The campaign for Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album, Lover, has been pretty lackluster to say the least. The lead single, the Brendon Urie-featuring “ME!” (review here) was a disappointment. At best the song was campy, but, honestly, it was just uncharacteristically bad for Swift’s standards. The follow up single, “You Need to Calm Down” (review here), had a cool video but it ultimately fell short of the highs, and the mids, on reputation and 1989.
“The Archer,” produced by Jack Antonoff, is a lovelorn ballad in the vein of Swift’s “You Are In Love” or “Wildest Dreams.” Lyrically, the song is lightyears ahead of “You Need to Calm Down” and “ME!” Taylor has used similar imagery of hunters and prey before (“I Know Places” on 1989), but Taylor uses a more introspective angle on “The Archer.” She gently sings about how “all of [her] enemies started as friends” as she reminisces about the ebbs and flows of relationships. Whether romantic, friendly, or business related, these relationships expose Taylor to the most vulnerable parts of herself, and her delicate vocal performance emphasizes that fact.
“The Archer” is easily one of Taylor’s best ballads, and the emotional synths help the song rank among some of her most well-produced tracks. Maybe, just maybe, Taylor can turn this Lover era around.