Paper Rings

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

"Paper Rings"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Lover
ReleasedAugust 23, 2019
Studio
Genre
Length3:42
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Taylor Swift
  • Jack Antonoff
Audio
"Paper Rings" on YouTube

"Paper Rings" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from her seventh studio album, Lover (2019). Written and produced by Swift and Jack Antonoff, it is a rock-influenced song combining retro musical styles of pop and rock such as pop-punk, bubblegum, new wave, and rockabilly. Its production incorporates tambourine jingles, electric guitars, and girl-group-inspired vocals. The lyrics address a romantic confession that disregards materialistic concerns; Swift's character tells her love that she would marry him with paper rings despite her love for "shiny things".

Music critics generally praised the catchy and lively composition and lighthearted theme, but a few found the track underwhelming. "Paper Rings" charted in Australia, Canada, Scotland, Singapore, and the United States, and it received certifications in Australia and the United Kingdom. Swift performed "Paper Rings" as a "surprise song" outside the regular setlist at the Eras Tour concert in Minneapolis on June 23, 2023.

Background and release[edit]

Taylor Swift performing on the Reputation Stadium Tour (2018)

Taylor Swift conceived her seventh studio album, Lover, as a "love letter to love" itself that explores the many feelings evoked by love. The album was influenced by the connections she felt with her fans on her Reputation Stadium Tour (2018), which helped her recalibrate her personal life and artistic direction after the media controversies surrounding her celebrity at the time.[1][2] Republic Records released Lover on August 23, 2019. It was Swift's first album under Republic after she ended her previous contract with Big Machine Records.[3] Lover consists of 18 tracks, and "Paper Rings" is track number eight.[4]

The song peaked at number 45 on the US Billboard Hot 100,[5] number 40 on the Canadian Hot 100,[6] and number 96 on the Scottish Singles Chart.[7] The track peaked at number 29 on Australia's ARIA Singles Chart[8] and was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[9] In the United Kingdom, "Paper Rings" reached number 53 on the Official Audio Streaming Chart[10] and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry.[11] On June 23, 2023, at a Minneapolis show of her Eras Tour, Swift sang a guitar solo version of "Paper Rings" as a "surprise song".[12]

Production and lyrics[edit]

"Paper Rings" is 3 minutes and 42 seconds long. Swift wrote and produced the track with Jack Antonoff, and both of them played percussions. Antonoff provided background vocals and programmed and played the keyboard, guitars (acoustic, bass, electric), drums, and piano. He and Laura Sisk, assisted by Nick Mills and Jon Sher, recorded the song at Electric Lady Studios in New York City and Metropolis Studios in London. John Hanes engineered the track for mixing, which was done by Serban Ghenea at MixStar Studios, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Randy Merrill mastered the track at Sterling Sound in New York City.[4]

Swift wrote "Paper Rings" imagining herself "at a wedding band at a reception, playing the love songs that the bride and groom wanted to hear in, like, 1978 or something".[13] "Paper Rings" is a rock-influenced tune[14] combining various retro musical styles with a modern touch,[15][16] such as pop-punk,[17][18][19][20] bubblegum,[21][22][23] new wave,[24][25] rockabilly,[26][27] surf pop,[15] and power pop.[28] The production consists of tambourine jingles[29] and electric guitars.[21] The track incorporates a brief guitar solo[30] and old-school shouting background vocals,[29] inspired by the way punk girl groups would sing in their records.[13] The Independent's Roisin O'Connor described Swift's vocals as "muffled and tinny", which lent the track an "old-school" feel.[31] Towards the end, at the bridge, the composition includes a key change.[17][32] Time's Dana Schwartz thought the song had a "jangly" sound that recalled country music,[33] while Glenn Rowley of Consequence wrote that the production evoked ska.[20] Some critics compared "Paper Rings" to the music by the Go-Go's[32][34][35] and Avril Lavigne.[30][36][37]

In the lyrics, Swift sings about wanting to commit to a long-term lover.[38][39] Swift explained on the theme as "just basically reminiscing on fun memories". She elaborated on the chorus ("I like shiny things but I'd marry you with paper rings"):[40] "it talks about how [...] your whole life you talk with your friends about how, [...] 'Oh my God. Do you wanna get married? What do you want your ring to look like? What kind of ring do you want?' I don't know, I just feel like if you really love someone, love someone, you'd be like, 'I don't care.'"[13] The romance in the song started in the winter[32] and the narrator obsesses over her lover, stalking him on social media and detailing the books that he likes.[41] The two engage in a "cat-and-mouse" phase before Swift's character declares her commitment, telling her lover that she wants his "dreary Mondays" and "complications".[42] Emily Yahr of The Washington Post and Raisa Bruner of Time thought that these details are reminiscent of Swift's song "New Year's Day" (2017), in which Swift sings, "I want your midnights."[14][42] Before the refrain, Antonoff counts, "1, 2, 3, 4."[20][43] Swift finishes her lines with "uh-huh"s and "that's right"s and insists, "Darling, you're the one I want."[29]

Reception[edit]

Some critics praised "Paper Rings" for its upbeat and lively production. Uproxx's Caitlin White hailed "Paper Rings" as a "near-perfect pop song",[44] and Schwartz described the track as a "bright, jangly standout".[33] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote that "[Lover's] power is encapsulated on 'Paper Rings' and 'Cornelia Street'"; he said that the former track is "[bubbly] and wise" and "[vibrates] with almost a nervous energy".[19] Lindsay Zoladz of The Ringer deemed "Paper Rings" one of the album's defining songs because it "allows [Swift] to sound giddily, unfashionably ecstatic".[26] In Spin, Jordan Sargent picked the track as an example of Swift and Antonoff's production chemistry, praising its power-pop arrangement for "giving Swift's sneer the stomping support it deserves".[28] Variety's Chris Willman deemed it one of Lover's two most lighthearted and "irresistible bangers", alongside "I Think He Knows".[27] Ben Rayner of the Toronto Star said "Paper Rings" had an "instant infectiousness" and described the track as a "deftly executed little love song".[45] Jason Lipshutz from Billboard wrote that its "happy-go-lucky bubblegum vibe" and "showy hook" would make it "an absolute blast" if Swift performed it on a tour.[21]

Other critics also complimented the lyrics. Ludovic Hunter-Tilney from the Financial Times thought that "Paper Rings" both "[verges] on kitsch" and displays Swift's "sense of playfulness" and attention to lyrical details.[46] In The Music, Keira Leonard said that the lyric, "I like shiny things but I'd marry you with paper rings", encapsulated Swift's honest and authentic songwriting about "that feeling perfectly of forgetting everything you ever thought you wanted in a person/relationship when you meet that special someone".[36] Leonard and Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone picked the lyric, "I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this", as their favorite off the track.[36][47] Esquire's Dave Holmes hailed "Paper Rings" as one of Swift's "strongest, simplest songs in ages" and its "purely joyful" sentiment.[48] Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times ranked "Paper Rings" the fifth best song out of Lover's 18 tracks; he said that it was "[as] peppy as 'Me!'" but "incalculably smarter", with a happy-ending theme reminiscent of Swift's early songs like "Love Story" (2008).[16]

In less enthusiastic views, Anna Gaca of Pitchfork described the track as "cute, and then exhausting",[17] and Sam Brooks of The Spinoff complained that the guitar solo was "neither long enough to justify its place, or short enough to justify even being called a solo proper".[30] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian called "Paper Rings" a "new wave-y misfire" for its "lightweight" production.[49] The Atlantic's Spencer Kornharber picked the song one of the album's weakest tracks and dismissed it as a "corny sock hop".[50] Kitty Empire in The Observer said that the track "[flirts] hard, but perhaps not quite as hard as 1989's magisterial 'Blank Space' did".[51]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Lover[4]

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for "Paper Rings"
Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[8] 29
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[6] 40
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[52] 4
Scotland (OCC)[7] 96
Singapore (RIAS)[53] 24
UK Audio Streaming (OCC)[10] 53
US Billboard Hot 100[54] 45

Certifications[edit]

Certifications for "Paper Rings"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[9] 2× Platinum 140,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[11] Gold 400,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Suskind, Alex (May 9, 2019). "New Reputation: Taylor Swift shares intel on TS7, fan theories, and her next era". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 12, 2019. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  2. ^ Aniftos, Rania (August 8, 2019). "Taylor Swift Calls Lover Album Her 'Love Letter to Love,' Details 2 Unreleased Tracks". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  3. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Releases Lover the Old-Fashioned Way". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 28, 2019. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Lover (liner notes). Taylor Swift. Republic Records. 2019.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  5. ^ Trust, Gary (September 3, 2019). "All 18 Songs From Taylor Swift's New Album Lover Chart On the Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 19, 2022. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  7. ^ a b "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  8. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Paper Rings". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  9. ^ a b "Jan 2024 Single Accreds" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 14, 2024.
  10. ^ a b "Official Audio Streaming Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  11. ^ a b "British single certifications – Taylor Swift – Paper Rings". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  12. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (June 24, 2023). "Taylor Swift Debuts Songs From Lover, Red In Minneapolis". Spin. Archived from the original on February 27, 2024. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  13. ^ a b c Mastrogiannis, Nicole (August 24, 2019). "Taylor Swift Shares Intimate Details of Lover Songs During Secret Session". iHeartMedia. Archived from the original on August 25, 2019. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Bruner, Raisa (August 23, 2019). "Your Guide to the Many, Many References Taylor Swift Drops in Lover". Time. Archived from the original on December 23, 2023. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  15. ^ a b Zaleski, Annie (August 26, 2019). "Taylor Swift is done proving herself on the resonant Lover". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on September 3, 2023. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  16. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (August 25, 2019). "Taylor Swift's Lover: All 18 songs, ranked". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2019. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  17. ^ a b c Gaca, Anna (August 26, 2019). "Taylor Swift: Lover Album Review". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on August 26, 2019. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  18. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (July 23, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 100 album tracks – ranked". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2023.
  19. ^ a b Caramanica, Jon (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Emerges From the Darkness Unbroken on Lover". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  20. ^ a b c "Jack Antonoff: Songs He Produced, Ranked From Worst to Best". Consequence. October 25, 2022. Archived from the original on December 8, 2023. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  21. ^ a b c Lipshutz, Jason (August 23, 2019). "Every Song Ranked on Taylor Swift's Lover: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  22. ^ Kazemi, Alex (August 25, 2019). "Lover Is Taylor Swift's Love Letter to Love". V. Archived from the original on April 13, 2021. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  23. ^ Leszkiewicz, Anna (July 24, 2020). "Folklore Reveals a More Introspective Side to Taylor Swift". New Statesman. Retrieved March 9, 2024.
  24. ^ Wood, Mikael (August 23, 2019). "Review: Taylor Swift's Lover courts—gasp!—adults with grown-up emotional complexity". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  25. ^ Himes, Geoffrey (October 22, 2019). "The Curmudgeon: Taylor Swift and the Path of Bruce Springsteen". Paste. Archived from the original on February 26, 2024. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  26. ^ a b Zoladz, Lindsay (August 26, 2019). "Taylor Swift Is a Lover and a Fighter". The Ringer. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  27. ^ a b Willman, Chris (August 23, 2019). "Album Review: Taylor Swift's Lover". Variety. Archived from the original on August 23, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  28. ^ a b Sargent, Jordan (August 26, 2019). "Taylor Swift's Lover Shines in Its Quietest Moments". Spin. Archived from the original on August 27, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  29. ^ a b c Bruner, Raisa (August 23, 2019). "Let's Analyze the Lyrics to Every Song on Taylor Swift's Lover". Time. Archived from the original on June 9, 2020. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  30. ^ a b c "The Spinoff reviews all 18 songs on Taylor Swift's Lover". The Spinoff. August 26, 2019. Archived from the original on July 21, 2023. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  31. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (August 23, 2019). "On Lover, Taylor Swift is an artist excited to be earnest again – review". The Independent. Archived from the original on August 23, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  32. ^ a b c Jones, Marcus (August 23, 2019). "A track-by-track breakdown of Taylor Swift's new album Lover". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  33. ^ a b Schwartz, Dana (August 23, 2019). "Review: On Lover, Taylor Swift Lays Down Her Armor". Time. Archived from the original on December 14, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  34. ^ Kennedy, Mark (August 23, 2019). "Review: Taylor Swift taps into her joyful side with Lover". Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 26, 2024. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  35. ^ Wilson, Carl (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift's Lover Is a More Mature (Mostly) Successor to Red". Slate. Archived from the original on November 21, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  36. ^ a b c Leonard, Keira (August 23, 2019). "We Take You Through Taylor Swift's Brand New Album, Lover". The Music. Archived from the original on December 21, 2023. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  37. ^ Krieger, Deborah (September 3, 2019). "Taylor Swift's Lover Finds Her at Peak Creativity in a State of Romantic Bliss". PopMatters. Archived from the original on December 21, 2023. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  38. ^ Gibson, Kelsie (April 8, 2023). "Looking Back at All of Taylor Swift's Love Songs Inspired by Joe Alwyn". People. Archived from the original on February 26, 2024. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  39. ^ Bailey, Alyssa (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift's 'Paper Rings' Is a Cute Show of Commitment To Joe Alwyn". Elle. Archived from the original on May 22, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2024.
  40. ^ Hopper, Alex (December 2, 2023). "The Unique Songwriting Vernacular of Taylor Swift: Her Many Takes On Love". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on January 6, 2024. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  41. ^ Jenkins, Craig (August 23, 2019). "The Old Taylor Is Back on Lover and the Best She's Been in Years". Vulture. Archived from the original on December 1, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  42. ^ a b Yahr, Emily (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift's Lover: A track-by-track breakdown, from coded lyrics to Leonardo DiCaprio and Drake references". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 29, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  43. ^ Catucci, Nick (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift Reaches For New Heights of Personal and Musical Liberation on Lover". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 23, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  44. ^ White, Caitlin (August 27, 2019). "Ranking All The Best Love Songs On Taylor Swift's Lover". Uproxx. Archived from the original on December 21, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2024.
  45. ^ Rayner, Ben (August 23, 2019). "Our track by track review of Lover, Taylor Swift's new album". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on December 21, 2023. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  46. ^ Hunter-Tilney, Ludovic (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift: Lover—Cupid's arrow hits the bullseye". Financial Times. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  47. ^ Sheffield, Rob (October 26, 2021). "All Taylor Swift's Songs, Ranked by Rob Sheffield". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 3, 2023. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  48. ^ Holmes, Dave (August 23, 2019). "When Taylor Swift Eases Up On the Self-Mythologizing, Lover Is Pretty Damn Good". Esquire. Archived from the original on February 24, 2022. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  49. ^ Petridis, Alexis (August 23, 2019). "Taylor Swift: Lover Review – Pop Dominator Wears Her Heart on Her Sleeve". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 23, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  50. ^ Kornharber, Spencer (August 24, 2019). "Taylor Swift Finds Her Faith on Lover". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  51. ^ Empire, Kitty (August 24, 2019). "Taylor Swift: Lover review – a return to past glories". The Observer. Archived from the original on August 26, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  52. ^ "Hto Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. Archived from the original on August 30, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  53. ^ "RIAS International Top Charts Week 35". Recording Industry Association Singapore. Archived from the original on September 5, 2019.
  54. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 26, 2024.