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From the album’s first track “the 1” opening with the line “I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit” Taylor Swift let us know that this surprise album of Summer 2020, would be nothing like she had ever released before and there would be no holding back. Since the initial release of her first album Taylor Swift in 2006, Swift has become a household name and showed her wide range of musical prowess from country, to pop, to her newest endeavor into the folk genre with her most emotionally ambitious album yet: Folklore.
Folklore was released in the Summer of 2020 when most of the world was deep into the coronavirus pandemic and had accepted that this summer would essentially be a loss. While in many ways it was, musically was not one of them. When most Americans spent the early part of 2020 baking banana bread and learning to make whipped coffee, Taylor Swift sat down to write an album that would elicit an emotional listening experience that was so desperately needed by so many people.
Every song is incredibly emotionally deep and like no album Swift has ever written. It reveals her true gifts for storytelling through each and every song. The album is complete with a black and white album cover and dreamlike aesthetic that Swift kept up via Instagram.
Within the album there is a trilogy of songs that each play different parts in a love triangle within the album. The first of these songs is the second track on the album “Cardigan”, followed by “august”, and finally “betty”. These songs follow the relationship between a high school couple, Betty and James, as well as an unnamed girl who James cheats on Betty with one Summer. “Cardigan” comes from the perspective of Betty, “august” is from the unnamed, presumably younger girl that James cheats with, and finally, “Betty” is from James’ perspective as an apology to Betty.
The level of storytelling within this album shows Taylor Swift’s true talent and proves her wide range as an artist. This album was followed in late 2020 with her latest album “Evermore” that fits as Folklore’s perfect pair and carries along in the folk genre and fits in with the dreamlike aesthetic. The album is complete with a feature on the song “exile” from indie artist Bon Iver, truly providing something for every listener.
Over the years Swift has received criticism for only writing songs about her romantic relationships. This criticism is deeply rooted in the sexism of the music industry and she has often been dismissed even after her extreme success as a serious artist and said to only make music for teenage girls. Her latest albums should be proof that she is an incredibly serious and talented artist with a wide skill set. Folklore is like nothing else Swift has released before and caters not only to her fanbase, but to an entirely new set of music lovers.
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