3. folklore (2020)
With the world gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, Swift suddenly dropped her eighth album that she had been secretly recording during lockdown. Ditching the pop sound and first-person focus, we were drawn into richly weaved tales told from a third-person perspective, brought to life against an acoustic guitar and piano backdrop. See the cleverly conceived interconnected love triangle of ‘cardigan’, ‘august’ and ‘betty’; the historical narrative of the breezy ‘the last great american dynasty’; the brooding melancholy of ‘exile’ collaboration with Bon Iver, and the poignancy of ‘epiphany’ about her grandfather.
With such storytelling, folklore is permeated with Swift’s greatest lyrics from the sharp observation of ‘Invisible String’ – “Cold was the steel of my ax to grind for the boys who broke my heart / Now I send their babies presents” to one of the few autobiographical moments on my favourite track ‘this is me trying’.
They told me all of my cages were mental / So I got wasted like all my potential”‘This is me trying’
What lifts folklore to its position of greatness is the richness of the storytelling, stunning vocals and melodies that bore into your mind.