Hello everyone! Since we had a new Taylor Swift album last month, I figured it was time to do an album review of it!
Now, Taylor’s music is always super deep and always takes awhile for me to really get all the songs, but here’s my somewhat initial thoughts of each of the songs. I find that I always end up finding a new favorite song all the time for older albums so even if I say on one that I haven’t listened to it yet or it hasn’t really interested me yet, that could change! That’s just part of the magic of Taylor’s music. I’ve done album reviews on both Reputation and Lover previously, so if you missed those, feel free to check them out!
Folklore Album Review
So I figured I’d start with an overall album review. Honestly, I love it! This is Taylor’s third genre of music having started with country, moved onto pop, and now this album is listed as alternative. It’s a beautiful genre already and Taylor’s talent mixes beautifully with it on this album.
On a more personal note, I feel strongly connected to this album. For one thing, this is my preferred genre of music to write. I dabble in writing songs for personal enjoyment and this is the kind of writing I gravitate towards. I love the descriptive lyrics of Taylor’s music and the lovely melodies she sings to.
Also, one really fun coincidence on when this album was released was through my bullet journal. In case you haven’t seen my bullet journal videos (part 1 and part 2 are linked here in case you missed them), I always have quotes on my pages but normally I just put one at the start of the month’s pages as a sort of transition. However, for July I used a ton of Taylor’s lyrics. I had started my July set up back in mid June and added them before I knew there was going to be a new album which is now crazy to think about how that coincided anyway! In fact, I spent a long time searching other quotes to use because I didn’t want to randomly use Taylor’s lyrics in July. I wanted to wait until fall or even until next January for her “New Year’s Day” lyrics. But I couldn’t find anything else that spoke to me as much for the month so July had a Taylor lyric and then I kept adding them onto the pages. It literally was such a great coincidence!
Back to the album, Taylor did say she wrote from many different perspectives for this album, including her own but also from completely different personas. I love how strongly those personas come through and how different they all are. It’s clear Taylor really put herself into the shoes of others and worked hard to bring those stories to life. They shone beautifully through each song.
Now, a bit on each song!
The first song on the album is “the 1”. I think this one might be my favorite on the album currently. It’s for sure in my top 3. I love the melody, I love the imagery, and it’s a great start to the album. The entire premise of the song is that the singer is still contemplating what could have been if her ex had been “the 1”. I always look forward to restarting the album because this song comes on immediately.
Favorite lyric: “in my defense I have none, for never leaving well enough alone”
The song we got that gorgeous music video for! “Cardigan” is another amazing and beautiful song. I would say it’s in the top 3 as well for me. The song tells the story of how a young love can be really impressionable and last in our hearts long after it’s over. It really does feel like a warm and comforting cardigan that you pull on while enjoying a breezy autumn day.
Favorite lyric: “a friend to all is a friend to none” and “you drew stars around my scars”
the last great american dynasty
Another wonderful song! This song is just so descriptive and tells a full story in such a beautiful way. I really wish this was higher on my personal ranking of each song in this album but there’s so many amazing songs this one is probably towards the middle. This fun song tells the story of Taylor’s home in Rhode Island and it’s history before she bought it. That should give you an idea of how great this album is if a beautiful song like this doesn’t even break my top 5 or so songs. But it really is beautiful and fun to listen to.
Favorite lyric: “she had a marvelous time ruining everything” and “then it was bought by me”
exile (featuring bon iver)
I wasn’t so sure of this song at first but it quickly grew on me once I realized what story it was telling. In it, Taylor and Bon Iver sing different perspectives of people who were in a failed relationship and show how different those two stories can be. Bon Iver has the perspective that the other partner didn’t give their relationship a chance to be fixed and still believes they could have made it work, especially since the other partner didn’t give a “warning sign” that something was wrong. Taylor takes the opposite point of view where she was trying hard to communicate the relationship isn’t going well for her but her partner just isn’t listening to her “many signs”. Both are left wondering why their feelings remain so strong after they’ve called it quits. It’s really such a great song that shows how everyone sees situations differently and remember it in their own way.
Favorite lyric: “I think I’ve seen this film before, so I’m leaving out the side door”
my tears ricochet
I love the sound of this song. It definitely reminds me more of the reputation era, which I love and miss dearly. It’s a stronger and more edgier song but still strongly in the same style as the rest of the album. This one seems to be referring to an old but abusive and dangerous love, where the singer is calling them out for the hurt and continued blame that was done to her.
Favorite lyric: “you hear my stolen lullabies”
This isn’t one of my favorite songs, although it is nice to listen to as well. The singer explains that although she has a beautiful exterior, the inside is fragile and she’ll change and adapt to whoever is looking at her to reflect back what they’re showing her. I think it’s a good message, but I just don’t feel like this one’s storytelling is as impactful as some of the other songs.
Favorite lyric: “you’ll find me on my tallest tiptoes, spinning in my highest heels, love”
This one is also not one of my favorites, but it does feature a lovely and nostalgic melody. Taylor seems to tell the story of a friend from her childhood that didn’t have a very good home life and how it changed and affected her too. It’s quite sad, as it’s clear there was something unstable in that home that did ultimately reach Taylor but uplifting that Taylor tried her best to bring some happiness and love to her friend too.
Favorite lyric: “and we can be pirates” and “please picture me in the weeds, before I learned civility”
This song seems to be a true summer song, of the singer looking back on a summer of wishing for her love to be reciprocated. Although it didn’t seem to work out, it shares such a strong image and feeling, even if the lyrics are a bit more simple that other songs on the album.
Favorite lyric: “for the hope of it all”
this is me trying
I don’t really enjoy this song actually, it’s just not as good to me as a lot of the other songs on the album. It does seem like Taylor is trying to convey her process for apologizing to those she’s hurt, either intentionally or unintentionally, especially when she’s angered. I can appreciate the message but this song isn’t as strong as the others in my opinion.
Favorite lyric: “and my words shoot to kill when I’m mad”
This song also is pretty “meh” for me. The story revolves around an affair, as the title suggests. Honestly I don’t care for the song at all and it’s in my bottom 3 songs of the album. The melody is nice but I don’t care much for the message.
Favorite lyric: “you showed me colors you know I can’t see”
Another of my favorites! Most of the songs I like are at the start of the album so it’s nice to get another fave towards the end. This song talks about the idea that there is an “invisible string” tying people together who are meant to be, no matter where they go in life. It’s a lovely tune with colorful imagery. I really enjoy this song!
Favorite lyric: “I used to think I would meet somebody there” and “gave me the blues and then purple-pink skies”
I really like this one too. This song comments on how Taylor is constantly attacked and provoked to the point that she has to go all out to defend herself. She also calls out how women will fall into the attacks instead of coming to the aid of other women when they wee them being wronged. I think it’s an important message for Taylor to share, much like she did with “The Man” on her Lover album and I hope more people take the message to heart.
Favorite lyric: “and you’ll poke the bear until her claws come out”
This is another song that I’m not too into, and I actually usually feel like skipping it often. I believe it is a song meant to be told through the eyes of a pandemic essential worker in the medical field after listening to it a few times. I think it does make sense that Taylor would add a song referencing current events or driven by it somehow since it is a really impactful time for everyone. If this is the right interpretation of it, it’s a good song for her to include but it’s just too sad for me to enjoy right now.
Favorite lyric: “someone’s daughter, someone’s mother”
This seems to be a pretty popular song on the album along Taylor’s fans but… it’s not one of my favorites. It does sound more influenced by country music than the rest of the album and is told through the eyes of a 17 year old high school boy. The story of the song is that the boy has had a summer fling but is wondering if Betty will take him back as he has missed her. I do like to listen to it because one of the characters in the story is named Inez, which was my name in my high school French class. Sounds like a weird reason but I picked it because my grandmother’s name was Ines, so the name does have a special meaning to me.
Favorite lyric: “you heard the rumors from Inez”
This song isn’t one I really enjoy but I can appreciate it a lot. This one seems to be a song from Taylor to Joe about how being with her isn’t a peaceful existence and how she came to the realization that in order to even have a little bit of peace she has to keep her personal life completely out of the spotlight.
Favorite lyric: “all these people think love’s for show but I would die for you in secret”
I have to be honest, I haven’t really listened to this one so I had to look up what it means. This song, according to a review I found online, is meant to be about the hard parts of love. It’s nice enough but it’s the last song so I think I just haven’t fully listened to it because it’s at the end.
Favorite lyric: “don’t want no other shade of blue but you”
the lakes (bonus track)
So I thought I’d have this post published last week but because my CD still hasn’t come, I wasn’t able to listen to “The Lakes”. It finally was released on YouTube so I got to finally listen to it to add it here! I love this one! It seems to be throwing shade at the whole West and Kardashian stuff, and it’s nice to hear her do so in such a lovely song. The imagery of her song and the sound of it is just beautiful. I know a lot of fans speculated that the song might have something to do with a secret wedding or engagement of Taylor to her long time boyfriend, Joe. I honestly thought it’d be a sort of a wedding song because I suspected that Lover was referencing a secret engagement but it does still seem to be her singing to Joe and acknowledging all the support he gave her regarding all that went down after the aforementioned drama. Honestly, this song does clearly convey what a great artist Taylor Swift is. She truly has a gift with music!
Favorite lyric: “a red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground with no one around to tweet it”
So those are my thoughts on the folklore album! I love the entire feel and sound of the album, even if not every song is my favorite. I do think that it’s not my favorite album of hers necessarily but it is truly special and in a category of it’s own.
Thanks for reading!
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