One month ago – or last year (ha-ha) – on December 11th, Taylor Swift surprised us with her second number one album of the year. To the delight of cottagecore fanatics far and wide, Taylor released a “sister album” to the summer hit, folklore. Titled evermore, this sister did not disappoint, earning both critical and commercial success. Both albums were products of isolation and remote collaboration. In The Long Pond Studio Sessions documentary, Taylor describes what this process looked like for her: from building an at-home studio to fortuitous text exchanges between herself and collaborators (primarily: Aaron Dessner, Bon Iver, and Jack Antonoff), which ultimately led to the manifestation of these two record-breaking albums. In a cavity of forced seclusion, Taylor escaped to invented lives and shared these with the world with an astonishingly rapid and scaled-back album rollout.
The massive popularity of both folklore and evermore indicates that we are all in need of a mental getaway. evermore offers a refreshing array of intricate, intimate, lyrical stories. Some lighter tracks, in true Swift fashion, explore the highs and lows of love (“willow”, “ivy”). On the other end of the spectrum, “no body, no crime” featuring HAIM has a deceptively simple tune and the narrative structure of a good, clean, country ballad – but it weaves a tale of infidelity and murder in 3 minutes and 35 seconds. There’s something for the whole family!
On her evermore songwriting process, Taylor revealed, “My world felt opened up creatively. There was a point that I got to as a writer who only wrote very diaristic songs that I felt it was unsustainable for my future moving forward. So what I felt after we put out folklore was like ‘oh wow, people are into this too, this thing that feels really good for my life and feels really good for my creativity… it feels good for them too?” This “post-pop Swift” is experiencing a somewhat unexpected career boom; during the elaborate rollout for her seventh studio album, Lover, Taylor expressed that she felt herself nearing the end of her widespread popularity. She has proven herself wrong. Taylor Swift’s career has not only survived but flourished over fourteen years, ten albums, and two distinct genre transitions (from country to pop to folk). The singer-songwriter is topping charts once again, simply by writing what she felt like writing, with whoever she felt moved to work with.