The wondrous world created by Taylor Swift in isolation

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Taylor Swift’s eighth album, Folklore, has emerged less than a year since her last album, “Lover” which she failed to promote on a proper tour due to the Corona Crisis. That same crisis actually spawned the new album, which was created entirely under conditions of isolation, distance and complete disengagement.”In isolating my imagination ran wild and this album is the result,” Swift wrote in the introduction to her new and long collection of songs (16 in number). It is no coincidence that she chose the name “Folklore” for the album, because contrary to the singer’s natural tendency to write about herself personally and the world around her, this time Swift chose to take her listeners on a tour outside her natural environment: personal stories of fictional characters, doubtfully fabricated. A faint truth, intertwined with each other into narrative, plot and multi-dimensional songs. Three of them (“August”, “Betty” and the single leading to the album “Cardigan”) tell the same story from three different angles.

Even those who will not explore in depth the new and wondrous lyrical world that Taylor created in isolation, certainly can not help but notice that she also chose to step out of her stylistic comfort zones. In other words: Forget everything you know or think about musically. This time the Princess of Pop chose to wade through the melancholy waters and present a small, sad, calm and contemplative album. Some will even say Apple at times.

All this is the result of her collaboration with Justin Vernon, Bon Iver for you, an artist accustomed to grazing in spectacular fields of melancholy. An even more important factor in making Taylor an alternative indie-folk and dream-pop artist is Aaron Desner, guitarist for The National (who herself understands a thing or two about existential depression), who joined almost all of the album’s songs and was trusted to produce it.

The result is a long, delicate album and no less beautiful. It’s all dedicated to the personal and little stories of others, handled by keyboards, delicate guitars and soft touches of electronics. It is no coincidence that critics abroad define it as the best in the albums of those who are identified with saccharine pop, albeit tight but industrial and not too complex.

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This time Swift dives into the depths of her inner Helena del Rey (she also sounds like her in the excellent “Mirrorball” strip) and pulls away pure gold. We can recommend the great “Exile”, the national “August” in essence, the fragile “Peace” and the “perfect” Epiphany that is perfect in moments of creative transcendence. But in fact the whole album here is a spectacular reinvention point in the career of a singer who may have finally chosen to show her deep side. It is amazing to think how many high points come from low times.





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