There is one word that describes the catalog of Taylor Swift: inconsistent.
Having been famous since she was 17 and singing country tunes, the public eye has literally watched her grow up into the 31-year-old megastar. For every good step forward on albums like 2013’s, “Red” or 2015’s, “1989,” there’s a step back in the form of a radio single that’s trying way too hard to be catchy. Luckily, when Swift released two albums this year in the form of “folklore” and “evermore,” without much of an announcement beforehand, these radio singles were nonexistent this time around. And both albums are better because of it.
Released in the summer, “folklore” is the gloomier of the two projects. Kicked off by standout track “the one,” you get the feeling right off the bat that this is going to be a different kind of album for Swift. “folklore” is Taylor Swift’s “indie” album, but don’t hear that and start to write it off; this was Taylor Swift’s best album at the time it was released.
Standout cuts like “exile,” with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, or “the last great american dynasty” help anchor a project that shows just how much Swift has grown as a songwriter over the years. And that’s without even mentioning other great tracks like “cardigan” and “betty,” some of the best of Swift’s career.
Released right before the door shut on 2020, “evermore” is the more upbeat of the two sister albums. The album continues the “indie” theme that began on “folklore,” which makes sense because this is a group of songs written during the same sessions as the aforementioned album.
But just because this album could be perceived as a serving of leftovers, it is anything but. The second track on the album, “champagne problems,” might be the best song in Swift’s whole career. Songs like “willow” and “no body, no crime,” with HAIM, are just plain fun, while “gold rush” sounds like the best radio single of Swift’s career that wasn’t forced to be. Even the album closer “evermore” — also featuring Vernon — shows more ambition than the usual run-of-the-mill Taylor Swift album.
In the end, whichever album you prefer is all based on personal preference. “folklore” flows better as an album, but “evermore” is a bit more consistent. And as stated before, consistency is something that has plagued Swift throughout her whole career, but is finally an appropriate word to use in regards to her albums.
While neither record is perfect by any means, and could actually benefit from being a song or two shorter, Taylor Swift has finally found consistency in an album. Twice in a row.