Rating the Songs from Taylor Swift's Album, Folklore

 

 

On July 24, 2020, Taylor Swift released her eighth album, Folklore. Taylor has dabbled in all sorts of musical genres with her previous seven albums, and this one is no different. A transition from the upbeat, top 40s sounding, pop album, Lover, to the indie rock album that is Folklore. Throughout this article, I will be rating each of the songs within her new album.

 

the 1

This song tugs at my heartstrings the entire time. She is pouring her heart out and saying that she wanted her ex to be the one she ended up with, but he never showed her that he cared about her. But despite all that, she still wants to be with him. She’s slowly coming to terms with the end of their relationship but also acknowledging that she still wanted to be with him. In a way, she’s trying to show him that she’s doing well and simultaneously trying to tell him that even though their relationship ended, it was still fun while they were together. 

 

Favorite line: “And if you wanted me you really should’ve showed”

Rating: 10/10

 

cardigan 

This song is all about young love, perhaps a first love, and even though it could have happened years ago, it still leaves a lasting impression. In a way, it’s a reminder that someone romantically loved you, they were the first person to feel that way. After this relationship ended, Taylor sings about how she knew this person would inevitably come back to her. This could possibly be an allusion to a later song in the album, betty, where James, the ex, tries to reconcile his failed relationship and tries to get back together with Betty.

 

Favorite line: “When you are young they assume you know nothing”

Rating: 10/10

 

the last great american dynasty

Oh, this song gives me Great Gatsby vibes, where Rebekah is Daisy, and once she comes into the picture, everything falls to pieces. Once Rebekah comes into the life of the heir, she throws lavish parties and is running rampant, and people who are witnessing her having fun and throwing these parties are blaming her for being the downfall to this family dynasty. The song later transitions to the woman’s point of view, where she is confirming that she did, in fact, have a good time ruining everything. I think that when she says she had a “marvelous time ruining everything,” it’s almost mocking what other people were saying about her. She’s saying “you think I ruined the family? Well, I had a great time doing it.”  

 

Favorite line: “There goes the most shameless woman this town has ever seen/She had a marvelous time ruining everything”

Rating: 9/10

 

exile (feat. Bon Iver)

THIS SONG! Upon first listening to the album, this immediately became my favorite song. The addition of Bon Iver was such a beautiful touch. The song itself is haunting, two people comparing their relationship and its inevitable end. Bon Iver’s lead singer, Justin Vernon, sings about how he had no idea that his partner was unhappy in the relationship because she didn’t give any signs. Taylor then sings behind him that she gave him so many signs that the relationship was failing and was coming to an end. As the song progresses, the clashing of their voices adds to how each partner viewed the relationship. While Justin was more rough and angry, Taylor’s voice was sad and pleading, one of them confused and angry that the relationship ended without warning and one trying to tell the other that she was unhappy for a very long time, he just didn’t notice.

 

Favorite line: “You never gave a warning sign (I gave so many signs)”

Rating: 12/10

 

my tears ricochet

This song is Taylor’s way of coming to terms with the end of a relationship. She acknowledges that the way it ended was not good (especially on her part). Her ex was the one who ended the relationship, but he keeps checking up on her, and Taylor admits that this is really confusing to her. She made it seem like her ex didn’t necessarily want the relationship to end, but with the way Taylor was acting, he felt like he had no other choice but to end it. It really is a heartwrenching song, to hear about how much she is trying to grow in the wake of her relationship ending.

 

Favorite line: “Even on my worst day, did I deserve, babe/All the hell you gave me?”

Rating: 8.5/10

 

mirrorball 

Taylor sings about how there are so many different sides to her personality and that she changes parts of herself to fit in with whoever she’s with. She views herself as a mirrored disco ball, which isn’t a solid mirror, but a bunch of tiny pieces close together. Taylor is saying that she can try all she wants to put herself back together, but she will never be completely whole again.

 

Favorite line: “I’m a mirrorball/I can change everything about me to fit in” Rating: 7/10

 

seven

Taylor takes us back to her childhood and introduces us to her childhood friends. She sings lyrics that sound like something you may hear a child say, like the logic of having a friend coming to live with you, it’s just that simple. She’s exploring her friend’s unhappy childhood through a child-like perspective, how everything would be solved just like that. When you take a good listen to the lyrics, it hurts your heart to listen to the naive lyrics and part of me wishes that we could solve our problems the way that kids think is possible.

 

Favorite line: “And I think you should come live with me/And we could be pirates/Then you won’t have to cry/Or hide in the closet”

Rating: 9/10

 

august 

This song is a continuation in one of the stories Taylor is singing about in her album. It’s rumored that this song is from the girl that James, the narrator of betty, sees over the summer. The girl knew that her and James’ relationship was never going to work out and that James was almost preoccupied with thoughts of another girl. Deep down, she knew she had to come to terms that James was not hers to have. It’s interesting to hear the perspective of James, the girl he cheated on, and the girl he used to cheat, and how there are so many different emotions when it comes to cheating. 

 

Favorite line: “August slipped away like a bottle of wine/’Cause you were never mine”

Rating: 8/10

 

this is me trying

For me, this is me trying sounds like Taylor’s way of saying that she is accepting fault for her failed relationships and that she is working on trying to repair them. She talks about the messy parts of healing, like alcohol and isolation, but she takes the first step to healing by acknowledging what she had done and that she is going to make an effort to fix things. 

 

Favorite line: “They told me all my cages were mental/So I got wasted like all my potential”

Rating: 9/10

 

illicit affairs

Taylor tackles the difficult topic of infidelity in this song. What is interesting is that she doesn’t preach about “don’t cheat, cheating is bad.” She acknowledges that there’s a sort of high that comes with cheating, but she also mentions that the inevitable sorrow that it will cause. The narrator of the song has fallen for the person she is having an affair with and she would put herself through so much to make the other person happy. 

 

Favorite line: “They show their truth one single time/But they lie and they lie and they lie/A million little times”

Rating: 9/10

 

invisible string

invisible string is such a sweet song. She alludes to an east Asian folk myth about how we are all tied to our soulmate with an invisible red string. This is suggesting that she is meant to be with the person she is singing the song about, that she considers them her soulmate. She later sings about how she used to be bitter and resentful towards her exes, but she has buried the hatchet and is now happy for them and their current lives. Taylor gives thanks to her exes for eventually leading her towards her soulmate and doesn’t want to wish them ill because she learned something from all of her past relationships.

 

Favorite line: “And isn’t just so pretty to think/All along there was some/Invisible string/Tying you to me?”

Rating: 10/10

 

mad woman

The public has called Taylor crazy and insane, a “mad woman” for always singing about her breakups. In a way, this song could be her reflecting on those media messages in a sort of “you want me to be mad? This is me mad.” There are also some that speculate that this song is sung from Rebekah’s, the woman from the last great american dynasty, point of view where the whole town is calling her names and blaming her for the demise of the family.

 

Favorite line: “It’s obvious that wanting me dead/Has really brought you two together”

Rating: 8/10

 

epiphany

Taylor wrote this song has someone who wants to experience a little bit of peace in their dreams because their reality is so harsh. Since this album was written and recorded during the pandemic, she could be writing about living in a global pandemic. So because of that, everyone can relate to it. Seemingly every day in 2020, we are waking up to a new horrible something, so truly, the only place where we can experience any form of peace is in our dreams. Listening to this song, she seems to also be drawing parallels to healthcare workers in 2020 and soldiers. Healthcare workers live in such a harsh world right now that the only time they get to relax is in their dreams, but sometimes those dreams are also plagued.

 

Favorite line: “But you dream of some epiphany/Just one single glimpse of relief”

Rating: 9.5/10

 

betty 

This is the conclusion to the James/Betty/and the unnamed woman story. Finally, we are hearing James’ perspective, where he wants more than anything, for Betty to take him back. He didn’t realize how much he missed her until he couldn’t stand her to be with someone else and kept being reminded of her. He knew that he had to do anything to get her back and later reflects on his time with the unnamed woman from august. He even reveals that the entirety of his time with her, he was thinking of Betty. He ends the song standing outside of Betty’s house, ready to be open and do what he needs to in order for Betty to take him back. I love how Taylor was able to sing from three different perspectives to all tell the same story and how she left it up to her listeners to create the ending. 

 

Favorite line: “I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything/But I know I miss you”

Rating: 10/10

 

peace 

peace I feel like is about Taylor’s view of love, especially when it comes to someone who isn’t famous. Because once you start dating someone famous, your life changes drastically. She is telling any future partners in this song about all the difficulties that will come with dating a celebrity, but she assures them that she will always be there for that person. She keeps telling this person that she will never be able to provide total peace (I mean, between paparazzi, articles, and fans, I don’t know if celebrities, let alone their partners, are ever fully at peace) but will do everything in her power to be the best partner possible to them. 

 

Favorite line: “The devil’s in the details, but you got a friend in me/Would it be enough if I could never give you peace?”

Rating: 8.5/10

 

hoax 

This hits me in the feels. Taylor is singing about her feeling so hopeless in a toxic relationship, but despite feeling driven over the edge, she is unable to let go of her failed relationship. Having held onto a relationship that was well past expired, this hurts a lot because I know what it’s like in those final days and weeks. Taylor wants to stick with her partner because that is the life she knows and doesn’t want to try and move on and find someone else. 

 

Favorite line: “Your faithless love’s the only hoax I believe in”

Rating: 9/10

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