Internationally loved singer songwriter Taylor Swift surprised fans for the second time this year on Thursday 10th December, when she announced that her 9th studio album Evermore would drop the next day. Swift has dubbed this as the sequel to Folklore, her critically acclaimed, Grammy nominated surprise album released earlier this year. Evermore is the third album under new label Republic Records after Swift parted ways with Big Machine in 2019.
The news comes two days before the singer’s 31st birthday; fans will know fine well that 13 is Swift’s lucky number, so it’s not a shock that she would have something up her sleeve – after all, 31 backwards is 13.
Evermore sustains her new alternative style introduced in Folklore with a definite pop edge and brighter tones throughout. And, this time Swift has three collaborators including Bon Iver, Haim, and The National. It sees Swift’s first female collaboration on a studio album since 2008’s Fearless.
We see the continuation of a departure in genre from the singer previously known for her catchy pop hooks and stellar heartbreak ballads. Evermore is playful and angelic, a beacon of hope shining a line on what has been a shitstorm of a year. The core creative team for Folklore is still in place with Jack Antonoff back as producer, and Swift shines in this environment, bringing her storytelling talents to the fore again, from the beautiful lead single and opening track of the album ‘Willow’ to the stunning closer and title track ‘Evermore’ which sees her team with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon once again. She also brings the talents of her long term boyfriend Joe Alwyn (under the pseudonym William Bowery) as a songwriter.
There are subtle re-inventions of previous templates: she low key reminds us she’s the same person from that glossy synthpop era of 2014’s 1989 with tracks like ‘Gold Rush’ (co-written with Antonoff) and ‘Long Story Short’ – also reminding us that she can do no wrong. There’s a delightful sprinkle of country revenge in ‘No Body, No crime’ where we see her team up with the HAIM sisters for an edgy country soaked bop.
On social media, Swift said it felt like she ‘travels further into the forest’ of the ‘folklorian woods’ to get to Evermore. As a fan of Taylor Swift, I was up bright and early for the album (and music video drop) at 5:00am on release day. I am delighted to say that, despite the early rise, the journey into the forest was well worth it.
Evermore is a breath of fresh air and a perfect ending to a roller coaster year. We see Swift in true form, bringing a ray of hope to the world again in this effortless and, what is sure to be, timeless album. Can you save a year twice?
Evermore is available now worldwide on streaming platforms with physical standard edition CDs available from her official website, and a deluxe version on the way.
Image Credit: Beth Garrabrant