Taylor’s Step Back Into the Woods

A Review of Swifts 8th studio Album: Folklore

Taylor Swift VEVO

Taylor Swift never fails to surprise us with each new album. As she is famous for switching genres, Folklore gives off a folk/indie vibe that we would never expect from the pop breakup anthem genius. The album covers a photoshoot mixed with the acoustic songs and gives off cottage core vibes that left everyone amazed. Not only did she write another genius album, but dropped it perfectly as well. Announcing her album the day she dropped it, she avoided the prejudgement and hate she received on her last two albums. Folklore is arguably the “indie record that’s much cooler than mine.”

A picture from the Folklore album photoshoot. (Taylor Swift’s Instagram)

The album begins with “The 1”, a beautiful record that starts with a piano melody that sets the tone for the entire album which is reminiscent, simple, and beautiful. The lyrics are nothing like the previous breakup lyrics that she is famous for where now she is explaining a past love which she has gotten over but still wonders if there was anything differently she could have done to save the relationship. The next song on the album is “Cardigan,” which also dropped with a cinematic music video and really set the cottage core vibes for the album. The music video is a mix of scenes of Swift in beautiful forests and nature scenes.

A defining feature of Folklore is the unique storytelling in most of the songs. Swift wanted to create an album that shows different perspectives and tells stories from different people. Taylor said herself that “I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t,” and it resulted in some of the best storytelling in any Taylor Swift album. The first song that does this is “The Last Great American Dynasty.” This song was amazingly written about the person who previously owned her Rhode Island mansion. The first line in the song is “Rebekah rode up on the afternoon train,” where Taylor begins to tell the story of Rebekah Harkness, the widowed misfit who fled her town after the death of her husband.

A picture from the Folklore album photoshoot. (Taylor Swift’s Instagram)

The next song in her album is “Exile” featuring Bon Iver, an amazing indie-folk band. Vernon and Swift created a beautiful duet, both singing from the perspective of being an ex-lover. The chorus reveals the feelings behind a breakup and the feeling of not being home anymore. Both Swift and Vernon explain the feeling of being “in exile.” The next song on the album is “My Tears Ricochet” and “Mirrorball”. Mirrorball is a more interesting song in terms of lyrics; however, it could be referencing how she is comparing herself to a mirror, how she reflects the different sides of herself. It was also saying how she sometimes tries to be and reflect on what the other person wants them to be.

“Seven” is the slowest song on the album, and the lyrics seem to have influenced the album’s cover. The first lyrics being “please, picture me, in the trees,” just like the aesthetic album cover of Taylor in the woods. The next track, “August”, seems to be one of the more popular songs among fans. August gives off the vibes of a youthful summer romance, that had been just that, and when “august slipped away,” so had the romance. The lyrics give Taylor a chance to portray her voice in range in an amazing way.

“This Is Me Trying” is one of the most meaningful and memorable tracks on the album and one of my favorites as well. The song is Taylor Swift admitting some of the mistakes in her past that led her to some of the breakups she has been through, and admitting this is her attempt to apologize and explain how she is trying to be better. This song is similar to “Back to December,” where she swallows her pride and says “sorry for that night.” “This Is Me Trying” is a song most people can relate to and is amazing even if unrelatable.

A picture from the Folklore album photoshoot. (Taylor Swift’s Instagram)

The next song on the track is “Illicit Affairs” which has some of my favorite lyrics on the entire album. The beautiful acoustic sounding song mixed with the thoughtfully written lyrics makes a mixture of both a beautiful and sad masterpiece. The lyrics “you know damn well, for you, I would ruin myself, a million little times” perfectly sums up the meaning and story of the song. The next track is “Invisible String,” which has a steady and very simple guitar melody throughout the entire song, and while it sounds repetitive, it sounds very beautiful and allows for the lyrics to pop out more.

The next two tracks are “Mad Woman” and “Epiphany.” “Mad Woman” is just a continuation of the feud between Scooter Braun and Taylor Swift. However, the lyrics also refer to what it’s like being labeled as “emotional” and “crazy” and what it is like being a female in the music industry. The touching and sophisticated-sounding song, “Epiphany,” is one of the saddest songs on the album about the lives that have been taken in wars as well as the lives being taken to COVID-19. Epiphany is sad but also very touching, and is Swift’s way of reaching out to the essential workers during the pandemic.

A picture from the Folklore album photoshoot. (Folklore Vinyl cover)

The last three tracks are “Betty”, “Peace”, and “Hoax”. “Betty” has a bluegrass type melody and the lyrics tell a long story. “Peace” and “Hoax” are both the last songs on the album, and are both sad and beautiful, portraying Taylor Swift’s emotions and thoughts in a gorgeous melody. “Peace” is a song about Taylor always being there for her lover, where the person often feels as though she is violating his “peace.” “Hoax” has the piano melody throughout the entire song, which makes the song so peaceful and beautiful while Taylor sings about the toxic relationship that is too hard to leave. She uses the metaphors “an eclipsed sun,” “a smoking gun,” and “a twisted knife” to refer to the dark person she had a relationship with.owever, the way she began the song with “my only one” lets us know that this person is hard to walk away from.

Three of the most important and interesting songs on the album are “Cardigan,” “August,” and “Betty.” All three are a detailed storyline about three different teenagers in a love triangle. The song “Cardigan” is supposedly from the perspective of “Betty” where she explains the sad relationship details between herself and a character named James. Some fans theorize whether James is a girl or a boy but, ultimately, we don’t know. The song “Betty” is a song from James’ perspective, where James is apologizing for cheating on her, and “August” is a song from the perspective of the person James cheated on Betty with during one summer. These three songs are so genius and beautifully written to tell the story of three different perspectives and completely tie the Folklore album together.

Folklore is one of the best albums we have been given from Taylor Swift so far. Taking a closer look into these beautiful sounding songs, we see these amazing stories all carefully and amazingly written. We also see how she takes a spin from being a pop artist to writing an alternative/indie album and does it perfectly. I recommend listening to Folklore over and over again.