Lush. Gorgeous. Ethereal. Atmospheric. These are all words you’re probably gonna read during my review of the new TAYLOR SWIFT album folklore. And there’s a great reason for that. Because all of them apply in this situation, DUH! With her eighth studio outing, this young woman has thrown us a combination of fastball, slider, change-up, and curveball. And I am so happy she has done so. This is 100% an album she needed to make. Lyrically and musically she takes us to that place again and again, while also going dark on more than one occasion. And as much as I hate to be cliché, the maturity shown on this work is phenomenal. We are seeing a totally different side of this songstress, and I am here for it.
Being in lockdown has affected all of us in many different ways, right? Some of us choose to while away that time eating and drinking. And others just decide to drop an album that makes the world sit up and take notice. Guess which option Taylor chose…you already know. Opener “the 1” is very powerful in its simplicity, yet the words cut like a knife, while “cardigan” is one of those songs that smacks you upside the head with its lyrics. “the last great american dynasty” speaks for itself, and is without a doubt one of the best and most powerful songs she’s ever written. “exile (ft. bon iver)” is really great, because I dig the back and forth between Swift and whoever sings lead for that band with a stupid name. Either way, cool tune!
“my tears ricochet” is sooooooo beautiful and rather dark, something that will always have my attention. I mean, if you’re listening to this disc and the song doesn’t jump out at you, well then you need a check-up from the neck up. “Mirrorball” is an ethereal number that damn near floats away before you grab that balloon string; meanwhile “seven” is a pretty little ditty that also shows that there are some secrets better left unrevealed. “august” falls into the lush and gorgeous category, and you can hear the drummer’s paintbrushes, which is pretty cool. Plus, let’s face it, that hook will have us going for a while, won’t it? Beautiful…
“this is me trying” is for me, the most exceptional piece of music on this whole record. It is now in contention for my Song of the Year, and I have to listen to it at least five times before I can move on. The lyrics cut me right to the bone, while the music is perfect. The song creates an atmosphere that will make any person reflect on their personal choices, and hopefully reach out for help. I wanted to, and tried to kill myself 20 years ago. I did not succeed, and this is one of those songs that for me, is a ray of hope in a very dark world. “illicit affairs” has an acoustic guitar that teases a good time, but we all know how that works out. News flash: it doesn’t. And people get hurt. This one is serious and full of venom, by the way!
Holy Fuck, “invisible string” will no doubt thin the blood of many a man, but at the same time it is 100% accurate. Plus, her use of not only acoustic guitar, but different colors to differentiate between different situations is fucking genius. Things get a little scary with “mad woman” but I can’t be mad atcha, because not only in this track, but also in everyday life, women go through a lot of shit thanks to men. So kudos to Ms. Swift for this one. I didn’t know where “epiphany” was going at first listen, but here’s the deal, people: it is US. Right here, and right now. “Hold her hand through plastic now,” and “Doc I think she’s crashing now.” This is a song about our COVID problem in our fucking country!!
“betty” is very interesting because this is a tale that is told from a female point of view, and guess what? She’s hot for that other girl, but she fucked up somewhere down the line, and now has to pay for it. So…will they or won’t they? Maybe the next album will tell. The bass-y tones of “peace” really help to get that build-up going before we realize that we’re getting power without a bunch of drums and other noise. Closer “hoax” is absolutely gorgeous, and the piano-driven track is a perfect way to end a perfect record.
With one stroke, TAYLOR SWIFT has delivered the album we needed, right here, right now in 2020. folklore (out now, Republic Records) is beautiful and pure, almost like the work of some new artist, one who hasn’t been cranking out hits for 14 years. But we all know she has been doing just that. The songs on this disc are very understated, with zero Pop bombast, but pack a lot of impact for everyone who knows what she is capable of. In these uncertain times I truly believe that this is a record that is timely…and very necessary. Thank you, Ms. Swift for a beautiful collection once again. I know Miss Kate loves it. The world is a much better place with your music in it.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM