Taylor Swift has always been a woman of surprise, whether it’s surprising her fans upfront or releasing surprise music. Earlier this summer, she dropped her eighth studio album, folklore, out of nowhere; she also released an accompanying concert film/documentary about how the Grammy-nominated album came to be over on Disney+. However, Swift doesn’t seem to be done with her surprises yet.
Yesterday, the singer-songwriter announced the release of her ninth studio album titled evermore. On her social media accounts, she described the album as the sister record to folklore.
Swift explained that after folklore, they simply couldn’t stop writing more songs.
“To try and put it more poetically,” she said, “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. We chose to wander deeper in.”
Honestly, we should have known that something was up when Swift posted a photo last month with the caption “not a lot going on at the moment,” which was reminiscent of what she posted prior to folklore‘s surprise drop.
Ever and Evermore
Following in the footsteps of its sibling, evermore turned out to be another album that turned images in the mind and imagination of Taylor Swift into characters with stories.
The album’s opener, “willow” sets the tone for 15-track work (17 if you get the deluxe album). Swift described the song as being about the desire and complexity of wanting someone, like casting a spell to make that person fall in love with you.
In “tis the damn season,” we learn about Hollywood actress Dorothea, who rekindles with an old flame after retuning home; we later get to hear the flame’s side of the story in “dorothea” later on.
Contrasting with stories of love, “no body, no crime” deals with a tale of infidelity, and the consequences that potentially follow afterwards; this song also features Este and Danielle Haim of the sister-trio band HAIM.
She touches on the feelings of losing a loved one and forever keeping them in your memories with “marjorie,” a tribute to her late grandmother.
Swift also returns to her country roots with “gold rush” and “cowboy like me,” as well as the pop sound she crafted for herself in “long story short.”
The songwriting that takes place during the folklore-evermore era sets these apart from Swift’s previous eras during her career; while those focus heavily on bright aesthetics and performances, this era highlights on dialogue to set up the tales she wants to tell to her listeners.
By reconnecting with Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner and his band, The National, William Bowery (a.k.a. Swift’s boyfriend, Joe Alwyn) and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, she expanded the world of folklore by adding more emotion and feeling to these ever-growing narratives she created.
In a letter written to her fans, Swift said she wanted to surprise her fans right before her 31st birthday (this Sunday, December 13) as a thank you for the love they have shown her during past birthdays; she also said that she knows how lonely this holiday season may be for several people, saying that evermore is for the people who turn to music to cope with missing loved ones.
She also said that she’s unsure of what’s to come next following evermore‘s release.
“I have no idea what will come next,” she said. “I have no idea about a lot of things these days so I’ve clung to the one thing that keeps me connected to you all. That thing has and always be music. And may it continue, evermore.”
Taylor Swift granted herself more freedom to create what she wanted and through that, she created music filled with feeling and color through this new indie sound. Even if this isn’t the route of music she stays with, she took a risk that matured the sound she already had, and man did it work out beautifully.