Like many people, my summer has not been incredibly exciting this year. The news is flooded with the pandemic, and I’ve been staying at home avoiding people. I was already looking forward to last week as it was my final week of summer school, but Taylor Swift decided to make it even better by releasing her surprise album, Folklore.
I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant about this album. I feel like I’m in a different place in life when it comes to relationships, and I thought she might take the “in love” route. Boy, was I mistaken! This record has plenty of breakup songs, and they are all heartwrenchingly beautiful.
While Folklore doesn’t really have any “pop summer anthems,” it’s just what I need right now. It has a soft, in-the-woods, reflecting about life aesthetic that I absolutely adore. To me, it did not feel like this album was intended to be mainstream and popular, but raw and poetic (which still seems to be popular?). I LOVE it. It truly amazes me that Taylor Swift was able to write all of these in only a few months-she must have been staying busy! I’m really glad she had the opportunity to write these songs without having to worry as much about what people will think about it.
Now, let’s get into every song, because why not?
we were something don’t you think so? / roaring twenties throwing pennies in the pool
I can really see this one becoming my favorite at some point. I am currently glad that I am not in relationship, but if I do start feeling nostalgic, this will likely be my go-to. It certainly covers a lost love, reflecting on what could have been.
when you are young they assume you know nothing
I think it’s such a cool concept for Taylor to include a song from three perspectives-‘Cardigan’ from the girl, ‘Betty’ from the boy (or girl?), and ‘August’ from the other girl. The music video for this song was so pretty and magical too.
the last great american dynasty
free of women with madness / their men and bad habits / and then it was bought by me
I really adore this song based on Rebekah Harkness. It tells a fun and vivid story, full of parties and beautiful houses. Besides, who doesn’t want to end a song saying you had a “marvelous time ruining everything?”
exile (feat. Bon Iver)
so what am i offending now? / you were my crown, now i’m in exile seein’ you out
I think Bon Iver and Taylor Swift sound great together. This song is definitely one that will hit hard at the end of a relationship. It shows how each narrator views things differently (“‘Cause you never gave a warning sign” vs. “I gave so many signs”), which just leads to both parties getting hurt.
my tears ricochet
i didn’t have it in myself to go with grace / and so the battleships will sink beneath the waves
Yet another highly relatable breakup song. I just love the way she worded the lyrics (I mean, in every song, but this one especially). I saw it speculated that she wrote this song towards her previous record label and I can see that as well.
hush, i know they said the end is near / but i’m still on my tallest tip-toes / spinning in my highest heels, love / shining just for you
This song is so pretty! It has an enchanting feel to it, which makes sense considering the song focuses on the narrator changing herself to fit into the relationship. I feel like I do alter myself based on who I am around, so I understand the feelings of being a “mirrorball.”
and i’ve been meaning to tell you / i think your house is haunted / your dad is always mad and that must be why
I absolutely adore this song. It sounds so innocent as it appears to be from a child’s perspective, yet the lyrics run deep-perhaps a friend with an abusive home?
august sipped away / like a bottle of wine / ’cause you were never mine
I am probably going to play this all August to be honest with you. It has a very youthful, summer vibe to it. It’s from the perspective of “the other girl” who knows the relationship was never going to last, but she hoped for the best.
this is me trying
you told me that all my cages were mental / so I got wasted like all my potential
I really love this one. I feel like it relates even outside of relationships-sometimes you want people to realize that you ARE trying and putting the effort into something. I don’t always show my emotions and express myself well; plus, I’m a relatively private person. Most people don’t know all of the work I put in behind-the-scenes, and even I don’t like to give myself credit.
don’t call me kid / don’t call me baby / look at this godforsaken mess that you made me
This song is so beautifully sad. Affairs never work well for anyone, and I think this song shows that. Don’t get into a relationship that will destroy you.
time, wondrous time / gave me the blues and then purple-pink skies
This one is cute and romantic. It’s one of the only pure happy songs on the album, so it gives you a break from the sad songs.
does a scorpion sting when fighting back? / they strike to kill, and you know i will
I love angry songs. This one also has more of an empowering feel to it. I see it happen all the time where women are classified as “mad” or “crazy” simply for speaking up when they need to, so this song was really relatable for me.
only twenty minutes to sleep / but you dream of some epiphany
This is my current favorite from the album. Especially with the state of the world today, I think we are all dreaming of some epiphany. I also love the melody with the song, it’s so peaceful and hopeful, yet the lyrics speak of something darker with lines like “Sir I think he’s bleeding out” and “Doc I think she’s crashing out“-like it’s really searching for an epiphany. Plus, I adore the metaphor between war and the pandemic, I think it really works as both have “some things you can’t speak about.”
will you kiss me on the porch / in front of all your stupid friends?
I also like the anonymity of the narrator-could it be a lesbian relationship? Absolutely. Personally I felt like it followed one of those narratives where the girl isn’t as sure of her sexuality, so she’s dancing with a guy (“I saw you with him”). The main character then decides to go with someone else, but is still thinking of her. She wants the first girl but the main narrator is unsure if she would be into an relationship that publicizes her sexuality to everyone. Or it could actually be a guy named James, who knows.
i’d give you my sunshine / give you my best / but the rain is always gonna come / if you’re standing with me
This is such a lovely song. I think it’s easy to believe that you bring too much baggage or have too many issues for a relationship…but you have to find someone who accepts that.
your faithless love’s the only hoax / i believe in
This one appears to be a relationship that is bound to fail, but each person is trying to hold on to it for as long as they can-looking for any reason to stay. That’s really such a mood-most people try to make their relationships work, but sometimes you have to realize that it’s not going to.
My Top Three
I have been listening to these album on repeat, yet I have not felt the urge to skip any songs. I can definitely see my favorites changing as my situation changes, but as of now, my favorites would have to be:
- this is me trying
- mad woman