Barely yesterdayTaylor Swift surprised everyone when she revealed the release of her eighth studio album, simply titled folklore. The unexpected announcement had a constant explanation at this time: this new album is the product of quarantine. What is intriguing is the aesthetics of the album, titled after a genre with a long tradition, with incredible women who have contributed to the womenfolk of the magnitude of Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Kate Walsh, among others.

For this installment, Swift recruited Aaron and Bryce Dessner (The National) to compose and orchestrate; to the inexhaustible Jack Antonoff (FUN. And Bleachers) for the composition of some themes; and finally, for a song, to Justin Vernon (Bon Iver).

Taylor Swift's 'Folklore': An attempt to belong and conquer a new musical genre

Cover of ‘Folklore’, Taylor Swift’s new album.

Taylor Switf returned to places she had left behind, but with a different sound

Just in August of last year, Taylor released Lover, an album that freed her from enough stereotypes about being the heartbroken or the rude heartbreaker; she refreshed her lyrics and messages about herself, leaving behind the image of desolate, betrayed and disappointed.

Now, as a challenge to move between genres, rest superpop and release more intimate and thoughtful songs, opens the album with “the 1”, where it is puzzling to find the same broken-hearted narrative that we believed had been released, in a track that is pop curated by Aaron Dessner. To avoid illusion, it is a constant on the disk: There’s little folk, lots of pop, and it’s riddled with swift commons.

In the musical part, the Dessners were in charge of putting together a minimalist version of The National, mostly in orchestrated pop format, except for three songs that we will point out ahead and are distinguished from the rest.

Meanwhile, throughout the album, Taylor Swift’s lyrics are riddled with platitudes and effortless rhymes, as in “The 1” or “cardigan”, where we hear generic words that abound:

And if my wishes came true
It would’ve been you
(…)
But it would’ve been fun
If you would’ve been the one

There are Taylor Swift songs that stand out from the rest

Everything points, after the first three songs, that we will not find something new under what we know Taylor Swift. However, with a quiet piano, he opens “exile” with Bon Iver, in which the narration of a love disagreement, It is the most moving moment of the album, in which more maturity is noted in the work that expresses a more palpable relationship in reality, and damage control after the break.

The construction of the song is impeccable, and excites the dynamics between their voices as a complement:

Songs like Mirrorball and “My tears ricochet” they remain in complete disappointment in what Taylor Swift indicated in her move to folk. These songs run without moving a moving fiber and can work in the background without trying to catch you, even with the hand of Antonoff, who even with simple melodies, has captivated more in other projects. The standard was very high with its predecessors, however we see few remarkable moments.

Within these, and again turning more clearly to the roots of folk, comes “Seven”, to once again excite with more personal lyrics, references to Pennsylvania, a catchy chorus that seems more worked and sincere, without rhymes as free as in past songs. Okay Taylor, we believe once again in this folk effort with piano and strings. Works:

The musical influence of The National is notable in this new album by Taylor Swift

Without a doubt, the new sound will be more surprising for fans of the American than for fans of The National. Recurring sounds in the Ohio band, such as the use of strings, brass and vocals harmonies are the constant in both projects, but the Swifties will have to embrace this more organic sound of a superpop queen, a complete change of scene.

Perhaps the imprint that remains in it, are extremely sticky and pop, accelerated harmonies (notable in “August”) which at the same time distances it from the folk tradition to which, apparently, it is trying to enter.

Another good moment of this eclectic collaboration is “This is me trying”, in which we even hope that Matt Berninger would appear at any time, with the burden of The National very present.

We also find some folk versions diluted in music and lyrics by Taylor Swift

Of the less pleasant times, Mad woman and Illicit affairs they sound like versions diluted in music and lyrics, with narratives without force, and even the melodies that are so present in Swift fade away at this point of the album. We begin to question the length: 16 songs is too many for this exploration by Taylor Swift.

Folk is not only guitars with harmonicas, their lyrical contribution is another bastion that stands out from among many genres, with a mission on the words, ideas and concepts carried by the figures of the genre. We find a false approximation in “Betty”, which, although it has a great composition in music, tells a summer love story that lacks even phrases to title your photos on Instagram.

This eighth studio album is an attempt to belong to a tradition that clearly is not the best born to Taylor, and not to title your album as a genre, you immediately include yourself as part of the tradition. The cliches in lyrics, lapses without major events (or moving), are largely carried by music and, in atypical moments, by some good line.