folklore is a bold departure from the style of Taylor’s previous works, and it showcases her growth both as an artist and as a person. It’s the first full project where it feels like she isn’t aiming for a #1 spot on the charts but is rather focused on delivering a warm, intimate listening experience and letting the music speak for itself. The result is an extremely mature, emotional, and genuine record, with Taylor’s songwriting shown at its best.
The thing that strikes me the most about this album is just how well-developed it is. Taylor was really not fucking around with this one. She impressively manages to create an hour-long album with extremely little filler and makes the seemingly long runtime feel justified. Every song on here feels carefully crafted and the display of her vulnerability and artistic authenticity is executed in a much better way than it was through her previous albums.
Taylor’s songwriting is fantastic on this album. The lyrics she writes are packed with poetic depth, emotion, and vulnerability, and I believe it’s the most introspective side to her we’ve witnessed to date, even in 2023. It shows an impressive amount of growth to her pen game, exploring even deeper than she has before on previous albums, and is a candid insight into her thoughts that make the experience all the more intimate and relatable.
The folk production fits these themes perfectly, and makes so much more sense than implementing similar ones into albums with a poppier style like “Reputation” or “Lover”. As someone who is a big folk head and also as a fan of Bon Iver, I can say that Taylor hits the nail right on the head in making it all work.
It allows her vocals and her introspection to take centre stage. Nothing feels overproduced on this album; all it is is a beautifully organic production style that creates an intimate atmosphere and keeps listeners hooked under its warm bubble. This stays incredibly consistent throughout the whole hour, making it a smooth journey from start to end.
I have to mention my favourite song on folklore (and also my favourite Taylor Swift song should I note) which is “exile”. While it might seem obvious that I love this one the most because of my unhealthy obsession with Bon Iver and Justin Vernon, it’s still definitely Taylor’s songwriting style and shows the best side of it. Her lyrics are amazing on this song, as well as her vocal performances and harmonies that convey so much emotion. And of course, Vernon adds a massive layer of depth, all in terms of his low-pitched voice, performance, and another perspective to Taylor’s lyrics. Loved this one since it was first released.
Taylor’s music definitely isn’t for everyone. Heck it wasn’t for me at all until I first listened to this a few years back, but it’s impossible not to give massive props to her for the impressive amounts of versatility, growth, and expressions of introspection that she’s shown on folklore as an artist.
Highest rated: the 1, cardigan, exile, august
Lowest rated: invisible string, mad woman
|1||the 1 / 95|
|2||cardigan / 100|
|3||the last great american dynasty / 90|
|4||exile / 100|
|5||my tears ricochet / 90|
|6||mirrorball / 85|
|7||seven / 80|
|8||august / 100|
|9||this is me trying / 90|
|10||illicit affairs / 90|
|11||invisible string / 75|
|12||mad woman / 75|
|13||epiphany / 85|
|14||betty / 90|
|15||peace / 80|
|16||hoax / 80|