Even Swift's Instagram post announcing the record only a few hours prior to the release exudes excitement from Swift herself. The reception and enjoyment she received from making that record seems to have given her a new lease on life and genuine excitement in writing and recording new songs, not just for the fans but for herself. That sense of elation she feels in putting out this music simply oozes out of the fifteen song album.
evermore doesn't feel like a far departure from folklore, which is both expected and also more than welcome. Swift focuses on subtle, warm, and subdued textures throughout the record and continues to explore this new form of her music. Where folklore felt like Swift experimenting with her decade and a half long format in magnificent ways, evermore sees her solidifying and expanding on those directions. The true magic of evermore is that Swift made such a strong impact with her huge change in musical direction on folklore that the follow up to that record hasn't lost its significance. Importantly, the second surprise of the year doesn't feel like her capitalizing on the success but instead so thrilled with the departure that she couldn't wait to keep moving forward.
This new release is, like folklore, full of gorgeous and memorable tracks all fitting together in an adventurous and expansive end product. 'tis the damn season is perhaps the closest we've seen to Swift going full-on indie rock with the usage of more focused guitar and drum patterns. tolerate it sees Swift soaring over piano notes and quiet electronics with more elegance than we've seen from her. no body, no crime is a playful country-inspired song featuring new collaborators HAIM that incorporates some twang without going overboard. ivy edges more into a pop direction but maintains the acoustic nature of the record, allowing the song to not feel so much like a complete shift in the narrative and instead an enjoyable sideroad down the long journey. They add a diverse set of songs to a consistently enjoyable album, front to back.
Swift also continues to write some of her most inspired songs in her career. Major standout is marjorie, a love letter to her grandmother that explores deep emotions. If her songwriting in the past had even glimpses of these songs it would be hard to read into in the same way, given that they would have been surrounded in less mature and exemplary instrumentals. The nature of the folk instrumentation gives Swift the opportunity to focus on writing and songcraft, which gives these songs a far more personal soul than her previous work.
If you were impressed by Taylor Swift back in July and found yourself with a new appreciation for the seasoned pop star, then evermore will only solidify it further. If folklore was a big surprise given its massive deviation in sound from her past work, then evermore should serve as a surprise that Swift was just as excited for her new direction as we were. Expect a similarly warm reception to this quick follow-up, and don't be surprised if Swift comes back with a third sibling in short order.
Favorite track: tolerate it