Album Review: evermore (Taylor Swift)

January 13, 2021

Oh Taylor, you surprise us in the most special ways. I thought she's already done with folklore (because who among major artists releases two albums in a span of four months, who? 😲). I guess, like all of us, she's just coping with the pandemic, and lucky for the fans (and to the whole music industry actually), her way of keeping afloat amidst all the things that are happening is through creating music.

And as we know it, on December 11, 2020, Taylor Swift released folklore's sister album entitled evermore, of which she announced its existence less than 24 hours before release, just like how she did it with folklore. Taylor mentioned it as a "sister album", and she collaborated with the same artists (plus a few more) so with just that, I already have my ideas of how the album would sound like.

To be honest, I kind of became slightly desensitized of the excitement listening to new Taylor Swift music (I'm still digesting all of folkore), and so getting into evermore became a slower and longer process. I have said multiple times that the first listen to an album is a very precious moment for me, but I think it didn't apply for this album. 😐 I actually listened to this album while I was working, and stopped halfway because I felt distracted already . I was able to finish the album later that day though. 

My picks for the first run-through were: willow, no body, no crime, and ivy.

After several weeks, I fortunately had the time to actually sit down and really let the songs sink into me. At that point, I was already familiar with the melody of most of the songs (as I have been repeatedly listening to them) and so in that particular listening session, I focused on the message via watching the lyric videos on YouTube (the beautiful visuals really helped set the mood for each 😊).

After ruminating with each song, here's what I have to say for each of them:

01 willow
The song has such a catchy guitar intro. Because I first listened to it via the music video, I have always associated it with the mv visuals. I think it was apt to give the song a medieval "witch-y" vibes (and there's the inside joke in the fandom thinking how many more versions Taylor would release of this song πŸ˜‚). I think it is the perfect track introduction for the whole album.

Key of: G
Favorite Lyrics:
I'm like the water when your ship rolled in the night
Rough on the surface but you cut through like a knife

Wherever you stray, I follow

02 champagne problems
Ooh here we go with the I–V–vi–IV chord progression again. This is one of those songs that didn't stick with me the first time, but as of this writing I have to say it's beginning to grow on me, especially upon knowing that Taylor co-wrote it with Joe (a.k.a. William Bowery). And it's a very heartbreaking song. What a turn of events- when previously Taylor writes breakup songs about the guys she's dated, now she's writing it with her guy while they are still dating! This one is even deeper than a breakup song because it's a wedding proposal rejection. 😳 

Key of: C
Favorite Lyrics:
Sometimes you just don't know the answer
'Til someone's on their knees and asks you

03 gold rush
It's no surprise that this is another Swift x Antonoff masterpiece. I love how the lyrics flow with the music. 

Key of: A
Favorite Lyrics:
I don't like that anyone would die to feel your touch
Everybody wants you

I don't like that falling feels like flying 'til the bone crush

04 'tis the damn season
I can't seem to grasp the meaning of this song. So she's talking about a previous relationship wherein she goes back but just over the weekend? 😢 I honestly think Taylor had had her own bouts of infidelity, and through these songs she reminisces them.

Key of: F
Favorite Lyrics:
The holidays linger like bad perfume
You can run, but only so far
I escaped it too, remember how you watched me leave

And wonder about the only soul
Who can tell which smiles I'm fakin'
And the heart I know I'm breakin' is my own
To leave the warmest bed I've ever known

05 tolerate it
Again, this is one the songs that just didn't click with me. But still, I appreciate all the wonderful poetry this song contains.

Key of: A
Favorite Lyrics:

If it's all in my head, tell me now
Tell me I've got it wrong somehow
I know my love should be celebrated
But you tolerate it

I made you my temple, my mural, my sky
Now I'm begging for footnotes in the story of your life

Gain the weight of you, then lose it
Believe me, I could do it

06 no body, no crime
I immediately liked this during my first listen, not just because HAIM is in it (which is also a favorite aritst of mine) but also because of the excellent story telling that the song has. I loved the play on the pronouns for each chorus. I happened to have finished reading the novel The Guest List by Lucy Foley this month, and this song has become the soundtrack of the book because the themes fit very well with each other.

Key of: (I'm still trying to figure out πŸ˜–)
Favorite Lyrics:
Her husband's acting different and it smells like infidelity
07 happiness
This is a slow song and since I was already half-way through the album, the track didn't resonate with me the first few times I listened to it. A friend told me that this is one of her favorites, and she recently just went through a breakup. Upon watching the lyric video, I realized why she connected with the song, and through that, I got to feel the essence of the song more.

Key of: B
Favorite Lyrics:
There'll be happiness after you
But there was happiness because of you
Both of these things can be true
There is happiness

Across our great divide
There is a glorious sunrise

No one teaches you what to do
When a good man hurts you
And you know you hurt him too

08 dorothea
This is another weak song for me (sorry Taylor πŸ˜–). Maybe it's because I just can't relate with the lyrics at all. But still, the lyrics are beautiful.

Key of: E
Favorite Lyrics:
A tiny screen's the only place I see you now

You're a queen selling dreams, selling makeup and magazines
From you, I'd buy anything

09 coney island
This is another melancholic track from Taylor about a love lost. I still don't have first-hand experience with these things but somehow the artistic choice of words paint very somber emotions in me.

Key of: G
Favorite Lyrics:
What's a lifetime of achievement
If I pushed you to the edge?
But you were too polite to leave me

10 ivy
THIS. This is my most favorite track of the album- from my first listen up to the viewing of the lyric video, the song just became more fascinating with each play. I love it so much.

Key of: D
Favorite Lyrics: all of it

11 cowboy like me
I think this is the Getaway Car track of evermore, and I can't help but assume that she picked up anecdotes from her dancing encounters with a certain celebrity ex.

Key of: C
Favorite Lyrics:
And you asked me to dance
But I said "dancin' is a dangerous game"

I've got some tricks up my sleeve
Takes one to know one
You're a cowboy like me
Never wanted love
Just a fancy car

12 long story short
If cowboy like me is to Getaway Car, long story short is to Call It What You Want from her reputation album. She's reminiscing the bad times she had to go through some years past, but now she's just full of gratitude that she was able to surpass them all, with the love of her life by her side.

Key of: C
Favorite Lyrics:
Long story short, I survived

13 marjorie
We've been given a chance to know Taylor's grandfather a bit more through folklore's epiphany. This time, she gives tribute to her grandmother who apparently was an artist herself - an opera singer in the 60's. The lyric video included footages of her grandmother, and some with Taylor herself when she was little. The song also included a track of her grandmother's singing. It's so amazing how Taylor really makes her songs her legacy, not just to the music industry, but to her own lineage.

Key of: F
Favorite Lyrics:

Never be so kind
You forget to be clever
Never be so clever
You forget to be kind

14 closure
Not all of your exes will be your friends (or so they say) and so I guess Taylor is grabbing those kinds of emotions into this character she contrives as the narrator of the song. I would always wonder how much of this song describes her real-life situation. 😏

Key of: A
Favorite Lyrics:
I know I'm just a wrinkle in your new life
Staying friends would iron it out so nice

15 evermore
The closing track of the standard edition version of the album, despite it being a bit heavy, dark, and dispiriting, still conjures a beautiful imagery for me. It reminded me of the atmosphere of the first few chapters of The Midnight Library novel, but with a more hopeful outlook on how the next chapters will be for the main protagonist of this song. I felt confident that she would be able to rise from this ordeal as a stronger person, especially with the song ending with the lines this pain wouldn't be for evermore. The song, although is about pain, is also about recovery.

Key of: C#
Favorite Lyrics:

I replay my footsteps on each stepping stone
Trying to find the one where I went wrong
Writing letters
Addressed to the fire

Can't remember
What I used to fight for
I rewind thΠ΅ tape, but all it does is pause

I feel like through each song, I'm being given a glimpse of selected pages from a great novel. I wonder if Taylor has flirted with the idea of writing a book, or even penning a musical? πŸ˜€ 

Like all Swifties around the world, one of our brightest memories of 2020 will be our first encounters with the songs from folklore and evermore and as we are getting to know each of the songs more and more (and slowly but surely associating memories to each one), we'll surely go back to these albums as they've been our places of comfort when the world went through a pandemic. Taylor, you did all that. Thank you.

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  1. Taylor Swift wins Grammy's Album of the Year award for her ‘Folklore’ album.


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