“Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, ‘Folklore’,” Swift wrote when announcing the album yesterday afternoon (July 23), and she’s now expanded on the themes that make up the new album.
Read Swift’s full essay on the inspiration behind ‘Folklore’ below.
“It started with imagery. Visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity.
Stars drawn around scars. A cardigan that still bears the scent of loss twenty years later. Battleships sinking into the ocean, down, down, down. The tree swing in the woods of my childhood. Hushed tones of “let’s run away” and never doing it. The sun drenched month of August, sipped away like a bottle of wine. A mirrored disco ball hovering above a dance floor. A whiskey bottle beckoning. Hands held through plastic. A single thread that, for better or for worse, ties you to your fate.
Pretty soon these images in my head grew faces or names and became characters. I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t. An exiled man walking the bluffs of a land that isn’t his own, wondering how it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. An embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of obsession. A seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning to apologize. Lovestruck kids wandering up and down the evergreen High Line. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. A misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out.
A tale that becomes folklore is one that is passed down and whispered around. Sometimes even sung about. The lines between fantasy and reality blur and the boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indiscernible. Speculation, over time, becomes fact. Myths, ghost stories, and fables.
Fairytales and parables. Gossip and legend. Someone’s secrets written in the sky for all to behold.
In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness. Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve.
Now it’s up to you to pass them down.”
In a four-star album review of ‘Folklore’, NME wrote: “‘Folklore’ feels fresh, forward-thinking and, most of all, honest. The glossy production she’s lent on for the past half-decade is cast aside for simpler, softer melodies and wistful instrumentation.
“It’s the sound of an artist who’s bored of calculated releases and wanted to try something different.”