Back in April, Taylor Swift tweeted a selfie saying there wasn’t a lot going on at the moment. And barely two weeks later, she released City of Lover Concert on ABC (and then Hulu and Disney+), which I’ve seen twice since. NBD. Little did we know, she was also busy putting together her 8th studio album while in isolation. Now, I’m a Swiftie through and through. I soldiered on through reputation and stuck with her until Lover even if I always wondered why she never made the songs I liked her singles. Then I saw she had a song with Bon Iver. This was going to be interesting.
There’s always that song in an album that feels a little more special than the rest. Usually they don’t get released as a single, so they also almost never get a video treatment either. Think “Last Kiss,” “All Too Well,” “The Last Time,” “Delicate,” “Cruel Summer.” You get what I mean.
At first listen, folklore feels like all those songs except it’s an entire album of them. I was thinking about what my favorite TS record is before this one and I think it’s a tie between Red and 1989. Leaning more towards Red, which was the first concert I watched by my lonesome. I’ve listened to folklore all day since it dropped at 12 nn, which means I’ve been listening to it for 7 hours now. Haha! Faves at first listen: “exile,” “august,” and “invisible string.”
On my second round, I started looking at the hashtags and trending topics on Twitter. I did not know this was a thing until I clicked on “betty.” Also fascinated about “the last great american dynasty” after reading Rachel Syme’s tweet about it.
I missed the live chat when Taylor premiered the video for “cardigan,” but saw screenshots of her reply about a trilogy of songs (“cardigan,” “august,” and “betty” perhaps?) alluding to a high school love triangle. Also saw someone mention that “exile” feels like what happened after “The Last Time.” I’ve now switched from listening on Spotify to the lyric videos on YouTube (which kind of have a meditative quality to them, btw). I will probably have this on repeat until who knows when.
I will probably pick apart the lyrics, write them down, and use them as captions. Will be discussing with friends what their favorites are and if they believe all these fan theories. I’m already contemplating if I should buy merch (even if my Lover ones are lost in the Philippine postal system as we speak) and actually considering purchasing one of the eight (!) deluxe editions because clearly I also want to hear the bonus track.
The last time I saw her live was on the eve of my 33rd birthday for her 1989 tour. I watched, wearing 1989 Keds of course, with my friend Patty and I had the best time. Realistically, I don’t think we’ll be seeing concerts any time soon. But I’m just happy lying in bed streaming this album, forgetting for a while that the world is slowly falling apart outside the walls of this room. Seems like an appropriate soundtrack, no?