Review: Taylor Swift – evermore

This new Taylor Swift album comes at a time where life is a bit busy now, and it’s Christmas time too, and life is fast and slow at the same time, while enjoying partial lockdowns and tiers throughout Britain. This record is autumnal and wintery at the same time, hopeful, and emotional torturing, and bright, and regretful.

Her new album, evermore, comes as a sister album to her previous effort, and she manages to capture the beauty of both the similarities and differences between the 2 bodies of work. They can be enjoyed and dissected separately or together, but their impact is undeniable.

After enjoying folklore for 5 months, while my initial reaction was a bit… emotionally stunted, to say the least, I’ve come to enjoy it a lot, and my tears ricochet is still my favourite piece on it.

The album starts off with the lead single, willow. A very witchy vibe, but with promises of everlasting love, although not spoken out loud, this song is a very dancey, and the guitar delivers a very comforting, yet mysterious atmosphere. This song is not about pleading, but more like affirmations of love and standing by “her man”. Maybe not my favourite, but definitely not skippable, especially because of the level of confidence it exudes.

Wait for the signal and I’ll meet you after dark
Show me the places where the others gave you scars
Now this is an open-shut case
Guess I should’ve known from the look on your face
Every bait and switch was a work of art

The next song, track number 2, champagne problems, is a very sad delivery of a love story about two people that find themselves wanting different things in life. Echoing things of the past, and things of the present, but with different protagonists, the cadence of the piano makes it feel like every word and note is a dagger that gets shoved in your heart and taken out with the music. Some people have pointed out the possible mental health issues of the female protagonist, however I think we should also celebrate the fact that this song allows one of the parties to remove themselves from a relationship that doesn’t offer them what they want in a way that is honest, albeit a bit blunt.

One for the money, two for the show
I never was ready, so I watch you go
Sometimes you just don’t know the answer
‘Til someone’s on their knees and asks you

And then we have the only Jack Antonoff song off the album, gold rush. It’s such a pop masterpiece, filled with a loud tempo, with an almost electronic sound that effectively increases the expectations and the delivery of a very dreamy soundscape reminiscing of some of the 1989 era songs. It’s a fun song about Swift tying her love to the golden colour, as she does lately when it comes to her lover.

But I don’t like a gold rush, gold rush
I don’t like anticipating my face in a red flush
I don’t like that anyone would die to feel your touch
Everybody wants you
Everybody wonders what it would be like to love you
Walk past, quick brush
I don’t like slow motion double vision in rose blush
I don’t like that falling feels like flying ‘til the bone crush
Everybody wants you
But I don’t like a gold rush

‘tis the damn season is perfect for a December night. It’s about stumbling upon your past, and giving in, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It has a very “the one that got away” vibe, but less positive than the 1, a similarly themed song from folklore. It almost feels like a drunken choice to give in into familiarity, while knowing how wrong it is to do this, and as a fun fact, Swift was drunk when she wrote this song in one night.

We could call it even
You could call me babe for the weekend
‘Tis the damn season, write this down
I’m stayin’ at my parents’ house
And the road not taken looks real good now

My personal favourite, although it’s nothing I’ve experienced, and (supposedly, neither did Swift), it is proof that you don’t necessarily need a personal example to feel inspired. This song is about (allegedly) Princess Diana and Prince Charles, and depicts a very dysfunctional story of someone always trying to please their partner, which only tolerates their presence and efforts. It feels a bit like mirrorball off folklore, but while that song is a bit directed at the whole world, this is directed at the cruelty of our partners. Because I truly believe that it’s so much easier to be cruel to someone we love, and especially cruel with someone who loves us, and this song just further confirms this for me. The piano in tolerate it is haunting, the lyrics are just sharp knives hitting me, and Taylor’s vocals are pained with unrequited love…

While you were out building other worlds, where was I?
Where’s that man who’d throw blankets over my barbed wire?
I made you my temple, my mural, my sky
Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life
Drawing hearts in the byline
Always taking up too much space or time
You assume I’m fine, but what would you do if

I break free and leave us in ruins?
Took this dagger in me and removed it?
Gain the weight of you then lose it
Believe me, I could do it

Taylor Swift’s collaboration with her friends from HAIM is quite the fun true crime little story, but I have to admit – while I do enjoy the fun element, I still think it’s a bit too simple for Swift’s ambitions and potential. But I like this route and I support it happen again in the future. The song feels much like a typical country song, where a woman is avenged by her friends. This simplistic approach works well in telling this story, and no body, no crime presents itself as being a little unconventional and worthy to be explored by Netflix maybe.

Good thing my daddy made me get a boating license when I was fifteen
And I’ve cleaned enough houses to know how to cover up a scene
Good thing Este’s sister’s gonna swear she was with me („She was with me dude”)
Good thing his mistress took out a big life insurance policy

Track 7, happiness, is a weird song. Sounds like it belongs in a funeral, but it’s about love. And I think here Swift explores again the delicate nature of love and breakups. And as much as I love loud love, this song gives me “fingertips touching your skin, promises on the beach, warm bowl of soup when you have a cold” vibes, and I am here for this.

There’ll be happiness after me
But there was happiness because of me
Both of these things I believe
There is happiness
In our history
Across our great divide
There is a glorious sunrise
Dappled with the flickers of light
From the dress I wore at midnight
Leave it all behind
And there is happiness

Next track is dorothea, a very folkish sounding song, I feel the 70s in this song, and it’s so much fun because of this. The piano and the guitars blend so well, and if you ask me, I don’t know what the song is about, while I know all the lyrics.

The National team up (finally!) with Swift on track 9, to sing about Coney Island. Even for someone like me, who hasn’t visited New York, this landmark is a staple in all dramatic scenes in all the romantic movies. The story is so cruel and sweet at the same time, reminiscing about this partner that was a perfect match, but who the protagonist chased away because of their own demons. Taylor’s sweet vocals with Berninger’s low tone make this song feel like forgiveness and frustration at the same time, and I don’t think there’s a better way to feel when you hear this song.

The question pounds my head
„What’s a lifetime of achievement?”
If I pushed you to the edge
But you were too polite to leave me
And do you miss the rogue
Who coaxed you into paradise and left you there?
Will you forgive my soul
When you’re too wise to trust me and too old to care?
‘Cause we were like the mall before the Internet
It was the one place to be
The mischief, the gift wrapped suburban dreams
Sorry for not winning you an arcade ring

Another love song, ivy, is a beautiful metaphor about the pains caused by a lover, and how the marks people leave on us are visible or not, but we can still feel them. The lyrics are pure poetry, and the song is so simple, yet so encompassing of how it feels to be in love!

And the old widow goes to the stone every day
But I don’t, I just sit here and wait
Grieving for the living

Oh, goddamn
My pain fits in the palm of your freezing hand
Taking mine, but it’s been promised to another
Oh, I can’t
Stop you putting roots in my dreamland
My house of stone, your ivy grows
And now I’m covered in you

Another very country sounding track, cowboy like me, smells like whiskey and cigarettes, but also like home. The theme is so simple, being about finding a like minded individual that can offer you hope and new life. This love seems wild, but feels like home, and the paradox of it all blends with the melody perfectly.

And the skeletons in both our closets
Plotted hard to mess this up
And the old men that I’ve swindled
Really did believe I was the one
And the ladies lunching have their stories about
When you passed through town
But that was all before I locked it down

A change of pace comes with long story short, and Swift is back at her usual pop sound. Feels like a very open shut case, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The fun, upbeat tempo delivered with the lyrics that depict a very bad time, makes it seem like less impactful than it clearly was.

Past me
I wanna tell you not to get lost in these petty things
Your nemeses
Will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing
And he’s passing by
Rare as the glimmer of a comet in the sky
And he feels like home
If the shoe fits, walk in it everywhere you go

Swift’s tribute to her grandmother, marjorie, is a very sweet song filled with advice from another life, and memories that bring up nostalgia. I love this song so much, mainly because it reminds me of my own grandmother.

The autumn chill that wakes me up
You loved the amber skies so much
Long limbs and frozen swims
You’d always go past where our feet could touch
And I complained the whole way there
The car ride back and up the stairs
I should’ve asked you questions
I should’ve asked you how to be
Asked you to write it down for me
Should’ve kept every grocery store receipt
‘Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me
Watched as you signed your name Marjorie
All your closets of backlogged dreams
And how you left them all to me

Something unexpected hits right after marjorie, and that’s closure. I absolutely love this song, for everything that it stands for. It’s a very repetitive beat for Swift, looking like she wants to distance from a former lover that wants to offer closure and asks for forgiveness and understanding. It’s about gaining the power of not waiting for others to offer you closure, and accepting the anger and the spite that come with a breakup. There is power in being bitter, afterall.

Don’t treat me like some situation that needs to be handled
I’m fine with my spite
And my tears
And my beers and my candles
I can feel you smoothing me over

Yes, I got your letter
Yes, I’m doing better
It cut deep to know ya
Right to the bone
Yes, I got your letter
Yes, I’m doing better
I know that it’s over
I don’t need your closure

The closing track of evermore is evermore, another collaboration with Bon Iver. As always, Swift’s and Vernon’s voices blend together to create magic. This will forever be a winter song, regardless of when I will be listening to it. Less dramatic and heartbreaking that their previous collab, exile, evermore is here to heal unspoken wounds, to offer relief and hope and growth. Bon Iver’s part is the most Bon Iver part of the song, and it makes evermore more indie than anything else on this album, while Swift’s vocals kind of remind me of Safe & Sound.

Hey December
Guess I’m feeling unmoored
Can’t remember
What I used to fight for

I rewind the tape but all it does is pause
On the very moment all was lost
Sending signals
To be double crossed

The whole album is full of unskippable gems, and it honestly solidifies Taylor Swift’s dominance of the charts and the music industry. With collaborators like The National and Bon Iver, with people like Paul McCartney supporting her, with her amazing songwriting skills, I think it’s safe to leave the “Taylor Swift is a bitch” narrative in the past. She can be enjoyed beyond her country albums, beyond her pop albums, beyond her over produced ones, and she is magnificent.