By Lauren Lippert
Yesterday not only marked the 10 year anniversary of One Direction but it also marked the release of Taylor Swift’s eighth album titled Folklore. Though the album was a shock to most, Swift’s new alternative genre is a unique more personable sound in comparison to her previous albums. This new sound stemmed from her imagination when in isolation.
Filled with mystical stories that depict reality and fiction, Folklore dives in deeper to unveil the stories of those learning to love, past memories of Swift’s grandfather, a 17-year-old learning to apologize, a widow getting revenge on those who cast her out.
“Pretty soon these images in my head grew faces or names and became characters,” Swift said on social media. “I found myself not only writing about my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspectives of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t.”
While it’s evident that Swift creates her own sound with each album, Folklore is dark, dreamy, and luring, unlike anything she’s ever released before.
Songs like “My Tears Ricochet,” hold a dark, alluring state with lyrics like, “ We gather here, we line up, weepin’ in a sunlit room / And if I’m on fire, you’ll be made of ashes, too” and “You’re the hero flying around, saving face / And if I’m dead to you, why are you at the wake? / Cursing my name, wishing I stayed / Look at how my tears ricochet.”
Which portrays a lost romance and why young love is often fixed so permanently in our memories, why it leaves a mark.
In “Cardigan” Swift sings, “And when I felt like I was an old cardigan under someone’s bed / You put me on and said I was your favorite / A friend to all is a friend to none, chase two girls, lose the one.” This tells the story of young love and heartbreak. How we’ve all had a cardigan that has been stuffed under our beds, forgotten and never seen again. But, as the song illustrates, one person’s forgotten sweater is another person’s treasure.
“Betty” explores a toxic teenage relationship. It’s told from the perspective of a boy, James, who looks back on how he treated his classmate named Betty. The narrator refuses to take responsibility for their past mistakes while Betty flourished. Swift confirmed three tracks on Folklore, form part of a so-called “teenage love triangle,” of which “Betty” is surely one, explaining, “These 3 songs explore a love triangle from all 3 people’s perspectives at different times in their lives.”
“Mirrorball” paints a picture of pining after someone when the odds are against you in every way possible. Swift sings, “I was looking for someone to complete me not anymore dear everything has changed / You make the moon our mirror ball” and “Spinning in my highest heels love, shining just for you.”
Swift has taken her writing abilities to a whole new level, creating stories unlike any other that blend both mystical and nonfictional together. It reminds me of Swift’s 2012 single “Safe & Sound,” mysterious yet enchanting.
Listening to Folklore is like reading a book, Swift transcends you into her world of words and portrayals of love, heartbreak, revenge, sorrow. It’s almost impossible not to feel what Swift’s soft melodies want you to.
As Swift says, “I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve. Now it’s up to you to pass them down.”
Listen to Folklore here