by Reyna Estrada / Editor-in-Chief by Jules Banks / Editor-in-Chief
Taylor Swift has certainly been busy. With her eighth album, “Folklore” released only months ago, Swift’s surprise release of her newest album “Evermore” shocked fans. “Evermore” was dropped on Dec. 11, intended as a sister album to “Folklore.”
“To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs. To try and put it more poetically, it feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of this music,” Swift explained via Instagram.
“Evermore” is a perfect compliment to “Folklore,” and Swift’s statement reflects in her music: the album’s songs were very obviously written in the same room, with the same artists. According to Swift’s social media announcement, Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, and Justin Vernon – as well as many other musicians – contributed to this surprise album.
“Evermore” follows the same style as Swift’s previous album– an enchanting storytelling adventure that differs drastically from Swift’s previous work. The storylines diverge from autobiographical and instead are rooted in fiction, with inspiration from life. In her album notes, Swift describes the songs and storylines as, “Imaginary / not imaginary tales.” The beautiful lyricism is one of the album’s strengths– Swift has always been a fantastic songwriter but “evermore” showcases her skills in a new fashion. The lyrics are poetic and catchy with the ability to immerse the listener into the storylines, allowing them to feel for the characters.
The tasteful folk takes an even softer turn, with even the most soulful songs keeping a light, minimal tone as Swift hits all the hardest topics: breakups – both youthful hometown breakups and tragic, night-before-the-wedding breakups – falling in love, moving away, and much more. It’s her classic content with obvious maturity. As Swift grows up, fans get to see her style meld with her life – which is refreshing to see, because an artist growing up doesn’t always mean they necessarily get better or more mature (looking at you, Lana del Rey.)
The storylines intersect with each other, stand alone, and reflect each other. But through it all, the listener never gets bored or lost in the story. Despite the variety of content covered, the album maintains a fantastic flow, with songs that are both heart wrenching and simply fun.
Jules’ favorite song
The outlier to this gentle album, and my personal favorite song, is “no body, no crime,” which calls back to Swift’s country origins. The song spins a tale of a fictional friend Este, who Swift concludes has been murdered by her husband after confronting the man about an alleged affair. This song is an exciting addition to all the classic “murdering an abusive husband” songs that go down in country music: “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks, “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert, and “Two Black Cadillacs” by Carrie Underwood being among the plethora. It’s “Gone Girl” if Jack Antonoff was on the soundtrack, and it’s got a way of getting stuck in your head all day. I personally love it when Swift goes “country girl,” and as she dives more into this new genre, her music-making beginnings begin to protrude again once more. Additionally, the haunting beginning — which is simply the low rumbles of “He did it….he did it….” — is an unforgettable veer into the dark fictional tale.
Reyna’s favorite song
“Evermore” closes off the album with a simple piano ballad featuring Bon Iver, which shares names with the album. While, “Tis the damn season,” and “gold rush,” follow closely behind in my favorite songs, “evermore’s” hopeful yet melancholic feel and haunting lyrics can’t help but pull me in each time I listen. The song has strong mental health themes as the story follows a narrator who is immersed in a deep depression, however by the end of the song the narrator comes to the realization that their pain would not last forever. The audience listens in as the narrator grows from singing, “I had a feeling so peculiar that this pain would be for evermore,” to “I had a feeling so peculiar this pain wouldn’t be for evermore.” It’s a hopeful message that doesn’t simplify the experience of pain and instead showcases the journey of healing and growth. At first glance it may appear as a melancholy end to the album, but instead I think it serves as a reminder that working through pain is a journey, one that may feel impossible at the outset, but in the end is worth it.
Swift has done it again, to put it plainly, and I wouldn’t change the album in any way. Even if the music isn’t my usual go-to genre, I’m pulled into the drama and allure of the dark music and expert lyricism. I think everyone could find a track on the album that they could enjoy, regardless of their normal music taste, which really speaks to this album’s flexibility and range. The stories paint a vivid picture into the mind of the listener, as though Swift herself is by their side, telling them a story in vivid detail. Swift is on fire, and although I may have a stronger attachment to “Folklore” as of right now, this album was a holiday present like no other. 9/10 torches.
“Evermore” is a work of art. The fact that this is Swift’s second album in less than five months is impressive, and the fact that both albums flow effortlessly together while maintaining their independence just showcase Swift’s vast artistic abilities. The album itself is ridden with beautiful, sad, and catchy songs–it is easy to become immersed into the music. I think the thing I am most taken with is Swift’s ability as a singer-songwriter to take me into her stories, that even when I can’t relate to the storylines themselves, I can emphasize with her characters. 9.5/10 torches.