Taylor Swift’s new album is evermore outstanding

Sophie Smallhorn

Swift’s french braid and plaid coat give a rustic feel to her album cover

To celebrate the week of her 31st birthday, Taylor Swift released “evermore,” her second album of the year, on Dec. 10. Given that Swift’s multi-nominated album, “folklore,” dropped only five months ago, Swift’s release of “evermore” was an exceptional surprise for fans. Adding to the mystique, Swift did not switch genres as she usually does with consecutive albums. Instead, she made her ninth album the sister album to “folklore” by maintaining the same style.  

“In the past I’ve always treated albums as one-off eras and moved onto planning the next one as soon as an album was released,” Swift wrote on social media. 

Breaking this narrative, Swift decided to further explore the “folklore” genre, described by critics as indie-folk. This style of music is a modern twist on folk, combining guitar acoustics, contemporary instruments and vocals. While “evermore” certainly doesn’t disappoint, Swift’s choice to linger in the folk-genre could let down those hoping for a more upbeat and pop aesthetic. However, when juxtaposed to today’s most popular music, her album relays a message stronger than mainstream styles because of its simplicity and rawness. 

“It feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of this music,” Swift said. 

Following her intuition paid off because the passion and genuine curiosity Swift poured into “evermore” truly stands out. With the support of numerous acclaimed artists including HAIM, The National and Bon Iver, Swift created some of her most profoundly emotional music yet. 

In this genre, Swift showcases the best of her talents from the country and pop years: extraordinary lyrics and dreamy melodies. The sister albums have a lot in common, however, they were inspired by different seasons: “folklore” as summer, and “evermore” as winter, according to Swift. 

After listening to both of them, it is clear “evermore” continues Swift’s stories told back in July, and even outdoes the prequel. Throughout the album, her lyrics teem with imagery, figurative language and allusion, which become engraved in the listener’s mind. One example is “I made you my temple, my mural my sky/Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life.” 

Despite being more melancholy compared to her past records, “evermore” does not limit listeners to just one feeling. The whimsical harmony of  “willow” and pulsating hum of “gold rush” equally bestow feelings of enchantment, reminiscent of her seventh album, “Lover.” When craving some nostalgia, play “‘tis the damn season,” “coney island,” “dorothea” and “marjorie,” which paint visuals of universal longing. Across a wide range of songs, Swift conveys romantic hardships accurately through her poetic masterpieces, expressing infidelity, underappreciation, unrequited love and heartbreak. 

Even those who miss the “old Taylor” will find satisfaction in her country song “no body, no crime,” which describes the thrill of catching a cheater. Her vindictive voice, in between guitar twangs, sings, “That ain’t my Merlot on his mouth/That ain’t my jewelry on our joint account/No, there ain’t no doubt/I think I’m gonna call him out.”

Unlike what she has produced in the past, the album also reveals Swift’s pain and grief in “happiness” and especially in the final song “evermore,” featuring Bon Iver. Addressing her struggles with mental health, this track unfolds mournfully, yet ends with recovery to conclude the album. It was a wise call to continue singing with Iver, who was also in “folklore,” because their voices blend together in the most “sad, beautiful, tragic” way. 

At first listen, the songs slightly blur together due to their similar tone. However, once listeners realize the potency of her words, the songs take on a whole new value. Thank goodness Swift did not go “Out Of The Woods” with “evermore” because this album will never get old.