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Album Review: Taylor Swift - folklore

Rock Star 24
Rock Star 24

I still remember the first time I saw Love Story playing in MTV. In an era where hip-hop dominated what was played in the network, this music video of a young Country singer with a song about Romeo and Juliet felt so out of place, yet very fresh. Fearless, Taylor's second album, represented exactly that: a true Country record breaking into the mainstream.

 

From that point on, we've all been witnesses of her musical evolution: Speak Now cemented what we now call Country Pop, while Red and 1989 marked a huge shift in her music, leaving Country behind to focus in pure Pop.

 

Reputation and Lover have been polarizing to say the least, and one possible reason could be that Pop music finally caught up. Her songwriting had always given her albums their soul, and it still holds true with these albums, but the singles released struggled to stand out.

 

folklore certainty seems to mark another shift in Taylor's music, away from pure Pop and Country, to what could be called a true mature sound. The overproduction found in the two last albums is replaced with a much more raw sound, which lifts her songwriting skills up.

 

my tears ricochet is a perfect example, as it features Taylor almost singing a capella for almost half of the song, highlighting the message:

 

I didn't have it in myself to go with grace
And you're the hero flying around, saving face
And if I'm dead to you, why are you at the wake?
Cursing my name, wishing I stayed
Look at how my tears ricochet

 

As a whole, this album's vibe fits right into the late 90s Adult Contemporary era, evoking the sound of Jewel, Tori Amos, or Fiona Apple. Like all of them, Taylor makes emphasis on vocal melody over a subtle soundtrack of mostly acoustic instruments. In the end, folklore keeps Taylor's most important asset: honest musical craftsmanship. It is a Taylor Swift album after all, and sounds like one too.

 

spotify:album:2fenSS68JI1h4Fo296JfGr:small

 

3 Comments
Moderator
Moderator

Great blog @osornios!

 

This album is very good acoustically, I was listening to it on repeat when it went out. I remember how surprised I was at hearing these tunes, they didn't sound like what I was used to from Taylor Swift. Pretty good, now you made me want to re-listen to folklore 😄

 

For me, this one stood out: spotify:track:4pvb0WLRcMtbPGmtejJJ6y along with my tears ricochet

Community Manager
Community Manager

Yeah I know who she is obviously and could see she had amazing talent but I never really got into her music. But when I saw that The National’s Aaron Dessner was involved in making Folklore I was immediately interested. Great blog

Moderator
Moderator

Great stuff @osornios - I also remember when Love Story was on MTV, and it's been really interesting to see her evolve since. I personally started to actively listen to her when 1989 came out, just because I'm more drawn to the pop sound in general, so I also have a soft spot for the  Reputation period.

 

I love the nostalgia of folklore with songs like august and mirrorball - the latter reminds me a lot of Angus & Julia Stone. I know people are calling it a "maturing" of her sound, but I think that's not something that can be taken for granted - many musicians don't ever get to the maturing stage, let alonem while millions are still listening, so I think that's a big accomplishment in and of itself.

 

Thanks for creating the space to share and reflect on it - looking forward to your future reviews 🙂

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