By Emma Kilburg
There are a thousand inspirational quotes about how you only get one life, which I used to believe was true. That is, until I listened to Evermore by Taylor Swift. Suddenly I didn’t just get one life. I got my real life, plus 17 more. I got lives I never knew existed; I got one where I was an outlaw falling in love for the first time and one where I analyzed my failed marriage. I left my fiance at the altar, and four tracks later dumped the body of my dead best friend’s husband in a lake. I had an unfulfilling relationship and then an illicit affair with a man with whom I fell madly in love. Evermore transported me into the lives of 17 different people, all of whom came straight from the brilliant mind of Swift.
Swift released this album only five months after “Folklore” as the second part of a magnificent duo. Like many of her albums, this album was produced by the amazing Jack Antonoff. She also worked with Aaron Dessner and her boyfriend, Joe Alwin (listed as Willam Bowry on all official album copies). In addition, she did a duet with Justin Vernon in “Coney Island” and the title track “Evermore” and featured the band HAIM in “No Body No Crime.”
This is the perfect quarantine album; Evermore is an escapist’s wildest dream. Swift’s gentle vocals and the delicate musical backings focused on her two instrumental loves, piano and acoustic guitar, give her music new light. Her country-turned-pop music style was transformed into a pop-influenced alternative dreamscape. The scenes Swift paints with her immaculate choices of words and perfectly crafted metaphors will have you planning your escape to a cottage in the mountains to bake scones in a flowy white dress.
Some songs make you want to fill your room with your tears, “Tolerate It,” “‘tis The Damn Season,” and “Happiness” ironically being among the saddest, and others like “Dorthea,” “Ivy,” and “Long Story Short” make you want to make flower crowns and dance under the setting sun. Even the saddest of songs offer a hopeful remark, and the happiest come with an unexpected sting. Each is a complex examination of the human experience from a different angle. Evermore is a love letter to lovers past, present, and future, to experiences that built you, and to others that broke you, and to grandmothers lost too soon. It is an apology and a middle finger to insincere apologies. This album makes you nostalgic for moments in lives you never lived. The lyrical and instrumental triumph of an isolated time, Evermore is more than a must listen; it is a must explore, a must experience, and a must love.