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A Taylor-Made Summer

A new sound. A philanthropic call to action. A scathing blog post. The preamble to Swift’s LOVER expertly blurred the personal and the promotional.

Maura Johnston

WHEN YOU’RE A MEGASELLING artist like Taylor Swift, every move you make is up for scrutiny. As one of the first pop stars to have fully grown up in the era of social media’s endless feedback loop with the celebrity-industrial complex, Swift has always been aware of that fact.

For the bulk of her career, her albums—in sound and in packaging—have squared the circle between big gestures and personal statements. Take her Instagram posts right after she finished her new album, Lover: Their tonal shift from casual behind-the-scenes photos of Cats and her cats to pastel-hued shots of palm trees and fence posts signified that something was coming. What that “something” was wound up being fodder both for Swift’s fans, who put on their detective hats to deduce clues from each photo’s array of subjects, and for media outlets in search of news items on one of music’s biggest names.

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