance then is to boost Lover, to push first week sales for Lover as high as they can go. Will there be a stunt? A wink to what happened before? Or is all that bullsh-t really and truly behind her?