MADSON: Taylor Swift’s “folklore” album brings fall feelings, nostalgia

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Photo by Katerina Pourliakas

Some songs from the album include “betty,” “cardigan” and “invisible string.”

With only a one day’s notice, Taylor Swift announced the release of her eighth studio album, “folklore,” July 24. The album has 16 songs with a bonus track “the lakes” included in the deluxe edition. Even with seven albums already under her belt, Swift delivered one unlike any other. The whole album brings about a melancholy tone, with dashes of her country roots and a taste of her newly found pop tone. Songs collectively tell different stories, including one of a love triangle. A few songs, including “the 1,” “betty” and “cardigan” particularly help to portray this story. Despite the summer release, the album cover also brings a fall vibe to the entire album.

This is the first song on the album, and it brings a hint of the “pop” side of Swift that many have begun to associate her music with. The opening starts off simple with some piano and a light beat. The lyrics emphasize the “what-ifs” that can come once a relationship ends, specifically with the lyrics “If one thing had been different, would everything be different today?” in the bridge, which is the part of a song that’s usually different than the verse or chorus. However, there doesn’t seem to be any bitterness concerning the end of the relationship, only nostalgia. This song pairs greatly with a nice, slow fall stroll to clear the mind.

betty 

“betty” is a song that is rumored to be part of a three song story that describes a love triangle. The other two are “august” and “cardigan.” This song takes place from the point of view of James, a 17-year-old boy who, based on the song lyrics, seems to have messed something up with his love interest, Betty, and is attempting to get her back at a party. In the song, James said that even though he was with someone else for the summer, he only thought of her. The song brings back some of Swift’s old country with the sounds of harmonica in the beginning. This song gives a “staying inside” afternoon vibe, almost perfect for doing light chores and maybe lighting a favorite fall-scented candle.

cardigan

“cardigan,” the second song on the album, was released as a music video the same night the album dropped. The song is said to be from the viewpoint of Betty, the possible scorned love interest of James from the song “betty.” The chords within the song bring out a melancholy tone, emphasizing the sadness and hurt within the story. Some lyrics, such as “I knew you, tried to change the ending, Peter losing Wendy” invoke a sense of ending and finality. The lyrics and melody, which are both on the sadder side, make this a song perfect for a rainy or stormy day while wearing a sweater or even a favorite cardigan.

august

This song sounds different than any other song Swift has done before. The vocals are airy and almost dreamlike, emphasizing how “august slipped away like a dream.” This song is from the viewpoint of the girl James was seeing over the summer. The lyrics hint at a possible affair, with lines like “you weren’t mine to lose.” Though the sentiment may be sad, the song itself brings nostalgia, remembering the month slipping away along with the love interest, yet the story-teller had hope it would work out. This song is a great song for a walk along the lakeside while in jeans and a comfy sweatshirt to look at the leaves changing on the trees in anticipation of the fall season.

invisible string

This is one of the more cheerful songs on the album. The opening guitar plucking brings about a sense of Swift’s old country. The lyrics discuss a visible string that brought two people together. It’s about looking at perfect happenstances and emphasizing serendipity with lyrics like “Were there clues I didn’t see? And isn’t it just so pretty to think all along there was some invisible string tying you to me?” It has a soft vibe, with a bit of violin, light percussion and plucking of a guitar or two as the background to Swift’s vocals. This song is perfect for a sunny fall day while drinking coffee, or even baking pumpkin or banana bread.

The album can be listened to through different musical mediums such as Apple Music and Spotify.

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at ariana.madson@marquette.edu.