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TAYLOR SWIFT The Archer gets 7/10


Taylor Swift
The Archer
Republic/Universal

7/10

After two overwhelmingly energetic releases, Taylor Swift has dropped a more restrained third single, The Archer, ahead of her impending album Lover on August 23.

In classic Swift fashion, the track centres around the object of her affection, alongside some welcome introspection. It feels like an honest offering, stripped down to its bare bones as Tay bares a little more of her soul. Unlike previous releases, The Archer doesn’t feel like it’s putting on a show; instead, it’s as though Swift is comfortable in sharing some of her truths. At moments, it seems she’s calling herself out, revealing herself and her insecurities. “Screaming who could ever leave me, darling/but who could stay?/They see right through me/I see right through me.” There’s a subtle vulnerability to her delivery, one that doesn’t feel forced or manufactured.

Gentle, ambient production lays the focus on Swift’s vocal; a slow build that never drops or reaches a climax, it just exists steadily beneath her. Hardly as commercial as ME! or You Need To Calm DownThe Archer almost feels like an interlude, a glance behind the curtain. Musically it has Taylor’s vibe written all over it – positive undertones, thousands of fans just waiting to scream along with her the next time she hits a stadium. But somehow, this stands differently. It manages both to slide right into the sweet spot of Taylor’s repertoire while maintaining an aura of evolution.

Simple, yet far more effective than anything else we’ve heard from Swift during this era, The Archer is an unexpected reminder that she knows how to pull it back, shed some protective skin and open up – while still pleasing fans and expanding her range.

CAITLIN NORRIS

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