REVIEW BY JULIA SWAIN
On December 10, Taylor Swift announced the release of her ninth studio album, and her second album this year alone. Evermore, a sister album of Folklore, is very similar in the sense that it is incredibly imaginative and creative, and it has a great storytelling aspect to it that makes it unique. There was not a single song on the album that I feel is skippable, but there were certainly songs that I liked more than others. I ranked these songs in the order that I listened to them, rating them out of 10. The album grade and definitive ranking will be at the bottom of the story. Here is my review of Evermore.
Originally, I believed that “Dorothea” would resemble “Betty” in a way, but I quickly realized that I was wrong. Dorothea carries its own torch in this Folklore era and was a great start to the album for me, it being the first song that I listened to. The chorus was incredibly catchy and the lyrics were creative and imaginative. I was hanging onto every word the entire song and it was the perfect segway into the rest of the album.
Favorite Lyric: When it was calmer/Skipping the prom/Just to piss off your mom/And her pageant schemes
A piano and Swift’s voice, that was all “Champagne Problems” needed to be great. Swift’s simplistic approach to this song made it even better than I could have imagined, and like Dorothea, I am sure that the chorus will be stuck in my head for days. This song is the epitome of what I dreamed this album would be and I am sure this is going to be one of my most played songs from the album.
Favorite Lyric: Because I/Dropped your hand while dancing/Left you out there standing/Crestfallen on the landing
This song rivals songs like “All Too Well” and “Dear John” as far as lyrics and storytelling go. The melody almost feels like poetry and the way that the notes float so skillfully cause the tone to feel almost conversational. I feel like Taylor is talking directly to me, which causes me to feel comfort as I listen to the song. It feels like “All Too Well” but from a much more mature perspective and a lot less heartbroken one. This song was fantastic from start to finish.
Favorite Lyric: I greet you with a battle hero’s welcome/I take your indiscretions all in good fun
The pauses between multiple words in the verses and chorus created a different beat and melody than the other songs. It made it unique and interesting. While it was not my favorite song on the album, it was still an excellent song. The way that she navigated through the song made it feel like a blend of “Old Taylor” and “New Taylor”, and similar to “Betty”, it had both its country moments and its folk moments, as well as a mix of pop. It was an incredibly interesting song and one I’m sure I will be revisiting.
Favorite Lyric: I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve/Takes one to know one
What is there not to like about this song? While I can definitely point out a few songs with a tiny resemblance to this song, there is not one song that is exactly like it. It has a certain charm to it and the lyrics and melody are gorgeous. The instrumental is absolutely stunning behind the perfect story that Swift has created with her lyrics. It is the longest song on the album, and I am certainly not complaining. This song feels like a dream and when I listen to it, I am transported to a different world.
Favorite Lyric: Showed you all of my hiding spots/I was dancing when the music stopped/And in the disbelief/I can’t face reinvention
From the start, the song stands out from the rest of the songs on the album. The beat is completely different from the other songs and the lyrics and instrumental are unique and interesting in their own way. While I get Lover vibes from this a little, it is certainly an original and is different from any other song previously. Its creativity is what makes it stand out and the melody makes the song interesting throughout, and on top of that, the lyrics are incredibly catchy.
Favorite Lyric: And I fell down the pedestal/Right down the rabbit hole/Long story short
For some reason, I got heavy Carrie Underwood vibes from this song, but with a Swift twist on it. Featuring HAIM, this song reminds me of new-age country and even though I am not a huge fan of country music, this song definitely did not disappoint. My favorite part of this song was the way Swift skillfully navigated through the lyrics, adding beat drops and key changes that made it interesting and engaging all the way through.
Favorite Lyric: Este wasn’t there/Tuesday night at her job at Olive Garden or anywhere/He reports his missing wife and I noticed/When I passed his house his truck has got some brand new tires
Willow is, as of right now, the only song with a music video, which helped aid my listening experience. Not only was the music video stunning, but the catchy lyrics and the way that Swift was able to display a million emotions in just a few minutes made the song that much more appealing. I had a feeling that I would love this song just based on the title, and I was right. This song took me on a full journey and having such an excellent music video certainly helped with that.
Favorite Lyric: Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind/But I came back stronger than a 90s trend
At the beginning, this song faintly resembled “August”, but like every other song on the album, its uniqueness outweighs any resemblance to other songs. The repetition in the song really helped me understand what Swift was trying to convey and I could easily figure out exactly who Taylor’s grandma was without even meeting her. This is such a gorgeous song and such a wonderful tribute to her grandma, as shown in the multitude of videos of Swift and her grandma throughout the song.
Favorite Lyric: 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
Although this was probably my least favorite song on the album, it still was not even a bad song, which just further proves Taylor’s excellence. I did, however, enjoy the melody throughout the song as it was both catchy and meaningful, which a lot of songs are not able to convey. I loved the duet with The National, as it added a nice touch. Overall, it was a solid song.
Favorite Lyric: The fast times/The bright lights/The merry go
From the stunning melody to the buildup from the verse to the chorus, this song is fantastic. It was extremely refreshing and made me feel like I had been transported to a field of flowers (not ivy, ironically). The background vocals added a nice touch to the song and added layers to the song that I did not even know I needed. My appreciation for it grew larger as the song went on and by the end, I had completely fallen in love with it.
Favorite Lyric: Clover blooms/In the field/Spring breaks loose/The time is near
This was certainly not what I was expecting, but I am definitely not complaining. The song, with its heartbreaking lyrics and unique melody, had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and it was definitely one that I just had to play twice before I moved on. I loved the instrumental and the way that Swift effortlessly navigated through the lyrics while still being able to once again create a conversational atmosphere. I can already tell that this is going to be one of the more underrated songs of the album.
Favorite Lyric: So we could call it even/You could call me “babe” for the weekend”/’Tis the damn season
This song certainly made a grand entrance, with its loud instruments and slow, cascading melody, but then it completely flipped into a pop melody, causing me to have to pause for a second to adjust. It was an odd transition, but it seems to be the correct one as it made me love the song even more. The different key changes and melodies kept me on the edge of my seat and never failed to keep me guessing. This was certainly one of the more interesting songs on the album.
Favorite Lyric: 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
For the second time, Swift collaborated with Bon Iver for this song, and it certainly did not remind me of “Exile” at all. In fact, this song was leaps and bounds better. It is probably a stylistic preference, but while I was not a fan of “Exile”, I was a huge fan of this song. Its stunning lyrics and melody along with the way that Swift finished almost all of her phrases in the verses with this little break in her voice that I absolutely love make this song one of my favorites on the album. It has this undeniable quality to it that a lot of these songs did not have and I am looking forward to returning to this song over and over again. Also, the way that it slows down at the end is my favorite piece of music from this album. I now know why this album was named after this song or vice versa.
Favorite Lyric: And I was catching my breath/Staring out an open window catching my death
This was the last song I listened to and let us just say, it definitely went out with a bang. This was extremely different from every other song on the album and I loved the way that it described everything with such detail, putting me right in the story. It was extremely interesting and imaginative, and while it was not my favorite song, it was still a great way to end the album for me and I know the chorus will be stuck in my head for awhile.
Favorite Lyric: Don’t treat me like a situation that needs to be handled/I’m fine with my spite/And my tears/And my beers/And my candles
Overall Album Grade: A-
Like I mentioned above, there is not one song I find to be skippable. This entire album had such creativity and imagination that I did not know was possible before I listened to it. “Evermore” is not my favorite Taylor Swift album, but unlike “Folklore”, I will be coming back and listening to every song over and over again. If one does not consider themselves to be a huge fan of Swift, please make them listen to this album, and I am sure it will change their minds very quickly. This was the perfect way to end an extremely impressive and successful year for Swift, and I am excited for what is to come next. Now, onto my final rankings.
3. Tolerate It
4. Champagne Problems
6. Gold Rush
8. Long Short Story
10. ‘Tis The Damn Season
12. No Body, No Crime
13. Cowboy Like Me
15. Coney Island