Evermore: A Brilliant Experience

In a year full of surprises, one of the more pleasant year-end shocks could be Taylor Swift releasing not one but two new albums. “Evermore”, released on December 11, 2020, is the artist’s ninth studio album and a sister to the earlier released “Folklore”, which just picked up Album of the Year at the Grammys. Full of mature songs and thoughtful story-telling, the album is a full experience of music and emotions. 

The soundscape of “Evermore” blends different alternative genres with some more toned-down elements of alt-rock, pop, and folk music. Pianos, strings, and guitar arrangements build the somber tone of the album as a whole. “Evermore” is unhurried, seeping from track to track, keeping the listener enthralled and making a lingering impression. Some ballads burst with quiet power, building through their stories to hit at an emotional climax. Other songs are more upbeat and move through regular pop song avenues, but they never sacrifice their worth for a different style. Taylor Swift’s vocals are beautiful, playing into the story and mood of each song. She can hook the listener in and weave intricate stories with her talented vocal performance. 

It is incredibly refreshing to see such a mainstream album deploy such rich storytelling. Lyrics can be just one small part of the many avenues to consider when analyzing music, but the lyricism of “Evermore” is a high note. Many songs transported me, completely drawing me into their midst. The album explores more developed themes of adulthood like the nuances of marriage, decayed relationships, and neglect. The world of fact blends into that of fiction, exploring the circumstances of the song’s characters. While some character studies are more grounded in reality than others, all of them speak to something real.

There was also a vulnerability in these songs. The song “tolerate it” is a cocktail of stunning vocals, resounding piano keys, and heartbreaking lyrics detailing someone wanting love from a person who barely pays attention. Lyrics from Swift like “tell me I’ve got it wrong somehow/ I know my love should be celebrated/ But you tolerate it” and “now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life” pack a dizzying punch. It’s not a one-off occurrence, either, as the song “happiness” is a pensively hopeful song that examines a relationship being left behind. It acknowledges the good moments of a relationship and the happiness that is sure to come after, despite the destruction that relationship may have wrought. Many songs on the album explore heavy topics but in a beautiful and raw way. 

Other songs have more of an edge, like a personal favorite of mine, “no body, no crime” featuring HAIM. Detailing an affair where a cheating husband kills his wife to move in with his mistress, the singer of the song begins to unravel the mystery and decides what to do. Between the song’s more grizzly country sound and the gripping lyrics of a Western true-crime podcast, it demanded attention. Another example is “cowboy like me,” a gradually building song about the cat-and-mouse relationship between two swindlers. It’s a laid-back song with more country elements that tells an irresistible story. It’s the song I came back to the most because it was so easy to fall into and drift away upon its sound. 

“Evermore” is an album that can be listened to over and over, one that takes the listener along with it and sits on their shoulders when they’re not listening. With pleasing melodies, strong instrumental arrangements, and a great sound, it’s a real winner. Its brilliant lyricism makes it stand out, as it tells impactful and gripping stories. There is so much to unpack and interpret for one’s pleasure. This is a brightly burning pop album with so much to offer.