Whereas the rest of us have been taking part in digital quizzes on Zoom, pop’s greatest star reinvented her sound and recorded two surprise albums — the second of which, “Evermore,” was launched Friday mere hours after it was announced.
It is a follow-up to July’s mega-hit, “Folklore,” with Swift returning to the wistful melodies and indie-inspired soundscapes that earned her rounds of praise, however injecting a uniquely wintry aesthetic and embarking on a number of unexpected lyrical expeditions.
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The 15-song effort was praised by several critics and hailed by followers on its launch, with a lot noting the seamless continuation of the stripped-back fashion Swift delved into in “Folklore.”
But others questioned whether or not the album lived up to its predecessor, which Swift described this week as a “sister album” to her latest offering.
“It is a bubble we could not wish to pop,” Variety concluded on Swift’s prolonged burst of creativity throughout months of isolation. The publication described the singer’s 2020 as “a humiliation of gorgeous albums-ending-in-‘ore’ that she’s mined out of a locked-down muse.”
“Not all the pieces right here works, but taken together Folklore and Evermore make a convincing case for Swift’s potential to shift form and for her songs’ potential to journey between genres,” The Guardian commented in a four-star review. “As lockdown overachievements go, it is fairly impressive.”
Swift again indulges her penchant for four-minute lyrical biographies, this time paying tribute to her late grandmother on “Marjorie” and a disillusioned wife on “Tolerate it” — character research singled out in an effusive five-star evaluation by British journal NME.
But the singer additionally returned to 2 acquainted territories she largely swerved on her earlier album, nodding to her nation music roots in “Cowboy Like Me” after which, on “Gold Rush” and “Lengthy Story Quick,” shifting cautiously again towards the realm of glittery pop that she conquered throughout the previous decade.
“If ‘Folklore’ is an introspective, romantic older sister, ‘Evermore’ is the freewheeling youthful sibling,” NME concluded. “The new album reaps the rewards the stylistic leap of religion that ‘Folklore’ represented, pushing the boundaries of that sonic palette further still.”
Fans seemed equally satisfied. “Evermore‘ is ‘folklore’ in screaming color,” superfan Alex Goldschmidt wrote on Twitter, referencing a lyric on Swift’s earlier track “Out of the Woods.”
One other standard Swift fan page wrote: “This was one of the most magical and most lovely journeys I’ve ever (been) through in an album.”
Swift once more collaborated with Bon Iver and songwriters Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff on the hassle, after the crew put “Folklore” collectively earlier this year.
And there have been a handful of songwriting credit for “William Bowery” — the mysterious contributor whom Swift revealed last month is, in fact, her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn.
It stays to be seen whether the slowed-down, reflective sound Swift has unlocked in 2020 is her ballpark now. “I have no idea what will come next,” she wrote on her social media channels on Friday after the record dropped.
“I have no idea about a lot of things today and so I’ve clung to the one factor that retains me related to you all. That factor all the time has and all the time can be music. And will it proceed, evermore,” Swift added?