If we exit 2020 with nothing, let us at least have two Taylor Swift albums accompany us as we exit this strange and confusing year.
Taylor Swift fans thought it could not get better back in July when T-Swift dropped the surprise album, “folklore,” an indie-folk album that was different from her previous work, a notion that is not surprising for Taylor, who has seamlessly rotated from persona to persona. In the following months, Swifties, myself included, savored the beautiful music of “folklore,” deciphering the exact story of Betty/James/August, wondering just who William Bowery is, and watching Taylor’s return to the country music that shaped her career. However, before we could fully process the brilliance of this record, Taylor threw us off our game once more with a sister album: “evermore.”
Between these two chilling records, it is difficult to choose a favorite. I have spent the past week with “evermore” on repeat, rotating between saying my favorite track is “ivy” and “champagne problems.” Like all of Taylor’s music, the more I listen, the more I fall in love with just about every song. What draws me most to her work is the way in which she tells a story.
Though I am admittedly deep in Taylor Swift Tik Tok, I’d like to highlight some lyrics hiding in the shadow of the “Champagne Problems” bridge (which I do adore, don’t get me wrong).
“Leave it all behind/there is happiness.”
A hopeful but sad track, “happiness” is the misery and hopeful nature of leaving a relationship behind. While Taylor is talking specifically about a romantic relationship, this lyric has meaning for any new stage in life. No matter what bones you leave in the past, there will be happiness and sunshine in your future, even if it isn’t obvious at first.
“Long story short, it was a bad time/Long story short, I survived.”
“evermore” is the healing album. Healing of the past, healing of old wounds, and healing of the burdens we all carry. “long story short” sums it up perfectly in this lyric, which gives listeners the strength to know that as 2020 comes to a close, we can thank ourselves for making it through the confusion and pain.
“So yeah/it’s a war/It’s the goddamn fight of my life.”
Immediately, I claimed “ivy” as my new “mirrorball,” the song which spoke masses to me from “folklore.” As we know, the media has pushed against Taylor for her entire career. She has fought lies, deceit and the scrutiny that comes with being a mega-talent. Once again, while Taylor is speaking of a romantic (and illicit) relationship in this track, her lyrics have a double meaning. She speaks of the “fight of my life,” which everyone has. We are all fighting something and trying to be whole, and Swift validates what we feel in just a few, pointed words.
“Yes, I got your letter/Yes, I’m doing better.”
The theme of rejuvenation and new beginnings is so prevalent in her music, as she opened “folklore” with the line “I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit.” In track 14 of “evermore” entitled “closure,” she touches on the subject of healing once more. She describes the pain of moving on, but more importantly, she narrates the beauty of getting over that mountain you never thought you’d cross. Healing is the process, and healing is magical.
“If it’s all in my head, tell me now/Tell me I’ve got it wrong somehow.”
The lyric that I believe resonates with anyone ridden with anxiety—that feeling of doubt and uncertainty, always feeling like the joke is somehow on you. This lyric wraps up the pain of just wanting to be let down, and the unfortunate but blissful relief that comes with having some clarity about the future. I spend so much of my time stuck in my mind, creating scenarios, so sometimes, no matter how painful it is, it is better to just be let down, which is heartbreaking.
The brilliance of Taylor Swift lies in her lyrics, of which I will find new favorites even after the tenth or twelfth listen of “evermore” in full. Now, whether the “woodvale” rumors are true or not, at least we can spend a few more months hyper analyzing “evermore” in all of its chilling beauty.