Our Deep Thoughts on Taylor Swift's Folklore Album: "It's a Lyrical Masterpiece"
Following a year filled with rainbows and unicorns, Taylor Swift is going in a completely new direction for her eighth album, Folklore. The 30-year-old dropped the surprise album on Friday, and we haven't been the same since. As Swift details in the prologue letter, she was feeling particularly inspired while self-isolating and decided to let her imagination "run wild." The result was an album filled with 16 songs that are both lyrically sharp and incredibly enchanting. (I can't even finish one of my many art projects at home, and she's out here writing an entire album. We love to see it.)
While Lover was all about reminiscing on simpler times from childhood (hence all the opal rings and cotton-candy skies), Folklore has a much more mature tone as she reminisces about love lost, letting go of grudges, and finding a new love that is safe and warm . . . like an old cardigan. As you prepare to get lost in Swift's new album, read ahead as a handful of POPSUGAR editors (and Swifties) react to their favorite tracks.
"This was honestly the best introduction to the album! The melody is upbeat, while the lyrics are devastating. It's the perfect transition from Lover to Folklore." — Kelsie Gibson, celebrity and entertainment editor
"If we're being honest, when I hit play on Folklore last night, just 30 seconds into 'The 1' and I was, quite literally, full-on sobbing. Swift has a way of creating songs that feel like they were written just for you, at the exact moment in your life when you need them most. This song perfectly brings to life that painfully relatable experience of unfathomable heartbreak and losing the person you thought was your forever: 'And it's another day waking up alone / But we were something, don't you think so? / Roaring twenties, tossing pennies in the pool / And if my wishes came true / It would've been you.' It's as if Swift broke into my journal to write me my own personal heartbreak anthem." — Kristin Harris, head of talent relations and celebrity editor
"As soon as the first song started, I knew I was in for 'my type' of Taylor Swift album. I've always been a fan of Moody, Contemplative™️ Swift, and this laid-back beat relaxed me. On that new sh*t? Yes, she is." — Karenna Meredith, assistant editor, trending and viral features
"I watched the music video before ever hearing the song, and the imagery just blew me away. Her hanging onto the piano is so symbolic of music being her lifeline, her lifesaver, literally. The repetition of 'I knew you . . . ' really drives home the idea of learning about someone's idiosyncrasies and the level of detail she knows her partner. The storytelling is on a 10 on this one (and will come back later on in the album!)." — Charisandra Perez, social media and partnerships coordinator
"Exile (feat. Bon Iver)"
"If 'The Last Time' from RED had an older sister, it would be 'Exile.' Between Justin Vernon and Swift's harmonies and the piercing lyrics, this is the perfect breakup song to cry into a tub of ice cream as you watch the rain outside from your window. When Swift sings, 'I'm not your problem anymore, so who am I offending now?,' I felt that!" — Kelsie Gibson, celebrity and entertainment editor
"Even the title feels like magic — there's not a better word that captures the empty feeling after broken love where it feels as if you're off on an island all alone. As someone who spent her early 20s driving around with For Emma, Forever Ago blasting on windows-down road trips, seeing 'feat. Bon Iver' on the tracklist felt like a manifested dream. Between their echoing voices playing back and forth and the devastatingly heartbreaking lyrics — 'All this time I never learned to read your mind (Never learned to read my mind) / I couldn't turn things around (You never turned things around) / 'Cause you never gave a warning sign (I gave so many signs)' — it's a lyrical masterpiece, and might just be my new all-time favorite Swift track." — Kristin Harris, head of talent relations and celebrity editor
"What to say about 'Exile'? I'm not sure I have actual words to explain it, but I'm going to try. The inclusion of Bon Iver really brought it to the next level and has me swaying from side to side with my arms up. I may or may not have looked for a lighter so I could raise it up as I swayed; I didn't find one, but the sentiment was still there. All in all, the song made me feel like that GIF of Lisa Simpson where she's dancing with her hands in the air." — Grayson Gilcrease, assistant celebrity and entertainment editor
"'Oh, this is gonna hurt,' I thought to myself as I arrived at 'Exile.' The lyrics are so gutting, and I love the juxtaposition and balance between Swift and Justin Vernon's vocals — the way they are in conversation with each other. I'm engaged, but somehow this song manages to make me feel like I just went through a breakup." — Kelsey Garcia, editor, trending and viral features
"My Tears Ricochet"
"That 'Track 5' streak continues on, and it's no surprise that this emotional ballad was self-written by Swift alone. 'I didn't have it in myself to go with grace / And you're the hero flying around, saving face / And if I'm dead to you, why are you at the wake?' — I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's impossible to not get chills from these words. This track is filled with lyrical gold, and yes, I'll be adding this to my 'Tragically Relatable Songs About Lost Romance' playlist." — Kristin Harris, head of talent relations and celebrity editor
"This might be one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs of all time. It's mature and understated but still full of so many lines that remind you it's a Swift song after all. ('Sweet tea in the summer / Cross your heart, won't tell no other.') All I want to do is listen to 'Seven' over and over on a long and winding drive. Is that too much to ask?" — Kelsey Garcia, editor, trending and viral features
"Taylor Swift's songs about childhood always strike a chord with me, and this one captures its own kind of beauty. As a storytelling album, this feels like the first chapter of Folklore." — Karenna Meredith, assistant editor, trending and viral features
"Teenage love, a summer scene, and a flipped perspective from 'Cardigan' — this is Taylor at peak Swift. I am obsessed with the brighter tone to this one, and it really is one I will listen to while lying in my backyard pretending to be on the beach." — Charisandra Perez, social media and partnerships coordinator
"I just know I'll be listening to this every day for the rest of July, and August . . . and September . . . and on." — Karenna Meredith, assistant editor, trending and viral features
"I think this might be one of Taylor Swift's best love songs yet? It really shows how much Swift has matured over the years as she sings about the crazy journey it took to find her way to her soulmate. 'Cold was the steel of my axe to grind for the boys who broke my heart. Now I send their babies presents.' You know what we call that? Growth!" — Kelsie Gibson, celebrity and entertainment editor
"Trying to choose Taylor Swift's all-time best bridge is an impossible task, but on this beautiful track about love and fate — with an invisible lifelong string tying Swift to Joe Alwyn all the way across the Atlantic — this one just might come close to the top: 'A string that pulled me / Out of all the wrong arms, right into that dive bar / Something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire / Chains around my demons / Wool to brave the seasons / One single thread of gold / Tied me to you.' But it's not just the bridge; the entire song is a masterclass in songwriting and makes me want to run around until I discover my own thread of gold." — Kristin Harris, head of talent relations and celebrity editor
"This song may be about her romantic relationship, but I heard it and related it to every good thing I never expected in my life — my best friends, my dream job, a $20 bill on a road I wasn't supposed to take. Everything happens for a reason, and those are words I live by. It's not just pretty, Swift, it's gorgeous." — Charisandra Perez, social media and partnerships coordinator
"My love of 'Mad Woman' is probably due to my love of true crime. I mean, the lyrics 'They strike to kill and you know I will' are just begging to be played over a trailer of a thriller. I can also envision myself with mascara streaming down my face as I rip up pictures of an ex. This may have been too graphic, but don't the best songs make you FEEL things?" — Grayson Gilcrease, assistant celebrity and entertainment editor
"'Epiphany' is a haunting, but necessary, tribute to front-line workers during this pandemic. She compares them to soldiers in war, singing, 'With you, I serve / With you, I fall down.' Her lyrics reference breathing and the sound of a heart monitor as well, contributing to goosebumps all over. 'Only 20 minutes of sleep, but you dream of some epiphany.' This is her hope for doctors, nurses, all other essential workers, and, in the end, the world." — Charisandra Perez, social media and partnerships coordinator
"Now what about the other side of the story told in 'August' and 'Cardigan'? James takes the lead in this one, and what comes is a fun, harmonica-driven number that I just want to spin around to in my room. It completes the 'Teenage Love Triangle' Swift mentioned in her YouTube premiere of the 'Cardigan' music video and Swift's total grab of my heart and mind. How does she do this?!" — Charisandra Perez, social media and partnerships coordinator