By: Campbell Petschke
Intro (Campbell’s Version)
I never thought I’d be making a ranking on an artist that I’ve had such an up and down relationship with over the span of her career. Taylor Swift started making music when I was pretty young. I can’t say I really knew her until Fearless, but the songs from her debut definitely caught up to me eventually, which I think speaks for a lot of people. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a fan of Ms. Swift, chances are you know more songs than you give yourself credit for. Even during this deep dive there were songs where I questioned how I knew them.
This was the most fun I’ve had during an artist ranking so far because of how much Taylor’s sound has changed over the years. What started off as country turned into pop, then more beat driven (Reputation), then to more bubblegum (Lover), then to folk (folklore/evermore). What’s funny is that I would’ve never done this ranking if not for giving Taylor’s version of Red a listen during Fall 2021, which *spoiler alert* I really ended up liking quite a bit.
A heads up before reading is that I am using Taylor’s versions of both Fearless and Red because I think the vault songs and alt versions should definitely be included as the full package. Even if it were on their own they’d still rank about the same. Enjoy my subjective opinion on an artist that has millions of dedicated (and scary) fans!
*Worth noting too that I have listened to Midnights, but have not lived with it long enough yet to rank*
9. Reputation (2017)
This is the one I was least looking forward to listening to because I really had a negative reaction to the lead single, Look What You Made Me Do. The moment the beat “dropped” in that song and heard her say “the old Taylor is dead”, I was lost and actually what made me stop listening to Taylor’s music until Folklore dropped three years later.
So after giving it a try, do I like Reputation…I guess so? There’s a handful of songs that I just do not care for like End Game (Future blends in here like oil and water) and I Did Something Bad. This album comes off to a pretty shaky start as it starts to live up to my expectations and not really in the best way. The sound hasn’t really aged amazingly well as that sort of booming EDM pop has faded away with times. At the halfway point I only really thought Delicate and the opener, Ready for It? were worth replaying again. Luckily, this album really turns around in the second half.
Reputation is as backloaded as me on leg day (just kidding, but it sure as hell feels like it). The moment I got to Getaway Car I began to levitate. It was like that Spongebob episode where he learns to flip patties again and the customers say, “that’s what we’ve been waiting for!” Getaway Car is one of Taylor’s best songs for many reasons. Reputation is meant to be a more angsty, “take no shit” version of her and this song nails that. It’s a solid pop anthem about toxicity and running through the red flags as if they’re the last lap. King of My Heart has this nice breakdown, in your face delivery that leads into the dancy, Vine-compilation type beat from Dancing with Our Hands Tied. That track would’ve been my favorite, if not for the closing song New Year’s Day. WOW. Something about this track just has this somber, reflective vibe with a soft piano backing. The lyric “I’ll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year’s Day”, made me melt with how sweet it made me feel.
Reputation might be my least favorite of Taylor’s discography, but it’s not a bad album like I feared it’d be. There’s a lot of people I know that really dig it for the more spicy lyrics and throbbing beats that are littered throughout. Just not really my thing.
Fave Tracks: Getaway Car, King of My Heart, Dress, New Year’s Day*
8. Self Titled (2006)
The one that started it all. Taylor Swift’s debut made a big splash initially when it dropped. I had no connection to this project whatsoever until I realized I did. This is an all-out country album that is full of ear worms. Taylor’s twang she has in her voice works really well. What’s really cool about her voice is that it had country AND pop appeal even when it was centrally a country record. A true testament to how her career would pan out in future records.
This is one of those examples of knowing a lot more tracks than I thought I did. I knew at least half of these songs just from, you know, being alive and having ears in the summertime. Should’ve Said No was the one that shocked me the most. I was driving when listening to this album and I got a major nostalgia trip from how long ago I had last heard this banger. Probably like a decade at least. Should’ve Said No is one of many tracks off this album that has a punky, teenage attitude that was vibrant throughout the 2000s. A sound that has aged wonderfully over the years.
Something that really surprised me was strong this album is lyrically. It’s kinda cool to see that Taylor wrote most of the lyrics on this one too (I don’t know if there were ghostwriters, but she is credited as sole writer for most). I feel very comfortable listening too. This is a warm childhood hug, even if you didn’t grow up with this album. Taylor’s perspective is childish in the best way possible. It’s mature and yet kind of innocent at the same time. Picture to Burn and Cold as You being prime examples of tonally being mature for her age and yet sort of naïve lyrically. Think of how you felt during a high school heartbreak or crush.
My controversial take on this album is that I do not like the song Tim McGraw. It’s the song that arguably brought her to fame, but I just find it kind of boring by comparison and just doesn’t age that well. The biggest gripe that I have with this record though is the male backing vocals. I understand it’s the producer that is providing a lot of this, but dude… we came to hear Taylor not you. I found it very distracting and made the country tone that felt genuine, lose its’ flare.
Self-titled is a good album. It doesn’t have a ton that sticks out, which is fine because I’m literally a male in his mid-20s, it’s not meant for me. This is a fun, summery country album that put Taylor on the radar.
Fave Tracks: Should’ve Said No, A Perfectly Good Heart, Our Song, Pictures to Burn*
7. Lover (2019)
As stated in my feelings about Reputation, Taylor’s music fell off big time after hearing the singles from that project. Then ME! came out and that was really the last nail in the coffin (or so I thought) for her and Brendon Urie, who I had no problem giving up since he had zero flare anymore and having weird allegations and video proof showing his true colors. You Need to Calm Down also put a bad taste in my mouth. So much so that whenever I saw the vinyl at Target I’d flip it over and groan.
The difference between Lover and Reputation is that Lover is a really well made pop album with a few slip ups. I was very pleasantly surprised of how bubbly and quirky the opening tracks were. I Forgot that You Existed was a fun tease of a track that seeps well into what is one of the best tracks on the album, Cruel Summer.
Cruel Summer, alongside tracks like Lover, The Archer, and Cornelia Street highlight something I really love about Taylor Swift’s delivery. During the chorus of Lover and The Archer her delivery sounds so desperate and prolonging. Like a dying last breath of a relationship that is seeping through the cracks of floorboards. Whenever this passion flares up, so does my opinion of the album.
The soft pop aesthetic really makes this album stick out in her discography. My favorite example of this is Death by a Thousand Cuts. Again, her pining, passionate delivery here pays off as it is backed a really awesome, soaring instrumental. I love the lyrics halfway through where she says, “our country, guess it was a lawless land. Quiet my fears with the touch of your hand. Paper cut stings from our paper thin plans.” The analogy doesn’t feel like a throwaway like it is used in other songs (Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper for example).
I feel as though the back half of the album is really what keeps me from loving this project more. Not only does it have the unbearable ME! and You Need to Calm Down, but it just gets kind of boring. Sure, there’s exceptions like Daylight and False God (the sax here is immaculately placed), but Afterglow and It’s Nice to Have a Friend just drowned into the recycled pop songs that I try to avoid on top 40 stations.
Lover is a return to form after Reputation, but it still isn’t without its’ problems. Some of those I am willing to forgive since the front half of this one is so damn good, but you won’t catch many of the tracks on the back half that will find a way into my playlists.
Fave Tracks: Lover, Cruel Summer, Death By a Thousand Cuts, Lover*, Cornelia Street
6. Speak Now (2010)
I went back and forth a few times with this one and the number five spot. Ultimately what puts Speak Now at this position is that the Taylor angst was coming in gradually as it would reflect in later coming albums. Driving off the massive success of Fearless, which won album of the year at the 2010 Grammy’s and garnered over 3 million copies in its’ first year, Speak Now had a lot to live up to. Did it live up to that expectation? Well… sure?
Speak Now is arguably Taylor’s most confessional album. Most of the songs on the album discuss past relationships and sort of pinpointing where they went wrong and sort of fantasizing what could have been. Mine is the best way to kick off this album as it is a story told in three parts, in a particularly popular pop/country structure that focuses on how the love she had received from this person made her believe that she was on top of the world and ended up coming off as a toxic tug of war. This isn’t the first time something like this comes up as you can find it again on the following track Sparks Fly.
The self awareness in a lot of these songs make you feel as though there’s something more than comes to the judgmental eye. Many will listen to this album and pick it apart for it’s thematic sameness, which is a valid critique. One that I would actually agree with. There’s a little more to these in retrospect, given I grew up hearing a lot of these songs float around the radio and MP3s of others. Sparks Fly seems to be playing to her naivety in a “la di da” dancing around in her infatuation with this guy. It’s also insanely catchy. That one has NOTHING on The Story of Us though, as this song kicks off with a fast drum beat and aches the listener to anticipate the buildup to that epic chorus. Who cares if some of it is corny, like when she says, “next chapter” at the end of the chorus, it encapsulates a really angsty version of Taylor that hasn’t been fully explored yet.
My favorite moments on Speak Now though are when she reflects on her youth being exploited by older influences. The infamous Dear John highlights how she fell for an older guy, who we all know is John Mayer at this point, and questioning why she fell for him in the first place since the gap was so large. The first time I heard the lyrics, “don’t you think I was too young to be messed with”, I thought it was pretty blunt in a bad way. Now after listening again years later it feels right at home thematically.
I like to believe the whole “Taylor Swift only sings about all the guys she has dated” narrative sparked from Speak Now. Mean is easily a top ten song of hers and is the best example of this. I can’t tell you how many summers I heard this effortlessly catchy chorus seep through waterpark speakers and drives on the way to little league. One of many choruses to get stuck in my head years later as I’m revisiting this album. On the other side of this though, I find Better Than Revenge to be a boring example of this. It really just feels like a watered down version of Paramore’s Misery Business.
Speak Now has a lot of really well crafted pop country songs that mostly stick the landing and provided a lot of nice surprises… BUT! The whole fairytale theme doesn’t feel as home on here as it did with Fearless and somehow comes off more corny though. This isn’t to say that it’s bad, but like some of the sounds here it just doesn’t age all that well. Haunted is the most dated song on this project, but somehow escapes it being a bad song by how over the top it is instrumentally and lyrically. Nathan Chapman’s backing vocals are 50/50 this time, I found it worked really well on Back to December and on pivotal emotional points during Dear John too.
Overall, it’s a 80% good and 20% just fine record. I have a lot of good memories with some of these songs, but it’s far from her best work.
Fave Tracks: Mean*, Innocent, Dear John, Sparks Fly, Speak Now
5. 1989 (2014)
This is the album I had to do the least research on because of how inescapable it was when it dropped. If you were on Twitter or Instagram at any point of 2014/15 you heard about drama with her, saw an ad with her face on it… she was everywhere. This is around the time where she took all her music off of streaming services because she wanted artists to get the pay that they deserve (although arguably didn’t do much). IT was a few years lived, but it just added to all the promotion that went into this insanely big album.
Enough background though, how is the music? It’s pretty fun!
1989 is a landmark album in pop music. Even if you didn’t like the sound of what she was putting out, you can’t really argue that whatever was on the radio at the time sounded nothing like this. I used to really dislike this album for that reason and how many artists tried to replicate this sound too. Years later though my critiques have lessened and I don’t hate it at all (mostly).
I say mostly because as much of a hit it was I still really cannot stand Shake it Off. Good for her she had the confidence to put out a song about how she doesn’t care about those trying to bring her down, but there’s a problem that exists with songs like that. If you are addressing said haters and saying they don’t matter AND writing a whole song about it… then it really seems like you care. It’s totally fine if you do because we’re all human here, but for that along with how embarrassing I find the cheerleader chant bridge I just find it to be insufferable.
Okay, but the good stuff on here is really fucking good. Blank Space has an atmospheric beat and dramatic chorus that I’ve yet to hear replicated. Something about this song really is special. I don’t have much else to say about it because I can’t put to words how much I enjoy the delivery and how big it feels. It also sparked the conversation of is she saying “a long list of ex-lovers” or “lonely Starbucks lovers”, which if it really was the Starbucks line it would’ve honestly made it better.
The production is absolutely stellar here too and I still standby saying this is still her best produced record. Ryan Tedder, Jack Antonoff, Imogen Heap, Max Martin just to name a few. They really created this in your face, bright future of pop music that would carry over in years to come. Think of how you feel during songs like Style or Out of the Woods. They feel like they echo off your ear drums as if you are in the biggest arena in the world and it resonates off the walls almost like you’re in a planetarium.
Bad Blood was another song that I used to really hate, except for when Anthony Rizzo used it as his walk-up music for when he played for the Chicago Cubs. Hearing it through good headphones ups the experience. The bass beats kick ass and honestly sound better than most songs that attempted to sound like this on the album to follow, Reputation. Another song that I really dig that could’ve easily been on Reputation is All You Had to Do was Stay. This is a total “fuck you for missing what you had” type song. One that brings the attitude alongside one of my favorite instrumentals on the project. I love the shiny chorus and when the higher pitched “stays” flash at the end of the verses.
The album doesn’t slow down from here (in terms of enjoyment). You still have the slow burn Wildest Dreams, the runaway lover anthem of I Know Places (how about those bass licks?), and the fantastic closer Clean.
In all honesty, writing about 1989 has made me appreciate this project a lot more than I already do. It’s a landmark pop album that will hopefully get more recognition for how much impact it had on popular music in the coming years. An album that truthfully only has two skips and the rest is a whole lot of pop magic.
Fave Tracks: Blank Space*, Clean, Style, Wildest Dreams, All You Had to Do was Stay
4. Fearless *Taylor’s Version (2021)
As if the original Fearless wasn’t already a big enough landmark in music history, this is one of the first albums to be re-released so that she has rightful ownership of her discography. If there’s any reason at all to thank Scooter Braun, it’s due to these re-releases.
Fearless is an album that I already held in very high regard. It is everything from her self-titled and then some. Sure, there’s classics like You Belong with Me, 15, and Love Story on here, but don’t skip out on the other great material. The opener sucks you right in with this very autumn-like essence that easily has one of the best choruses on the project. This vibe continues on Tell Me Why and The Way I Loved You where it feels like for every flavorful, upbeat track there’s one that feels like a slower, reflective one. For every You Belong with Me, there’s a Hey Stephen or White Horse. It’s nice having those slower moments because it shows how good her songwriting was even at an earlier age.
Fearless also has the best singles out of any Taylor project. You Belong with Me is one of my favorite pop songs of all time. The instrumentals make you feel very hopeful and pining for this love story to work out. One that I think many listeners can relate to. Sort of a “fuck her, what about me?” moment, which pops up a few times on this project. But honestly you don’t need me to tell you how irresistible this track is because if you’re reading this article, you more than likely already know this song. Love Story thematically I’m not huge on because the Romeo and Juliet I feel is really overused, but it’s still nice here. In the essence of her storytelling here though it works well with how much heart is put into the vocals. I also feel Taylor’s version gives the track another breath of life that it had back in the 2000s.
What I love the most about Fearless is how well it ages too. This doesn’t feel super outdated in the slightest. Even returning to the normal version of this album it still has so much life. The timelessness of these tracks really show how strong this project is and really reminds you of why it was so big in the first place.
The bonus tracks, while I don’t feel are as good as Red’s, are still a good time. I think Maren Morris has a very nice feature on You All Over Me and so does Keith Urban on That’s When. Side note, why is having Keith Urban on pop country songs such a cheat code? Anyway. Mr. Perfectly Fine and Other Side of the Door are the strongest on the bonus tracks. Both fit seamlessly with the bulk of the project and are just high quality pop country tracks.
There’s very little I don’t like about Fearless. It’s an album that still slaps to this day and shows why it deserved to go on to be a multi-platinum album. It does overstay it’s welcome a little too long at times, but it’s a case of if you pick any song off the project out of context it’ll still sound good. It’s a spectacular follow up to her debut and the rest is history.
Fave Tracks: You Belong with Me*, Hey Stephen, The Way I Loved You, The Best Day, Come in With the Rain
3. Evermore (2020)
The companion piece to Folklore is no fluke. Evermore I expected to be a collection of B-sides to that album, but it’s not at all. While this still is a folk-pop album like Folklore, this is a bit of a brighter album. One that has more pop influenced folk tracks. This one also feels very cozy. I really enjoy the softer moments on the record which I feel Aaron Dessner’s production is most to blame. His work with The National really does wonders for an album like this.
This album screams November, even with the cover artwork it just feels like a crisp autumn hug. The biggest single from the project, Willow, is a brighter moment on a somewhat comparatively somber remainder of the tracklist. I love her higher vocals on this song too during the chorus. The “foooooooooolllloooow” gets stuck in my head every time. This leading into Champagne Problems is interesting because following a lovey song like Willow it’s a total switch as this song is very depressing. Taylor sings about how a failed marriage proposal brought a downfall of heavy emotion on the proposer and how he aches after. It’s lyrically one of my favorites too, like “Your Midas touch on the Chevy door. November flush and your flannel cure” rolls off very nicely.
Speaking of dark, I’ll never forget the first time I heard No Body, No Crime in which Taylor fantasizes killing someone who is being unfaithful to one of her good friends. Sort of like a more intense Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood. The storytelling here is the first of many examples of really stellar storytelling. Tis the Damn Season follows that lead and shows off Taylor wanting to make you as sad as possible. Not really, but this track in particular feels very devastating while she recollects all the activities and times the two subjects of this song shared together and how much she wants that back. Anyone reading this who doesn’t listen to her music might read this and say, well okay that’s a lot of what she sings about anyway. Listen to the track and experience it for yourself. It’s a standout moment on Evermore.
Like Folklore, I really appreciate the more reflective moments offered on this sister album. Dorothea continues the streak of Taylor putting in every effort to make you sad sigh in tracks with names in them. The vocals here have a little country tease when she says Dorothea and really enunciates the “uh” at the end of her name. This is a very soft moment that has a lot of nostalgia, pining for what I gather as a lost friend along the way.
The album closes out very strong with Closure and the title track. Pairing those two tracks back to back works really well. Closure follows a break-up that she wants no part of despite the other recipient’s advances and efforts to try and be friends out of convenience. Basically he realizes he screwed up and wants to be in her life still while she is still grieving “in her tears, beers, and candles”. The title track closes out the record with a prolonging ‘where did things go wrong’. The pairing of Taylor and Justin Vernon is a match made in heaven as both have very good vocal chemistry. They create a very intense vibe of what feels like a borderline descent into a depressive episode. It’s a song that I initially compared too much to Exile, but as a standalone it’s an amazing piece on a very high quality album.
Overall, this is a fantastic way to close out a two album year for Taylor. If there’s any reason to be grateful for the pandemic, it’s that we had plenty of time to digest this great work of art.
Fave Tracks: No Body, No Crime, Dorothea, Closure, Tis the Damn Season*, Champagne Problems, Evermore
2. Red *Taylor’s Version (2021)
One of my favorite moments in music of 2021 was the release of this project. This reignited so many old Taylor fans as well as myself, who loved this album originally when it dropped back in 2012. I’ll admit I was still coming back from my time where I was kind of annoyed by her social media presence and the two albums that came before Folklore. As much as I grew up enjoying a majority of the record, I still had my reservations.
What’s funny about Red is that I think the singles that were released for this project are the weaker parts. Nothing against them, it’s just there’s so much REALLY good material that I find to be more enjoyable. Begin Again is the biggest standout of those singles with how upbeat and powerful it is coming off the end of the record. A lot of media and Twitter fingers made it seem like Taylor only sung about breakups, but this one is the opposite. This is about how she learned to love again after eight months of feeling as though love wasn’t attainable. Begin Again is one of the few mainstream pop songs that actually nail what it feels like falling in love.
Even if the other singles from this project aren’t as strong as Begin Again, they still aren’t bad. I Knew You Were Trouble was a landmark moment in top 40 just for how unusual a song like that was for Taylor to put out. One of her first outright pop songs before “changing to pop”, which Red sort of felt like anyway? We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together I feel was a big enough hint that she was aiming towards a different direction than her country pop roots. I wish Red were the lead single in the case of this just because WANEGBT (I’m not writing it out every time) was a very average moment. The title track is a perfect branch between old and ‘new’ Taylor. Still had a lot of country elements, but had some more techy attributes during the chorus with the “re-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-ed”.
I’ll get out of the way what I don’t like about Red because it’s pretty minimal. Stay Stay Stay feels like an unwarranted Dunkin commercial following WANEGBT, which already lowered my opinion. It’s just recyclable pop junk that I hover my finger over the skip button while streaming half the time. 22 isn’t a bad song at all, it just feels like Pinterest-core at this point and has aged like opened Greek yogurt in Death Valley. The fact that it was severely overplayed didn’t help either, but even after not hearing this song since 2014 I still found it to be kind of annoying.
That’s it. Everything else on this record I find to be absolutely wonderful. I could write a whole separate blog entry on why All Too Well is a top ten pop song of the 2010’s and why the 10 minute version is a revolutionary piece of music that showed, again, how great of a storyteller Taylor has become. I’m repeating this as if Damon Albarn is going to read this and remind him that Taylor writes her own music. State of Grace is my favorite opener on any of her projects and has one of my favorite choruses she has ever put to record too. I love the line, “we fall in love ’til it hurts or bleeds or fades in time”. It’s a nice preface for her describing how weak at the knees she feels at this point in her relationship.
Taylor’s version of Red has a few features added onto the others that came on the original. Ed Sheeran returns with another fine feature on Run, one that I find to be slightly better than his performance on Everything Has Changed. Everyone else puts on very memorable features. Chris Stapleton, Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, and best of all Phoebe Bridgers. Nothing New is the strongest of the vault tracks. It has the most clever lyrics, catchiest hook, and most relaxing sound. Phoebe’s vocals feel similarly gentle to compliment Taylor’s nostalgic delivery. It also has that line I love, “how can a person know everything at 18 and nothing at 22?” All of the vault tracks are great, but Nothing New and Forever Winter are at the top of the podium.
Red is a moment in pop history that I’m very happy I got to live through twice. There’s a lot of Taylor’s best work here vocally and lyrically, even if there are a few groans here and there. The reason that it ranks higher than Evermore, an album I feel has zero skips, is because the other 95% of Red I do like is just so incredibly entertaining. An album that I can honestly say that over the past decade of its’ existence I have learned to love with this re-recording.
Fave Tracks: State of Grace, All Too Well (both version)*, Nothing New, Holy Ground, Begin Again, I Bet You Think About Me, Red, Treacherous
#1. Folklore (2020)
This was a very easy choice for the best. Folklore is the album that I find myself most emotionally invested in. I find myself very attracted to music that provide a specific atmosphere and this one does just that. I first listened to this while working at my residence hall over Thanksgiving break walking to get hot dogs. Taylor Swift is the perfect hot dog trip weather. Not really, but she does nail the crisp, autumn afternoon weather soundtrack.
Just within the first few songs I’m instantly hooked. Cardigan and The Last Great American Dynasty reflect on the sonics and the lyrical content that you can expect for the rest of this 16 song journey. The Last Great American Dynasty sticks out to me because it feels like an old school Taylor track done softly. It tells a story of the previous owner of her current estate and how she was the town gossip and had her “bitch-pack” of friends that ruined the name of her deceased husband by being extremely reckless with her inheritance. She uses this as a comparison of her public persona and how she feels the public sees her as a predominant pop culture figure. It’s an upbeat track instrumentally, but wears this as a disguise for a pretty bleak anthem.
Taylor’s lyrics and songwriting are at their height here too. Exile is one of her most devastating tracks and also my favorite out of her entire discography. The keys are so pretty alongside her and Justin Vernon’s vocals. It’s the moment on the record where I mentally solidified this was something truly remarkable. This leading into another wonderful track, My Tears Ricochet is perfect. Maybe the best song she has ever written lyrically. I can pull any set of lyrics out of this and find beauty in it. One of my favorites being, “we gather stones, never knowing what they mean. Some to throw, some to make a diamond ring”. It’s a strong back and forth of despair, disappointment, and resentment. Fun tidbit too that this track was inspired by Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.
Mirrorball feels like it was giftwrapped for longtime Swifties. It feels like a more adult song that sounds like it could belong on Speak Now. The instrumentals feel very melodramatic and big almost a sad anthem for preppy emo kids. The same can be said about This is Me Trying. A string heavy, echoey track that gave off the same atmospheric vibe that a track like Out of the Woods provided on 1989. It also feels like a lost early 2010’s radio hit that never was.
Going off of the Exile train pulling into the devastation, there are some other notable bangers worth mentioning like Betty and the crowd favorite August. What can be said about August that hasn’t been said already? It’s a beautiful standout that deserves all its’ flowers. It feels like a more modern All Too Well. This feels more desperate than that track, but tonally it rings very reminiscent of that track, which just for that comparison is high praise. Betty, as I said before with tracks with names as the title, isn’t afraid to make you feel like a hopeless romantic. Given this song is about asking for forgiveness for cheating, but the way that it goes about the topic narratively is mostly sweet. If Sour Patch Kids were a song, it’d be Betty. I also love the harmonica presence here too, it makes the song’s story feel very authentic and low effort (by low effort I mean simple).
Folklore is a near flawless record that I have no problem returning to every autumn since it’s release two years ago. This is a height in modern mainstream songwriting in this century that makes it feel effortless to make you go through a whole range of emotions that feel like a weight off your shoulders once the last seconds of Hoax come around. Vocally, instrumentally, and lyrically it’s impeccable and I’m very glad an album like this exists. A future modern classic if there ever was one.
Fave Tracks: August, Cardigan, My Tears Ricochet, Illicit Affairs, Exile*, Betty, Mirrorball, The Last Great American Dynasty