Remember when were just hoping that she would hopefully drop "Cruel Summer" as a single? Little did we know that for the last few months while we all staring at the wall bored out of our minds, artist of the decade Taylor Swift was cooped up in her home drafting a masterpiece.
Last Friday, unexpectedly Swift dropped what is arguably the most emotional, vulnerable, and mature album yet entitled 'Folklore.' In this album, Swift steps out of her comfort zone, storytelling in a way that she has never done before. 'Folklore' is her eighth album, and it's just as far beyond her most recent album 'Lover' as 'Lover' was its predecessor 'Reputation.' There is not a pop song to be found. All the music is acoustic, the tone is much more somber than what we're used to, and the songs go beyond just her own life experiences. Yet in the end, it still has that Taylor vibe written all over it, just like all her past albums have had.
In only a few short days, Swifties are already considering this to be Taylor's best album to date. It seems like we are entering a new era of Taylor, one that feels much more sophisticated than what we may be used to.
1. She has now successfully conquered a third genre of musicNick Miller on TikTok
Country, pop, and now alternative--name a genre that TSwift can't do and do flawlessly.
2. Her storytelling has evolved tremendously
As a singer known for pouring her heart out about all her past breakups, shade towards the haters, and journey to find herself, it seems like this album has anything but that. As Taylor described in her Instagram post about the album (swipe on the picture to see the description), most of the songs are in fact not about her own life, but actually, about other people that she's met, or even made up characters of whom she dreamed up in her head. The vibe and the narration of her songs in this album is just so different from her past albums, but I think that's what makes it successful. She is constantly growing, evolving, and trying to push her boundaries as an artist and it's just so admirable.
3. The titles of the songs honestly slap
I am a huge sucker of the lowercase titles for some reason. I think all of these songs have such clever titles, and I think the order of the album creates such a great build-up as well. I also think some of the word choices she uses--words like illicit, ricochet, and epiphany--grab your attention immediately. Overall, it's just so powerful and captivating and I love it.
4. She swears...A LOTemma on TikTok
I mean, the first line of the entire album starts with, "I'm doing good, I'm on some new sh*t," which besides the fact that it may be one of the dopest ways to start an album, it definitely came as a surprise to those who are used to her innocence and purity. Throughout the album, she uses lots of language like this, including dropping many f-bombs for the first time. I think I could get used to this side of Taylor.
5. Her emotional duet with singer/songwriter Bon Iver entitled "exile" may be her best duet to date
"You never gave a warning sign..."
"...I gave so many signs"
6. The imagery is unparalleled
As she says in her description of the album, the whole concept of 'folklore' "started with imagery." As she tells these stories in each of the song, I can really picture these experiences in my head as if I'm living them. The fact that so many of these characters don't even exist in real life and she was able to tell their stories so eloquently just proves how much of a talent she truly is. I also love the figurative language that she uses, such as the metaphor of the "invisible string" or the "cardigan," as these descriptive details really make the album come to life just that much more.
7. The references to old songs
One instance appears in the song "Invisible String," where she sings, "Bad was the blood of the song in the cab on your first trip to L.A." Later in the song, she adds, "A string that pulled me out of all the wrong arms, right into that dive bar." I'm a sucker for this, and I'm sure many other swifties really appreciate these references.
And just for shits and giggles, in the final verse of the song she mentions, "For the boys who broke my heart/Now I send their babies presents," which has fans speculating that she sent ex Joe Jonas (who we all remember her proudly roasting on Ellen and her song "Forever & Always" after he broke up with her via a 20-second phone call) and new wife Sophie Turner a gift for their newborn. Ugh, this woman is just so freaking clever.
8. Three songs on the album tell the same story from three different points of view
here's the love triangle in #Folklore cardigan : betty's pov august : inez's pov betty : james' pov #TaylorSwift d… https://t.co/2obZiIYPmC— 𝖇𝖑𝖚𝖊🦋 (@𝖇𝖑𝖚𝖊🦋) 1595586326.0
In Taylor's description of the album, she mentions that three of the songs on the album are connected in some way. Of course fans were quick to figure out the connection. The songs "cardigan," "august," and "betty" tell the story of a love triangle written in the three different points of view. If you look closely at the lyrics of each song you will see that many of the lines parallel one another. This is just pure genius.
9. Though I may beg to differ, many people are calling this album 16 "All Too Well"'s
I don't think that anything will ever pull my heartstrings quite like "All Too Well," however, many of the songs on this album come extremely close. However, I am slightly obsessed with this mashup of "betty" and "All Too Well," and how perfectly it flows together.
10. Her music has never felt so confident and mature
As she leaves the highs and lows of her twenties behind, this new album almost feels like we're entering a new era of Taylor Swift. The combination of the storytelling, the mature language, the tone in her voice, and the actual music itself combines to make a magical piece of work, unlike anything I've ever heard before. It seems like she's finally leaving behind all the bitterness and pain that she once went through and able to move forward. I love how this album just seems to carefree and sophisticated. If this is the direction Taylor wants to go, I wouldn't be mad about it.
11. She gave it to us unexpectedly, at a time when we needed it mostKristina on TikTok
After months of uncertainty, feeling down, and, frankly, like there was nothing for any of us to look forward to, this pick me up is exactly what we needed. Just a few months ago people were dreaming of this amazing thing called Lover Fest and while we're all bummed that couldn't happen, this album has definitely made up for it in my opinion. I can't even imagine the hard work that went into creating and producing this album, and the fact that Taylor and her team were able to pull this off in what was likely a short amount of time is so impressive. "Folklore" is truly an impeccable album and I could not be more thankful for Taylor for blessing us with this masterpiece during this "Cruel Summer," and she couldn't have done it at a better time.