Taylor Swift has done it again. Less than five months after she surprise released her eighth studio album folklore, Swift announced that she would be releasing her ninth album, evermore, on December 11th, two days before her 31st birthday. In the same surprise style of her folklore release, she announced the release only the day before. Calling it folklore’s “sister record”, Swift said that they simply could not stop writing songs. This marks the first time that she released two albums carrying the same overall theme, instead of her typical noticeable transition between different eras. The similarities between the albums are plentiful, as both carry the same idea of each song telling a different story, reaching levels of depth that she does so effortlessly.
She wrote evermore alongside some familiar faces in Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, Justin Vernon and the mysterious William Bowery, all of which worked on folklore as well. Bowery was credited for two songs on folklore, which led to speculation of who he was. Fans came up with tons of theories, one of which Swift confirmed in her Disney+ special, “folklore: the long pond sessions”. Bowery was revealed to be Swift’s long term boyfriend Joe Alwyn, who she discussed would come up with some of the melodies which led to them working together on some songs.
On evermore, Alwyn was credited with writing the early fan favorite “champagne problems” alongside Swift. This track explores the beautiful storytelling of the album, showcasing the story of college sweethearts and their relationship that ends on the night that one was preparing to propose, while the other planned to break it off. Swift is not new to writing about heartbreak, but what makes it so interesting is that she wrote such a devastating song with her boyfriend. While the song can be interpreted in a number of ways, the term “champagne problems” seems to reference the way everyone in their community talks down to the narrator and reacts to her being unable to accept the proposal, claiming “she would've made such a lovely bride, what a shame she’s fucked in the head”. Many fans are claiming the powerful bridge is one of her best, comparing it to “All Too Well”, a song off of her album Red of similar power and storytelling.
The album wasn’t the only thing released at midnight on the 11th, as she also dropped the music video for the lead single “willow”. The music video starts in what looks like a scene from her music video for “cardigan”, which she released in the same fashion when she released folklore. It takes you through a mystical world and stars herself wandering throughout it. The song and the music video show a sweet, whimsical love, and definitely sets the tone for the album as a whole.
She also features three collaborations, which is another pretty new idea for her. These aren’t her first collaborations, but she has never done so many in one album before. There was also was a repeat collaboration, as she worked with Bon Iver for a second time. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver wrote with Swift on the album, and performed his second duet in a row with her on the title track “evermore”. This song definitely gives off the same painful energy of “exile”, their song together on folklore. This theme continued with “coney island”, in which Swift sang alongside The National. “coney island” focuses on another heartbreak, and Swift delivers yet another devastating bridge. She makes subtle references to a few of her ex-lovers, and lyrics in her songs that have coincided with their relationships while telling an entirely different story.
Her final collaboration is definitely another fan favorite, “no body, no crime” with the band HAIM. The main character of this song, Este, is named after one of the sisters in the band HAIM. In the song, she suspects her husband of cheating and subsequently goes missing. The story is told through the perspective of her friend, who is trying to figure out what happened to her friend and later plans to murder her husband and frame his mistress for the crime. Murder mystery is a fun new story to tell for Swift, and she did it well enough to make this song the favorite of many of her longtime fans, as it plays off her country roots.
Every song on evermore tells an entirely unique and interesting story, which makes it so fun to listen to. There are upbeat tracks like “gold rush” and “long story short” that are just so fun to listen to, and slow and sad songs like “happiness”, “tolerate it” and “marjorie”, which she wrote about her own late grandmother. Everyone can find a song on evermore that they relate to in one way or another, and all fifteen tracks are so good that you don’t want to skip them. It’s also always fun to dissect the lyrics to her songs, finding small references to her own life in songs that otherwise would seem completely fictional. One thing is clear: Taylor Swift is one of the most talented, unpredictable and powerful songwriters of our generation.