Folkore by Taylor Swift (stylized in all lowercase) is a phenomenal musical masterpiece.
Opening the album with a piano, the 1, starts off the album with a joyful sound and vibe, the line “I’m doing good I’m on some new sh*t” talks about moving on from a past lover. When looking deeper into the lyrics, the meaning is revealed to be about something that could have been, but wasn’t.
Track two, cardigan, told from Betty’s perspective, one of the three characters in a love triangle on this album, has the most whimsical complex vocabulary of songs I’ve ever heard from Taylor.
The song starts off with the sound of “high heels on cobblestone” and moves into a slow paced chorus talking about love, heartbreak, and the feeling of being used then tossed away under one’s bed, like a cardigan might be.
Moving onto tracks 3 and 4, the last great american dynasty, & exile featuring Bon Iver, Taylor writes about a story in both songs, one being about Rebekah West Harkness, the next being about a former couple now split up because of them not being able to broaden their relationship. The couple broken apart by their own loss of love leaving them alone until the woman finds a new lover. The artistry of exile is just exquisite, having Justin Vernon sing the man’s lines and Taylor sing the woman’s to express an arguement, an argument from both perspectives and seeing the communication difficulties the couple had.
Track five being, my tears ricochet, an intimate song about Taylor’s “stolen lullabies.” Swift illustrates how she felt when her lifes work was stolen from her and sold without her knowing what was going on with her former record label owner, Scott Borchetta, and the man who bought them, Scooter Braun. “You wear the same jewels that I gave you, as you bury me,” that is how Taylor expresses the loss of her first six studio albums being lost, the jewels being the albums, and her being buried, being a metaphor for how she is no longer part of Big Machine Records.
Mirrorball is the title of track six, talking about how it is to be a burnt out person but how a bunch broken pieces can come together to make something beautiful, broken glass pieces creating a mirrorball. The lyrics “you’ll find me on my tallest tiptoes, spinning in my highest heels, love. Shining just for you,” refer to how she “can change everything about” herself “to fit in,” with anyone she’s around. The word mirror, expressing how she can reflect everyone she’s around, and the image of a mirrorball with a million little pieces refers to how many people she can reflect to all at once.
The seventh track seven talks about how Taylor feels as though she has peaked, whether it be in life, school, or mentally. “With Pennsylvania under me, are there still beautiful things,” may be talking about how Taylor can’t remember much about her childhood place of home, Pennsylvania.
The second song part of the folklore love triangle is august which is track eight. Augustine is the name of the girl who this song is about, she is part of the love triangle that also includes Betty and James. “Remember when I pulled up and said ‘get in the car'” said Augustine when telling James that she wants to get together with him, not knowing he is dating Betty. Augustine was in the middle of an already unhealthy relationship and she just grew the flame between James and Betty.
Track nine, this is me trying, is about anyone who has struggles in their daily life, just pushing through the day and fighting the fight that is life. Having to deal with everything and just live with it. Swift put depression into words. The first verse is about how someone could end it all in one moment, but taking the initiative not to. “Pulled the car off the road to the lookout Could’ve followed my fears all the way down”
Moving onto a more scandalous song, illicit affairs, track ten off of folklore, yet again we see Swift using complex language, with the line “clandestine meetings and stolen stares,” meaning secret meetings and stares that are awkward because of the secrets that they hold. We see even more complex language in the line “a dwindling, mercurial high, a drug that only worked the first few hundred times,” which is talking about how the affair is only worth it to get ones mind off of their partner and what’s going on, but after that it becomes another issue for them to hide.
Moving on to the the last tracks, track eleven being invisable string, a song about love, specifically Taylor’s love and lover. “And isn’t it just so pretty to think all along there was some invisible string iying you to me?” The feeling that there is true love, a metaphor used by Swift for this song.
A song about a woman that has been through so much and is finally done putting up with men who won’t take her seriously, that’s mad woman, for you. Track twelve off of folklore, expresses how Swift is tired of the fact that woman are labeled as crazy because they respond negatively when dealing with men who have done them wrong.
Track thirteen has to be my least favorite song off of the album, with the slow and short lyrics I just can’t get into it as much as I do with the other songs. It’s a sad song about the pandemic and she uses the song as a metaphor for it, “with you, I serve with you, I fall down, down watch you breathe in watch you breathing out, out.”
The final song in the folklore love triangle, betty. This song is told from James’ perspective and how he regrets cheating on Betty. James has lost the love of his life and doesn’t understand how to get it back, so he shows up to Betty’s party and causes a scene to show Betty that he really is sorry, “in the garden would you trust me if I told you it was just a summer thing? I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything, but I know I miss you.”
Moving forward onto what I think should have been the last track, peace. The wording used in almost everyline can get confusing but the song has such a touchy feely vibe that it doesn’t matter what the words are, I feel comforted and warm from them.
Onto the last track of folklore, we have hoax, a wonderful musical masterpiece. Bringing the feeling of sadness back to light, more “unfaithful love” for Swift to sing about, and how she is done dealing with the person who is unfaithful.
Overall I think folklore is a musical masterpiece and it deserves all the recognition and praise that it gets.