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Album Review: Swift Surprises Fans with 'Evermore', Sister Album to 'Folklore'

Swift reveals Evermore tracklist (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

By Hayley Rea--Eagle Staff Writer

Taylor Swift has been keeping her fans on their toes these past few months with two surprise album releases: first Folklore and now Evermore.

Evermore is the ninth studio album of Swift and the sister album to Folklore, with many of the songs on each album paralleling one another. It was released Dec. 10 at midnight on all streaming platforms and in stores on Dec. 18th.

Swift poses during shoot for "Willow" music video (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

Evermore was a surprise release, much like Folklore, which was released only five months prior. The official announcement wasn’t made until the day of the release, although many fans guessed it beforehand.

The album contains 15 song tracks with three of them appearing as collaborations. Each song on Evermore tells a different story, with some of them coming from Swift's past and others being stories she has heard or witnessed.

The whole album provides a calm, woodsy feel to it, which is intensified by the soft indie sound that carries over from Folklore.

Evermore starts off with “Willow”, a gentle song about wanting someone that many fans have speculated is some form of hidden announcement from Swift, possibly a marriage to partner Joe Alwyn.

The single includes lyrics such as “I’m begging for you to take my hand” and “wreck my plans, that’s my man” that have been open for interpretation about a potential engagement between the couple. The words are whimsical, creating the perfect imagery for Swift and Alwyn's four-year relationship.

In songs like “Tolerate It”, Swift illustrates the story of a wife who longs to feel appreciated by her husband who takes her love for granted.

The soft indie/alternative song showcases lyrics about how “my love should be celebrated but you only tolerate it” to show the dismissiveness of the character’s husband. Swift also sings about how the woman is “begging for footnotes in the story of your life” as she slowly disconnects from her marriage.

Swift poses for Evermore album cover (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

The album carries on with songs like “No Body, No Crime” and “Cowboy Like Me”. Both songs have distinct country acoustics, a stark contrast from the calm indie sounds from previous tracks. They also provide a connection to Swift's past as a country singer.

"No Body, No Crime" tells a story about suspects of a crime but there’s no evidence to prove their guilt. The imagery that comes from lyrics such as “we meet up every Tuesday night for dinner and a glass of wine” create the feeling of a small town murder mystery story.

Both songs with country undertones bring a new sound to the album, but as a whole, it feels as though the two don’t fit into the album acoustically.

Following "Cowboy Like Me" comes “Long Story Short”, an upbeat song with a fast pace to provide another contrast to the country acoustics. The song looks back on a low point in Swift's life, highlighting her personal growth after she “fell from the pedestal, right down the rabbit hole” and then picked herself up again.

Lyrically, "Long Story Short" holds a significant message for Swift, but acoustically, the contrast in sound between tracks makes it better as a single than a component of the album.

Carrying on the theme of past memories, Swift brings in “Marjorie”, a somber ode to her late grandmother and the memories they made together.

Swift acknowledges the presence of her grandmother’s spirit in her life when she says that “if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were listening to me now” and “what died didn’t stay dead”. The sweet, slow song pays homage to Marjorie, who Swift said was “alive in [her] head”.

Evermore closes with its namesake, a collaboration between Swift and Bon Iver, whom she also collaborated with on Folklore in her song “Exile”.

Swift poses during shoot for music video (Photo Used Under the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Code)

The song “Evermore” showcases the album’s signature indie sound carried over from Folklore, but with added low piano notes to capture a feeling of pain told within the song’s story of a difficult breakup and a period of wondering “where [it] went wrong”.

With "Evermore", Bon Iver's unique voice was showcased yet again, highlighting a deep contrast between his and Swift's voice that doesn’t quite match up well. For this album, there could have been a better song to close with.

Each song on Evermore presents a different story, bringing in themes of pain and heartbreak, but knowing there’s hope in the future.

Throughout listening to the album, there is a distinct feeling that the acoustics were mismatched due to the constant change in sound from country to indie to rock undertones. Because of this, many of the songs could’ve done better as singles outside the full publication of the album.

Nevertheless, Evermore is a good sister album to Folklore, and it continues the relatable themes presented by its predecessor through its strong lyrics.

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