Despite the heartaches of 2020, there's one bright light: Taylor Swift's new music.
Just last week, on Dec. 11, the country-turned-pop icon released her second indie folk album this year. Evermore, a second surprise album, following folklore, which debuted just a few months prior, has once again converted even the most anti-Swift listeners into fans.
On her titular track, "evermore," featuring Bon Iver, Swift sings “Hey December / Guess I’m feeling unmoored" — lyrics that express the universal apathy we all feel as this incredibly long year finally draws to an end.
There’s also an appropriately timed winter-related track “’tis the damn season,” which has a melancholy at-home vibe. The song features lyrics, "There's an ache in you, put there by the ache in me / But if it's all the same to you, it's the same to me."
To be fair, my review of evermore is inevitably biased. My friends and family consider me a “Swiftie” — the moniker Swift has assigned to her most devout fans. (If I'm honest, though, I haven't been able to get over her involvement in the Cats movie. I was not a fan.)
Swift has daringly altered her sound repeatedly since her teen debut, from innocent teen girl, to country singer, to full-blown pop star and now to the soft, stylized and mysterious indie-folk approach she has taken with folklore and evermore. This is a new and improved Swift. Her latest music is exactly what we've all been waiting for.
Evermore is the sister album of folklore and follows the same sound (and visual) aesthetic, yet perhaps embodying it more fully. Swift’s powerful voice is airy and echoes through the mind of the listener. Her spellbinding lyrics venture to emotional places of the heart seldom reached in more mainstream music. This is just one of many ways Swift's new work is pushing boundaries.
Parting again from the norm, but continuing the trend of her entire career, Swift wrote or co-wrote every song on the 15-track album. Among her songwriting cohorts was Joe Alwyn, writing under the name William Bowery, her boyfriend of about four years.
Each song on evermore, just like folklore, tells a story; this is in itself a unique approach. From the (fictional) murder of her friend Este in “no body, no crime,” to a tale of being ignored and feeling unloved in “tolerate it," Swift explores some dark, but very human and heart-tugging themes.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Swift album without the classic love song tropes as well. The song “willow," for example, sings: "The more that you say, the less I know / Wherever you stray, I follow / I'm begging for you to take my hand / Wreck my plans, that's my man." She then sings of heartbreak in "coney island" and of a relationship that may be too broken to fix in "champagne problems." While themes may overlap, each song uses unique instrumentals and highly creative metaphors.
Friendship, specifically friendships that have ended for some reason or another, is one of the most prevalent themes on the album. Songs that touch on friendships include “marjorie,” “dorothea” and “no body, no crime.” It's clear that Swift values relationships but recognizes not every person in our lives will last forever.
In its entirety, Swift captures intimate relationships and loneliness so wholly and authentically, once again revealing her growth as an artist.