One way or another, I can guarantee that you have heard the name Taylor Swift once or twice. I can guarantee that. As of right now, I would not call myself a super fan of hers, but I have respected her music for years. I remember being obsessed with her album Red when it first came out and had “Starlight” on repeat. When 1989 came out, it truly was a cultural reset for modern pop music. “New Romantics” slowly became one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs. But in all honesty, I did not pay significant attention to her music again until this past year when I finally heard "Lover." Then, a few weeks ago, I finally heard folklore for the first time.
folklore really takes you through a journey of different emotions, from childhood feelings to quarantined life. Swift does an excellent job at conveying a clear message throughout each song. I had seen that Swift posted on her social media about a new documentary concert film called folklore: the long pond studio sessions that was going to be on Disney+. She would be playing through folklore for the first time, discussing each song alongside collaborators Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff.
Let me tell you, that after watching the film, my overall respect for Taylor Swift as a female songwriter has greatly gone up.
“exile” is truly one of the standout songs from this album. It is also the only duet to be featured, but it sounds stunning. Swift and Bon Iver's (his real name is Justin Vernon) vocals blend so well together and really capture the emotions in this song. Another interesting fact about this duet is that it features a ghostwriter under the name “William Bowery.” Swift revealed in the documentary that, “William Bowery is Joe, as we know.” Joe referring to her long-term boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
I found this fascinating as someone that does not really listen to her music, because it shows how many musicians were able to adapt and work in different ways despite facing a global pandemic. If it was any other time, I do not know if Swift and her boyfriend would have written a song together, but I am glad we got some amazing work out of the quarantine.
“seven” is my personal favorite song off folklore. I enjoy songs that build vivid imagery, and this piece is full of it. While the instrumentals throughout this whole album help create a peaceful tone throughout each song, it is more clearly present in “seven.” Aaron Dessner in an interview from Vulture described this song as, "It’s passing down. It’s memorializing love, childhood, and memories."
If you have never listened to Taylor Swift before I would highly recommend watching folklore: the long pond studio sessions to understand the brilliant mind of one of the most important female singer-songwriters of our time.