Taylor Swift - Evermore: Review
Another surprise album by Taylor Swift has come and by not much surprise, an amazing one. It’s hard to think many artists have the capabilities to remain as consistent (in songwriting) as Taylor, whose new album Evermore dives deeper into some of the folk minimalism from Folklore. But like Folklore, Taylor fails to weave a tight and structured ending that carries the same oomph as previous albums of hers like Red. Evermore comes in with new stories, some fun and others intimate but with enough to keep the album on consistent repeat, especially during these cold times.
As minimalist as Folklore is, it kept true to its namesake by deriving sounds and concepts that fit with folk story-like themes. Evermore, however, brings to life a more whimsical atmosphere as if you were in a fairytale as you go from start to finish. The opening track “willow” brings it to life as the strings in E and D in progressive repetition, which then allows subsequent tracks to breathe their own sense of life.
This is the case with one of the most creative tracks on Evermore, “no body, no crime.” It does so with virtuoso in its storytelling, creating an illustrious image on the canvas. She works elegant harmonization with two of the Haim sisters over the folk-rock centric tune. And it kicks to everyone’s cynical obsession with crime, murder, lust, etc.
Evermore takes the folk and chamber pop influences and further invoked in Folklore and combines that with her superstar like appeal and charisma. “Long Story Short,” string and percussion arrangements does so with luminous effect as does “gold rush,” which boasts an amazing concept of discernment coming from the notion of attraction to one who others are after. It is part of an amazing succession of three songs with “willow,” and “champagne problems,” a piano ballad about heartbreak on Christmas from a rejected proposal. It emotionally depletes, with “gold rush,” picking you back into a cry dancing vibe.
As it is with both albums, there are moments where the bridges, choruses and pre-choruses feel lackluster, though without much hindrance, like the ballad “tis’ the season.” It isn’t the melody or vocal pitch, it is the lack of attention it wants to grab from it with simple leads and transitions. And there are other meh moments that are in Evermore.
The second Bon Iver feature of the year for Taylor Swift does not even eclipse “Exile,” off Folklore, it is still a strong closer for Evermore. Though it can’t be said about “Coney Island,” which causes snoozes here and there with its simplistic string centric instrumental. And unfortunately so for anyone looking for a solid duet with Aaron Dressner.
However, at the end of the day Evermore is an album that is slightly better than Folklore in that Taylor Swift continues to show she doesn’t ever find herself in a corner and is able to just improve on her craft, instrumentally and as a songwriter. It may not be in the majority's opinion, considering Folklore is amazing in its own right, but it does not carry the same sensitivities of a joyous replay. Folklore minimalism is one of its huge strengths, and Swift's continuous elevation in tightening up the sounds makes Evermore for an even better surprise in 2020.