Tag Archives: Self-Isolation

Folklore: Creativity in Confinement

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.

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Ponytails & Pyjamas: Beauty Routines in Self-Isolation

Did I brush my teeth today? I wonder as I fire up my laptop for another day of working at home. As I sip my coffee and reply to the latest emails, I become increasingly aware of my unwashed hair, but since there’s no one to see it, what’s the harm in leaving it just one more day? Then again, I do have that important Zoom meeting at 2 pm. I should probably look a little more presentable for that. Surely some muted lighting will help hide the tired, dark circles under my eyes. And there’s nothing that a high ponytail can’t solve.

As each day melts into the next during social isolation, it’s easy to neglect even the most basic self-care rituals. I was never a high maintenance gal to begin with, but I feel myself slipping even further into lazy habits. The problem is, once you start wearing your pyjamas around all day, the malaise can trickle into other areas of your life.

Beauty isn’t just about the superficial. How you feel about your appearance can have a strong negative impact on productivity and energy. You might stop video chatting with your family and friends because you “don’t look good right now.” You’ll probably skip that afternoon walk worried because your hair is frizzy and your grey roots are showing. And now that you’re in your pyjamas – so soft and warm –  a little nap couldn’t hurt. But once you’re in that cozy bed, it’s oh-so-hard to get back up again.

So what can we do to feel better in these challenging times? How can we create a realistic and manageable beauty routine while being kind to ourselves? Continue reading