By Terrance Turner
Dec. 10, 2020
Taylor Swift just released a new album.
The superstar singer-songwriter tweeted today: “I’m elated to tell you that my 9th studio album, and folklore’s sister record, will be out tonight at midnight eastern. It’s called evermore.”
The surprising release (at 11:00 pm CST) comes just five months after Swift’s latest album “Folklore”, which she recorded while in quarantine. Swift acknowledged her rather swift pace today via social media: “I’ve never done this before,” she said. “I’ve always treated albums as one-off eras and moved on to planning the next after an album was completed. There was something different about folklore.” What was different? Why the quick turnaround?
“To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs. To try and put it more poetically, it feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and we had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of the music,’ Swift wrote. “We chose to wander deeper in.”
“We” likely refers to collaborators Jack Antonoff, Justin Vernon, and Aaron Dessner, who worked on “Folklore”‘ with Swift. Another collaborator, “WB”, is William Broad, a pseudonym for Swift’s longtime boyfriend, British actor Joe Alwyn. It is his contribution that will probably be the most scrutinized — along with Swift’s wardrobe. Tonight she releases the music video for her song “Willow”, which features her wearing a white lace bridal dress. MSN writers Carolyn Gomez and Jasmine Tresky asserted that “you can’t tell me that’s not a wedding dress”.
Gomez and Tresky also pointed out that Swift’s album Lover contains the lyric: “My heart’s been borrowed, and yours has been blue. All’s well that ends well, to end up with you.” Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue — a traditional rhyme that describes all the things a bride should wear on her wedding day.
Adding to this implication is the “ME!” music video where actor Brendon Urie offers her an engagement ring and she rejects it in favor of her new real-life cat. According to Gomez and Tresky, Swift can be spotted wearing an engagement ring in the video. In a comment left by her Vevo account under the “ME!” music video. Taylor wrote, “Oh and there’s a secret in the video I’ve been keeping for months – let’s see who can guess it.”
What’s not a secret is Swift’s passion for her music. In her liner notes, Swift writes: “I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales. I loved the ways you welcomed the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found. So I kept writing them. And I loved creating these songs with Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, WB, and Justin Vernon.”
“Before I knew it there were 17 tales, some of which are mirrored or intersecting with one another. The one about two young con artists who fall in love while hanging out at fancy resorts trying to score rich romantic beneficiaries. The one where longtime college sweethearts had very different plans for the same night, one to end it and one who brought a ring.”
“Ever since I was 13, I’ve been excited about turning 31 because it’s my lucky number backwards, which is why I wanted to surprise you with this now,” Swift wrote in a letter announcing the project’s track list. “You’ve all been so caring, supportive and thoughtful on my birthdays and so this time I thought I would give you something! I also know this holiday season will be a lonely one for most of us, and if there are any of you out there who turn to music to cope with missing loved ones the way I do, this is for you.”
UPDATE (MARCH 14, 2021): Tonight, Taylor is nominated for a slew of Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year (for “Folkore”). Tonight, she performed a lovely medley of songs from both “Folklore” and Evermore. Alongside her album collaborators Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff, Swift performed two tracks from Folklore — “Cardigan” and “August” — plus her Evermore lead single “Willow.” Dressed in a shimmering blue floral dress, Swift performed the medley in a rustic cabin-style set.