From Bop to Ballad: The Best of Taylor Swift’s “folklore”

I don’t know about you guys, but when Taylor Swift announced the release of her eighth studio album folklore last week, I was completely taken aback by the news—in all the best ways of course. folklore is definitely a subtle switch from the kind of music Taylor’s been putting out in the last couple of years, but regardless, it’s nothing short of the greatness we all love and respect from the talented artist. In fact, I’d go so far as to say folklore might be Taylor’s best album yet.

From Bop to Ballad

All my die-hard Taylor Swift fans out there can clearly recognize the changes in her music over the last 14 years. Taylor’s self-titled album, for example, exemplified country-pop. But over the years, Taylor’s made the radical switch into up-beat, dance-the-night-away type music. We saw this with the release of Red—I mean, how floored were we all when “I Knew You Were Trouble” came in with that sick drop? This party vibe didn’t stop as she rode the wave into 1989 and reputation. But folklore is completely different from all of those albums. I thought Red was the King of the Ballads, but folklore has come out on top to prove it’s the indie sweetness we’ve been missing in our lives this whole time.

Best Album to Date???

So the big question on hand here is whether or not folklore is in fact Taylor Swift’s best album to date. It’s no secret Taylor’s given us some fine lyrical masterpieces before—I mean,

I’m so in love that I acted insane

And that’s the way I loved you

I never knew I could feel that much

And that’s the way I loved you

—”The Way I Loved You,” Fearless

or,

And there’s a dazzling haze, a mysterious way about you, dear

Have I known you twenty seconds or twenty years?

—”Lover,” Lover

or,

Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it

I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it

—”All Too Well,” Red

Whatever you want to say about Taylor Swift is fine, but there’s really no denying that she’s got quite a way with words. Her biggest asset as a songwriter is the effortless way she’s able to paint such a clear and concise picture—whether it’s how heartbreaking it is to be in love with someone that doesn’t love you back (“Teardrops On My Guitar”) or how “miserable and magical” it is to be young (“22”).

This clever articulation doesn’t cease in the slightest with the release of folklore—if anything it gets even better. And I think it’s more noticeable too. Perhaps it’s because of that large ballad presence we talked about previously. Bop to ballad aside, I actually think the biggest difference in folklore from albums of Taylor Swift-past is the maturity. folklore is Taylor at her finest 30, pouring her heart our earnestly about everything the music and celebrity business has given and taken away from her over the years. It’s the most raw and real version of Taylor we’ve seen thus far and I think that’s a big contributing factor to the album’s success. Moving forward, I only see Taylor going up.

Highlights

Let’s be honest—there’s hardly a song on the album that doesn’t smash. From “the 1” to “hoax” each song has it’s place and it’s purpose. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have my favorites though.

I thought “the 1” was the literal best start to the album that there could’ve been. It’s got a catchy beat and a nostalgic story to tell. It’s heartbreak at 30, which is what makes it so great.

We were something,

Don’t you think so?

—”the 1,” folklore

“the last great american dynasty” reminds us that Taylor is the baddest feminist around. It also reminds us of that storytelling gift she has that seems to come so easily. Tell me this isn’t the best line of the century…

I had a marvelous time ruining everything

—”the last great american dynasty,” folklore

You can tell Taylor’s grown up by the way she handles secrecy and infidelity in “illicit affairs.” Love is gray like that, isn’t it?

And you know damn well

For you I would ruin myself

A million little times

—”illicit affairs,” folklore

I could literally go on and on and on about the best of the best from this album. But then we’ve have like a 3,000-word blog post and I don’t want to have to put you guys through that. Case in point, folklore is the knockout artistry we didn’t know we wanted or needed, but now that we have it, there’s no going back to a life without it.

* * *

Have you listened to folklore yet? What do you think of the album—is it Taylor’s best work, and what are your favorite tracks? Drop your opinions in the comments section down below!

Make sure to give me a follow on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news on my work—like the release of my new book, Poems About You, on 18 October 2020! If you like me work, please make sure to subscribe to the blog so I can keep making all of this fun content for you! And if you’re interested in getting early access to blog posts or even exclusive content, make sure to check out my Patreon page!

Normally on the first Monday of every month I release a new poem for you guys on the blog. However, to avoid the overcommitment I can already feel coming from all the work I still have to put toward the impending release of Poems About You and, of course, my other writing deadlines, I’ve chosen not to release any new poetry until after my book comes out. Tomorrow I will still be publishing a post to kind of answer any questions about Poems About You and to spill a couple more details about the collection. And if you can already feel yourself missing these Poetry posts, you can always check the tab for old poems I’ve published, follow me on socials—sometimes I release short-form thoughts there—or you can head on over to my Vocal page—I have two poems on there that aren’t available on any other platform right now! Thank you guys in advance for understanding my reasoning behind this decision! I’ll see you next time!

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