Taylor Swift Drops 2nd Surprise Album of 2020

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Taylor Swift via Twitter

Taylor Swift released her surprise ninth studio album ‘evermore’ last week. The album is the second surprise album she has released this year.

Mimi Jiang-Yu, Contributing Writer

On December 11th, American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift released her surprise ninth studio album evermore ahead of her 31st birthday and the upcoming holiday season. Having written and released her surprise eighth studio album folklore earlier this year during quarantine, she said that evermore came about because “we just couldn’t stop writing songs.”

Back in November, Swift released folklore: the long pond studio sessions, a concert film, on Disney Plus. On top of that, Swift finally gained the right to re-record her first five studio albums to reclaim the right to her masters in November. Despite being busy, Taylor Swift still managed to surprise us with a second album this year.

As the “sister record” to folklore, the 15-track album with two bonus tracks on the deluxe physical edition continues the brilliant storytelling of the first surprise album. While taking up an entirely different style from her past works for these two surprise albums, Taylor Swift once again proves to be a lyrical genius with an ethereal voice.

Although nothing will match listening to the songs themselves, here are short track by track summaries of each song.

  1. willow

 The music video for “willow” begins where the “cardigan” music video (from folklore) ends. The Easter eggs in the music video allude to “invisible string” and “mad woman” (songs from folklore). “[The song] is about intrigue, desire and the complexity that goes into wanting someone,” Swift says. “I think it sounds like casting a spell to make someone fall in love with you.” Watch the music video here.

Taylor Swift released her surprise ninth studio album ‘evermore’ last week. The first track “willow” was released as the lead single with an accompanying music video.
(Taylor Swift via Twitter)
  1. champagne problems

Joe Alwyn, Swift’s boyfriend credited as William Bowery, co-wrote this song. Swift says the song tells a story where, “longtime college sweethearts had very different plans for the same night, one to end it and one who brought a ring.”

  1. gold rush

Likely about Joe Alwyn, Swift uses the colors blue and gold to allude to her longtime boyfriend. 

  1. ‘tis the damn season

This song is from the perspective of Dorothea from the eighth track “dorothea.” Swift described Dorothea as “the girl who left her small town to chase down Hollywood dreams.” The song chronicles what happens when she returns home for the holidays and “rediscovers an old flame.”

  1. tolerate it

As one of the songs from “the ‘unhappily ever after’ anthology of marriages gone wrong,” Swift says this song is about “ambivalent toleration.”

  1. no body no crime (feat. HAIM)

In another song from “the ‘unhappily ever after’ anthology of marriages gone wrong,” Swift collaborates with the Haim sisters. The catchy murder mystery song tells of the murder of the character Este (named after one of the Haim sisters) who was murdered by her husband. In the song, Swift’s character then murders Este’s husband in retaliation.

  1. happiness

As the last song to be written on this album, “happiness” was written a week before the album’s release. The song heavily alludes to The Great Gatsby, especially with the lyric, “I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool / Who takes my spot next to you.”

  1. dorothea

As the first song written for evermore, this song also tells the story from “’tis the damn season” but from the perspective of Dorothea’s old flame.

  1. coney island (feat. The National)

Swift said in an interview with Apple Music, “I was trying to reflect on the Coney Island visual, of a place where thrills were once sought… A place where once, it was all electricity and magic, and now the lights are out, and you’re looking at it thinking, ‘What did I do?’” Fans have pointed out the obvious references to many of Swift’s old boyfriends. It is evident that the song is about grieving and feeling nostalgia for past relationships.

  1. ivy

As another song from the “’unhappily ever after’ anthology of marriages gone bad,” this song is about a woman’s infidelity with another man despite the constant presence of her jealous husband. The love of the other man is symbolized through the imagery of ivy (“My house of stone, your ivy grows / And now I’m covered in you”).

  1. cowboy like me

With heavy bandit themes and motifs, the eleventh track of evermore tells the story of “two young con artists who fall in love while hanging out at fancy resorts trying to score rich romantic beneficiaries.”

  1. long story short

Probably the most autobiographical song from the entire album, Swift opens the song with the lyrics, “I tried to pick my battles ‘til the battle picked me.” The lyrics “And I fell from the pedestal / Right down the rabbit hole / Long story short, it was a bad time” obviously refer to her retreat from the public eye in 2016.

  1. marjorie

As the sister song to “epiphany” from folklore, which was written in her grandfather’s perspective, “marjorie” is Swift’s tribute to her grandmother, Marjorie Finlay.

  1. closure

Although “closure” sounds like a breakup song, the song actually seems to reference Scooter Braun and Swift’s former label boss Scott Borchetta. Borchetta sold Braun the rights to Swift’s first six albums. The lyric, “Yes, I got your letter,” refers to the open letter Borchetta sent Swift after he sold the rights to her music. Swift has begun re-recording her first five albums to take back the rights to her music.

  1. evermore (feat. Bon Iver)

Another duet with Bon Iver, also featured in “exile” on folklore, “evermore” was also cowritten by Joe Alwyn, credited as William Bowery. The song also appears to be about Swift’s longtime boyfriend.

Taylor Swift’s incredible music has once again garnered the favor of many, including many Hingham High School Students.

Sadie Burm, a longtime fan of Swift’s, expressed her love for the singer’s music. “I LOVE evermore!!” she said, “it’s such an amazing album because it’s as well written as folklore, but it’s more my vibe! I’m obsessed with all of her albums! It’s amazing! I’ve been listening to it nonstop, and I almost have all the lyrics memorized!”

Elle Cavanaugh, another longtime fan who also writes for The Harborlight, proclaimed, “Taylor Swift really just keeps giving!” Noting that Swift released a surprise album, folklore in July and recently received the right to re-record albums one through five she said, “We assumed she would be busy re-recording and reaping the successes of folklore for a while. Then, a couple [of] weeks ago, she surprised us once more, releasing evermore.” 

 “[Evermore] is arguably even more gorgeous than folklore, but it proves difficult to rank considering they come from the same era, something Taylor had never done before,” Cavanaugh said of the sister album to folklore. “What excites me about evermore is that although it shares the same general sound of folklore, it also calls back to previous sounds and themes from her older albums. This nostalgic element combined with her evolved voice and lyrics continues to amaze me. I’m in love with evermore.”

“I am obsessed with the new album!!” said Delaney Coppola, another Swift fan who also writes for The Harborlight. “My favorites right now are ‘gold rush’ and ‘champagne problems,’ and I just think the lyrics of every song are so pretty and well thought out.” Of Swift, Coppola said, “Taylor is such a queen and has accomplished so so much this year, despite the challenges of 2020!”