Why evermore is the Perfect Sister Album to folklore

Her Campus at Penn has written about why folklore is one of Taylor Swift’s best albums. Swift's new surprise album, evermore, not only holds up to folklore, but it also may even surpass it. Folklore was the first album that didn’t completely revolve around Swift’s own life and experiences. I didn’t think her future releases would be as inspired by storytelling and fantasy, but folklore's sister album, evermore, proved me wrong when it dropped on December 11th.

In a statement about evermore, Swift wrote that she “loved the escapism [she] found” in writing fictional narratives for folklore, and “just couldn’t stop writing songs.” The result was a sister album that keeps in line with the themes of escapism, fiction, and fantasy that folklore so perfectly delivered when the world needed it the most.

Evermore captures the essence of escapism-inspired songwriting even more than Swift’s original release. In folklore, though many of the songs were technically written from fictional points of view, they could be mistaken for Swift’s perspective — especially if a listener wasn’t analyzing them as part of the entire album. The single “cardigan,” though one of the tracks about a fictional love triangle, can easily be interpreted as a song about Taylor’s past experiences with love and heartbreak — a common theme in many of her past releases. 

Evermore leaves less room for interpretation, as the album leans further into fictional songwriting instead of borrowing from Swift’s real personal experiences. Two tracks in particular speak to this fact: “no body, no crime” and “cowboy like me.” The former is a cinematic, upbeat country song about the murder of a wife who confronts her husband for his infidelity; ultimately, the song ends in the singer avenging the murder by killing the husband. “Cowboy like me” is equally cinematic, but much more sultry. It follows the story of two con artists who seduce rich beneficiaries for money, all while falling in love with each other.

Tracks like these stand out as the strongest examples of what Swift intended to do in folklore. It took her another album release to fully dive into the potential of her new songwriting style, one filled with, in Swift's own words, "the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found." It was the fan reception to folklore that allowed Swift to continue with evermore. It’s difficult to picture folklore as a standalone album now — not because it’s lacking in any way, but because it’s so obviously an introduction to a world that fans weren’t able to fully explore until evermore. 

Not only are evermore’s stories more creative and unrestrained than folklore’s, but the album is also more sonically interesting and complex. When listening to evermore, there isn’t a moment when the listener can predict what the next track will sound like. In contrast, folklore has a very distinct and cohesive sound throughout. This may be because after folklore was received so well by fans and critics alike, the pressure to create a perfect album was alleviated — and Swift was able to create music without inhibition, which hasn’t been possible until this moment in her career.

Evermore is the perfect companion to folklore. The albums are thematically similar enough to stand together, and they complement each other so well that they feel incomplete without each other. However, what makes these sister albums timeless is their bold storytelling. Swift herself has said her previous diary-esque songwriting was “unsustainable” for her future. While creating folklore and evermore,  she “saw a lane for [the] future [that] was a real breakthrough moment of excitement and happiness.”

I’m beyond excited to see what the rest of Swift’s career will look like, especially now that she’s found a new creative spark. For now, we can anticipate the re-releases of her first six albums. Don’t forget to stream “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” if you haven’t already!