• Darby VanDeVeen

'folklore' is Swift's Most Mature Album to Date

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

“Even while sharing stories that aren’t necessarily hers, Swift manages to make each song ultra-personal.”

Taylor Swift shocked fans yesterday when she announced her eighth studio album, folklore. Typically, Swift has a long album release process, hiding easter eggs, releasing singles, and then a countdown to the actual release day. Fans were understandably surprised when Swift bypassed all of this to reveal the album title, tracklist and a music video right off the bat. With a black and white woodsy aesthetic, folklore highlights Taylor Swift’s strengths as a songwriter with the closest she’ll ever put out to a fully acoustic album.

I want to start this review off with a disclaimer that I am a huge Taylor Swift fan, so there are obvious biases that come into play when I listen to one of her albums. Like, grab a garden hose in my best friend’s backyard so we could try to recreate her iconic ACM performance of “Should’ve Said No.” That kind of fan.

The production on this album is understated, focusing much more on the piano or guitars that Swift presumably wrote the song with. Holding up to the woodsy aesthetics Swift has posted on social media, the vocals are dreamy with just a touch of haunting. The closest to folk and alternative that she has ever released, the songs are like whispers of folklore. “The lines between fantasy and reality blur and the boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indiscernible” Swift writes in the introduction to the album.

Her most introspective and raw album yet, each song has a level of depth that the majority of songwriters never reach. Even while sharing stories that aren’t necessarily hers, Swift manages to make each song ultra-personal. “the last great american dynasty” takes the story of one of her houses and imagines the life of those who lived there before her. “betty” taps into Swift’s country roots with the opening harmonica while exploring a fictional relationship between two high schoolers. The level of details integrated into these songs is what makes Swift stand out from anyone else in the industry. Swift takes these familiar feelings and puts them into words that represent it so clearly you wonder how they were never used before.

folklore is the album that Taylor Swift needed to show the world. She’s shown a lot of different sides of herself through her music and just like a mirrorball she’s gone and showed another version of herself. None of these songs are instant radio hits but each one reads like a diary entry and is the most mature and thoughtful release Swift has put out to date.



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