In July of 2020, Taylor Swift released her ninth studio album, “folklore,” giving us the music we needed to hear during quarantine. Not even half a year later, “evermore,” the sister album to “folklore,” was released. This is the first time Swift has followed up on an album in so little time, compared to her usual two-year gap between albums. Swift stated in one of her Instagram posts, “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.”
In this magical, folkloric, one-hour fairytale, you can expect to hear songs like, “no body, no crime” among others reminiscent of Swift’s country roots. Some of these songs are the closest thing Swift has written in regards to country music. In short, “evermore” is Swift’s extended stay in the folklorian forest, where she still explores and makes new discoveries.
Swift begins the album with “willow,” an unapologetic oath of love for another. “I’m begging for you to take my hand / Wreck my plans, that’s my man.” We have all been there before: so in love and willing to throw it all away for “the one.” Swift brings back the “wear your heart on your sleeve” vibe that stays consistent throughout most of her albums, especially in this song. Thus, it’s no surprise Swift made it the first song of the album.
It’s important to note the order of the first two songs and how they correspond to Taylor telling a love story — the second song “champagne problems” is the ending of the love story told in “willow.” The two contrast against one another. One is about finding love and leaving all your plans behind in the name of love, while the other is the absolute opposite. I commend Swift for being so open and vulnerable about herself in “Champagne Problems” and how some of the best love stories can come with a sad, bittersweet ending, where sometimes we’re the ones at fault.
Upon my first listen to “tis’ the damn season,” all I could think was how relatable this song is for anyone who has made the choice to move back home because of the pandemic while also leaving behind a loved one they couldn’t take with them, and vice versa. This is a song anyone can relate to if they find themselves in a predicament of distance and love where things seem to be out of our control. She sings, “I’m staying at my parent’s house, and the road not taken looks real good now.” Swift makes it clear that she didn’t realize that going back home might have been the best choice for her even though she left so much behind.
Another notable song off the album is “marjorie,” a song dedicated to Taylor’s grandmother who passed away back in 2003. “What died, didn’t stay dead”: the lyrics speak of how her grandmother’s words remain alive in her even today. Given the unfortunate circumstances of a global pandemic, some of us lost a loved one, and Swift conveys how this can make them even more prevalent and alive in your life. In a way, this song expresses a hauntingly beautiful loss where all we have left are the memories.
“Happiness” resonates with anyone looking for the better version of themselves after heartbreak. The organic lyrics speak of abuse and toxicity in a relationship, while also admitting that she too played a role in it. Swift ought to be commended for being so honest and acknowledging that there are two sides to the story. She takes accountability for her mistakes in the relationship. It’s rare to find a song where the artist calls themselves out and doesn’t paint a perfect picture of themselves. Swift makes it clear that she too had a role in the breakup; “No one teaches you what to do when a good man hurts you, and you know you hurt him too.”
The entire album was written during the ongoing pandemic, and Swift’s music has always told a story. Her music reels you in with alluring lyrics of detailed moments, personal confessions, and so much more. Her song, “All Too Well,” from her 2012 “Red” album, the last album Swift released that really left an imprint in her country career and seemed to foreshadow her semi-return to more acoustic roots: “I’d like to be my old self again / But I’m still trying to find it.” It seems Taylor reconnected with her old self again through “evermore” and somehow, it paved the way for her to begin this familiar, yet new music: “I haven’t met the new me yet.” From her song titled “Happiness,” she’s looking to be in a better place than where she is now, whereas in “All Too Well,” she seems to miss her old self. Somehow in this album, she found a middle ground. Instead of looking to her past, she looks forward to the future.