From Taylor Swift to folklore, Taylor Swift has more than proven that she has enough range to sustain a career long-term. In the span of 14 years, Swift has released eight studio albums ranging in themes and even genres. The “mad woman” singer started off her career as a country artist, but found even greater success when she shifted to pop. With her most recent album, Swift ventured into a new genre of indie folk.
Swift has been candid about the fact that she doesn’t have one set formula for songwriting. Inspiration for the artist comes from a bevy of different sources and outlets. However, she does tend to consider a theme for her albums. For example, Swift sees Red as her breakup album while Lover explores a ton of different interactions of love. folklore, on the other hand, is Swift’s coziest album and was made with the intention of comforting fans.
Taylor Swift wanted to evoke specific feelings when she made ‘folklore’
Swift surprised fans with folklore in July of 2020 amidst a global pandemic. In a conversation with Paul McCartney for Rolling Stone, Swift revealed that she wanted to make an album to help comfort people in a time of such fear and uncertainty. “There’s so much stress everywhere you turn that I kind of wanted to make an album that felt sort of like a hug, or like your favorite sweater that makes you feel like you want to put it on.”
But part of what makes Swift such a talent is her ability to think about things from unique angles. Instead of making a happy album to try to uplift fans, she leaned into melancholy for folklore. Swift shared that sadness can be comforting as well and she really sought out to explore and exploit that when she was making her eighth studio album.
The ‘cardigan’ singer leaned into sadness for many of the songs on the album
“Like a good cardigan, a good, worn-in cardigan,” Swift began about how she wanted folklore to feel. “Or something that makes you reminisce on your childhood. I think sadness can be cozy. It can obviously be traumatic and stressful, too, but I kind of was trying to lean into sadness that feels like somehow enveloping in not such a scary way — like nostalgia and whimsy incorporated into a feeling like you’re not all right. Because I don’t think anybody was really feeling like they were in their prime this year. Isolation can mean escaping into your imagination in a way that’s kind of nice.”
Swift certainly seems to have achieved what she set out to do. Though she released her album mid-Summer, folklore is a decidedly Fall album. There’s a beautiful sadness about it that makes fans want to settle in with an oversized sweater and a hot cup of tea. In fact, many Swifties have shared that they will forevermore associate quarantine with folklore. Swift definitely created folklore for a unique moment in time and we’re interested to see how fans will relate to it when the world returns to some semblance of normalcy.