Every aspect of this album release feels different and very un-Taylor-Swift-y.
Normally, she's very strategic, planned, thought-out, with months of singles before we get the full album. Folklore dropped out of nowhere! No big lead up. No teases on social media. It was like she was at home on a Thursday night, and was like, 'hmmm I think I'll release my 8th studio album tomorrow.' And WOW! Are we glad she did!
The other very obvious difference for this album is the music itself. It's not the sugary-sweet pop that we're used to. Nor the country vibes when she first started out. Instead, it's moody, slow, simple, and indie!
Did Taylor Swift just made an alternative album?
I mean, her one collab 'Exile' is with Bon Iver and most of the songs were produced by the National's Aaron Dessner, for crying out loud!
Another kicker is that Taylor Swift songs in the past are about her own experiences with life, love and loss… all from her perspective. But the majority of 'Folklore' songs are about fictional stories!
And it's some of Taylor's best song-writing ever.
Someone on Twitter summed up the feel of it perfectly, saying the album was as if you walked into an old library and the books are literally singing their stories to you.
A few standouts for me is The Last Great American Dynasty which is a made up narrative about the real family that used to live in Taylor's Rhode Island mansion.
Listen out for three connected songs about a love triangle where each song is written from three perspectives - Cardigan, August, and Betty.
My personal favourite track is Invisible String, which is about Taylor and her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn's relationship. It explores the theme of fate and how they were both living a path that eventually joins up so that they would meet. Cuuute!
Joe might've also had more to do with these songs than we realised too. A few tracks have 'William Bowery' credited as a co-writer. But no one can find any info on that name. As we all know, Taylor is known to have used a fake name for songwriting in the past, so it wouldn't be the craziest theory that this mysterious co-writer is Joe Alwyn himself!
William is the name of Joe's composer great-grandfather, and Bowery is a New York hotel where Taylor and Joe would frequent during the start of their relationship.
She was supposed to be headlining Glastonbury and playing her last album Lover live. But being stuck at home during the lockdown with nothing much to do, she got super creative and has released one of her best songwriting albums ever!
The only criticism I have for 'Folklore' is that it could have been edited down to be shorter. 16 songs of the same floaty vibe is a long time!
BUT GO AND LISTEN TO IT!
4.5/5 Steph Stars⭐