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Taylor Swift’s ‘evermore’ brings ‘closure’ to 2020

| Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Diane Park | The Observer

‘Twas the damn season for Taylor Swift to outdo herself yet again.

On Dec. 10, she announced the upcoming release of her ninth studio album “evermore” at midnight, a surprise drop to match the way she delivered sister record “folklore” in July. The metaphor of wandering deeper into the “folklorian woods” which she used when describing why she wrote another album in this newest style fits “evermore” well. It is the darker, deeper and wintry twin to “folklore”’s lighter, gentler summer project.

One of the best parts of “evermore” is its connection to “folklore.” In the first few moments of my first listen of lead track “willow,” I felt that “evermore” would be just as good as “folklore,” but a bit spicier. “willow” bridges the divide between the two albums with a sound similar to “invisible string” off of “folklore.” There are so many more connections back to “folklore” in the song’s music video, fully detailed in this explainer. As an opening track, I like “willow” better than “folklore”’s “cardigan.”  

Our Scene Editor Ryan Israel made some fantastic discoveries about “champagne problems,” and a good friend of mine pointed out that the key Swift uses in this song is similar to the one used in “Daylight” and that the chord progression is the same as “New Year’s Day” and “All Too Well.” With that observation, I predict “champagne problems” will age really well. 

While I didn’t completely understand “gold rush” at first with its upbeat, shimmery sound, I have come to appreciate it more as I interpret it as Swift sticking gold in finding partner Joe Alwyn, and while we all want her to share him with us, she won’t because she wants to keep him for herself — which I respect. I like the theme of it, too. Swift seems to take on the mature perspective of serious relationships and marriage in multiple songs on “evermore,” “happiness” being one of her most powerful representations of growth.  

“‘tis the damn season” really draws on holiday hometown nostalgia, which is punctuated by the guitar that echoes throughout, and “tolerate it” has some of the best imagery I’ve ever experienced in a Swift song.

The spice I referred to earlier can be found in songs that diverge from the airy and whimsical tone Swift set with “folklore.” Here, I mainly mean “no body, no crime,” a return to Swift’s folksy and country roots featuring the HAIM sisters. “cowboy like me” carries on that twang, even if in a softer, more ballad-like form. “closure” might be the sassiest song on the album, and it rings true to its name as the second-to-last song on the project.

“dorothea” with its upbeat piano crooning and single feminine name in the title of the song reminds me a lot of some songs by The Lumineers. “coney island,” a song with “folklore” collaborator Aaron Dessner and The National, is a bit sleepy for me, but artistic and beautiful all the same, and ”ivy” and “marjorie” are the most delicately detailed songs on “evermore” in lyrics and sound. 

“long story short” looks back with wisdom on some of the pre-”reputation” events that Swift went through, calling to mind “Getaway Car.” The title track grew on me for sure, but the one hiccup I have with it is that bon iver’s voice and pace jolts me out of the reverie Swift provides while wrapping up her second ethereal masterpiece. 

It’s clear Taylor Swift wasted no time this year. She definitely provided a light at the end of my 2020, which she had already brightened considerably with “folklore.”

Here’s hoping this isn’t the last time I review a T Swizzle album for Scene — prove me wrong Taylor! While I anxiously await Swift’s “FolkLovermore” tour to combine her last three albums, “Lover,” “folklore” and “evermore,” I wish you all a brighter 2021.

Album: “evermore”

Artist: Taylor Swift

Label: Republic Records / Taylor Swift

Favorite Songs: “‘tis the damn season,” “ivy,” “marjorie”

If you like: Lana del Ray, Ed Sheeran

Shamrocks: 4.5 out of 5

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