What are Taylor Swift's qualities
Taylor Swift: Unassailable shimmering self
One of the more pleasant surprises of the last few days and weeks is undoubtedly the new album by Taylor Swift; it was published on Friday without notice worth mentioning and is entitled folklore. On the cover of the album you can see Taylor Swift as a little Gothic aunt standing in a forest with very tall trees, in other pictures she is posing in a short white dress and with a carelessly fluffed braided hairstyle in the style of the Bund Deutscher Mädel. The 16 new songs on it folklore According to her own information, Taylor Swift recorded completely during the pandemic-related isolation; during this time she was only connected to her fellow musicians through electronic means of communication. The compositions differ from the music that Taylor Swift recently produced folklore mainly because they do not differ from one another. From the hectic Which-style-could-I-quote-now-aesthetics of the past few years, she has found a comfortable chamber music variant that occasionally seems less as if it was sung, but rather dreamed on in the twilight state between waking and sleeping a slowly dying late summer day in a forest with very tall trees.
Her main compositional partner this time was Aaron Dessner from the group The National. He has given her musical sketches, which contain little more than a few simply repeated piano and guitar figures as well as shimmering soundscapes made of tiny, twitchy and backward-running sounds. Swift sings songs about love and lovesickness, about memories of lost love affairs from late summer days, but also about successful nights of love with interesting sex, in which the use of stilettos plays a role. And she sings all of this in the most intriguing way she has been heard in a long time. Because the minimalist noises do not shackle her and do not drive her in front of her, but set her free to vocal extemporal - nice how she dragged and stretched her lines, how she suddenly changed from a story-telling tone to stadium-compatible pop refrains, those in this one In the reduced setting, however, the ready-made sing-along rumble is missing, which was often annoying on their last albums.
In the musical intermediate states in which Taylor Swift moves here, the perspectives from which she sings also change and blur. Concrete references to her own life, as it has been heard in abundance on the last few albums, remain on folklore at least completely off. This also applies to references to extinct love affairs with actually existing people - apart from the fact that the video for the first single Cardigan an almost one-on-one reminiscence of the video for the single Falling her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles is. In any case, this fact has already led to intense speculation among fans of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles about the question of whether something might be going on between the two or whether Taylor Swift would at least like it that way. The majority of the female fans of Harry Styles seem to be opposed to this reading.
A failed love affair is also the subject of one of the most beautiful songs on the album, it bears the title Exiles and is performed by Taylor Swift in a duet with Justin Vernon from the group Bon Iver. At the beginning of the song he sings in a wounded voice about how he finds her in the arms of another man and how the sight hurts him. In the next stanza she reports how the accusatory and arrogant look of that man bothers her, whom she gave so many opportunities, all of which he gambled away. And from this cool description of the moment, the two then step into a dramatically sung couples therapy session: You haven't given me any signs that something bothered you - I've given you so many signs, but you didn't even notice that they were signs.
In the end, as is so often the case, men and women do not go together. This is a finding that you have had to think about a lot in the past few months when you have spent it alone in a wooden hut in a forest with very tall trees. As an alternative, there is same-sex love, which is why Taylor Swift sings in the song Betty also of the unfulfilled longing for a girl who was once coveted in her teenage years. The lyrical self of the song would have loved to kiss this girl, but she is always rejected and then finally has to experience how the girl prefers to dance with a boy. In the queer Taylor Swift fan base it was Betty immediately, if not as an overdue coming-out of the artist, then at least as a new "pride anthem"celebrated.
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In any case, more complicated feelings and moods teem under the apparently simple surface of the songs than reveals itself when listening to it for the first time. The fact that she withdraws from the volume and colorfulness of her previous albums at least temporarily into sepia-colored waking dreams brings out the lyrical qualities of Taylor Swift better. The role of the melancholy storyteller suits her well, as does the enigma, thanks to which she disappears from her texts as a person. Above the glittering soundscapes of Aaron Dessner, she sparkles as an intangible self: "I want you to know / I'm a mirrorball"she sings,"and when I break / it's in a million pieces."
"Folklore" is released under her own label called Taylor Swift.
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