How Tos & Reviews,  Lifestyle

Folklore by Taylor Swift: First Impressions of the Surprise Album

Welcome to my first ever review, and I couldn’t be more excited to have Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ as the topic. I must start by saying that this is the Taylor I’ve been missing! I’ve been a Swiftie for an entire decade, and have followed her entire arc from country princess to pop queen.

Now I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with her more Pop albums. That’s not to say I didn’t like them, it just took time to warm up to them. I just always loved her for being a country artist. Her storytelling is her unique selling point, and I always felt like that got a little lost when she went mainstream. That’s why it was so refreshing to hit play on that first track and find that yes(!) FINALLY she is heading back to her roots!

Her latest album is more folk than country, but definitely headed in the right direction. I think the fact it was written in lockdown is evident in it’s style, and only adds to it’s charm.

It was actually my cousin who told me about her surprise 8th album. I thought he was kidding, there is normally so much build up and hype surrounding any of her releases. But nope, he was dead serious and on the 24th July we had our own little album party via Zoom where we listened and talked through each track from Folklore….. it was a long process!

To get your copy of Taylor Swift’s Folklore Album, click here:

Folklore Album Cover

First Impressions of Folklore

I love, love, LOVE this album!

From the fist bar of the first song (The 1), I knew this was going to be an album I would have on repeat for a good few weeks (I’m not wrong yet). After I had heard the album through once, I found I loved the vibe. The tone of the whole album was so relaxed it made me just breath out. I was so pleased to instantly love it, and my cousin and I both said that as soon as we finished listening to it, we put it straight back on to listen again. I don’t remember the last time I had that feeling!

The whole of the Folklore album sounds like it has been completely stripped back to the bare essentials; none of that electronic sounding backing track used from 1989 to Lover. Just real instruments, and even where techno sounds were used, they just enhanced the song, rather than drown it.

Thing is, I know that pop has been heading away from real instruments to digital for a long time, but this is why I prefer to listen to country. I think that’s why I struggled warming to albums like Reputation, because there was too much going on. This is far more my style and I’m so glad to have the Taylor that I’ve grown up loving, back.

Listening to that first track though, we did have a bit of a moment. We thought it sounded like a reminiscent song of her relationship with Joe Alwyn and that they’d perhaps broken up. But not to worry, a quick Google search revealed that they are still going strong.

Inspiration for the Album

It turns out, as the title of the album suggests, this release is not specifically about Taylor’s experiences. Instead, it’s based on stories and legends that float around until someone takes the time to write them down and preserve them. For example, The last great American dynasty is written about the previous owners of Taylor’s New York home; and boy was that an interesting bunch of people.

She has even linked three of the songs: Cardigan, August and Betty. Each tell one of the three sides of a love triangle, which I think is brilliant as you can really follow each character and the parts they play in that summer romance.

The only thing I remember thinking at the time was that of all the songs on Folklore, quite a few sound very similar.

Upon Reflection

Folklore album

Yes a lot of the songs sound similar upon first instance, but I don’t know about you, whenever I listen to new music, in particular a whole album, I find it takes a good couple of listens to really take it all in. I think particularly with an acoustic album like this, it can be difficult to differentiate as all the primary sounds are the same. The use of piano and guitar are predominant and digital sounds are used minimally- which I really enjoyed. Once I had sat and really concentrated on the lyrics, and the composition of each song, I found each one so individual with it’s own unique story to tell.

In addition, it has since proved itself to be fantastic background music, just real easy listening.

My Personal Folklore Favourites

  • Betty
  • The 1
  • Illicit affairs
  • Invisible string
  • The last great American dynasty
  • August

(When I started this list I thought I only had 2 or 3… oops! What can I say, it’s a great album!)

If you haven’t already, give it a listen and let me now what you think in the comment section below!

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  • Ellie-M

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to this yet but I love a more folky sound so I’ll definitely give it a go! Thanks for the tip! I love that your list of favourites is almost the entire album. That’s a good sign 🙂

  • Love Em

    I haven’t’ listened to the album yet as I it’s not really my music genre, but I’ve heard so many good things about it, I might give it a go. Thank you for your honest impressions

    Em x

  • Britt K

    I have never been a huge Taylor Swift fan. I’m not anti-Taylor Swift, just not an artist that I overly made a point of following in the past. That being said, a friend sent me this album to check out on Spotify and I was pleasantly surprised. I appreciate the fact that it’s stripped down as an acoustic album with minimal digital additions. As a musician myself, I prefer songs that celebrate the artistry of the music itself like this.

    • emandjess

      I’ve always loved Taylor Swift, but I must admit I haven’t like her more recent albums as much as the old stuff until now. Folklore is just such a lovely and chilled album, it feels like we finally have the old Taylor back!

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