evermore album review

Taylor Swift’s second surprise album of 2020

By Mason Hightower
On December 13, 2020

album cover courtesy of Taylor Swift and Republic Records

 

Taylor Swift has done it again, releasing another surprise album on Dec. 11, only five months after she dropped folklore in August. evermore is a sister album to the end of summer release, and it marks the first time Swift has released two albums of the same era of music. Her fans will know she usually writes an album and then moves on to the next theme, style and format, but this pair of quarantine albums are iconic. Here’s a track-by-track discussion of the album evermore.

 

Track 1, “willow”: This song is such a sweet and relaxing track about being in love. It’s the perfect start to an incredible album, and its instrumentals accent the lyrics really well, from the tone to the instrument choices themselves. It could have easily been a raw piano track, but the stringed instruments give it more of that folklore energy we loved over the summer.

 

Track 2, “champagne problems”: This is a slow, soft ballad of remorse; this song details a relationship gone wrong at the hands of the storyteller. Then it goes into the aftermath that her former paramour experienced as a result of her breaking their heart. Clever and powerful imagery throughout, like shredded tapestries and pictures in wallets, make this one of the best songs on the album.

 

Track 3, “gold rush”: Haunting music accompanies a lyrical tale of distaste for someone everyone wants. It’s jealousy and love mixed together in a way that we’ve all felt, wanting someone but not quite enough to put up with all that they entail.

 

Track 4, “‘tis the damn season”: It’s the fantasy story of the hometown lover, someone you only see on holidays back home. Life took you in different directions, but you always wonder what if, and in those moments back home, you get to experience it for a weekend, but you know you’re both leaving again. It’s a beautiful track that makes us reminisce on that kind of story without ever experiencing it.

 

Track 5, “tolerate it”: This is the raw piano track that “willow” could have been, but it works so much better here. Track 5 is historically an emotional Taylor Swift staple, and this holds up that honor alongside other famous Swift songs like “White Horse” in Fearless and “Delicate” in reputation, respectively.

 

Track 6, “no body, no crime”: Taylor and HAIM make an amazing foursome! The storytelling here is some of Taylor’s best. A woman’s unfaithful husband kills her to be with the mistress, and then the main character, presumably Swift, gets revenge and kills him, and she gets away with it, while authorities suspect the mistress. But as the story goes “they think she did it, but they just can’t prove it, no body, no crime.”

 

Track 7, “happiness”: Hopeful words mourn a lost relationship and look forward to the person she’ll become once she recovers. Simple instrumentals force your focus on the lyrical masterpiece and maturity of the track. It’s a nice departure from the raging break up tracks we’ve known Taylor for, and something like that wouldn’t have fit into the album well anyways.

 

Track 8, “dorothea”: This is a more upbeat track, consoling a friend who’s overwhelmed by life in the spotlight. It sounds like it could be simultaneously a letter to one of Taylor’s friends who rose to fame and went a different direction, and a letter from Taylor to herself about coping with the fame. It’s a bouncy kind of energy with folksy sounds and strong lyrics.

 

Track 9, “coney island”: The National sings alongside Taylor in a track about forgiving a former lover, that almost feels like a follow up to folklore’s “exile”. The bridge is the best part, in the way it ramps up and drops back down like waves on the famous beach its title references.

 

Track 10, “ivy”: The simple addition of backup vocals makes this track, and the story sees Taylor dealing with a love she desperately wants, but she’s “promised to another.” So, this emotional track addresses the loving but taboo relationship.

 

Track 11, “cowboy like me”: This song’s infectious beat is tied to the drums in the background and the moments where the track catches between drum beats and then starts into the chorus. Taylor sings about finding companionship in the way that she and the subject of the song have handled love and relationships in the past, and over time the song finds them falling for each other because of their mutual understanding.

 

Track 12, “long story short”: Oh, the reputation vibes. This is the closest to some of her old stuff in my opinion. Electric beats bleed into the vocals of soft high notes, as she tells the story of choosing the wrong guy. But she finds the right guy after, and she’s telling the story to him. It’s not a full departure from the quiet consistency of folklore and evermore, but it definitely has more of the pop energy we’ve seen from Taylor’s previous eras. It almost seems like it could have been on Lover, but it wouldn’t have had the same effect. evermore makes it an anthem of finding peace, not just a simple love song.

 

Track 13, “marjorie”: Backstory: folklore’s track 13, Taylor’s lucky number, was called “epiphany”, and it was about Taylor’s paternal grandfather’s time in WW2. This track is about her maternal grandmother, an opera singer. Taylor leans into feeling her energy and her influence, recounting lessons and wishing she’d gotten more. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were still around,” Taylor sings with reverence as she wishes she’d written down the things her grandmother taught her. It’s a gorgeous track 13 tribute to her grandmother, Marjorie.

 

Track 14, “closure”: Another electronic song carried through by quiet piano, “closure” is a kind of tell-off to someone who hurt Taylor. They reached out trying to mend the pain they caused, and Taylor essentially says she doesn’t need it.

 

Track 15, “evermore”: Bon Iver returns from folklore’s “exile” to deliver the final track on the album. Though “coney island” carries similar vibes to “exile”, this is its true successor. The track speaks about pain and loss in a candid way and expressed that a love that’s true never goes away. Picking up pace on the song’s bridge, Bon Iver sings of one day being okay again, while Taylor reminisces on the love once had, and it settles into a piano interlude before finishing out the song and the album with Taylor singing “this pain wouldn’t be for evermore.”

 

You can listen to “evermore” on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and YouTube. The music video for “willow” is out now.

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