Berlin (dpa) - Published a pop star a new album, it's never just about the music. If it is the American musician Taylor Swift, this is especially true.
In the past, she has publicly fought stalkers, ex-friends, or other musicians and integrated these struggles into her pop songs.
Months before the release of her new album "Lover", the 29-year-old has given some pointers on which topics she will pick up this time around. Most important: For the first time it will be political. In the run-up to Lover, Swift has positioned herself politically for the first time in her more than 13-year career, campaigning for the US Democrats and engaging in the Gender Equality Act.
The new album features the single "You Need To Calm Down", a hymn for sexual and personal freedom. In it, the singer urges critics to make everyone be what he is - and criticize people who let their hatred on Twitter run wild. The video features famous drag queens, all in rainbow colors.
Not only from this song speaks criticism of the policy of US President Donald Trump. In "Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince" she sings, disguised as a love song, from the "faded glory" (about: the faded fame) of the United States.
Ostensibly, "Lover" is about love. In addition, Swift's fans can enjoy a number of persistently catchy, well-composed pop hits that the musician has written with several co-songwriters.
For the most part, they are optimistic mid-tempo numbers that use different genres. Sometimes the album offers guitar-heavy retro ballads ("Lover", "Soon You'll Get Better"), sometimes it is based on the trends of popular electronic music, such as slow dubstep ("I Forgot That You Existed") or steel drums ("It's Nice To Have A Friend ").
Swift has worked together with co-songwriter Jack Antonoff, among others. His influence can be heard in the minimalist, sometimes almost sluggish beats familiar from his work for the New Zealand pop singer Lorde. About the simple beats Swift sings with her bright, glazed cheerleading voice.
Some of the 18 songs would have been dispensable, especially the desperately smart up-tempo number "Paper Rings". But songs like "I Think He Knows" or "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" show Swift's strengths: she has an almost supernatural sense of complacent pop melodies. In addition, she can write lyrics that are more creative than those of many other pop megastars. A lush instrumentation is no longer needed.
As on her previous albums, Swift also plays on "Lover" - which markets the musician as a love opus - thus integrating very personal elements of her life into the song material. For instance, when she sings about her love for a "London Boy," it's easy to spot as the British actor she's dating.
Swift enjoys setting up an intimate relationship with her fans, who can also buy copies of their handwritten journals in a deluxe version of their album.
The fact that Swift - whose loyal fans included Donald Trump in the past - is only now politically positioned on her seventh album has earned her criticism. Some blamed her for appropriating subjects for advertising purposes that she, as a white, heterosexual woman, has no idea.
But sales promotion measure or not: In the end, with her odes to the (self-) love, with the criticism of sexism or the anonymous hate in the social media for her young audience certainly not the worst role model.
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