Article by Megan Vineberg with contributions by Rikki Red and Emma Saletta
Following the surprise alternative record released by Taylor Swift just a few months ago is introspective evermore, folklore’s sister album in time for her 31st birthday Sunday, December 13. Swift is a vision as always, in similar but still distinctive imagery for the cover art. As per usual, two exclusive tracks “right where you left me,” and “it’s time to go” are included on the physical deluxe album version of evermore. Swift decidedly released evermore on the backlog of what became folklore, being that she had so much writing already done. Swift explains in her documentary, folklore: the long pond studio sessions, “Never did I think it would become an album!” or two--yet here we are!
Released on December 11, 2020 at midnight, evermore is the ninth studio album of Taylor Swift to date. There was no promotion, aside from being announced via social media just a few hours prior. I must admit, I like this new method of writing and releasing records from Swift. There is serenity in knowing she is not chasing record sales but rather putting out art that is meaningful to her, and is simply fun for her to make! So much of Taylor’s albums have been ones centered around heartbreak--a feeling we can all relate to, granted. However, between folklore and Evermore, we’re seeing a brand new, shinier side of Swift. One of complete and utter authenticity, that doesn’t lend its bones to the wolves for approval. Rather, these two records represent a sheer confidence in one’s ability to write music and to do so proudly. Not to mention, on this album as well as on folklore, Swift got to collaborate on a track with Bon Iver, a longtime idol-turned-friend of hers and a favorite of indie alternative fans. With an operatic sample from Swift’s grandmother mixed in, I was not really sure at first what to expect when diving in. Also on the list of surprises for the day: we were today years old when we learned that Swift is a distant relative of Ms. Emily Dickinson, who ironically enough was a lyric poet living in seclusion, and whose life (even in death) remains a mystery to us all… sound familiar? I was not surprised to find this album hits differently, like an old-time black and white film.
From the very start… My favorite sound is an acoustic guitar, and this album is chock full of acoustic tracks, although each track remains different, and I am absolutely enamored. There’s something beautifully undone about an acoustic guitar. There’s nothing wrong with having big production on songs, and sometimes I love how that sounds, but Evermore was a welcome refreshment from the commercial tracks charting today. A standalone lyric on willow for me is this one that reads:
I’m begging for you to take my hand / Wreck my plans
Piano is a close second to the elegance of an acoustic guitar medley on the list of sounds in my head that bring me the utmost comfort and joy. Champagne problems is a track that is especially dear to me for various reasons. First off, it had me in the same sense of reflection that this is me trying did. Secondly, it’s all a part of the human experience -- we do things, seemingly not knowing why, and it changes the course of a relationship -- for better or worse. gold rush ties into folklore halfway through the song, with this singular line:
My mind turns your life into folklore / I can’t dare to dream about you anymore
long story short was co-written by Aaron Dessner, who was featured in the folklore: long pond studio sessions documentary. I think, not every one woman, but a lot of women, will relate to this one about what is essentially the wrong relationship seemingly due to difficult but temporary circumstances, subsequently having to worry about your reputation because of your relationship track record. It’s a neverending rabbit hole worrying who thinks what about you, and keeping score of who does you wrong.
No more keeping score / I just keep you warm / and my waves meet your shore / ever and evermore
It’s been said in a Variety post that if Swift keeps up her current trajectory of published re-recordings that she’ll have more recordings on the Republic label than ever before on Big Machine Records in a fraction of time. I would agree to say that evermore feels like the kind of project that’s been mulled over in dreamstate for years, clipped recordings and fantastical lyrics tacked on as time passes, and situations evolve.
Taylor said this in regards to the announcement of evermore:
“It feels like we were standing on the edge of the Folklorian woods and had a choice – to turn and go back or travel further into the forest of this music. We chose to go deeper in. To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs. I’ve never done this before. In the past I’ve always treated albums as one-off eras and moved onto planning the next one after an album was released. There was something different with folklore. In making it, I felt like I was departing and more like I was returning. I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales. I loved the ways you welcomed the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found into your lives. So I just kept writing them. And I loved creating these songs with Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, WB, and Justin Vernon. We’ve also welcomed some new (and longtime) friends to our musical kitchen table this time around.”
As accurately quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Swift embraces the more is more sentiment in her release schedule this year.
As soon as Taylor announced that she was dropping “evermore”, I knew that we were going to have to do another piece on it. Although I never really gave a second thought to listening to Taylor Swift’s previous albums, once she dropped “folklore” she gained a new fan out of me. It’s rare that you connect so deeply to every single song on an album that you feel as though you could’ve written it yourself, but to feel that way about two albums in a row is unheard of. Or, rather, it was unheard of, but it’s absolutely the situation I’ve found myself in with Swift during these two new drops.
To me, “folklore” feels like being introspective and going deep inside your core as a human, finally being honest with yourself about your feelings and intentions. It’s clear how the two albums are “sisters”, but also very clear how the songs don’t belong on the same album. In comparison to “folklore” and the inward analysing, “evermore” feels like a dreamland, like the places you go when you’re all alone, thinking of how things could have been.
Like Megan, I love the serenity of the sound of acoustic guitars and pianos and Taylor definitely gave us a great dose of both instruments here. The way that the tracks sound so stripped down in these two albums while also being produced so perfectly makes me feel like I’m right there with Taylor and her team, listening to and relating to each word that she sings and each strum of the guitar. It’ll be incredibly difficult for me to narrow down some of the lyrics that stand out to me most and I feel like I can relate to most deeply, but I’ll give it my best shot.
I don’t like that anyone would die to feel your touch / everybody wants you / everybody wonders what it would be like to love you
I know my love should be celebrated / but you tolerate it
No one teaches you what to do / when a good man hurts you / and you know you hurt him too
My house of stone, your ivy grows / and now I’m covered in you ivy
Now you hang from my lips / like the Gardens of Babylon / with your boots beneath my bed / forever is the sweetest con
cowboy like me
These songs are drenched in vulnerability and openness and it’s clear that Swift is done putting out music to appease anyone else, but only interested in releasing songs that are authentic to her truth. I’m obsessed with the raw honesty that “evermore” has birthed, and although I’m still processing how perfectly “folklore” fits my range of feeling, I’m happy to allow the new album to share the stage going into 2021. I hope that these albums can inspire all of us to find the bravery we need to live life authentically, knowing that others will relate to us, similarly to how we’ve all been able to relate to Taylor.
After finding out Taylor Swift would be releasing another album, I didn’t know what to think. After she released folklore in July, I thought nothing would beat, as I originally said that folklore was one of the best albums of her career. The Recording Academy thought so as well, as she was nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Because of how successful it was, evermore would either be the album that continues to show how much she’s furthered her career or the album that is overpowered by the highly acclaimed folklore. Fortunately, this album was just as powerful as folklore.
Although I too loved the acoustics and serenity of the guitars and pianos, my two favorite things about this album are the instrument mixing and collaborations. Musicians are known to have mixing genres within their songs in order to help make their work more unique and different from others, however what made this special was how instead of mixing genres, she mixed instruments in order to keep a peaceful tone to her music, while sticking to the Alternative genre throughout the whole album. If I had to choose one song that impressed me the most with its instruments, it would be “gold rush”, because of how the violins, in the beginning, were beautiful and a great way to move onto the piano.
Taylor Swift has been known to collaborate with musicians from different genres. One of her last collaborations was on the folklore album with Bon Iver, who happened to collaborate with Taylor Swift again for this album. However, unlike her previous album, evermore includes three collaborations. HAIM, The National, and Bon Iver have proven to be incredible musicians in the Alternative music genre, with each band being recognized by The Recording Academy multiple times. Out of the three collaborative songs, my favorite would be “no body, no crime” feat. HAIM. There’s something about that song that makes me feel a bit of strength and empowerment and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put my finger on it. However, this is also the only song that reminded me of the original country roots that Swift came from. Any song that brings me back to my childhood is great by me.
Stream evermore here:
Purchase evermore deluxe edition (with exclusive bonus tracks) --- CD:
Purchase evermore deluxe -- vinyl:
evermore Official Lyric Video: