Song of the Day #4,091: ‘Afterglow’ – Taylor Swift

After the two week Quentin Tarantino countdown, I’m still in the mood to rank things. So I thought I’d try something new and comment on a new album by ranking all of its songs in order over the course of a week.

Taylor Swift’s Lover gets the honor. Released a few weeks back, this album has gotten better with each listen. It feels like a natural synthesis of Swift’s country and pop periods, as well as her most mature and best-sounding album yet. I’ve always had a soft spot for Speak Now, but Lover might surpass it as my favorite Swift album.

That said, I definitely think it’s at least three songs too long. And those three songs make up the bottom of my Lover list.

18. ‘I Forgot That You Existed’ – No you didn’t, Taylor, or you wouldn’t have written a song about it. Lover is almost entirely free of the petty infighting that makes for Swift’s least interesting songs, so it’s a mystery why she chose to open the album with the most tired and obnoxious example.

17. ‘ME!’ – This song belongs on the end credits of a second-tier Dreamworks animated film, and nowhere near this album.

16. ‘You Need to Calm Down’ – The only other self-pitying song on the album, rendered somehow more grating by the attempt to take up the LGBT cause. Why Swift chose two of the very worst songs on Lover as the lead-off singles is a complete mystery. This one does have a sick beat, though, so that bumped it up a notch.

OK, those are the songs I would cut from this album completely. I basically do that on Swift’s behalf every time I listen to Lover, skipping those three tracks.

I don’t dislike anything else on the album, so the rest of these rankings reflect the degree to which I like each of these songs.

15. ‘It’s Nice to Have a Friend’ – Pretty, but minor, and the most forgettable song on a long album.

14. ‘London Boy’ – This song has suffered a lot of ridicule, both from Londoners who question her command of their geography, and critics who find it overly goofy. I find it quite charming. It’s a bit of a throwaway pop track but as such it’s a nice balance for the album’s deeper material.

13. ‘Afterglow’ – Great chorus and very effective use of drums. What’s most refreshing about ‘Afterglow’ is that it shows Swift taking responsibility for a mistake in a relationship (I’m sure I’m missing something, but I feel like ‘Back to December’ is the last example).

Stay tuned tomorrow for the songs ranked #10-12.

[Verse 1]
I blew things out of proportion, now you’re blue
Put you in jail for something you didn’t do
I pinned your hands behind your back, oh
Thought I had reason to attack, but no

[Pre-Chorus 1]
Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves
Chemistry ’til it blows up, ’til there’s no us
Why’d I have to break what I love so much?
It’s on your face, and I’m to blame, I need to say

[Chorus]
Hey, it’s all me, in my head
I’m the one who burned us down
But it’s not what I meant
Sorry that I hurt you
I don’t wanna do, I don’t wanna do this to you (Ooh)
I don’t wanna lose, I don’t wanna lose this with you (Ooh)
I need to say, hey, it’s all me, just don’t go
Meet me in the afterglow

[Verse 2]
It’s so excruciating to see you low
Just wanna lift you up and not let you go
This ultraviolet morning light below
Tells me this love is worth the fight, oh

[Pre-Chorus 2]
I lived like an island, punished you with silence
Went off like sirens, just crying
Why’d I have to break what I love so much?
It’s on your face, don’t walk away, I need to say

[Chorus]
Hey, it’s all me, in my head
I’m the one who burned us down
But it’s not what I meant
I’m sorry that I hurt you
I don’t wanna do, I don’t wanna do this to you (Ooh)
I don’t wanna lose, I don’t wanna lose this with you (Ooh)
I need to say, hey, it’s all me, just don’t go
Meet me in the afterglow

[Bridge]
Tell me that you’re still mine
Tell me that we’ll be just fine
Even when I lose my mind
I need to say
Tell me that it’s not my fault
Tell me that I’m all you want
Even when I break your heart
I need to say

[Chorus]
Hey, it’s all me, in my head
I’m the one who burned us down
But it’s not what I meant
Sorry that I hurt you
I don’t wanna do, I don’t wanna do this to you (Ooh)
I don’t wanna lose, I don’t wanna lose this with you (Ooh)
I need to say, hey, it’s all me, just don’t go
Meet me in the afterglow

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,091: ‘Afterglow’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I know this is sacrilege in my family, but I haven’t heard the new album in its entirety. I have, of course, heard the two singles and I think you are being too harsh on them, particularly “You Need to Calm Down,” which, unlike today’s song, will stick in your mind even after one listen, which is exactly why it was a good choice for a single.

    Anyway, looking forward to this week since it will give me an opportunity to hear more of the album.

  2. Maddie says:

    It’s a testament to the fact that I’m not home that my dad hasn’t fully listened to Lover yet. I’m in agreement that this is one of the best if not THE best album that she’s released.

    BUT I love I Forgot That You Existed, so it saddens me to see it dead last on your list (I think we all know that Me deserves that spot, even though I have fun with that song in its own way too). I’ll wait to say more until I see your full ranking, but I am glad that we’re on the same page for how great this album is and I’m excited to see what else you have to say about it.

  3. Amy says:

    I initially felt similarly about the opening song, but the more I’ve heard the album as a whole, and that song kicking it off, the more right it felt to me. First, I disagree with your assessment that if she were over it, she wouldn’t write a song about it. Far from it. When your songs are a melodic version of your journals… your loves, fears, disappointments… it stands to reason that when you finally realize you have truly gotten over something, that sensation, too, warrants a journal entry/song. And what better way to kick off an album that will celebrate being defined by what you love (the album’s closing words) then with a song about moving past what had been getting in your way from doing just that.

    I do agree that ME! belongs in the third Gnomeo and Juliet movie. 😜

    Finally, Afterglow would be much higher on my list for lots of the reasons you mention here. Possibly in my top 5, but absolutely in my. top 10.

    • Clay says:

      I get the argument that a song with that theme makes sense on this album, but I find the execution cringeworthy. Why not write a song about closure that is in keeping with the sophisticated music and lyrics of the rest of Lover, rather than lean into the giggling and snarky delivery that hasn’t worn well in her earlier songs? Maybe it’s a high-concept bit of trickery… leading you into thinking this is more of the same before taking a u-turn into something so much richer. It certainly worked that way on me.

      At any rate, I’m glad this is the last chance I’ll have to speak negatively about this album, because I love everything else on it (including ‘Afterglow’).

      • Amy says:

        I’d just suggest that you listen to it again, when you have enough time to hear the album in its entirety, to appreciate the way that it works as a bookend with Daylight. I don’t find it giggling (well, but for the one actual giggle 🙂 or snarky, but rather nonchalant and straightforward – it isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference… again, I was decidedly not a fan after the first few listens, but I “get” it now in a way that enables me to appreciate why she placed it there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.