"evermore”: Is Taylor Swift’s new album a surprise hit or unexpected letdown?

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Taylor Swift’s new album cover for “evermore’

Less than six months after her wildly successful, in-quarantine album, “folklore,” Taylor Swift released a surprise sister album on Dec. 11 titled “evermore”, containing 15 brand new tracks. Swift herself referenced the new album in a series of social media posts, stating that in the creation of this album, she “felt less like I was departing and more like I was returning.”

Amanda:

When listening to the album “evermore”, I was instantly transported into a mystical land of long-lost lovers and fantastical creatures, with the dreamy, evocative melodies carrying an almost otherworldly quality to them. In the first track of the album, willow, accompanied with a fairy-tale like music video, Swift sings about a love that is tumultuous yet beautiful in its enigma. Swift’s voice takes center stage in this first track with minimal guitar accompaniment, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Other songs, like “Gold Rush”, melt into an even softer version of Swift’s typical sing-talk style, with a repeating chorus, refrain, and verse. Lyrics also hide a myriad of easter eggs, referencing everything from her previous albums to past relationships and popular symbols Swift uses in her work. One example is in “Dorothea”, where Swift sings, “But are you still the same soul I met under the bleachers?”, alluding back to her 2009 hit song, “You Belong with Me”, where she sings, “She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers.” The lyric also references thoughts of nostalgia and youth, a common topic in many of Swift’s past discography. 

“evermore” feels like a more introspective take on love and life, with many of the songs leaning on Swift’s more mellow, sweet voice, rather than strong belts or power ballads. Swift harkens back to her more traditional style of storytelling through song, with an opening, middle, and closing told through her verses. What is different is the maturity that Swift now gives to the songs, as they grow with her age and experience, and reminisce on her evolution as an individual. 

Kara:

There’s nothing I hate about “evermore.” I enjoy listening to all the songs in the album, and I especially enjoy the common scraps of melodies and hints of similar beats threading through the album. Taken on its own, it is definitely an artful album that deserves appreciation. To me, however, “folklore” felt more innovative and catchy, while “evermore” almost fades into the background.

The album “evermore” incorporates very acoustic and strummy guitar, melodic piano, marimba tones, and even random sample sounds in an alternative pop edging on country style. The effect is a simultaneously very grounded and yet ethereal, untethered sound. However, Swift’s experimentation with a wide variety of sounds and noises sometimes comes back to bite her. In the song “closure,” the use of background noises distracts the listener from the melody, and almost sounds like another video is playing. Some standouts include “no body, no crime,” featuring the band HAIM, which closely resembles some of Swift’s country roots. My personal favorites are “willow” and “ivy,” both of which are more upbeat yet reflective songs. They combine storytelling, lyrical ingenuity, and comforting yet catchy melodies.

Although I do not regret listening to “evermore,” if I had to pick between it and its sister album, I’d be choosing “folklore.”

Verdict: 3.75/5