Taylor Swift
Folklore


5.0
classic

Review

by Tyler W. USER (47 Reviews)
July 25th, 2020 | 71 replies


Release Date: 07/24/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Execution more surprising than the release of the album itself

When looking at the cover of Lover, much of the music resembles what it desires to portray: bright, vibrant pop full of colorful imagery and bubble-gum-pop atmosphere executed in a method that truly declared Taylor Swift’s style. With her eight full length on the line, she attempts to convey the album art through her music once again, but in an entirely polar opposite way: monochromatic, stripped down, yet beautiful simultaneously. folklore shows a new side to Taylor, one that resorts back to her older style with a revitalized folk, atmospheric-tinge to it, assisted by the musical and compositional presence of members of The National, Bleachers, and Bon Iver. With this new side, she attempts to delve into the realm of ambient, dreamy, folkier style songwriting, crafting yet another evolutionary piece to her career.

Starkly contrasting her previous efforts’ upbeat, energetic pop style, folklore shows restraint in the instrumentation, opting for a simplistic, almost melancholic, atmosphere accentuated by acoustics and orchestration. Deviating from the synth-laden pop of Lover, the synths here ebb and flow with swelling atmosphere, creating a lofty soundscape that cohesively connects each track seamlessly together. Drifting over the sounds of dreamy synths lies the minimalist songwriting crafted by Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff, combining simplistic, subdued drum grooves, beautifully shaped acoustic melodies, and stunning orchestral/piano harmonies. The celestial atmosphere contained within tracks like “illicit affairs” and “mirrorball” allow for Swift’s astounding vocal performance to fluidly sway over the lucid soundscape. The soaring ambiance purely complements her voice as they push and pull with each other as if connected as one. Opposing this uplifting atmosphere lies the almost melancholic aura of “seven” and “epiphany,” creating this droning sense of synths and overwhelming atmosphere accompanied by beautiful piano compositions and elevated melodies. When not steeped in pure atmosphere, Swift opts for a more authentic, organic sound that resembles much of her earliest work, dipping slightly into the realm of country and folk together in tracks like “invisible string” and “betty.” Such tracks allow for her voice to display her power over the progression, placing emphasis in her voice rather than the nature of the songwriting. However, despite the differences in musical approach, folklore has one primary theme throughout: folk beauty. With each track, the theme progresses further and further, each contributing to the beauty through the various aspects they have been equipped with. Acoustics, orchestration, piano, dreamy atmosphere, lofty vocals, all of which culminate into this amalgamation of melody and beauty. The contribution of Bon Iver on “exile,” the mastery of Aaron Dessner’s songwriting and composition accompanied by Jack Antonoff, they all elicit this stunning presence of beauty within the folklore.

Along with the beauty of the musical composition, Taylor Swift also utilizes a new approach to her songwriting perspective, opting for created narrative rather than personal reflection. With these new created characters, folklore tackles the story of love in all of its forms, both beautiful and failing, uplifting and ending. The sad realization of failing love in “exile” shows both Taylor Swift and Bon Iver crooning over lost love saying ”You were my town, now I’m in exile; seeing you out.” The self-aware reflection of desiring love and striving for the very depths of affection prevalent in the desperate appeals of “this is me trying” and the shattering heartbreak of “mirrorball” delve deeper into the true appeal of what love is. The maturation and growth with lines like ”Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven” and recognition of shortcomings in “peace” elaborately detail the accounts of learning from love itself. With the various narratives of love, the beautiful performance of Taylor Swift captures each moment of hurt, gratitude, joy, failure, and pure love. Encapsulating herself within each character, she pursues a vulnerable approach of openness and transparency, crafting each story in a personal, relatable manner. Much like the album art insists, her lofty vocal performance and natural lyricism conveys the same atmosphere of the openness of the bleak forest it represents: bare and exposed filled with grand discovery.

With perfect execution as surprising as the release itself, folklore is a beautiful addition to her already diverse repertoire in her discography. This venture into stripped down atmospheric instrumentation shows Taylor Swift at her best, not only musically, but lyrically with her vulnerable approach and powerful relatability. Despite the polarizing effect folklore may have on listeners of her previous records, she seems to be the most unified as an artist she has ever been, crafting a truly cohesive, stunning, and massive magnum opus.



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user ratings (503)
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Channing Freeman STAFF (3.2)
Taylor Swift once again changes her skin, only this time it's drained of color and spirit....

rifkadm (3)
Taylor Swift is definitely trying....

NessieKV (5)
A woman that has not run out of fearless shifts...



Comments:Add a Comment 
tyman128
July 25th 2020


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Am I jumping the gun giving this thing a 5/5 already?? Maybe, but I just love this thing too much

I know there's already two reviews out there already, but I wanted to give my opinion on this beautiful record and give a highly positive critique of it!! Any suggestions on how to improve the review would be greatly appreciated

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 25th 2020


65259 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

i did not blossom.

Digging: Goldie Boutilier - Very Best

tyman128
July 25th 2020


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sad to see the bath didn't help you blossom, maybe someday Pots

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 25th 2020


65259 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

i want it so bad

parksungjoon
July 25th 2020


25982 Comments


woah

Digging: Government - Shitshitshit [japanese death poem]

mvdu
July 25th 2020


941 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Wow that was quick. I was talking about this being represented with a high rating. I don’t think you were too quick with the 5. Some albums just seem like instant classics. As for your writing, I like the review. With music, sometimes I get ideas in mind but but have trouble describing them in words. You describe many points of the album in detail. So much that maybe you could condense a little. But it was a good read.

tyman128
July 25th 2020


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the read! Definitely some stuff I could tidy up a bit probably, but just wanted to get as much as I could out there to touch on every aspect I love about this album

mvdu
July 25th 2020


941 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

You are welcome. I like how you mention her older style, because I do not feel like she abandoned it entirely. It helps give the songs some heft and I definitely hear the essence of Taylor Swift here.

Lucman
July 25th 2020


5117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

YES dude! Reading now.

Digging: Sparklehorse - It's a Wonderful Life

SteakByrnes
July 25th 2020


22132 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Damn dude nice write up, this was nice for the most part

Lucman
July 25th 2020


5117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Excellent review and very well stated. The progression of her perspective on love and romance through the years is definitely fascinating. I still adore the Disney-esque view of her older records but there's a lot of wisdom and maturity here.

tyman128
July 25th 2020


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks guys!! definitely love reading over the maturity of the lyricism as she continues to get older (and have more relationships too haha)! the progression of wisdom is truly amazing quite honestly

vult
July 25th 2020


330 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the vocals/production sound nice and the lyrics are decent for TSwift standards, but my god a whole hour of this? zzzzz

Crxmateo
July 25th 2020


43 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review man!





I haven't gotten through the whole album as of yet but it's definitely her best work to date from the songs I've heard.

Digging: As Everything Unfolds - Within Each Lies The Other

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2020


22971 Comments


Is this Swift finally approaching the atmospheric BM genre?

Sounds like a good time tyman, good write up.

Digging: Typhoon (USA-OR) - Sympathetic Magic

tyman128
July 25th 2020


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks mateo and Dewi!! definitely a great BM project for taylor for sure

McTime50
July 25th 2020


1020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really wholesome feeling seeing so much attention being given to new small indie act, Taylor Swift

tyman128
July 25th 2020


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

no joke, hoping she makes it pretty big in the industry

Faraudo
July 25th 2020


3894 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yessss, a 5! Great review my dude. Been jamming this non-stop for the last 24 hours imo

tyman128
July 25th 2020


2271 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks man!! This thing has been on repeat for me as well, can’t get enough of it



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