Taylor Swift announced the launch of her eighth album Folklore merely 17 hours prior to its release, taking fans by surprise. “Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening. But there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen,” she wrote on her social media. Swift, who is as famous for sharing calculated hints about her new albums, as she is for her music, caught everyone off guard with this uncharacteristic announcement. The shock release tactic also went hand-in-hand with a change in direction with respect to music for Swift. From country to pop, each of her records has brought gradual changes with it. And this time, fans see her dive headfirst into the world of folk, alternative rock and indie.

This summer, Swift was meant to be playing in a whole host of festivals and shows on an international tour in celebration of her seventh studio album Lover. The global pandemic, of course, meant these plans were scrapped. Just like it shuttered us all into our homes, it did the same with celebrities like Taylor Swift. No longer busy with rehearsals or jetting around the globe performing to tens of thousands, she used these hours to write. And what did she write about, you may ask? Well, many things, and among them: scars and battleships. Trees and sunshine. Wine and whiskey. And cardigans. Enough cardigans that one became the subject of an entire song.

What The New Album Means For Swifties

Kavita Rawat, a Master’s student from Ambedkar University Delhi shares, “Every song feels like a sweet melancholy touching your heart with every word. They hit you harder than any of Taylor’s previous songs. You don’t relate to the experience but with the feeling. There is a weird calmness that comes with acknowledgment and acceptance.” For her, Folklore is the most mature self of Swift that she has ever seen or heard. She further adds, “Folklore, for me, is about looking at the past, looking at the pain, looking at yourself in those situations and saying yes, that was me. Isn’t what quarantine did to us all? Gave a lot of time for self-reflection. And only Taylor knows how to give a word and voice to that feeling.”

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Saumya, a medical student from Dehradun shares how the new album is her new motivation for everything in life. “Life has been getting monotonous, with colleges closed down and degrees left dangling midway. But now I can revel in fan theories about whether ‘Madwoman’ is about the Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen or whether ‘Betty’ is dedicated to Blake Lively’s youngest child. It might sound silly to some, but this release is the release many people like me were looking for in these depressing times.

Priyanka Priyadarshini, a law student from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University says, “I thought I was very productive during this lockdown, but Taylor be like ‘hold my cardigan’ (laughs). It has always been a thing with me that I cannot listen to Taylor’s entire album in one go because I get stuck in the beauty of one song. And until I completely absorb one song, I cannot move on to the next. So here’s to having many new songs to listen to for the next few months!” For her, the theme of the album, which even though is seemingly dark and haunting, doesn’t invoke a feeling of sadness. Instead, “I felt extremely calm listening to it. The music is soothing. It’s like the point in life when you have come to terms with the way things are, and now you’re just thankful and grateful that they worked out in the way that they did.”

A Blessing During Quarantine

“To me, Folklore sounded like the old books in a forgotten library which have now started to sing their stories out loud to people who can’t come to take them anymore,” surmised Shruti Das, an aspiring CA candidate from Kolkata. “It feels like I am back to being 16, where I am charmed by every sentence that Taylor Swift utters. It’s a gift we did not know we needed this quarantine!” she concluded.

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It’s true that Folklore has come into the world against the backdrop of a global crisis in which we’ve all lost control. The quarantine had us all dragging up old memories and holding onto them tightly. We have never been more aware of the ephemeral nature of life. Folklore isn’t the pop star album that can drive worries away and replace them with sparkle. Instead, it’s an artist who is looking back and trying to lose herself in the memory haze like all of us. And as she digs up her old favourite cardigan for comfort, her music gives the same warmth to fans around the world who are all trying to brave the harsh realities of this pandemic.

Picture Credit: CNN

Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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