Taylor Swift grasps at straws in order to relate to teenagers with new album “folklore”

Taylor Swift grasps at straws in order to relate to teenagers with new album “folklore”

It is no secret that Taylor Swift’s musical style is ever-evolving. She has tried numerous times to rebrand in an attempt to hold onto relevancy and relate to younger generations. With her album “1989,” she found much success breaking into the pop scene. However, Swift’s new album “folklore,” containing elements of indie and folk, missed the mark. While a few songs flourished, the majority were tedious, and the album itself was forgettable.

Fans were taken by surprise when “folklore” was released unannounced, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Among die-hard fans and mainstream media critics alike, the album was well-received, earning a rating of 4.9/5 stars; however, many independent critics have been less than impressed. While Swift’s skills as a raconteur are indisputable, critics argued her ability to tell stories was hindered by weak vocals and dull melodies. Regardless, many believe her album will give her a chance at yet another Grammy Award in 2021.

The overall feel of the album is bleak. Each song tended to be hit or miss. Lyrics such as “If I’m dead to you / why are you at the wake” cleverly express a powerful feeling of vengeance on “my tears ricochet.” However, Swift’s lyrical prowess did not shine through on “cardigan,” where she bizarrely compared herself to “an old cardigan under someone’s bed.” On album opener “the 1,” lyrics such as “And if you never bleed, you’re never gonna grow” were disingenuous platitudes. Many of the metaphors used on this album were wishy-washy compared to Swift’s innate ability to express her feelings through lyrics, as seen on previous albums.

The stand-out song on this album was “exile.” The song features Bon Iver. Swift’s delicate vocals paired flawlessly with Iver’s distinct baritone timbre. This genius match allowed a simple song to be two-dimensional and dynamic. The song is a conversation between two estranged lovers, both blaming the other for the death of their relationship. Both sing “now I’m in exile seein’ you out / I think I’ve seen this film before,” on the chorus, implying that they have both frozen each other out. This song beautifully portrays a tragic breakup. It sounds straight out of a coming-of-age film.

The next few songs on the album, however, are redundant and lifeless. Every track after “exile” seems to be a slightly altered version of the song before it. “mirrorball” contains a strong message about the difficulties Swift faces when trying to please other people, but the message is lost in a sea of diluted instrumentals and the beat is nonexistent. “this is me trying” is a carbon copy of “mirrorball.” Both melodies are identical and both songs contain a message of how difficult being in the spotlight has been. The same tired chord progressions are used on “august” and “illicit affairs.” The album was a superficial attempt at indie music. Swift does not yet measure up to other veteran indie artists such as Lana Del Rey or Lorde.

“folklore” receives an album rating of 4/10. A select number of the songs are download-worthy, but the majority were monotonous and unimaginative. Taylor Swift’s previous albums are a much better alternative to her new style.