• Jenna Bennett

Taylor Swift's Folklore: A Cottagecore Lullaby

Taylor Swift's surprise eighth album is the perfect indie-pop forest fairy album of literally anyone’s dreams.

(@taylorswift / Instagram)


It’s official y'all: Taylor Swift may have just single-handedly helped save 2020.


Stan twitter and Swiftie’s alike were sent into a keyboard smash frenzy on Thursday morning when T. Swift announced the surprise release of her 8th studio album, folklore, on Friday at midnight.


The internet was screaming — both out of excitement and bafflement that Taylor randomly decided to release her album the same day as Kanye. (More celeb beef anyone?) But with a whopping 16 songs (plus, one bonus track!), this album may not have come out of the left field like originally thought.


In a lengthy Instagram post (one out of 12 posted in the last 24 hours), she said she wrote the entirety of the album in quarantine, completely stepping on the necks of all of us slackers. (I mean, other than sitting around in pajamas all day and snacking on cheese puffs, what did you do in quarantine?) 


From the album cover alone, folklore seems to be the perfect indie-pop forest fairy album of literally anyone’s dreams. If it doesn’t make you want to take an aesthetic stroll through some Twilight-style woods, I don’t know what will. 


And the music isn’t too far behind. In a letter posted to her social media, Taylor wrote that visual imagery was the inspiration behind her album. 


“I found myself not only writing my own stories,” she said. “But also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t.” 


Literally every song painted vivid pictures of gorgeous love stories.  They were soothing, mellow, very cottagecore-esque. According to iTunes, it’s even listed as alternative, which is a step in a new direction for Taylor. 


And if you’re not into this kind of vibe, folklore — currently no. 1 on the charts, no biggie — may not be the album for you. But the good news is you have seven other albums from her discography that you could check out instead! 


Now do yourself a favor, head on over to Spotify or Apple Music, plug in those AirPods and listen along as I dive into some of the standouts of Swift’s latest record. 



cardigan

These lyrics are beautiful! And that music video... Taylor definitely had to have gotten some inspo from the latest cottagecore trend. Miss Swift has talent and that’s all I really have to say about that.




exile ft bon iver


When the song started, my eyebrows completely flew off my face. I’m not even gonna lie, I didn’t know who TF Bon Iver was (don’t judge) and so I didn’t think I’d care about this feature at all. But this guy’s voice is DEEP. I swear, my headphones literally shook. 


Exile was five minutes of pure excellence and definitely my favorite off the album.  I’m a total sucker for vulnerable ballads — and this song told both the male and female perspectives of a broken relationship, adding such a complexity to the lyrics that made me fall in love. And the bridge…. WOW, the harmonization between Iver’s rich, low register and Taylor’s softer, melodic tone was stunning.



If only Spotify didn’t interrupt my mood with those annoying ads. Is this what I get when Apple Music takes more than 30 minutes to upload an album??


my tears ricochet 


Everything about this was beautiful. I felt like my ears were being teased. The song would crescendo only to fall back again into soft instrumentals. And then: the drums! The buildup started, the guitar was added and my mind was blown. The whole experience was enchanting.


this is me trying


Closing my eyes while listening, I could’ve sworn I was in an acoustic hall — the song was that heavenly. The lyrics, the bridge, and her little tidbits of spoken voice towards the end gave my goosebumps goosebumps. Definitely on repeat.


illicit affairs


I really liked this one and I honestly can’t put my finger on why.  Maybe it's her fantastic story-telling, maybe it's the soft instrumentals, maybe it’s the electric bridge, but it totally had me eyeballing her a bit. 


Her ability to tell a story like this in just three minutes has left me floored. 


As the song came to a close with Taylor compellingly singing, “and you know damn well, for you, I would ruin myself / A million times,” all I could think was: Who is this song about? 



One Twitter user thinks it’s about a pair of forbidden lovers. @Taylorswift, give us some answers. 


mad woman


Mad woman gave me the earthy, low-pitched Taylor that I never knew I needed until now. Not to mention this line:


 “No one likes a mad woman. You made her like that.” 


Okay, I was given life.


epiphany


I think I just entered the REM cycle. The instrumentals were made up of piano melodies and other instruments I probably don’t even know exist — but y’all know those are the ones that transmit you to entirely new dimensions. Taylor's voice was light and airy and she sounded like an angel. 


betty


And now for the track that currently has Gay Twitter flipping the hell out — betty. 



From the banjo to the accordion to the slight twang to her voice, betty felt like such a throwback to the good ‘ole love story days. The song also directly mentioned cardigan towards the end (could these be two of three tracks Taylor mentioned as her Teenage Love Triangle ?).


And most importantly, this:



I think I speak for all of us when I say WHO is Betty??? 




In short, this album was an hour-long lullaby. It might not be filled with your typical pop bops, but I think we can all admit Taylor has served plenty of those in her past records. 


Coming from someone who hasn’t listened to a single Swift album in full before this, the experience was magical and even I could tell that this was so authentically Taylor. And while the timing may be sus, her dropping folklore on Friday seemed like so much more than her just trying to one-up Kanye. The heart in this album was undeniable.


Now brb, gonna go listen to exile and pretend I’m in a black and white music video all over again.


Overall Rating: 8 / 10






Jenna Bennett is an Editorial Assistant at Rowdy Magazine. She loves online shopping, annoying her chihuahua, crying over fictional characters and watching cute animal vids on Instagram. You can reach her at @j.ennabennett for more info and awesome book recommendations.