Taylor Swift Masterfully Continues Her Exploration into Folk Music

evermore+album+cover

“evermore” album cover

Gracie Marcinczyk, Staff Writer

Taylor Swift took the internet by surprise on December 20, 2020 with a social media post announcing her new album “evermore,” set to be released that same night at midnight, making it her second surprise album of the year. Known for her elaborate album rollouts and “easter eggs,” Swift strayed from this usual pattern, first in July with the release of “folklore” and again in December with the release of “evermore,” the sister record to “folklore.” In her post announcing the album, she wrote, “to put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs.”

While most artists canceled their tours and used quarantine to take a break from music, Swift used it as an opportunity to experiment with her musical style, writing songs that differ both sonically and thematically from her usual content. Working with Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, and Justin Vernon, Swift was able to create her second ever alternative/indie album, her first being “folklore.”

“evermore” demonstrates Swift’s unique songwriting talents and is filled with the storytelling that has set her music apart from that of others over the years. Packed with dreamscapes, tragedies, characters, and a multitude of different writing elements, “evermore” provides a sonically cohesive journey to its listener.

The album also provides a sound that differs quite largely from any of Swift’s previous works. Swift shifted from her usual synth-pop sound, which uses heavy synthesizers and programmed drums, to a more acoustic sound, which utilizes piano and guitar chords, creating a more subdued atmosphere. Swift intended to have this effect, wanting the listener to focus on the lyricism, vocals, and dynamics in the songs rather than their background noise.

In “champagne problems,” Swift sings about a relationship in which a woman turns down a proposal out of fear that her personal struggles will tarnish the relationship, singing “she would’ve made such a lovely bride/What a shame she’s fucked in her head, they said/But you’ll find the real thing instead/She’ll patch up your tapestry that I shred.” On “tolerate it,” Swift relays the story of a relationship in which one person’s love and affection is met with indifference, singing, “I made you my temple, my mural, my sky/Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life/Drawing hearts in the byline/Always taking up too much space or time.” Along with a variety of different stories, Swift utilizes metaphors. On her track “ivy,” Swift describes an illicit affair and sings, “oh, I can’t/Stop you putting roots in my dreamland/My house of stone, your ivy grows/And now I’m covered in you.” The love she feels for her partner is represented as ivy that metaphorically grows all over her.

From murder mysteries in “no body, no crime,” to a ballad dedicated to her late grandmother in “marjorie,” “evermore” has it all, with the standard version containing 15 songs and the deluxe version 17, including the bonus tracks “right where you left me” and “it’s time to go.”

To say Swift succeeded in her experimentation with new styles and concepts would be an understatement. “evermore” sold a million copies worldwide in its first week, and Swift competed with herself for the top selling album of 2020, a title held by “folklore,” the album she released just four and a half months prior.

 

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