SONG REVIEW: Taylor Swift's "The Archer"


on july 23rd, taylor swift streamed on instagram live to talk about the progress of her upcoming album lover. the stream started with taylor revealing that she was on the set of an upcoming music video, but she stayed quiet about what the video was for. taylor went on to show her viewers the four deluxe editions of the album, all of which contain photocopied prints of her diary entries. finally, taylor announced the release of “the archer” from lover, the fifth song on the eighteen track album. taylor graciously let swifties have the song as soon as the stream ended, which had the world crying on a tuesday afternoon. 

before lover, fans never received the album’s fifth track ahead of its release, making this a special occasion. the fifth tracks on taylor’s albums are notorious for being the rawest and most emotional songs. for example, “dear john”, a song about an abusive relationship, held the fifth spot on speak now, while fan-favorite “all too well” was the fifth track on red. now from lover, we have “the archer”, a ballad about the highs and lows of taylor’s life, and how the scars from these battles lead to future indecisiveness and insecurity. “the archer” fits this theme of delicateness perfectly, making it a fantastic track five song. 

the song itself has an 80s synth beat (no surprise, considering Jack Antonoff helped produce the track) that sounds like it came straight off of the stranger things soundtrack. even more fantastic than the instrumental, taylor’s songwriting skills shine with this track, especially on the pre-choruses. the second pre-chorus, taylor croons, “the room is on fire, invisible smoke”, creating a visual of how people experience inner turmoil without anyone ever noticing. in the bridge, taylor adapts lines from the nursery rhyme “humpty dumpty”, building a metaphor with them. taylor sings “all the king’s horses, all the king’s men couldn’t put me together again”, like taylor is the archer and she is finally releasing the bowstring’s tension, letting go of the things that haunted her. the song fades away slowly, with taylor repeatedly questioning “who could stay?” despite this, the song ends on a hopeful note, with taylor answering “you could stay” twice before she repeats the song’s opening lines, “combat, i’m ready for combat”. this ending signals taylor taking her place as the archer, once again.

much like taylor’s other track fives, “the archer” is deeply introspective and vulnerable. it’s much different than lover’s other singles, and the best song from the album so far. the fifteen other tracks on this album will debut with lover on august 23rd, and hopefully, they’re as wonderful as “the archer”.

“the archer” is available to stream on multiple platforms now.