Album review: evermore

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A phone and a pair of AirPods lie on a brown surface. The album cover for Taylore Swift’s evermore, a photo of Swift shot from behind wearing a french braid and a red plaid jacket as she stands in a clearing, is prominently featured on screen. Kate Thiessen

Swift continues to deliver gorgeous, eerie, indie folk-inspired music

On 11 December 2020, the queen herself – Taylor Swift – sent people all around the world on an emotional roller coaster with the release of her ninth studio album and second surprise album of the year, evermore. The album consists of 15 songs that are each beautifully crafted (obviously) and tell a number of stories full of emotions, following the stories of the characters Swift developed in folklore, as well as connecting listeners to the stories of new characters. And just as fans began to emotionally recover from the works of evermore, Swift dropped two bonus tracks, “right where you left me” and “it’s time to go” – again blowing the minds of millions.

In another at-home, quarantine-based album production, Swift works, again, with Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, and Justin Vernon, popularly known as Bon Iver – all who proved to have amazing musical chemistry with Swift through the works of folklore. The eerie, indie-folk, inspired sound demonstrated throughout folklore is still the foremost feature of evermore, but Swift and co-writers did not shy away from experimenting with new sounds and genres this go-around.

The album starts with “willow,” a love song that you cannot help but bop your head along to. The mood this song sets provides the listener with just a small taste of what they are soon to experience with the rest of the album.

With lyrics like, “Wait for the signal, and I’ll meet you after dark / Show me the places where the others gave you scars / Now this is an open-shut case / I guess I should’ve known from the look on your face / Every bait-and-switch was a work of art,” the listener is immediately connected to the chase and the outcome of the story – with Swift herself saying, “I think it sounds like casting a spell to make somebody fall in love with you.”

Next on the album is “champagne problems,” a beautiful ballad that paints a very colourful picture in the reader’s mind of the challenges presented in a relationship when one partner is struggling to be present in the relationship.

Swift singing, “Your heart was glass, I dropped it / Champagne Problems.” “Champagne problems” is a phase that usually depicts something that feels very painful and difficult to an individual, yet in the grand scheme of the world is minute – although Swift sings lyrics that are painful and leave the audience guessing as to whose pains she is sharing.

The next two tracks make it impossible for the audience not to want to get up and dance and/or go for a drive and watch the sunset. Firstly, “gold rush” tells the story of the protagonist who falls for one who is widely sought after and jealous and resentful of others, yet eventually realizes the chase isn’t worth it – I think nearly everyone has been there at one point or another.

Next, “’tis the damn season” (which tells the story of Dorothea, which is the eighth track and tells the story from the other perspective) is about going back to your hometown for the holidays and feeling the urge to connect with your old love – again, an urge I am sure many can connect with. Swift knows there is something about being in your hometown that brings you back to high school and makes you crave the feelings of young love.

Track five is the most painful, heart-wrenching song on each of Swift’s albums and “tolerate it” is no exception. The song tells the story of a woman who has been faithful to her partner who does not show her the same respect, interest, and passion in return. “I know my love should be celebrated / But you tolerate it,” sings Swift. This song filled the oceans with the tears of fans across the world, as the feeling of being in love with someone who doesn’t love you is so painful.

Like any other Swift album, after the first five tracks, I am in love, heartbroken, feel like a strong independent woman, and for the rest of the album I just close my eyes and allow the words and melodies to fill my body and take over my emotions.

Throughout the rest of the album, Swift has some upbeat songs that just can’t help but make you want to scream the lyrics in the car at midnight. In the intriguing country tune of “no body, no crime” Swift and HAIM tell the story of Este and her disappearance.

“long story short ” has an indie rock feel to it and discusses the poor reflection and treatment Swift has faced in the media. In this song she dismisses those challenges and discusses her great successes and happiness she has found in her life now, making it one of the most empowering songs on the album.

In “closure” Swift tells the story of a relationship which ended a long time ago and her ex-lover is writing her a letter looking for closure, to which she dismisses – again, making this a painful memory, yet so empowering.

The album is also full of many slow, heart-wrenching songs that convey beautiful stories. “happiness” tells the story of a person dealing with a breakup and how they are coming to reconcile their emotions and realize that “there’ll be happiness after you / But there was happiness because of you.”

“marjorie” is an ode to Swift’s grandmother and tells the story of her life; there are even her grandmother’s vocals on the track – beautiful. There are two duets on the album, “evermore” with Bon Iver and “coney island” with The National. The duets on evermore are so complimentary to the entire album and Swift’s vocals.

All in all, evermore is a stunning collection of emotions and expressions that makes each listener feel so deeply connected and impacted by the melodies and lyrics. Taylor Swift, once again, proved that she is a true legend and that nothing will stop her from sharing stories with the world.

Reese Estwick

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