folklore – Taylor Swift

The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).

folklore by Taylor Swift

  • Eighth studio album, released in July 2020.
  • Full disclosure here – I have this album digitally, not vinyl or CD. Another full disclosure – I am obsessed with it. At a minimum, it gets streamed by me several times a week, and sometimes, several times a day. While I recognize that Swift is supremely talented, I had not taken an interest in her earlier work. This album changed everything though.
  • She hadn’t planned on creating an album in 2020 – her Lover Fest tour was scheduled to begin in April 2020, but COVID ended that plan. While stuck at home during COVID, she read and watched films, which inspired her to write songs that were different than her earlier music – instead of autobiographical themes, she wrote about escapism and fictional story-telling. She worked virtually with producers Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff, exchanging files of musical ideas. These producers helped her create the indie-folk feel to the album, a major shift from her usual pop, and a perfect answer to fans mired in a COVID world.
  • She started to record in April 2020, and by July it was done. Rather than hype it up with promotion, she chose to release it as a surprise – she announced it on her social media platforms only 16 hours prior to its release to digital platforms.
  • Critics called it her best work ever, and it ranked at #1 on many year-end “Best of 2020” lists, including Rolling Stone, Time and Billboard. Ultimately, it won the Grammy award for Album of the Year. Bold proclamation – It makes my top twenty list of the greatest albums of all time.
  • There were only three official singles released from the album. cardigan topped the Hot 100 and exile (featuring Bon Iver) peaked at #6. While not released as a single in the U.S., the 1 still reached #4 on the Hot 100. Swift was the first person ever to debut two songs in the top 4 and three in the top 6 of the Hot 100 simultaneously. And thanks to streaming, all 16 tracks from the album charted on the Hot 100, with five songs in the Top 20 of the chart.
  • Do yourself a favor. Take one hour out of your busy lives, and listen to this album. It’s worth it. For more on Swift (and to see a video of her performing cardigan/august/willow at the Grammy awards ceremony), check out my post from March 17, 2021. In November 2020, Swift released a documentary on Disney+, performing all of the songs from the album. Here’s her performance of exile, along with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff. What a cool song and performance!

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