Taylor Swift’s dreamy new album folklore came as a surprise to her fans when she announced the debut of her eighth studio album less than twenty-four hours before it would make its way to major streaming platforms. Like her previous albums, folklore comes with a Swift aesthetic change and speculation about all the details packed into each of Taylor’s carefully crafted lines.
reputation and Lover, Taylor’s last two albums, were full of tracks inspired by her life in the spotlight and her boyfriend Joe Alwyn and varied between mellow tracks and upbeat radio hits. folklore is all about telling stories, and while there are likely bits of Taylor’s personal life woven in, many of the stories told throughout the album are based in what-ifs and even strange histories.
Taylor explored this in a note she posted to her Instagram when the album officially released at midnight on Friday. “It started with imagery. Visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity,” she said. Like the rest of us that have been in quarantine, Taylor needed an outlet. “Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve. Now it’s up to you to pass them down.”
With the same attention to detail that made so many people fall for Taylor’s Red album, folklore quietly introduces us to characters you can’t help but fall in love with, from lost cardigans to Rebekah West Harkness, the infamous heiress who used to own Taylor’s Rhode Island mansion. It transports us to wild parties, broken hearts, missed opportunities, and quiet isolation.
The scene is set for each song in the sixteen unique lyric videos that Taylor released with the album. The videos show stormy seas and empty lanes, and the album artwork is full of black and white and sepia tones, but folklore is full of color and life. Like the music video for the first single on the album, “cardigan,” that takes us from a lonely cabin into a magical forest and back. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the rest of our summer daydreaming.