Die-hard Swiftie or not, Taylor creating her best album to date in quarantine should give all of us a little bit of hope.
Her newest release, Folklore, is a 16-track LP that sounds completely different than anything she’s ever released. Publishing the album on Apple Music under the Alternative genre, Swift has yet again jumped to a new side of the music industry. This time though… this time it feels right.
From her fake twang in “Our Song” to her story telling in “All Too Well” to her endless Kanye beef in “Look What You Made Me Do,” I have been a Taylor fan through it all. But my affection for Taylor truly didn’t make sense until this album. Besides my childhood ties to her songs, the music Taylor created never matched anything else I listened to (besides One Direction’s pop perfection, of course). For years, my top genres in the annual Spotify Wrapped data have been indie pop, folk, stomp and holler, psychedelic country – quite literally everything except for Swift – yet Taylor Swift ended up being my Artist of the Decade. Until Folklore’s mystical singer-songwriter energy, those who scrolled through my playlists and then found out I was a Swiftie were always thoroughly confused.
My musical dilemma isn’t an anomaly – with Taylor’s recent switch in sounds, tons of her fans have spoken about how finally she is making music that matches the rest of their aesthetic. What none of us considered until its release though is maybe this new sound is Taylor’s true aesthetic too.
While this new album comes with countless conspiracy theories and loads of critical acclaim, it also sounds like the country-turned-pop star has found her voice, not the voice of her given fanbase or record label. It’s a refreshing realization, one that a lot of us should be able to relate to despite us not being one of the most notable women in the music industry.
Living in the midst of a pandemic has left quite a few of us soul searching, myself included. With so much free time on my hands, I have taken on new hobbies, learned new things about myself, sparked up new friendships, realized its best that I leave others behind; like any other person on the planet, I have had a lot of moments to just stop and think about things I normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to. If nothing else good comes out of 2020, I at least know that I have found a sort of peace with myself, something I have never known before.
And while my new hobby was unfortunately not writing the best album of my career, I think the fact that Taylor’s was should provide a glimmer of hope for us. This time of complete and utter chaos in our country has still sown the seeds to grow something beautiful. Even when our lives feel a little bit like they’re falling apart, there is something there to remind us good still exists in the world. Taylor’s latest album has been that for a lot of us, and if it wasn’t for you, it’s important that you find something that can be that reminder for you too.
Speaking of important things, it is still incredibly important that we use these uncertain times to educate ourselves on the systemic injustice that plagues our nation. Here is a link to resources that can help us educate ourselves on our privilege and allow us to take action, because to be quite frank, some people in this country don’t have the privilege to celebrate new music when their own lives are on the line.