On the week of her 31st birthday, Taylor Swift announced the continuation to her exquisite folklore album, and no one had the proper time to prepare. But now that we are post evermore, we can confirm, we are yet again in awe.
We covered folklore song by song on an episode of Marvelous Geeks Podcast a few months ago, and we had no idea what would be in store for us today. Swift’s ninth studio album evermore, carries folklore’s unbridled, ethereal magic to a stellar little corner that’s rough around the edges and whimsically harrowing. It’s hard not to compare albums when they’re this close in release date, and up until this moment folklore was my favorite, it still might be actually, but evermore is special–it’s the continuation of stories that needed to be told.
The fact that Swift needed to continue telling these stories is artistry that needs to be acknowledged. There’s something so commendable about music that’s been written because it needed to be as opposed to because it was obligatory. While a few of tracks aren’t my cup of tea where sound is concerned, evermore is lyrically captivating. And that’s the thing with Swift, her lyrics are simple, but so often, exquisitely evocative. It’s so easy to have a visceral reaction to emotions even when they aren’t ones you’ve felt yourself.
Swift’s opening track “willow” carries on where “cardigan” ends and the music video is just as poignantly remarkable as the former.
“willow” is a fantastic start to the album, and lyrically stunning, but it’s the music video that adds that much more emphasis to the track. Among some other favorites are “champagne problems,” “tis the damn season,” “tolerate it,” happiness,” “long story,” “closure,” and “ivy,” but before we get into those, we need to talk about “coney island” ft. The National.
When it comes to music, so much is dependent on my mood. I’m not always in the mood to listen to certain artists, but I am always in the mood to listen to The National. Matt Berninger’s voice is amongst my favorites and lyrically, I could swear, each song looks straight into my soul. I don’t know if I mentioned needing a Swift collaboration with The National in our episode for folklore, but I know I’ve mentioned it to friends repeatedly. So you know that’s the first song I listened to and the one I can’t stop replaying. It’s evermore’s “exile” and I’m not even a little mad about it. That said “coney island” is harrowing poetry. It’s rough. It’s dark. It’s painful. It can evoke something so visually captivating with words alone, and that’s it’s strongest achievement. “And if this is the long haul / How’d we get here so soon? / Did I close my fist around something delicate / Did I shatter you?” It hits. It hits hard. The haunting delicacy of longing, confusion, and heartbreak is the essence of the song, and it’s perfect. Simply put, perfect.
And that bridge. Am I going to lose my breath singing along to both parts again like I did with “exile”? Absolutely.
Speaking of “exile,” it’s time to talk about “evermore” and the fact that it concludes the album with remarkable ease.
I replay my footsteps on each stepping stone
Trying to find the one where I went wrong
Addressed to the fire
And I was catching my breath“EVERMORE” TAYLOR SWIFT FEAT. BON IVER
Staring out an open window
Catching my death
And I couldn’t be sure
I had a feeling so peculiar
That this pain would be for
Bon Iver on the chorus is like a dagger to the soul. This one takes “exile’s” uncertainty and gives the aftermath a heartbreak I can’t stop thinking about. It’s moving, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s outright a beautifully frustrating form of storytelling as strangers watching from the outside. folklore and evermore have spoiled us with Bon Iver, and we just can’t imagine an album where they aren’t featured now.
And then finally there’s “ivy,” while I typically don’t like songs like this, the quick-paced lyrics move so effortlessly it’s hard not to picture the story that’s presented to us. It’s hard not to root for whatever’s happening. Plus those lyrics. “Stop you putting roots in my dreamland / My house of stone, your ivy grows / And now I’m covered in you.”
There’s a lot of great tracks in this one. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I could listen to “marjorie” again, at least not for a while. I lost my grandmother last autumn and Swift’s encapsulation of missing someone is beautifully represented in the song she wrote for her grandmother. “The autumn chill that wakes me up / You loved the amber skies so much / Long limbs and frozen swims / You’d always go past where our feet could touch.” While this might be the song I won’t be able to revisit anytime soon, it is without question, the most poetically evocative, the most touching, and lyrically the strongest.
evermore is a gem, a gorgeously lyrical gem that encapsulates the need for storytelling. You cannot disassociate it with folklore, they go hand in hand in both achievements and flaws, making both the albums absolutely vital in the music industry. I’ll always take the stories that people wrote down just to get out of their own heads, the stories that might not always make sense but come from a place deep within where someone somewhere will take away something special from it. Where there’s honesty in music, there’s a treasure, and evermore is one of those treasures.
What’s your favorite track off of evermore?
I love Champagne Problems (which surprised me as it’s not a happy ending) and ‘Tis the Damn Season