After their notorious entanglement on the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift has pulled a Beyoncé by releasing a shock album.
However “Folklore” — which the famous person teased on Thursday earlier than dropping at midnight — just isn’t the summer season album to flee out of your quarantine doldrums. There aren’t any splashy summer season smashes — resembling 2012’s “We Are By no means Ever Getting Again Collectively,” 2014’s “Shake It Off” and even final yr’s “You Want To Calm Down” — ready to occur right here.
Written throughout Swift’s quarantine, her eighth studio album arrives lower than a yr after “Lover,” an LP that had returned the singer-songwriter to peppier pop following the darker “Repute.” Nicely, that is one other reset — and an much more radical one.
The desolate, black-and-white album cowl — that includes a tiny Swift trying misplaced within the woods — captures the sense of isolation that she should have been feeling when she wrote this report. After all, that’s a sense we will all relate to in 2020 — and Swift nails it right here.
It’s startling to listen to the 10-time Grammy winner sound so downbeat.
“I’m doing good, I’m on some new s - - t,” she sings, as if catching up along with her followers at the start of album opener “the 1,” which units the quiet tone for “Folklore.”
Little question, it is a new Taylor, who sounds as if she has gone inside laborious throughout lockdown, however clearly it freed her creativity. And you are feeling such as you’re proper there along with her at her piano, because the low-key temper and lo-fi-ish manufacturing — to not point out, all of the music titles are in lowercase — make this her most intimate album ever.
“Folklore” finds Swift digging deeper into the alt-folk of “Lover’s” standout title observe. On “exile,” she even groups up with Bon Iver — who, curiously, has additionally collaborated with Swift rival Kanye West prior to now — and the result’s an aching breakup music that mirrors how many people in all probability felt: like we broke up with the surface world this yr. When she sings, “Now I’m in exile seein’ you out,” the loneliness is actual.
That haunting feeling — ghostly background vocals and all — lingers on “my tears ricochet,” which options the traditional Taylor lyric, “And if I’m lifeless to you, why are you on the wake?” The attractive imagery in that music title alone is an prompt indicator of Swift’s powers as a songwriter.
Identical goes for “Invisible String,” which, with its lilting pluckiness, is likely one of the happier moments right here. However even when she’s extra upbeat on songs resembling this and “mirrorball,” it’s a muted type of pleasure.
However principally, “Folklore” — whose greatest flaw is maybe missing a killer single — is all about wistful reflection, with Swift in a very nostalgic temper on songs resembling “seven” and “that is me making an attempt.” Musing a couple of heartbreak she will’t shake on the latter, she sings, “You’re a flashback in a movie reel.”
And when Swift will get “misplaced within the reminiscence” on “august,” it’s possible you’ll end up eager for the way in which that summer season was.