Taylor Swift tackles double standards on “The Man”

While her latest project, "Lover," does not impress like her earlier albums, "The Man" is a diamond in the rough.

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Taylor Swift tackles double standards on “The Man”

(UtimateWarrior13/WIkimedia Commons)

(UtimateWarrior13/WIkimedia Commons)

(UtimateWarrior13/WIkimedia Commons)

(UtimateWarrior13/WIkimedia Commons)

Kacey Connolly, Podcast Editor

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In 2017, Taylor Swift released her sixth studio album “Reputation,” shocking her fans with a dark pop flare that sparked both a descent and ascent in her career. Roughly two years have passed and the breakup song queen has rebirthed herself with a new album titled “Lover.”

Swift’s seventh album is jam-packed with trendy, upbeat songs secured with hints of retro pop. Swift utilizes a different theme with all of her music, representing a broader picture each time. This year, being all sunshine and rainbows, I found myself pleasantly surprised with the song “The Man.” 

It was no secret beforehand that Swift embraces feminism. She has posted numerous social media photos and captions voicing her love and passion for women’s equality. However, anyone who has ever picked up or clicked on a Taylor Swift album knows that the majority of her songwriting consists of verses centered around heartbreak, love and sometimes even lust. While these lyrics still profoundly resonate with millions, this new song hits the heart stronger than any other I’ve had the pleasure – or displeasure – of listening to. 

“The Man” combines Swift’s new, snappy tune with soulful writing that speaks not just about the boy next door, but of the conflicting double standards in society. She sings, “I would be complex / I would be cool / They’d say I played the field before / I found someone to commit to / And that would be okay / For me to do,” alluding to the disparity in the perceptions of men who date multiple women versus women who date multiple men. For Swift’s entire career she has often been referred to as the “crazy ex-girlfriend” or “serial dater” that writes songs about her past boyfriends. Swift compares this critique to famous men like Leonardo DiCaprio with lines like, “And we would toast to me, oh, let the players play / I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez.” 

Swift’s lyrics ring true for women both inside and outside of the entertainment industry. It’s not uncommon that females are criticized while males get praised for the exact same actions. Swift confronts these inequalities head-on with lines like, “If I was out flashin’ my dollas / I’d be a b****, not a baller” and “They wouldn’t shake their heads / And question how much of this I deserve.” 

As for the rest of “Lover,” it’s hard to say whether Swift will make a major comeback after “Reputation” or if her status as one of music’s biggest stars will suffer again. While songs like “Paper Rings” and “London Boy” contain the same lyrical spunk that “The Man” introduces, others like “Lover” and “The Archer” take on a slower, more controlled vibe that almost sounds mystical. Swift impresses with these five tracks, however ones like “I Forgot That You Existed” remind us of the vast difference in content and depth between her first five albums and these last two. 

Between the good and the bad, “Lover” does not disappoint but it does not necessarily exceed expectations either. With both moments of magic and mediocrity, Swift debuts a cluster of tracks that will either inspire or bore listeners depending on which song comes up on shuffle.

Email Kacey at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @kaceyconnolly1.

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