Taylor Swift’s only gone and done it again. After surprise releasing ‘Folklore’ less than five months ago, yesterday (10 Dec) TayTay set the internet ablaze when she announced she was imminently releasing her ninth studio album ‘Evermore’.
Released today, the stunning collection sees her continue her trip into the folklorian forest, once again collaborating with indie heroes like The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, but this time around coupling her new sound with a healthy dose of ‘1989’-era gloss.
But it wouldn’t be a Taylor Swift album if there weren’t a few surprises and Easter Eggs along the way. From famous pals offering backing vocals to a gorgeous tribute to her late grandmother, here we take a look through the biggest talking points from ‘Evermore’.
Marcus Mumford makes a guest appearance
Asides from the credited guests (Haim, The National, Bon Iver), Taylor also wrangled another musical pal to join her in the folklorian forest: Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford. The British folk-rock don appears on ‘Cowboy like Me’, a bluesy tune about two con artists falling in love, providing backing vocals.
Who is Marjorie Finlay?
Another credited artist is Marjorie Finlay, who provides backing vocals on ‘Marjorie’. For those wondering who Marjorie Finlay is, it’s Swift’s opera singing maternal grandmother, who inspired her career and the song is a tribute to. The poignant tune explores complex grief, and how even when somebody passes their spirit can remain with you (“What died didn’t stay dead / You’re alive, you’re alive in my head“). A recording of Finlay’s operatic vocals are included in the song, appearing in the background after Swift sings “And if I didn’t know better/I’d think you were singing to me now”. No, you’re crying.
‘Dorothea’ and ”Tis the Damn Season’ are connected
On ‘Folklore’ Swift wrote a trio of songs she referred to as the ‘Teenage Love Triangle’. The three songs – ‘Cardigan’, ‘Betty’ and ‘August’ – are about a love triangle, each tune written from the perspective of a different character at separate points in their lives. For ‘Evermore’ Swift promised that some of the 17 songs are “mirrored or intersecting with one another”, and fans are speculating that ‘Dorothea’ and ”Tis the Damn Season’ are two such songs.
‘Dorothea’ follows a character as they reminisce on their highschool relationship with the titular character, before Dorothea left town to become a star, while ”Tis The Damn Season’ depicts somebody returning from LA to stay with their parents for a weekend, and considers returning to an old flame. It feels too coincidental to think these two songs aren’t connected.
Why dorothea is the same girl in ‘tis the damn season. A thread.
In the song dorothea, it is sung by the pov of her highschool lover, who says “you got shiny friends since you left town” @taylorswift13 @taylornation13
— yournotfunnybrH (@yournotfunnybr) December 11, 2020
‘Dorothea’ has a link to ‘Folklore’
While it’s currently uncertain if any songs on ‘Evermore’ interconnect with its predecessor as obviously as the ‘Teenage Love Triangle’ songs are, Swift has indicated that there are some links, with characters from each record knowing each other. Writing on YouTube, she told fans, “There’s not a direct continuation of the betty/james/august storyline, but in my mind Dorothea went to the same school as Betty James and Inez.”
— @40yroldSwiftie ~ Karen (@40yroldswiftie) December 11, 2020
She’s been secretly teasing the album for weeks
It’s not a Taylor Swift album without a few Easter Eggs; and it turns out Swift has been teasing the album for weeks.
Over on her Instagram stories, she shared images from her Entertainment Weekly photoshoot with the caption: “This outfit really screams ‘TIS THE DAMN SEASON”.. Meanwhile, when Swift sent a video when she accepted the gong for Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards last month, she begins it by showing the back of her hair before turning around – showing off the same hairstyle that appears on the front cover of ‘Evermore’.
this outfit really screams ‘TIS THE DAMN SEASON’ pic.twitter.com/8b4TSNzRuo
— hayley♡ | mirrorball stan (@HayleyGeronimo) December 8, 2020
taylor LITERALLY showed us her hairstyle for the cover of the album here like thats obviously why she did this OH MY GOD pic.twitter.com/f35FJ0QNws
— jade ✨ 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 (@thetaylight) December 10, 2020
She also shared an image on Instagram with the caption, “not a lot going on at the moment”, just as she did earlier this year. Last time it turned out when she posted it she was working on ‘Folklore’; this time around it was ‘Evermore’.
— sel (@getawayhavana) December 10, 2020
And Swift even shared a code to get money off her merch, which was “WRECKMYPLANS”. Turns out that’s a lyric from the album’s opening song, ‘Willow’.
— zoe🦋🍄🐸🌈🔮 (@13supermanswift) December 11, 2020
‘Long Story Short’ could be about her public feud with Kanye West
Fans are venturing that the cantering ‘Long Story Short’ could be about Swift’s very public falling out with Kanye West, in particular the events of 2016 when Taylor was “cancelled” after a phone call between Swift and West was leaked that allegedly showed Swift approving West’s references to her in his song ‘Famous’ – something she had publicly said she didn’t agree with.
Lyrics such as: “And I fell from the pedestal / Right down the rabbit hole / Long story short, it was a bad time” seem to reference Swift’s public fall from grace, and she offers advise to her past self, singing: “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”.
It also focusses on Swift’s relationship with boyfriend Joe Alwyn, and how their relationship – which started around this time – was a life raft during this public dispute: “No more keepin’ score/ N ow I just keep you warm”).