Taylor Swift Stuns for a Second Time in 2020 With evermore

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Taylor Swift

Swift stylized the album title as well as its tracks entirely in lowercase.

Aidan Johnson, Staff Reporter

For the second time in 2020, Taylor Swift released a surprise album. “I’m elated to tell you that my 9th studio album, and folklore’s sister record, will be out tonight at midnight eastern,” she says in an Instagram post on Thursday, December 10th. “To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs.” 

The “we” Swift mentions is none other than The National’s Aaron Dessner, Lorde and Lana Del Rey collaborator Jack Antonoff, and her boyfriend Joe Alwyn, whose pen name, “William Bowery,” is credited on the album. This is the same team that helped Swift write hit summer album folklore, which has been met with critical acclaim with multiple Grammy nominations. This same team is present on “evermore,” Swift’s “sister album,” as she calls it, to folklore.” Both it and evermore were written during the pandemic and released within twenty-four hours of being announced.

The collaborative effort poured into evermore by Swift and her same team as before stands as a continuation of “folklore”  Swift travels “deeper into the folklorian woods” as she puts it, offering another album that highlights the very best of Swift’s alluring vocals mixed with enchanting lyrics that tell brilliantly well-crafted stories. Furthermore, evermore continues folklore’s trend of taking Swift’s country roots and mixing them with indie-folk. 

Opener willow serves as the album’s lead single, a bright and cheery song about finding love, compared to a willow led by the wind: “Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind.”

The second song, champagne problems tells the story of a woman who refuses a marriage proposal and is both a sad and beautiful track, accompanied with light piano notes in the back of Swift’s light vocals. 

gold rush, akin to Little Big Town’s smash hit Girl Crush is about self-reflection and imagining what it would be like to be someone else. Swift describes a beautiful girl with long blonde hair who the protagonist of the song envies. 

tis the damn season tells the story of a young woman returning home from L.A. for the holidays, a fitting release given the holiday season. The song reflects on her failures to make it big in the city as she adjusts to coming back to her hometown, and its title pokes sarcastically at the holiday season.

tolerate it is less upbeat than its two predecessors. Swift’s vocals are strong and raw for an overall powerful, somber track. The song explores the protagonist who feels as though they are not good enough for their partner.

Album standout no body, no crime brings in rock band HAIM, and, similarly to The Chicks’ 2000 country hit Goodbye, Earl, is a tale of sisterhood that ends with a twist. Swift is joined by the Haim sisters, who add sweet background vocals and elevate Swift’s voice even higher. Added with the excellent lyrical storytelling, this song is one of the most well-composed of all songs on evermore.

happiness, contrary to what the name suggests, is perhaps the saddest sounding song on the album, next to champagne problems and tolerate it. This song details just how essential every relationship is to help us reach our happiest selves, and that grief is only temporary. The chorus is also one of the most well-written parts of the album: “There’ll be happiness after you but there was happiness because of you, too, both of these things can be true, there is happiness.”

dorothea is my favorite track on the album, and perhaps even my favorite song out of both folklore and evermore. Swift’s vocals are stunning on this track where the protagonist reflects on a high school relationship that never came to be with the titular Dorothea. “Are you still the same soul that I met under the bleachers? I guess I’ll never know.” Swift sings poignantly. If there were one song to listen to off of this album, I would say that dorothea is that song.

Aaron Dessner, who helped write both folklore and evermore recruits the rest of his band The National for the ninth track, coney island, a slow journey reminiscing on a past relationship amidst the lights and attractions of Coney Island.

ivy uses colorful imagery of plants growing on a house to symbolize the protagonist, who is happily in a “dreamland” but continues to be tempted by someone they are falling in love with, and is a delightfully pretty track.

cowboy like me is, in my opinion, the least interesting track on the album that tells the story of two lovers who seem to be too similar for their own good.

long story short is a delightfully upbeat track. The song twists the popular phrase it is named after into a compelling tale of how the protagonist has found happiness with their lover.

marjorie is Swift’s most personal track on the album, where she sings about her late grandmother, whom the song is named after. Swift cites her favorite line as “Never be so kind, you forget to be clever. Never be so clever, you forget to be kind.” Swift reflects on her relationship with her grandmother, expressing her deep love. Swift cites her grandmother, who was a famous opera singer,  as one of her greatest influences. In the background of the track, she samples her grandmother’s old recordings, which enhances the song greatly and adds an intense emotional punch. 

The penultimate track, closure features a chorus with short, sharp notes that distinguish this track from the rest of the album. The piano accompaniment paired with Swift’s beautiful vocals makes for an empowering track in which the protagonist “doesn’t need closure” from their estranged lover, deciding that the pain is no longer worth caring about.

The final song and title track evermore features band Bon Iver, who was previously featured in folklore’s Grammy-nominated exile, which was one of my favorite songs on folklore. While evermore is also very good, it doesn’t quite measure up to the heights of its predecessor. evermore is a sweet ballad that further strengthens the bond between Taylor Swift and Bon Iver introduced in folklore, and its only flaw is that it lasts a little longer than it should.

The greatest flaw present in the album is that it does little to distinguish itself from folklore, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as folklore is an ingenious album that left me wanting more. evermore delivers well on this wish, making for a marvelous companion album. I couldn’t possibly say which album is better between folklore and evermore, although I can say that both are my most favorite of 2020. evermore is an excellent companion to the already stellar folklore, and gives the listener even more of the enchantment that Swift’s July album introduced. Swift shines once again with her ninth studio album, evermore.