Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” Album Review

Taylor+Swift%E2%80%99s+%22Evermore%22+Album+Review

Catherine Chan, Staff Writer

In a pandemic that has put thousands into quarantine with an abundance of spare time, no musician has been more productive than Taylor Swift. She released her surprise album on Dec. 10, Evermore less than five months after the release of her ninth album, Folklore

Produced by the same creative team as Folklore, Evermore is a both a foray deeper into the mystical forest painted by the escapist Folklore and a return to Swift’s country roots and pop persona.

Evermore falls short of Folklore due to its overlap between genres and lack of standout songs. However, Swift compensates with her vocal performance and powerful narrative, as well as imagery.

In her Instagram announcement of the album, Swift said that Evermore was Folklore’s “sister album,” and that trope certainly applies. There are similarities – both echo a transcendental, romantic sentiment anchored in a fusion of indie rock and folk instrumentals. 

However, Folklore’s sophistication is clear; whereas Folklore is beautifully mature, Evermore is overtly experimental. It is as if Folklore’s ruminative forest led Swift to a certain clearing, one in which she was not sure of which direction she should go.

Swift uses her brilliant prowess as a songwriter and raconteur to her advantage, weaving together fictional stories with her own family history; one song in this album, “marjorie”, is a heartfelt tribute to her grandmother.

Some of her best work is non-autobiographical; her song, “tolerate it” shines as a moving portrait of a forlorn wife who is fighting for her marriage all alone. Swift seems to use her own experience of her parents’ divorce to refine her portrayal of a strained marriage. 

“While you were out building other worlds, where was I?” Swift sings painfully.

In Folklore’s sole vocal collaboration, Swift and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver complimented one another beautifully on “exile’’. In contrast, the collaboration on Evermore brings a sense of ambiguity to the album. 

Evermore’s collaborations give Swift an opportunity to experiment with the genre. The vengeful theme of “no body, no crime”, featuring two of the three sisters of American, pop band HAIM, is reminiscent of Swift’s country phase, specifically her 2010 album titled, Speak Now.

The song, “champagne problems”, tells the story of a rejected proposal related over a piano melody, is redolent of Swift’s 2012 album titled Red, which was full of similar acoustic heartbreak stories. Contrastingly, the faster-paced breakup reflection “long story short” mirrors her 2014 album 1989, sadistic yet sassy and more pop than any of her previous albums. Red and 1989 marked Swift’s transition from country music to pop music; that hybrid is influential on Evermore, almost ten years later.

All in all, Swift’s creative fire is admirable, especially in pandemic circumstances. Though aimless at times, and not as full of what are to become Swift classics as Folklore and Evermore prove Swift, yet again, to be a lyrical and musical phenomenon. Her voice lends itself to every song, and her storytelling is exquisite. I am left wondering where she will go next; somewhere remarkable, to be sure.

 

Photo courtesy of WALLPAPERCAVE.COM