Long story short “evermore” is incredible

Rachel Weathers, Memorial Editor

Taylor Swift is known for surprising the world with her evolution as an artist by experimenting with new genres and sounds that ultimately define each album’s era. Last July, this was no different when the world was startled by an announcement for her eighth studio album “folklore” only hours before its release. This came as a shock to fans as Swift routinely releases new music on a two-year cycle and it had been a mere 11 months since her album “Lover” dropped.

After creating one album entirely in isolation, Swift and her collaborators couldn’t stop writing songs. This was to the point where they chose to wander deeper into the folklorian woods they had created. 

With this, Swift’s second surprise album and the sister album to “folklore” entitled “evermore” debuted four and a half months after the release of its predecessor on Dec. 11. The album amassed 189 million streams and 155,000 physical sales in the first week. Because of this, “evermore” was launched into first place on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart. 

“evermore” is reminiscent of hitting play on “folklore” for the first time and yet still feels as though there’s a new chapter to unfold. As a record, “evermore” deepens many of the themes and stories found throughout “folklore” that are captured by Swift’s enchanting and often metaphorically driven songwriting. 

This album brings new depths to Swift’s artistry and even includes new aesthetic choices. The album’s title, along with each song title, appears in all lowercase and is evident of Swift’s meticulous attention to detail. Much of her discography has been autobiographical, however, while some songs remain personal, this time most are based on fiction. 

Swift also continues to experiment with a new sound on “evermore” as it is categorized as an alternative album and features somber string and piano melodies. Like Swift’s genre changes in the past, this transition also feels effortless and furthers her versatility as a musician.

Long time collaborator Jack Antonoff, who has been working with Swift since 2013, once again has a production credit on the album.“folklore” newcomers, who Swift described as some of her musical heroes, Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon also have several co-writing credits. 

“folklore’s” mysterious co-writer under the name William Bowery returns for three songs. There was much speculation surrounding the identity of this person until Swift revealed it to be her boyfriend, actor Joe Alwyn, in folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions released on Disney+.

“willow” is the opening track to the album and it immediately cues Swift’s venture further into a new folk-influenced sound. The song sounds like it’s straight out of a fairytale with its whimsical lyrics and delicate vocals. Parts of the song are sung in a higher key which gives an airy feel to the track. Additionally, there is a renaissance-esque aura to the song with its prominent use of strings that seems to be from centuries-long gone. Even if there is a nod to a decade not too far in the past in the line “life was a willow and it bent right to your wind, but I come back stronger than a 90’s trend.” Starting the album with “willow” helps to create the vivid story elements that are carried through the rest of the album. 

“marjorie” is the thirteenth track on the album and is a tribute to Swift’s grandmother Marjorie Finlay, who was an opera singer. The lyrics are composed of memories and heartache as she reflects on the time spent with one lost too soon. This is one of the more personal songs on the album. The message hits home for the masses, especially for those times when memories are all one has left of someone. 

As the song continues, Swift’s hushed vocals over synths and strings display a sense of power that can only be found in vulnerability. The lyrics become almost chant-like during the chorus. One of the most stunning production aspects of the album is placed near the end of the song when Finlay’s vocals can be heard in the background after Swift sings “if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were singing to me now.” 

While the album has its fair share of ballads, “gold rush” and “long story short” are where the tempo picks up. From the first listen, “gold rush” is a song that easily captures the listener’s attention with its fast-moving beat-driven instrumentals and catchy, trance-like lyrics. This is the only song Antonoff produced on the album and features one of his signature chord progressions that perfectly ties the first verse into the refrain. “gold rush” takes on many influences from the pop genre, however, it does not feel generic. This is largely due to the choruses being made to sound like the verses and the verses being made to sound like the choruses. As a whole, the song feels fresh and is one to play on repeat. This could easily become Swift’s next big hit.

Swift’s foundation as a musician is in her songwriting and that is solidified in the fictional storylines and character arcs she builds throughout “evermore.” 

There’s the crime-filled tale “no body, no crime” featuring Haim that takes on a new twist with each verse. This happens as the song tells the story of a woman’s disappearance and her friends coming together to avenge her cheating husband. “dorothea” is introduced on track eight and is the story of a girl who left her small town to chase Hollywood stardom only to return for the holidays and possibly, a past love. These stories make “evermore” come alive. They take on a life of their own within the album and bring a deeper layer to Swift’s ability to tell a story through music. 

“evermore” continues Swift’s steady evolution as an artist and it encapsulates a similar vibe to its predecessor, “folklore,” while still being able to stand entirely alone. This album incorporates several influences from different genres of music and with excellent writing, collaborations and production, it’s worth a listen. 

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