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Young Writers Society
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:24 am
72 hours ago, I had no idea this album was even coming. Now I can't imagine listening to anything else.
Thursday morning, I was doing my usual pre-work ritual of scrolling reddit while avoiding the strenuous commute from my bedroom to the living room (remote work is the best lol) when I saw the post on the Taylor Swift sub-"New studio album!" I thought this was a joke at first, but it became increasingly clear that it wasn't. A new album was dropping at midnight, as was the video of the first single "cardigan", a stark departure from the months-long rollout we Swifties expect. The black and white aesthetics and the title "folklore" promised a return to her roots.
I had to work but after that I was mostly just a mess of anticipation until midnight, when I watched the gorgeous video for "cardigan", a song that paints a vivid picture of young love and heartbreak. It's honestly hard for me to get to the end without crying. As an aside, she looks younger in this video than she does in the overly-made-up videos from her actual adolescence.
So then I go to the actual album. It's just absolute perfection from start to finish. Last year, after the release of "Lover", an album with some absolute gems buried underneath its crappy singles, I remember thinking she should just stop trying to top the pop charts, go hide in a cabin in the woods, write whatever she wants, and wow us in two years. Naturally, I couldn't predict we'd be hit by a pandemic that ruined everyone's plans (including hers-I firmly believe she would've released "Cruel Summer" as a single in May had we not ended up having a worldwide cruel summer instead), nor that she would end up with something this good as a result. It's gone beyond my "wildest dreams" (sorry not sorry).
In one sense, it doesn't feel like a Taylor Swift album. There's no pop single to distract people and make me sound crazy when I try to insist she's actually talented. There's no months-long rollout with aggravating clues for the fandom to decipher (though she did drop a selfie on 4/27 that said "not a lot going on at the moment". She released the album on 7/24). It doesn't have that diary-style writing that make people hunt for clues as to who she wrote what about (though I have long suspected that this is kind of silly, as I imagine her songs are actually a blend of experiences that aren't only about one person or situation). It's less autobiographical and more cinematic, an ethereal collection of stories. She actually curses enough that there's an explicit and clean version (I was really annoyed to discover that I'd accidentally downloaded the clean version. I promptly deleted it, as I no longer want to live in a world where I can't hear Taylor Swift say "f*** you forever").
But in another sense, it's clearly a Taylor Swift album. I find echoes of previous songs throughout this-"Starlight" and "The Lucky One" in "The Last Great American Dynasty", "The Last Time" (her duet with Garry Lightbody from Snow Patrol) in the somehow-even-better "exile" with Bon Iver, even "Look What You Made Me Do" in "Mad Woman". She's always been a storyteller, and finally she's honed her best lyrical instincts and avoided the missteps (if I had to pick a least favorite track, it might be "mirrorball", but now that's even growing on me so I have no clue how to rank these). The style might be different for her, and yet the transition seems to make perfect sense.
I could ramble on, but for now, I think I'll finish by dropping my favorite line from each song.
the 1-"In my defense I have none/For digging up the grave another time" (*death glares at my own project "exorcism of a love that never was" *)
cardigan-"i knew you, leaving like a father, running like water" (this is when the waterworks start)
the last great american dynasty-"and in a feud with her neighbor, she stole his dog and dyed it key lime green" (this song is based off a real person, and according to Rolling Stone, it was actually a cat-
exile-"I can see you staring honey, like he's just your understudy, like you'd get your knuckles bloody for me".
my tears ricochet-"I didn't have it in myself to go with grace"
mirrorball-"and I'm still a believer, but i don't know why" (I think I didn't like this song as much as first because the way she says "tallest tiptoes" makes it sound like she's saying "toilet's tiptoes" at first listen, lol)
seven-"before i learned civility/I used to scream ferociously" (this makes me think of my lost childhood friends and is a major tearjerker)
august-"remember when I pulled up and said 'get in the car' and I cancelled my plans just in case you'd call, back when I was living for the hope of it all" (this song is also basically "exorcism of a love that never was" in a song)
this is me trying-"they said all my cages were mental, so I got wasted like all my potential" (my 20s in a couplet, basically)
illicit affairs-"don't call me kid, don't call me baby, look at this godforsaken mess that you made me"
invisible string-"bad was the blood of the song in the cab on your first trip to LA" (nice callback there, Taylor)
mad woman-"do you see my face in your neighbor's lawn? Does she smile, or does she mouth "f*** you forever?"
epiphany-"holding hands in plastic now, doc I think she's crashing out" (if this song about soldiers and doctors on the front lines doesn't make you cry, I have every right to question your humanity. 5/5 tissue boxes).
betty-"I'm only seventeen, I don't know anything, but I know I miss you"
peace-"all these people think love's for show, but I would die for you in secret"
hoax-"your faithless love's the only hoax I believe in"
"You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand." Leonardo Da Vinci
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:45 am
I don’t know if this is the right place to say it, but this album has mad me respect Taylor Swift as an artist and not just a sellout. I think I finally get it. Honestly, I listened to “The1” the first time and was horribly disappointed, but I listened to “Cardigan,” and yeah, that was it. There’s finally a feeling of self-acceptance that I feel like she never had before. She had been trying to cover her fear with bravado, but it always felt wrong. But this album, she got it right.
So many poems growing outta them they're practically a poet-tree
Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:27 am
This is a perfect place to say it! I'm certainly open to discussion and other opinions. I've been a long time fan (discovering "Hey Stephen" in 2010 while I was pining over a stupid guy made me decide that I liked her even if I thought You Belong With Me was annoying), but I can agree that Taylor Swift the brand has often overshadowed Taylor Swift the artist. And I think some of that self-acceptance comes with getting older and caring less what other people think of you.
"You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand." Leonardo Da Vinci
Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:33 pm
Although I haven't heard all the songs of Folklore, but Epiphany caught my heart. The lines that you mentioned followed by -
"Only twenty minutes to sleep
But you dream of some epiphany
Just one single glimpse of relief
To make some sense of what you've seen"
creates such a deep impression on me. It makes me imagine all the deaths and horrors that the medical workers around the world are facing and they perhaps don't even have the time to rest.
The best thing about TS's songs are that even if you don't like the overall thing, you would possibly end up remembering some phrase or line that holds more weight than the rest. Simply because it feels like poetry. But only in Folklore, she has managed to create the poetry in her music too. It has almost got a timeless feel to it.
I liked Cardigan too, especially the lines "When you are young, they assume you know nothing" and then her direct contrast of it in the end where she sings " 'Cause I knew everything when I was young".
And in August (
maybe because it's my birthday month, but I'm not sorry lol
) the lines- But I can see us lost in the memory
August slipped away into a moment in time
'Cause it was never mine
and also the lines- For me, it was enough
To live for the hope of it all
Anyways, I just wanted to comment on Epiphany but I ended up writing about two more.
Let's just die young or live forever.
Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:12 pm
This is super super super late but I just found it and I was so happy someone listened to Folklore here AAAAAAAAA
I wish I found it sooner XD
Folklore is def on A WHOLE DIFFERENT LEVEL. I have to admit that, because of some of the crappy singles on Rep and Lover, I kinda lost interest in Taylor and thought that was it for me. And then Folklore came out. As someone who loved storytelling in music, the album intrigued me so much so that I decided to give it a listen. And I haven't looked back since! I've been listening to Folklore NONSTOP like YESSSSSS! And then, with renewed enthusiasm, I looked back on Lover and Reptutation and even 1989 and I'm finding songs, hidden beauties that I WISH I listened to sooner! I'm so happy and proud to say that I love her, not just for Folklore, but for all her ther albums as well.
My fav lines:
the 1: I persist, and resist the temptation to ask you if one thing had been different, would everything be different today?
cardigan: I knew you'd linger like a tattoo kiss, I knew you'd haunt all of my what-ifs, the smell of smoke would hang around this long cause I knew everything when I was young
the last great american dynasty: I had a marvellous time ruining everything
exile: You never gave a warning sign/I gave so many signs
my tears ricochet: I didn't have it in myself to go with grace, and when I fight, you used to tell me I was brave/ You had to kill me but it killed you just the same (Honestly, so many good lines in this song)
mirrorball: I've never been a natural, all I do is try, try, try. I'm still on that trapeze, I'm still trying everything to get you looking at me. (Samee it took a while for me to like mirrorball but once I did, there was no going back baby)
seven; SAMEMEEE EOW before I learned civility, I used to scream ferociously anytime I wanted (AA TRUE)
august: Back when we were still changing for the better, wanting was enough, for me, it was enough. To live for the hope of it all,...
this is me trying: I fell so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere/ And it's hard to be at a party when I feel like an open wound.
illicit affairs: a dwindling mercurial high, a drug that only works for the first few hundred times
invisible string: time, mystical time, cutting me open then healing me fine,
mad woman: it's obvious that wanting me dead has really brought you two together (this may be because I relate to it somewhat personally because of how petty it sounds XD)
epiphany: only 20 minutes to sleep, but your dream is an epiphany. Just a single glimpse of relief to make some sense of what you've seen (seriously yes, epiphany is too much emotion for already emotional me)
betty: she said, "James, get in, let's drive,", those days turned into nights, slept next to her but I dreamt of you all summer long. (I love the bridges a lot I'm starting to realise XD)
peace: I'd give you my sunshine, give you my best, but the rain is always gonna come if you stand in with me
hoax; you know it still hurts underneath my scars from when they pulled me apart
the lakes: I want auroras and sad prose, I want to watch wisteria grow right over my bare feet cause I haven't moved in years/a red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground with noone around to tweet it (honestly every line is gold)
Right, I couldn't do anything but make hearts ache.
I dreamt for forgiveness if I loved so dearly,
but pushed away from scare and fright.
Love this soft and feeble daffodil
It's only a fragile flower in truth
- Light And Daffodils
As a writer, I'm more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened.
— Kazuo Ishiguro
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