Taylor Swift on her new album, Folklore: ‘Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory’

Artist released a prologue for her eighth record, which is receiving rave reviews from critics

Roisin O'Connor
Friday 24 July 2020 05:19
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Taylor Swift in artwork for her new album
Taylor Swift in artwork for her new album

Taylor Swift has released her eighth album, Folklore, less than 24 hours after announcing it.

The pop star collaborated with a number of her “musical heroes” for the record, including her frequent songwriting partner and co-producer Jack Antonoff, plus The National’s Aaron Dessner, and Bon Iver.

Upon the album’s release, Swift shared a prologue of sorts explaining her thoughts and feelings surrounding the album. The prologue will also feature in packaging for CD and vinyl versions of Folklore.

Read the prologue in full 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.”

Swift’s album has received critical claim in early reviews. The Independent gave it four stars and called it a “near-perfect album”, praising Swift’s songwriting as “exquisite, piano-based poetry”.

Read the full review here.

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