When I first heard about evermore, I joked that I’d need 14-16 business days to process the news. It was a typical afternoon and I’d just woken up for the day. My phone flashed with a text notification and then another and another. A group chat went wild, it seemed. When I clicked on the screen, I thought it was a joke at first, some new meme created overnight. Could this be real? Another surprise album so soon? 

This Is How It Started

Taylor wrote an Instagram caption announcing that this was her birthday present to us, two days before her own 31st birthday nonetheless, and the announcement seemed to shock everyone rightfully so. It seemed Swift, Dressner, and Antonoff never stopped creating after folklore, and while I spent, blissfully, unknowingly, so in love with folklore on its own Taylor was out there plotting to destroy me more. She was meticulously posting clues or Easter eggs that I never picked up on and when she posted a giant grid version of evermore’s album cover, it was to the delight of many and for me, a lifeline of sorts in this odd, scary time. One by one, the posts rolled in and upon us, was an album’s eve. I prepared as any fan would and donned my folklore merch, brewed a cup of coffee, and quickly claimed a track off the newly released list (happiness was my initial top pick, btw). At midnight, I watched the Willow music video, a callback to the cardigan video with an extended storyline. It seemed like this album really was folklore’s sister and god, was I excited. After, I streamed the album, burrowed back under my covers, and listened for the first time to Swift’s latest masterpiece. 

The album charted number one and garnered accolades quickly. Rave reviews abounded, and everyone dove headfirst into the stories. Just like with folklore, evermore again showed Swift crafting some of her best narrative-driven plotlines, and they worked well. A departure from her diary-like songs of past evermore explored more than just Swift’s own tales and history while still keenly keeping all the emotional integrity and feeling. As a longtime fan of 10+ years, the release of folklore rocked me to my core and evermore more-so. A product of isolation indeed, Swift collaborated with the same circle: Aaron Dressner, Jack Antonoff, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, and William Bowery, but on this second surprise, she expanded even more to include the HAIM sisters, the rest of The National and Marcus Mumford.

A Deep Dive Into the Songs

Sweeping strings, murder plots, and intimate self-reflection abound on evermore, with the tracklist spanning stories upon stories of scheming cowboys pulling one over on the rich, bittersweet hometown holiday reunions, and the longing makeup mogul now only seen on a tiny screen. Where folklore delved into love triangles that garnered much debate and furious rage-driven women, evermore goes even further with these themes. It’s an adult take on forgiveness, anger, healing, and what it means to really move forward. 

Track 13, Marjorie, is dedicated to Swift’s grandmother, an opera singer of times past, and evokes a heart-wrenching note on an otherwise story-driven album. ‘tis’ the damn season’ is holiday melancholy set to dreamy instrumentals while opening track, willow, is witchy love potions at its most poignant. Standout country-driven ‘no body, no crime’ allows Swift to tap into her murder mystery-loving heart, with a nod to HAIM sister Este as the starring character.

When Swift first featured Bon Iver on folklore, who was to know he’d play such a big role in evermore? He sings backing vocals on tracks and plays instrumentals on many, and still gets a feature spot on closing track ‘evermore’. The National also plays a larger role here with a feature on the winter-bitten, reminiscing ‘coney island’ a poetic look into a past relationship filled with regret.  While ‘tolerate it’ and ‘happiness’ seek to destroy us emotionally (and they do), I’d be remiss not to mention ‘champagne problems’ or ‘gold rush’, two bright, shining tracks that give us BRIDGES GALORE and bubbly, buoyant sounds that pack a deeper punch with evocative lyrics and daydream-like like sounds. ‘closure’ and ‘long story short’ mark the beginning of the end of this album with catchy lyrics, a smart twist on words, and more innovative sounds that harken back to her pop-driven days.

In Conclusion…This Pain Won’t Be Forevermore

I could write forever about Swift’s transformation from teen country singer to pop maven to these recent indie-driven takes, but I think evermore speaks for itself. It really shows off Swift’s vulnerability and growth on all levels. Every song on this fifteen-track album is Swift at her most uninhibited. Evermore, as a whole, is sharp and keen and artistically driven with note-worthy lyrics and poignant observations. It’s a dream album for fans that honor Swift’s lyricism and a treat for new listeners looking to give Swift a chance.