Taylor Swift’s third ‘Lover’ single, ‘The Archer,’ is actually the strongest song so far

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Some Taylor Swift fans maintain that Taylor has a weird habit of making her albums’ weakest songs the first singles. Looking back on it, I sort of see that, although I think “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Shake It Off” were chosen as the first singles of Reputation and 1989 respectively because they were the MOST pop/radio friendly. Does that make sense? “Shake It Off” was basic-pop and “LWYMMD” was a statement of intent with a decent hook. But yeah, obviously those songs were not the strongest of those albums. Taylor seemed to try the same formula for Lover: she released “ME!,” a self-absorbed anthem that said nothing and was so light and fluffy, it actually came across as juvenile and asinine. The second single was “You Need To Calm Down,” which at least has a “message.” That message was lowkey drowned out by some problematic lyrical and video choices, but still, we set the bar so low for Tay and she sort of met it.

Given the light and airy visuals for Lover, I kept thinking that the songs like “ME!” and “YNTCD” would be the exceptions, not the rule. I expected more ballads and sweet, sad, romantic songs. Finally, she gave us one. Taylor dropped “The Archer” on Tuesday and this is probably the strongest song from Lover thus far.

Taylor is at her best as a songwriter and singer when she does songs like “The Archer.” I’m tired of beefs and performative friendships and pseudo-LGBTQ anthems. She thrives when she does love songs. You know who else thrives at love songs? Adele. Adele rarely veers from that lane and it’s fine. Would the Snake Army really have been upset if Taylor’s Lover was just an album full of ballads?

Photos courtesy of WENN and Backgrid.

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38 Responses to “Taylor Swift’s third ‘Lover’ single, ‘The Archer,’ is actually the strongest song so far”

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  1. Léna says:

    The lyrics are okay. But I found the melody bad / bland. Sounds like a song from 10 years ago

    • Arizona says:

      I think the lyrics and the song are pretty awful. The Melody reminds me of Time after Time. it’s so cheesy ’80s ballad.

    • Shannon says:

      Yeah, this seems really boring to me, like something I’d hear while on hold. Honestly, I enjoy her more upbeat stuff. I couldn’t care less about whoever it’s supposedly about, my ears would much rather hear something like LWYMMD or Me! or YNTCD than this yawn fest.

  2. Bishg says:

    Nope, nope.

  3. Gutterflower says:

    Very pretty song, but too boring for radio play imo.

    • Arizona says:

      she’s not releasing it as a single so that should be okay.

      • amilou says:

        I get that it’s just a song she’s released. But the headline is literally “Taylor Swift’s third ‘Lover’ single, ‘The Archer,’ is actually the strongest song so far.” So you can’t fault us for thinking it’s a single.

      • Arizona says:

        who said I was faulting anyone? just clarifying. sheesh.

  4. A random commenter says:

    Hard disagree. Shake It Off and Look What You Made Me Do were hardly the most pop-friendly on either album. Style? Delicate? Getaway Car? All better for radio. This is Taylor’s thing though—she releases singles that aren’t reflective of the album content or quality as a whole. I actually just read an article about this in Rolling Stone or Billboard not too long ago.

  5. Caity says:

    This isn’t a single.
    It’s just a release to hype the album, probably because her team saw the criticism of the other songs lacking any of the songwriting depth she’s known for.

  6. Ellie says:

    I agree with the people who think the first singles are usually bad, or at least asinine (see also We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together). But by the third release she’s usually got something I want to hear again. Not so here – boring melody, horribly trite nursery rhyme lyrics. Is this an example from these diaries from when she was 13 she is suddenly releasing? Would explain a lot.

  7. ccsays says:

    It’s sounds very, very, very like Chvrches

    • a reader says:

      As a huge Chvrches fan I reject this comparison. 😉

      • Jb says:

        I can’t believe this woman is herald a musical genius. Shrewd business woman and master manipulator but talented songstress never

  8. Busyann says:

    I really hate this song. Part of it reminds me of 80s classic Time after Time, which annoys me, but not as much as The Archer. But I tend to really love pop songs, no matter how awful.

  9. Chisey says:

    I’ve been ambivalent about the first two singles, but I thought this one was great. I listened to it and immediately wanted to listen again. It had lines that made me think ‘yes, I’ve felt that too’ and it stayed in my head. And honestly I didn’t think of it even as a love song, but as a really vulnerable examination of her own flaws that led to wondering if anyone could love her. This is the sort of thing I’ve really loved about her songs in the past. I’m so glad that she still has it.

  10. duchess of hazard says:

    It’s a decent song.

  11. Case says:

    I think this song has a lot of beautiful, introspective lyrics. It really showcases that she still has that talent for writing that everyone noticed when she first started out. I love the dreamy synth vibes too. This is what I was looking for with this album.

    • KL says:


      I feel like I’ve been waiting for this song ever since “Style.” I love her poppy, upbeat stuff, and even the slightly-overworked showpieces for their dramatic flair, but when she lets a simple melody showcase the genuine skill and emotion of her lyrics, and when she lets that emotion get messy and complicated…

      (All these people in the comments complaining about “nursery rhyme” lyrics make me laugh; there are so many classic songs that use them, especially in the folk and country traditions that Swift draws from. It doesn’t automatically mean the song is good, but it doesn’t automatically make it bad, either.)

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I can’t help it. I like it, BUT it also sounds a bit like a song Cyndi Lauper’s done before. Not Taylor’s voice, but the music itself.

  13. broodytrudy says:

    Kaylor tinfoil hat on, but people are talking about how the lyrics mirror a 1975 song, whose concert we know was the setting of the infamous video.

    I think she loves the speculation, tbh.

  14. Jbird says:

    I can always tell right away if it is a song she wrote with Jack Antonoff. And per usual I love the songs they collab on.

  15. Leah says:

    I know this woman’s life is as unrelatable as anything could be, but what kind of functioning, mature human person has “enemies?”

    Also, the song was fine, but a strong rhythmic climax would have made it much stronger musically. I take issue with her lyrics since she’s an adult, but that’s standard Taylor now.

  16. Beach Dreams says:

    I never put much stock into her highly acclaimed songwriting…but these lyrics are absolutely terrible. It’s like she’s regressing from whatever skill she had as a teenager (which was not much in my personal opinion but still better than this).

  17. hype says:

    Fearless, Red, All Too Well, 15, Enchanted etc… – whatever happened to that talent?

  18. Amy Too says:

    The message is interesting and kind of introspective for Taylor in that its not all about how she’s a victim of everyone around her, but the lyrics themself are really juvenile (a literal nursery rhyme) and not very deep or compelling. The 80s synthesizer sound is rather annoying and it grates on me. The music isn’t complex or dynamic enough to be interesting, yet it’s also not catchy in its simplicity. How the lyrics fit with the music seems kind of random and poorly timed. Like she wrote a lyric and then just shoved it in, even if it didn’t fit or have the right amount of syllables or rhyme. Like the line about cutting off her nose to spite her face: rather than rewriting it or reworking the rest of the song to make that lyric fit, she just spoke/sung it really quickly to force it to fit. I think she’s suffering from a condition that rich and successful writers of all types (song writers, novelists) suffer from: she’s so big that whatever she does will automatically sell, so no one tells her to edit her writing anymore. You’ll notice this with book series like Twilight and Harry Potter, too: the first book is a mega hit and makes a ton of money for the publisher, so they let the author do/write whatever she wants in the next books without a lot of editing. The books in the series will usually get longer and longer because the author isn’t editing anymore. She’s keeping in everything, even things that don’t work, even things that are boring or repetitive or don’t really add much to the story. I think this is happening with Taylor, now, too. She writes something, but rather than editing it and developing it into the best song it can possibly be, she just records it. She thinks there’s no need to spend the time working on the song, making it the best version it could be, and no one is asking her to because they know people will buy whatever she puts out.

  19. Vanessa says:

    When that 80s synth comes in at the :20 mark…wow. I was back in my junior high prom. Dislike.

  20. OuiOkay says:

    Haha it reminds me of a roxette song.. wasn’t a popular one can’t remember the name
    Agree with you guys she’s better on love songs. Her more upbeat pop songs are fine but they don’t have as much longevity as those of other popular artists imo

  21. Andrea says:

    I still wonder what happened between her and Hiddleston? Did he grow bored with her charade? Did she just use him as a springboard for current bf? Did he dislike her cat obsession? Did she break his heart?

  22. Sorella says:

    Her lyrics are getting worse, so tacky and juvenile rhymes. Is it weird that I think Arianna Grande has catchier song and better lyrics on her last album that Taylor has had on these last 3 singles. It’s like she is missing something and getting worse versus better. I wonder if she didn’t put cookies in her videos even if she would get as many views. I like Taylor’s old stuff but nothing I have heard so far made me go WOW love it!!

  23. Hollz says:

    You say strongest, I say worst. I couldn’t even get through it once.

  24. Amber says:

    lots of cliches…”all the king’s horses” and “cut off my nose to spite my face”. It seems kind of incoherent from a lyrical standpoint. And even in a song about love and everything, she has to mention her ‘enemies’ again. Regular people don’t have ‘enemies.’ The production is lacking, the melody has no momentum or development. It’s just kind of listless and ineffective. It reminds me of a song from her album Red called “The Last Time” that’s just ponderous and repetitive, that I don’t think I’ve listened all the way through once. I could forgive a couple of these problems but with all of them together it’s a pretty dissatisfying song from a woman who, whatever faults she has, used to churn out sharply written songs with addicting melodies. Her “IM THE VICTIM IN ALL SITUATIONS FOREVER” posturing annoys me, but you could never deny her songwriting talent before. But now…This is three duds in a row, coming off the back of “Reputation” which had its standouts (Delicate, Getaway Car, etc) but was her most uneven work by far.

    • Bee says:

      Her “enemies” are the most interesting thing about her. So she’s never going to let the world forget it. She’s so far down the “victim” rabbit-hole she isn’t coming out.

      Previously her schtick was her “squad” but they all went “I’m out” on her and she didn’t have a choice but to change tact.

  25. Yes Doubtful says:

    I mean…next to ME and YNTCD, I guess this one would seem like a “stronger” single, but that’s stretching it LOL It’s okay, nothing special. I just don’t see her as the grande lyricist that people say she is. She definitely has some good songs like Getaway Car or Blank Page, but there are plenty that are typical pop lyrics.

  26. Ash says:

    It sounds like it could have been on 1989. I don’t think she will ever quite capture that lightning in a bottle again.