Announced just a day before its release, the 16 track album folklore by Taylor Swift came out on July 24th to a much surprised but very happy fanfare of appreciation from her worldwide audience.
The 1 hour 3 minute long album includes tracks with titles such as ‘cardigan’, ‘the last great american dynasty’, ‘peace’ and ‘hoax’, which – known for her diary-esque writing process and time frame of the release – gives anxious fans a small insight into Swift’s lockdown mental state this year. The album features The National’s Aaron Dessner on 11 out of its 16 tracks. Of the unexpected collaboration he was quoted by Pitchfork as saying: ‘It was a product of this time. Everything we had planned got cancelled. Everything she had planned got cancelled. It was a time when the ideas in the back of your head came to the front. That’s how it started.’ So it is emerging from the COVID-19 lockdown that we are beginning to see the creative fruits of labours from that period of isolated time.
Dessner went on to describe some of the songs from the album: ‘“Cardigan” is probably the closest to a pop song on the record—it’s this epic narrative.’ Other collaborations from the album include one track ‘exile’ with Bon Iver. The male and female parts were sung by Swift in a voice memo to Dessner in her pitch for the song: ‘ she sang both the male and female parts—as much as she could fit in without losing her breath. We talked about who she was imagining joining her, and she loves Justin [Vernon]’s voice’.
Pitchfork writer Sam Sodomsky notes a change in Swift’s sound in her new release: “Less than a year after 2019’s Lover, it marks a departure from the sharp, radio-friendly pop music that Swift spent the past decade-and-a-half building toward.”