Taylor Swift’s ‘folklore’ diverges from singer’s past style and creates a timeless feeling

Taylor Swift's 'folklore' diverges from singer's past style and creates a timeless feeling


On July 23, singer/songwriter Taylor Swift took to social media platforms with an unexpected announcement: she planned to release a surprise album, titled, “folklore” on July 24 at midnight. This came as a shock to fans, particularly considering  Swift’s thoroughly coordinated and meticulous approach to releasing new music, often involving months of hints and teasers.

The album, containing 16 tracks, is a divergence from the typical sound of her past albums, classified as alternative, rather than pop. However, Swift is no stranger to a genre change. After the release of four successful country albums, she moved on to pop, and now has seemingly chosen alternative as her latest conquest.

No matter the genre, one key feature of her songs has always stood out to the artist and fans alike; her lyrics, which have remained poignant and  nostalgic throughout her eight album discography. On “folklore”, her lyrical prowess is on full display, touching on a diverse range of topics, from heartbreak with songs such as “cardigan” and “illicit affairs,” to sexism with the dark and brooding “mad woman,” and the current Covid- 19 pandemic, addressed in the ethereal “epiphany.”

The album is a departure from tradition for Swift, who is known for her detailed lyrics about the events unfolding in her life, as the majority of the tracks are written from abundant different perspectives. In an Instagram post she said, “I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t.”

“Folklore” has had massive success so far, sitting at number one on the Billboard 200 Chart for the past five weeks; it now ties for the album that has spent the most time at the top of the charts in 2020 with Lil Baby’s My Turn. Swift has earned the title of the first artist in United States history to have seven albums sell over 500, 000 copies in their first week of release, and is the only woman to have seven albums debut at number one.

The album’s lead single, “cardigan” also took the number one spot, making Taylor Swift the first artist in history to debut at number one on both the singles and album chart in the same week.

It has been nearly 14 years since the commencement of her illustrious career, yet Swift continues to create record- breaking albums with remarkable alacrity. Perhaps the line that best represents the album comes in the nostalgia- touched “seven,” in which she croons, “…passed down like folk songs, the love lasts so long.”

This line is “folklore” at its core; a collection of stories, some based on personal experience, some imaginary with a hint of reality sprinkled in, created to be passed down for generations. As a result, these sixteen tracks evoke a timeless feeling, drenched in the past while pertaining to the issues of the modern world, with the common theme of love tying them all together to create “folklore.”