Showing posts with label taylor swift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taylor swift. Show all posts

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Evermore (2020) is a fitting sister album for folklore

During the summer of the 2020 apocalypse, nothing surprised Swifties more than when Taylor Swift dropped a surprise album. folklore received some of the best reviews of the year and her career so far – inspiring fans and critics about the type of art that can spring out of such a crushing pandemic. And then fast forward half a year later, and Swift with Aaron Dressner dropped an early holiday bombshell with a sister album called evermore.

If folklore showed Taylor Swift in all of her folksy might, evermore takes a twist for a mix of old-fashioned whimsy and witchiness-inspired country. Evermore doesn’t quite pick up where folklore left off – it’s not copying or continuing stories from her previous album but parallels can be drawn between tracks if you want to dig deeper - and us Swifties have been trained to dig deep. This time around her music takes more of an upswing than a haunting melancholy with tales about Hollywood stars coming home for the holidays (tis the damn season), a small town crime between friends (no body, no crime), and bandits falling in love (cowboy like me). She also uses a similar storytelling technique with heftier imagery sprinkled throughout the chorus and verses, and packing in the bridges with everything she’s got.

To describe the two albums together, I’d say folklore feels like a foggy winter morn. It’s an album of reflection and reminiscing about rage, euphoria, young love, and trying to find stability in the middle of jagged relationships and crazy times. It maintains a 1970s feel in a lot of ways like Joni Mitchell and Carole King, where her cadence blends in with the beat and one-of-a-kind melodies. Evermore, on the other hand, captures melancholy in the summer as it fades into fall, describing stories in the present moment rather than looking back with as much woe or angst. At first, it doesn't feel like a country album, but over time, it will become more obvious just how much it can be considered a more mature sibling to Red. Evermore might still maintain a running theme of unrequited love or broken relationships, but the rhythm allows the lyrics to mold to the beat or act as poetry over the music. The two together are a dynamo duo - it's only a question of which on you prefer.

Though the two share a lot of similarities, the biggest difference for me is how it's taken me longer for evermore to resonate. When folklore dropped, I was instantly emotional about several songs on the initial and subsequent listens. Even though my top 5 rankings are much the same, I don’t skip any tracks and even my least favorites have grown on me. It's a perfect album. That type of progress is a  struggle with evermore. The themes of yearning for a loved one, the fundamental differences between two people that divides them, finding closure, etc. with self-recriminating insight starts to feel repetitive no matter how many poetic ways Taylor expresses herself. Half of the album become definite re-listens, while I don't seek out other songs or might skip halfway through them.

Swift and Dressner manages to produce a sound that is light on the ears as well as in-depth storytelling that makes you reconsider all of the different angles, and will certainly define the holiday era of the pandemic. And that's perhaps the hiccup evermore runs into - Taylor's so ahead of her own curve it becomes a sphere, where a lot of the tracks hit a comfortably catchy groove but don't land as surprisingly or as uniquely as folklore. In true companionship fashion, plenty of songs fit alongside each other but you'll left wondering how the runner-up compares to the original. While it's harmless to want more of a great thing, it doesn't mean it will be great itself.

RATING: ★★☆
Have you listened to evermore? What did you think?

My thoughts on the individual songs with a ranking of faves is below.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

folklore (2020) offers an enchanting escape from the dumpster fire that is 2020

folklore album review
When it comes to Taylor Swift, her most devoted Swifties always expect something to pop up around the corner. Known as the queen of meticulously dropping hints of what’s to come, she always manages to keep fans on the edge of their seat. With her seventh album Lover dropping less than a year ago, and a massive pandemic sweeping the world, very few could’ve expected to hear new music after a cancelled summer tour. The next era of her music felt like an eternity away, but only Swift could drop her eighth studio record out of nowhere and blast more of our expectations out of the water. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Miss Americana (2020) Shines A Light On the Swift Narrative

Miss Americana (2020) documentary review netflix
Everyone has an opinion on Taylor Swift. Millions of fans around the world have grown up with her music and followed her through the highs and lows. Outside of her loyal Swiftie community, the world over either loathes, ignores or maintains a bitter impression about Swift. Netflix's latest documentary Miss Americana (2020) strives to challenge what both fans and haters alike believe about the beloved yet divisive celebrity.

In 2016, after the massive success of her fifth studio album 1989, Swift reached a new height of media overexposure and a public feud with Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian. When #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty trended worldwide for 24 hours, Swift was effectively canceled. The musician thought the world wanted her to disappear, and so she did – for a year. The question on so many fans’ minds will center on where Swift went during that time she disappeared, and this is where the documentary steps in.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Lover (2019) Marks A New Beginning After A Winding Storm

Taylor Swift Lover Review
Very few artists in the music industry are known for their literal reputation. From a rising country star to a pop sensation, Taylor Swift became recognized for the drama – the men she was dating (or even seen with), feuds, the lack of using her voice in politics, and everything in between. Considering the number of records she’s broken and set, the awards she’s won, the genuine giving personality she’s known to have with her fans, her life in the public became more known than the music she was making.

Nothing could stop the apocalyptic summer of 2016, where her personal and professional life came to a head. Squeezed into a damn-if-she-did-damned-if-she-doesn’t corner, Swift reverbed the drama into her sixth album Reputation. A boisterous declaration against the black and white headlines, which spun opinions into facts and made no room for redemption, Swift simultaneously played into the persona of the witch getting burned as well as the torchbearer. Trying to regain some semblance of her career spiraling out of control, Reputation served all the rumors surrounding her image at that point up on snake-laden platter.

Despite fans recognizing that the Old Taylor was never literally dead, transitions between eras can sometimes lose fans along the way. Having become a bonafide Swiftie through Reputation, it’s hard to not be biased about its production and tone. A mix of angry and boisterous anthems, and vulnerable mellow confessions, it’s impossible to skip a track no matter how many times I’ve listened to it. But while watching the Reputation concert on Netflix the night before Lover released, I wondered if Taylor could handle losing the ‘swamp witch’ impression (as Taylor put it) and step into the daylight.

A long and winding career whirlwind, such as the one that Taylor endured, is not something most public figures – in film, music, or politics – emerge unscathed.

Except Taylor Swift.

And, this is where Lover comes in.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Stars I Love: Taylor Swift

If you had told me a year ago, let alone five years ago, that I'd be doing a whole post on Taylor Swift I wouldn't believe you. It's not that I was a certified hater. Her music was the inadvertent soundtrack of my adolescence, but bopping along in the car to her latest hits wasn't nearly enough to make me a bonafide Swiftie.

Other than being aware of her music growing up, one of the first memories I have was attending a sold-out showing to Valentine's Day. The theater was filled with lots of couples on dates, but it was also filled with teenagers my age. While I was convinced at the time it was the star-studded cast that might've attracted young adults to the movie, or the fact that it was a holiday, I look back and think now that it was all about Taylor. For a few reasons: that theater has never been that packed since (excluding superhero movies), and every time Taylor showed up on-screen, those different groups of girls were in full-fangirl mode - not just when her characters' boyfriend (Taylor Lautner) was on-screen but also when she had a few small individual moments of her own.  I was in the middle of Taylor's influence and didn't even quite realize it.

And, that's how the next several years of my life went: Taylor could be heard in every retail store, on the drives to and from school, seen on award shows and in movies or tv shows, but I didn't become hardcore about it.