This has been a very strange summer, no doubt.
Between quarantine, social justice movements, my loved ones getting sick and other occurrences that made me feel very strong emotions, it only makes sense that Taylor Alison Swift would release an album that elevated my strange and intense emotions exponentially.
I have always been a fan of Taylor Swift — from making up dances to songs off of her first album with my cousins to blasting the Red album on my iPod Touch after my first heartbreak in eighth grade to slow dancing to the Lover album.
I know it doesn’t really fit with my carefully curated indie-emo-pop punk music taste, but there is something about the way she writes that really gets me.
That said, the “Folklore” album’s storylines and lyrics are some of Swift’s best work.
Specifically, the three sides of the love triangle that are shown in “betty,” “cardigan” and “august” are so well thought out and the story is so easily understood on the surface level, but also on an emotional level, that makes you really get what each party in the love triangle is going through.
One of my favorite songs, lyrically, is the tenth track. “illicit affairs” is only three minutes and 11 seconds long, but it takes me through a journey as if I’m reading a romance novel.
The lyric “and you know damn well, for you I would ruin myself a million little times” tells an entire story of how this affair affected her.
In her earlier albums, Swift wrote from the perspective of hating the other girl of the affair in “Should’ve Said No” and “Better Than Revenge” and turning down a man with a girlfriend in “Girl At Home.”
So with Folklore, it’s interesting to see Swift transition to writing from the perspective of someone who is in an entanglement with someone she knows she shouldn’t be, in both “illicit affairs” and “august.”
Going from always writing as the good girl to writing about the parts of life that we are ashamed of gives her writing more emotional depth.
I would be remiss, too, if I didn’t write about “exile (feat. Bon Iver).” Eau Claire’s own Justin Vernon of Bon Iver made an appearance on this album and the vocals on this track worked so well.
The raw emotion of this track made me pull over while listening to it for the first time, no lie. Vernon’s rewrite of the bridge on this track made it even more earnest and emotional and for this track, I am forever grateful.
Another thing that I am forever grateful for is being able to grow with Swift’s genre progression. I grew up listening to country music on the farm in the summers, so hits like “Tim McGraw” and “Teardrops on My Guitar” are nostalgic for me.
Swift’s transition to pop, specifically the Red album, is when I first started exploring my music taste and started listening to more Top 40s-esque music.
Her transition to indie-folk, while a few years after I really got into the genre, brought me back to my true appreciation for her and her songwriting.
I listened to the album all the way through in order the first few times, as that is the proper way to listen to any album. However, now, like anyone else who consumes music, I listen to a select few songs more than the rest.
At the time of publication, my top three songs from the album are “illicit affairs,” “august” and “the 1.”
I hope to see more from Swift in the future and hopefully more in this style. She not only dominates country and pop, but she has now shown us that the indie-folk charts are not safe from Taylor Swift, and I am 100 percent okay with that.
Kelley can be reached at [email protected].