Taylor Swift announced the existence of her eighth album an uncharacteristic 17 hours prior to its release. The singer also revealed that it’d feature production from the National’s Aaron Dessner who produced and co-wrote much of the album alongside Aaron Dessner, alongside Taylor Swift’s regular collaborator, Jack Antonoff. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon also appears on the record, Jack Antonoff.
The pop titan announced its sudden release on Twitter on Thursday morning.
“Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening,” she wrote, likely referencing her canceled tour for her August 2019 album, “Lover.” And the Glastonbury where she was meant to headline. The global pandemic, of course, meant these plans were scrapped, leaving Swift with bountiful spare time. No longer locked into rehearsals or jetting around the globe performing to tens of thousands, she used these hours to write. “But there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore. Surprise!”
Swift had since stayed semi-quiet in 2020 since the release of her Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana,” in January. The results of these unforeseen quarantine writing sessions have come together on Swift’s new, eighth studio album, ‘Folklore’.
“Tonight, at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand-new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into,” she said.
“Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed,” Swift wrote in her announcement “My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world. That’s the side of uncertainty I can get on board with. Love you guys so much.”
Folklore arrived on Friday (July 24th) along with a whopping sixteen (16) tracks. There are 16 songs on the regular edition of Folklore, while the eight deluxe CDs and eight vinyl records will include the bonus track “the lakes.”
Here’s the full track list for ‘Folklore’:
- The 1
- The Last Great American Dynasty
- Exile (Feat. Bon Iver)
- My Tears Ricochet
- This Is Me Trying
- Illicit Affairs
- Invisible String
- Mad Woman
- Betty Peace
- Hoax Bonus
- The Lakes (Deluxe edition bonus track)
How to listen to Taylor Swift’s Folklore
The regular edition of TS8, Folklore, is available on all major platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music.
Swift’s 2019 album, ‘Lover’, was a return of sorts to her lush, romantic compositions of old. Those songs were visions of spring in pastel pink and purple, following the winter storms raging on ‘Reputation’. Folklore, then, is the hot ache of late summer, where infatuation and nostalgia thrive; the scent of woodsmoke and red wine hangs in the air. Written and recorded in isolation, it includes collaborations with Swift’s “musical heroes”. There are no pop bangers here, just exquisite, piano-based poetry.
Folklore’s songs care less for those showstopping one-liners and more about the small details. “I have this dream/ You’re doing cool s***,” Swift sings on “the 1”. “Having adventures on your own/ You meet some woman on the internet/ And take her home.”
“Cardigan” continues what was touched upon on Reputation highlight “Call It What You Want”. Scarred by the public’s constant scrutiny of her personal life, Swift is overjoyed to have found someone who doesn’t care about her past. Justin Vernon’s pummeling lower register contrasts perfectly with her ethereal intonations on “exile”. Swift’s vengeful streak appears on “mad woman”, not least with her debut use of the word “f***” in a song.
“Mirrorball”, written with Antonoff, is one of their best collaborations – it’s uninhibited, dreamlike, shimmering. The instrumentation builds like the swell of waves before they crash against the shore. Swift has always had a particular talent for describing secret behavior in exquisite detail – on Folklore she’s outdone herself. “Look at this idiotic fool that you made me,” she despairs on “illicit affairs”. “You taught me a secret language I can’t speak with anyone else/ And you know damn well/ For you I would ruin myself.” Arguably the most moving song on the album is “seven” – with its filigrees of violin and acoustic guitar – paying tribute to eternal childhood friendships.
‘Betty’, a sweet tune about high school romance written by Swift and the enigmatic Bowery, fuses this new folk-rock sound with moments of country we’ve not heard for several albums. ‘My Tears Ricochet’ feels like a sister to the Imogen Heap co-written ‘Clean’ from ‘1989’, only this time a megawatt pop song is encased in layered vocals and twinkling music box instrumentals.
‘Epiphany’ for the most part exhibits elegant melodies, glittering production and, crucially, Swift’s songwriting and lyricism pull it back from the brink.
In fact, it’s Swift’s vivid storytelling that makes ‘Folklore’ such an impressive album. This facet has always been a keystone in her music, but her discography twinkles with gems in which it’s heightened (the gut-punch couplet of “you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest” on ‘Red”s ‘All Too Well’; the rich description of a gaudy wedding in the title track to ‘Speak Now’).
‘Folklore’ is infused with this sort of storytelling. Take ‘The Last Great American Dynasty’, which is a contender for the best Taylor Swift song ever written. Describing one woman’s life crumbling around her, the descriptive lyrics evoke those of ’80s singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter, or the complex tales Bob Dylan spins in his lengthy, winding verses. ‘Invisible String’, filled with an unusual turn of phrase – “Bad was the blood of the song in the cab on your first trip to LA” – is a candid glimpse inside Swift’s current relationship. And, of course, there are plenty of pithy kiss-offs perfect for your next Instagram caption, the greatest arriving when Swift whispers “And if I’m dead to you why are you at the wake?” on ‘My Tears Ricochet’.
Having fallen out with her former label Big Machine Records, Taylor chose to go indie and release the Folklore album minus one; putting it out under just her name Taylor Swift and no label attached.
Over the course of seven albums, we’ve seen Swift evolve from a fresh-faced, teenage country crossover hopeful to sleek synth-pop chart-juggernaut. Each record has brought with its gradual changes – 2010’s ‘Speak Now’ was rockier and 2012’s ‘Red’ saw more pop-leaning production, and by the time we got to 2014’s ‘1989’ she’d cast the cowboy hat aside entirely for pure pop bangers. On album eight, Swift dives headfirst into the world of folk, alternative rock and indie.
‘Folklore’ feels fresh, forward-thinking and, most of all, honest. The glossy production she’s lent on for the past half-decade is cast aside for simpler, softer melodies and wistful instrumentation. It’s the sound of an artist who’s bored of calculated releases and wanted to try something different. Swift disappeared into the metaphorical woods while writing ‘Folklore’, and she’s emerged stronger than ever. Eight albums and 14 years into her career, it’s also thrilling to watch Swift continue to grow and evolve, showing that she can still surprise us in more ways than one.
Described by many as the album Taylor Swift was born to make, melancholic, more authentic and facile, ‘Folklore’ continues to wow many worldwide and applauding it for her introspective and emotionally raw delivery in the album.
Along the album’s release, Taylor premiered the music video track 02. Of the album- “Cardigan’. She wrote and directed the music video it as well: Watch it here:
‘Folklore’ has a total play time of 1Hour and 3minutes and is out NOW on all digital music streaming and downloading platforms. Don’t wait another moment — you can stream Folklore below. 😚