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‘Folkore’: A lyrical masterpiece

By Emma Hirschauer

Taylor Swift is an artist who has undoubtedly shaped the music of the 21st century. She has won the most Album of the Year awards out of any female vocalist at the Grammys, she holds the record for the most weeks at number one on Billboard, and she is the first artist in US chart history to have seven singles debut in the top ten of the hot 100. 

Her discography is fascinating in many ways. We’ve heard her voice and songwriting grow as she ages. Album after album she finds ways to take her music to new heights and raise the standard for pop stars everywhere. As such, her discography. has been the subject of many intense debates and discussions. 

Today I am here to weigh in on that discussion, and rank the top five songs off her most wildly successful albums; Folklore. Folklore smashed expectations when it debuted as a surprise album on July 24th, 2020, and broke the record for the biggest opening day on Spotify for any album by a female artist. It was the best-selling album of 2020 and became Swift’s seventh consecutive number-one album on the US Billboard 200, where it sat for eight weeks. With that, let’s get to the review. 

  1. My Tears Ricochet

My Tears Ricochet is a heart-wrenching ballad delivered from the perspective of a ghost, watching their own funeral play out in front of them. In it, the narrator can see the person who murdered them and is distraught with anger. The lyrics are furious and impassioned, but acknowledge the love that was lost between the two parties.

  1. Seven

Seven is nostalgia personified into a song. It tells the story of a young child, concerned but unable to understand their friend’s turbulent and damaging home situation. With all its innocence and joy, this song is enough to make anyone tear up or break into a smile.

  1. Cardigan

With potentially the most stunning lyrics off the whole album, Cardigan is a tale of young love and loss. In each and every line it gives new emotion, and soon it is easy to feel the same longing the speaker does, even though we know that it would never work out in the end. Still, it ends in a question. Would it be so horrible to try?

  1. Mirrorball 

Mirrorball explores Swift’s one relationship to fame in a way that is accessible to those who have ever felt burdened by expectations but empty without the compliments of others. Swift uses the subject of the song’s title, a mirrorball as a metaphor for fame. It has been broken into millions of pieces and that is why it shines. In the end, it’s a beautiful show of vulnerability that is heart-wrenchingly lovely. 

  1. Betty 

Betty brings Swift back to her country roots with a healthy amount of twang. Still, the lyricism that was still developing in earlier albums is there in full force. It is about fighting hard to win back the love that the speaker, James, screwed up by going out with another girl, said to be the unnamed narrator of Illicit Affairs and August. It shifts into the present tense at its climax when James proclaims to Betty, who is considered to be the speaker in Cardigan, that “the only thing I want to do is make it up to you.” Whether or not this works out in the end, we don’t know, but the song ends with resounding chords of hope that leave James on the steps of Betty’s house, waiting for an answer. 

Folklore is just one amazing album out of Taylor Swift’s amazing discography. It stuns in every category, lyrics, vocals, and production. It is nearly impossible to pick favorites out of these songs, as there is something special about each one. In the end, this album is absolutely a testament to Swift’s ability to true artistic brilliance.

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