Taylor Swift-a-Thon: folklore

Saturday, September 19, 2020

I do not own this image. I edited the image in Canva. 
Ever since she released folklore in June, I have been on a Taylor Swift binge. While Red is my favorite album of Taylor's, folklore has come very close to being second or even tied for first place. In honor of her eighth studio album, I decided it would be fun to finally listen to all of her discography! So today, I have her eighth album, titled folklore

It was released at midnight on July 24, 2020. Taylor Swift announced it the day before it was released. I was unexpectedly excited for it when I heard that she was working with Aaron Dessner of The National and having a song with Bon Iver!    

1. "The 1"

  • "Been saying 'yes' instead of 'no'"
    • I love that this is how she's beginning this album. It's such a fun beginning. I also just love the implications of this lyric. 
  • "You know the greatest films of all time were never made"
  • "And if you wanted me, you really should've showed"
    • If someone really wants to spend time with you, they will make that effort. Fuck, this lyric is so good. 
  • "In my defense, I have none"
  • "You know the greatest loves of all time are over now"
  • "For digging up the grave another time"  
    • How often do we go backwards when we shouldn't? 

2. "Cardigan"

  • "When you are young, they assume you know nothing"
  • "And when I felt like I was an old cardigan / Under someone's bed / You put me on and said I was your favorite"
  • "A friend to all is a friend to none"
    • THIS YES 
  • "You drew stars around my scars / But now I'm bleedin'"
  • "I knew you'd haunt all of my what-ifs"    
    • God, yes, yes, THIS

3. "The Last Great American Dynasty"

  • "I had a marvelous time ruining everything"    
    • Oh, hell yes. Especially when you think about the fact that a lot of the things people love tend to be frowned on. 
  • I love the storytelling in this entire song. Taylor is really incredible with her lyricism that paints such a vivid picture in our minds.     

4. "Exile" (featuring Bon Iver)

  • It's so fitting that my favorite album (Red) has one of my favorite songs ("This Is The Last Time") that parallels to one of my favorites of this album 
  • "I think I've seen this film before / And I didn't like the ending"
  • "You're not my homeland anymore / So what am I defending now?"
  • "I can see you starin', honey / Like he's just your understudy"
    • An understudy isn't the main guy and only stands in place for the main guy. 
  • "You didn't even hear me out (You didn't even hear me out) / You never gave a warning sign (I gave so many signs)  / All this time / I never learned to read your mind (Never learned to read my mind) / I couldn't turn things around (You never turned things around) / 'Cause you never gave a warning sign (I gave so many signs)"        
    • Again, I love, love the back and forth. 

5. "My Tears Ricochet" 

  • Track fives on Swift's albums since Red tend to be some of the most emotional (or emotionally raw) songs on her albums. 
    • Red and reputation truly have some of the most emotional songs for track 5. 
    • "My Tears Ricochet," on the other hand, takes the cake for the most emotional song. I don't think there are words to describe just how much I love this song.  
  • "And if I'm dead to you, why are you at the wake?"
    • Oh, hello lyric that destroys me!
  • "We gather stones, never knowing what they'll mean / Some to throw, some to make a diamond ring"
    • I love the similarities between "New Romantics" and others where Swift talks about using the stones thrown at her to build her home (where she's normally safe and sound) and I love that she's talking about diamond rings now. 
    • Diamonds are some of the most beautiful gems in the world that are created under some of the most excruciating circumstances.  
  • "I didn't have it in myself to go with grace / 'Cause when I'd fight, you used to tell me I was brave" 
    • We all know she's talking about her previous label and all of the public "conversation" that happened during this time period. We all know that the owners would praise her for the various times she's used her voice to speak up (when she talked to streaming services about paying artists royalties).  
  • "And I still talk to you (When I'm screaming at the sky) / And when you can't sleep at night (You hear my stolen lullabies)" 
    • Ugh, the "stolen lullabies" part always kills me. 
  • "You had to kill me, but it killed you just the same"  
    • I mean, she was the biggest artist for the record label and her work was worth so much money.          

6. "Mirrorball"

  • "I'll show you every version of yourself tonight"
  • "Hush, I know they said the end is near"
    • I mean, at this point Taylor Swift has been in the business for man, many years, so this lyric makes sense. 
    • Her career could (well, it wouldn't) end at any moment.  
  • "I can change everything about me to fit in"
    • This also makes a lot of sense. 
  • "I'm still trying everything to keep you looking at me"
    • She's re-invented herself how many times now? 

7. "Seven"

  • "Passed down like folk songs / The love lasts so long"
  • "And just like a folk song / Our love will be passed on"   
  • I love when there are moments where the song title or the album title is mentioned in a lyric!

8. "August"

  • "August slipped away into a moment in time"
    • Oh, yes it did. 
  • "August sipped away like a bottle of wine" 
    • I mean...yeah. 
  • "So much for summer love and saying 'us'" 
  • "Cause you weren't mine to lose"
  • I also love that it's the eighth month of the year and it's the eighth track on this album.  

9. "This Is Me Trying"

  • "I just wanted you to know that this is me trying"
  • "They told me all of my cages were mental / So I got wasted like all my potential"
    • This lyric kinda destroyed me when I first heard it. 
  • "I had the shiniest wheels, now they're rusting" 
  • "I was so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere"
  • "And it's hard to be at a party when I feel like an open wound / It's hard to be anywhere these days when all I want is you / You're a flashback in a film reel on the one screen in my town"   
    • Hello, mentions of "Exile" already 
    • Also? "The Moment I Knew" references              

10. "Illicit Affairs"

  • "And that's the thing about illicit affairs / And clandestine meetings and longing stares / It's born from just one single glance / But it dies and it dies and it dies / A million little times"
  • "Look at this godforsaken mess that you made me" 
    • “Dancing with Our Hands Tied”: I’m a mess, but I’m the mess that you wanted             

 11. "Invisible String"

  • "Time, curious time / Gave me no compasses, gave me no signs / Time, mystical time / Cutting me open, then healing me fine / Something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire / Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven / Time, wondrous time / Gave me the blues and then purple-pink skies"
    • I love how she gives so much thought to the concept of "time". Like, hello, there is so much about time that we don't understand but we know that it's something that really changes us. 
    • "Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven" 
      • This line is everything when you consider what's she's been through to get to this point.
    • "Cutting me open, then healing me fine" 
      • Time heals all wounds 
    • "Something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire" 
      • She went through so much and barbed wire is extremely painful so reaching into her mistakes can be extremely painful. 
  • "A string that pulled me / Out of all the wrong arms, right into that dive bar" 
    • "Delicate" moments! I love that she talks so often about meeting him in the dive bar. 

12. "Mad Woman"

  • "And women like hunting witches too / Doing your dirtiest work for you"
  • "Every time you call me crazy, I get more crazy / What about that? / And when you say I seem angry, I get more angry" 
  • "'Cause you took everything from me / Watching you climb, watching you climb / Over people like me"          
    • Well, I love this so much. 

13. "Epiphany"

  • Damn, this song really hurts. It's so emotional. 
  • "Only twenty minutes to sleep / But you dream of some epiphany / Just one single glimpse of relief / To make some sense of what you've seen" / Holds your hand through plastic now / "Doc, I think she's crashing out" / And some things you just can't speak about"
    • I love the comparison to war and everything going on with COVID. It's so interesting to see how many similarities between the two but consider how people react to both. 

14. "Betty"

  • "I was walking home on broken cobblestones"
    • "Standing in your cardigan"
    • "cardigan" 
  • "She said "James, get in, let's drive"
    • "august"
  • "Betty, I'm here on your doorstep"
    • "cardigan"
    • "How You Get The Girl" 
  • "I'm only seventeen, I don't know anything"
    • "cardigan" with "I knew everything when I was young"  

15. "Peace"

  • "But I'm a fire and I'll keep your brittle heart warm / If your cascade, ocean wave blues come"
    • Taylor is a Sagittarius (a fire sign) and Joe is a Pieces (a water sign)
  • "And you know that I'd swing with you for the fences / Sit with you in the trenches / Give you my wild, give you a child / Give you the silence that only comes when two people understand each other / Family that I chose, now that I see your brother as my brother / Is it enough? / But there's robbers to the east, clowns to the west / I'd give you my sunshine, give you my best / But the rain is always gonna come if you're standin' with me"               
    • God, I love this entire lyric set.  
    • No matter how long they're together or how deep their relationship gets, it's always going to be in the public eye.
    • I love the line of "give you the silence that only comes when two people understand each other" 
      • There is something so intimate about being able to stay in silence with someone. Personally, if I'm comfortable being with you in silence, simply existing with that person, really says so much. 
    • "now that I see your brother as my brother" 
      • This is also very intimate and important. When we bring people into our lives and introduce them to our families, it's such a life changing moment. 
    • "I'd give your my sunshine, give you my best / But the rain is always gonna come if you're stadnin with me" 
      • The good will always come with the bad.       

16. "Hoax"

  • "Your faithless love's the only hoax I believe in"
    • Hello "False God"
  • "My smoking gun 
    • “Look What You Made Me Do”: "You said the gun was mine"
  • "My twisted knife" 
    • “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”: "You stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand"
  • "My sleepless night"
    • “Treacherous”: "Two headlights shine through the sleepless night"
  • "This has frozen my ground"
    • “Dancing with Our Hands Tied”
  • "Don't want no other shade of blue but you / No other sadness in the world would do" 
  • "You knew it still hurts underneath my scars / From when they pulled me apart"
    • "cardigan" lyrics with "You drew stars around my scars"                

17. "The Lakes" (extra track) 

  • This song grows on you slowly and in a way that I did not expect it to. I really didn't like it the first time I listened to it but man, I really love this song now.  
  • "Is it romantic how all my elegies eulogize me?"
    • An elegy is a reflection on the dead and to eulogize one is to talk very positively of that person. 
    • I also love the use of "romantic" as so much of this talks about the romantic writers. 
  • "These hunters with cell phones"
    • "I Know Places" 
  • "A red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground / With no one around to tweet it "
    • “Call It What You Want” 
  • "Take me to the Lakes where all the poets went to die"
    • William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey were known as "Lake Poets" as they lived in the Lake District and were poets of the Romantic movement. Wordsworth died and is buried in the Lake District. 
  • "I've come too far to watch some namedropping sleaze / Tell me what are my words worth"
    • I love the word play on Wordsworth

I love--and I mean I LOVE--this album. It took so much restraint to not talk about every single song in so much detail. I can't get over the nostalgia to replace Red as my favorite Taylor Swift album but it is definitely on the same page. This sound is so mature. The lyrics are beyond amazing. I can't even tell you all how much this entire album means to me. It really has been such an important moment for the summer period during this pandemic. And the fact that she's been working on this album since April of this year? I know I shouldn't take this as a personal affront but damn, I am amazed at how much work she's done. 

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