We can agree that with folklore and evermore, Taylor Swift swept in and saved 2020 from being a complete and total write off, right? And that we’re not sick of people talking about it and thinking about it and blogging about it and reviewing it? And that the first few weeks of 2021 confirm we need to carry that energy as far as it will go, all that way into that folklorian wood, until we all become woodland witches and leave the bad energies behind, yeah?
15. ‘happiness’ 💔
🤔 What I think it’s about: It definitely feels like a wife going through a divorce, struggling to face the idea of rebuilding an entire life, and trying to find hope in it all.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Wanna hear something petty? This song is straight after ‘no body no crime’, and it falls victim to the fact that nothing can follow ‘no body no crime’. Thus: my least favourite, even though it’s amazing. (You will notice a pattern that none of the songs on this album are BAD, which makes it difficult to rank. These are just my favourites; some just strike my heartstrings more than others.)
🎼 Favourite lyric: ‘I was dancing when the music stopped.’
🎶 Runner-up: ‘All the years I’ve given is just shit we’re dividin’ up.’
14. ‘closure’ 👋
🤔 What I think it’s about: I think we all know who this is likely about. I love that it has that energy of ‘I Forgot That You Existed’, of encouraging indifference rather than having to hold onto hate or forgive and forget.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: I like the other guitars or pianos more. That simple.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘I’m fine with my spite, and my tears, and my beers, and my candles.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘It’s been a long time, and seeing the shape of your name still spells out pain.’
13. ‘coney island’ 💭
🤔 What I think it’s about: This one reads like a pensive break-up song, but it’s so interesting that so many of the details can be linked to Taylor’s past relationships…
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: It’s a gorgeous song; it’s just a bit maudlin for my current mood.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘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?’
🎶Runner-up: ‘Did I close my fist around something delicate? Did I shatter you?’
12. ‘long story short’ 📖
🤔 What I think it’s about: I think this is the first of a few songs that are really autobiographical in the typical, expected Taylor sense: looking back on the 2016 shitshow, and how it helped her prioritise her life.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: It’s a great song. I just don’t connect as emotionally with it as others. 🤷🏻♀️
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘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.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘And you passed right by; I was in the alley, surrounded on all sides–the knife cuts both ways.’
11. ‘tolerate it’ 💙
🤔 What I think it’s about: A lonely wife realising the great older man she married doesn’t give a shit about the effort she puts in; he doesn’t love or appreciate her, just tolerates her.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: I think I read/watched somewhere that Taylor was inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and I can see that entirely, and I love it.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘I made you my temple, my mural, my sky; now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘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!’
10. ‘evermore’ ❄️
🤔 What I think it’s about: I agree with the speculation on this one, that it narrates Taylor’s experience of the aftermath of 2016’s shitshow.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: It is beautiful, but it’s sad, man.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘And I was catching my breath; barefoot in the wildest winter, catching my death.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘Hey December; guess I’m feeling unmoored.’
9. ”tis the damn season’ 🎄
🤔 What I think it’s about: I think everyone knows this one–a jaded star who returns to her hometown for the holidays, though the only good thing there is the love she keeps leaving behind.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Tell me you can’t see the Hallmark/Netflix Christmas romcom for this. Tell me. (And then tell me when it comes out, because I need it in my life.)
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘And the road not taken looks real good now.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘And the heart I know I’m breakin’ is my own, to leave the warmest bed I’ve ever known.’
8. ‘champagne problems’ 🥂
🤔 What I think it’s about: Taylor captioned this one for us with the release: college sweethearts breaking up when one wants to end it and the other brings a ring.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: I think it’ll be unpopular, to rank it mid-tier–but it’s SO SAD, so inexplicably gutting, that I can’t rank it above songs that make me happier!
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘”She would’ve made such a lovely bride; what a shame she’s fucked in the head,” they said.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘Sometimes you just don’t know the answer ’til someone’s on their knees and asks you.’
7. ‘cowboy like me’ 🤠
🤔 What I think it’s about: Again, this one’s in the album sleeve caption thing; two con artists falling in love.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Because it’s clever and hypnotic and I love a good con story.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘You’re a bandit like me; eyes full of stars, hustling for the good life.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘Forever is the sweetest con.’
6. ‘marjorie’ 💕
🤔 What I think it’s about: I think it’s universal knowledge that this one’s in memoriam of Taylor’s grandmother.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Because it’s so powerful if you understand grief. And it makes me cry every time.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘What died didn’t stay dead; you’re alive, you’re alive in my head.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘Never be so polite, you forget your power; never wield such power, you forget to be polite.’
5. ‘gold rush’ 💰
🤔 What I think it’s about: This one just reminds me so much of being a teenager and having a crush. It’s just so pure and all-consuming and sparkling, and it sends me right back there.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Because I am a sucker for something sparkly and nostalgic.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘Eyes like sinking ships on waters so inviting, I almost jump in…’
🎶Runner-up: ‘I don’t like slow motion, double vision in rose blush; I don’t like that falling feels like flying ’til the bone crush.’
4. ‘ivy’ 🌱
🤔 What I think it’s about: Falling in love when you’ve already married for something else–and being too scared of it all to know what to do about it.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Tell me this isn’t a period piece and I’ll tell you you’re missing the best part of it. Please let Shondaland commission a story out of this song. (Yes, this is another case where Taylor seems to have picked all the things I love and wrote songs about them. Do I love this album more than folklore?? Genuinely starting to wonder…)
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘I can’t stop you putting roots in my dreamland.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘And the old widow goes to the stone every day, but I don’t; I just sit here and wait, grieving for the living.’
3. ‘dorothea’ 💖
🤔 What I think it’s about: I love so much that it’s the lighter, optimistic, but still wistful twin of ”tis the damn season’. The POV of the guy in her home town, thinking of all the ways they used to love each other, and knowing he’ll hang on in there for her if he and their hometown can ever just be enough.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Because it reads like one of those Netflix/Hallmark Christmas movies I was ALL OVER when listening to; because I love a love story; and because it’s SO DAMN CHEERY.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘And if you’re ever tired of being known for who you know, you know you’ll always know me.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘Do you ever stop and think about me? When we were younger; down in the park, honey, making a lark of the misery.’
2. ‘willow’ 🍂
🤔 What I think it’s about: I mean, it’s not a fairy tale, but a faerie tale–it’s like a Holly Black love story in a song. Falling in love so hard it takes over your entire world, in the most perfectly moody and intense way.
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Because that description above speaks to my soul, and those guitars at the beginning make me shiver.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘Wait for the signal and I’ll meet you after dark; show me the places where the others gave you scars… Every bait and switch was a work of art.’
1. ‘no body no crime’ ☠️
🤔 What I think it’s about: I mean, is there a question? Story-Taylor’s friend, Este, is cheated on and murdered by her husband–and Story-Taylor offs him for it, frames his mistress, and gets away with the lot. It is the lovechild of The Chicks’s ‘Goodbye Earl’ and Carrie Underwood’s ‘Two Black Cadillacs’, and I could not love it anymore if Taylor had written it solely because she knew I, personally, would love it. (Which I do. It is SO my niche I can’t tell you.)
🤩 Why I’ve ranked it here: Because it’s so my niche I can’t tell you.
🎼Favourite lyric: ‘They think she did it, but they just can’t prove it; she thinks I did it, but she just can’t prove it.’
🎶Runner-up: ‘Her husband’s been actin’ different, and it smells like infidelity. She says, “That ain’t my merlot on his mouth; that ain’t my jewelry on our joint account.”
Do you agree? Disagree? Have a different take on the interpretations? What’s your evermore ranking?