Taylor Alison Swift looked 2020 directly in the eye and said I’m going to make you my bitch. Musically speaking, of course. She kicked things off with folklore in August, surprising us all with a real woodsy vibe and easily her best songwriting to date. Then she puts out a live performance on Disney + in a recording studio that is like an hour away from me and I’m mad as hell she didn’t notify me of her vicinity. And here we are, closing out 2020 with evermore because she “just couldn’t stop writing songs.” She calls it a birthday gift to us as she turns 31 but really the gift is that she rolled out back to back sadgirl albums in the WORST year of my life. I feel SEEN. Let’s dive in.
1. willow. I was very heated about the music video for this song. Mostly because Taylor typically adopts a specific look for each album era and the one she has chosen for this one is unfortunately bangs. Curls and bangs don’t go together. They just don’t. And now we’ve extended this era for double the time and WE MAY NEVER KNOW WHEN THE FLUFFY BANGS WILL GO AWAY. Plus she added pilgrim fashion on top of that for the video and it’s a statement I wasn’t in love with. HOWEVER, without the visual, I could focus much harder and this is definitely one of my favorite songs off this album. folklore had a kickass start with the 1 and now evermore has a solid opener with this enchanting ditty. Also I would be remiss to not include that one of her psycho fans went back in time to the “mean” era and found the word willow in the music video so apparently Taylor was calling her shot back in 2010, while wearing the same table linens your grandma uses on special occasions.
best lyric: But I come back stronger than a ’90s trend (she’s speaking directly to me with this.)
2. champagne problems. The start of this song is giving me MAJOR New Year’s Day vibes and I LOVE it. The simple piano and vocals together, I literally had to double check I was listening to the right album the first time it started playing. Except rather than singing about true love lasting long after the party’s over, this one is about true love being set ablaze. A rejected proposal, YOOOOIIIIIKES. Despite the fact that this starts out SUUUUUPER depressing and you feel for this imaginary character who proposes to a girl whose like nah, I’m good…when she changes tune with “one for the money, two for the show, I never was ready so I watch you go,” it’s catchy as hell and THEN we get a GLORIOUS F bomb. Taylor finally put on her big girl pants on folklore and gave us all the curses. It was like the girl in college who was sheltered in high school and never tried drinking then does a kegstand and blacks out at her first frat party. Once the floodgates opened after all these years being PG, Taylor was screaming F bombs from the rooftop and I’m beaming with pride to see that she’s still letting them fly. She’s 31 now. SHE’S ALL GROWN UP. Brings a tear to my eye. Plus, it’s cathartic AF to really hit home on a well-placed swear in these magical tunes.
best lyric: She would’ve made such a lovely bride / What a shame she’s fucked in the head,” they said (I don’t know how Taylor knew what everyone was saying about me but same.)
3. gold rush. Right away you can tell this is a Jack Antonoff song with the beat and the breathy wonder to it. My head was already bopping away and then she hits the speed round with “with your hair falling into place like dominoes.” Wooooo girl. Assumptions are that this is a Joe song because she’s constantly using gold in songs about him and also she thinks everyone’s obsessed with him and trying to steal him but I’m not really sure why. How these two aren’t married yet is the real surprise of 2020. Waiting for that news to drop, surprise style of course.
best lyric: My mind turns your life into folklore / I can’t dare to dream about you anymore
4. ’tis the damn season. It took me roughly 24 hours to abuse the shit out of this phrase. It’s not my fault it’s timely as hell and also sassy. I’ve already used it as an instagram caption and said it to several people. IN fact, I’m actually a little peeved I already sent out my Christmas cards this year because I would’ve 100% used it there too, it really would’ve fit my whole drinking wine solo in front of my Christmas tree mood that I forced into everyone’s homes. On top of just loving this title, the fact that she’s using it to justify hooking up with your ex/hometown love at the holidays makes it SUH much better. It’s like a Hallmark movie but without the lame kiss and happy ending. It’s for bad gurlz who just wanna bang their high school sweetheart on holiday break and wonder what it would be like to stay there and play out the Hally fantasy. No one ever does though because those movies are trash and don’t show what happens AFTER the city girl gives up her corporate job to pop out kids with the hometown guy who drives his truck around the 150 person town. Shot in the dark here, but I’m guessing that story ends in divorce 99% of the time. WOmpP WoooMppppp. Better off getting the nostalgia bang and then skidaddling back to your life in the big city if you ask me.
best lyric: And the heart I know I’m breakin’ is my own / To leave the warmest bed I’ve ever known (damn that one hit hard.)
5. tolerate it. In Swiftie dramatic fashion, there’s special meaning to the 5th track on each of her albums. It pretty much started with All Too Well because of the vulnerability and storytelling and from then on, Taylor made a point to put her most soul-baring songs as track fives. Or, in this case, soul-crushing failed relationship songs. This is a fun ditty about being more in love with someone than they are with you. Just kidding there’s nothing fun about it at all. Unless, like me, you laugh out loud at what a creep she is at the beginning of the song. There’s no non-creepy spin on “I sit and watch you.” It’s right in line with OG Taylor “so I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep.” I get the sentiment. You love someone, you gaze at them a lot. But alllsoooooo hard not to have some peeping tom qualities to it. Let’s take a beat and put our binocs away on that one.
best lyric: I made you my temple, my mural, my sky / Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life
6. no body, no crime (feat HAIM). This was a real spicy add to all these heartbreaking tales and I welcomed it with open arms and also took some notes. (Never know when you’re gonna need to know how to off a cheater and cover your tracks, yanno?!) Right off the bat I was like ooh baby we’ve got some big Pistol Annies Hell on Heels energy comin thru here. Don’t underestimate us ladies cause we will ERASE YOU FROM THIS PLANET. Jus sayin. You think it’s a coincidence that chicks love true crime? We’re storing all that info away in case we need it one day. Taylor and the Haim sisters may have just been kidding with this song, but I don’t for a second doubt that Taylor could get away with murder in real life. No body, no crime, man. Think about THAT next time you’re f’ing with Taylor’s life, Scooter.
best lyric: Good thing my daddy made me get a boating license when I was fifteen / And I’ve cleaned enough houses to know how to cover up a scene
7. happiness. Leave it to this tricky B to name a song happiness and have it be THE OPPOSITE of happiness. The conundrums are just never ending. During the Disney + special, Taylor talked about My Tears Ricochet and how she became fascinated with writing about divorce and this idea that the person who knows you best is now your enemy and therefore knows exactly how to attack your insecurities and tear you down. She compared it to how she felt with the Scooter/Scott Borchetta drama but also it’s clear she’s still very into this deep dive on the big D. Speaking of the Big D, leave it to me to hear this lyric: “And I pulled your body into mine / Every goddamn night, now I get fake niceties” and IMMEDIATELY assume she’s making a sex reference. Cause that’s how my brain works. Now that I re-read it, she probably just meant cuddling and here I am going right for the penetration comparisons. I guess I was just hoping in addition to all the swears, she might start dropping artfully crafted sexual innuendos as well. Either way, lyrics about getting D’ed down or not, this song is haunting as shit.
best lyric: But now my eyes leak acid rain on the pillow where you used to lay your head / After giving you the best I had / Tell me what to give after that (this entire song is a best lyric, but if I had to pick one…)
8. dorothea. I gotta be real with you guys, this song starts a little bit of a downward slump for me on the second half of this album. There’s a couple snoozy songs back to back in the middle before it picks back up again and I had a hard time staying into it. Right away with this one, we’re using a very old lady name and it’s not really a compelling storyline. It’s about a friend lost, and if you ask the psychos who analyze EVERY SINGLE DETAIL, they’ll tell you it’s about Selena Gomez. I read exactly one article to see where they’re getting this assumption from and it is VERY far fetched. Selena’s favorite movie is Wizard of Oz, and she doesn’t care about fame and she has a beauty line now. OPE, this song MUST be about her! God I’d love to live in a hardcore Swiftie’s mind for the first 12 hours of an album release. Whether this song is about Selena or not, it’s kinda meh.
best lyric: And if you’re ever tired of being known for who you know / You know, you’ll always know me, Dorothea
9. coney island (feat. The National). After drooling her face off about The National so much and writing Folklore with Aaron Dessner, Taylor finally got her long-awaited emo collab. Had a hard time connecting with this one, and not just because the coney (a white spicy hot dog for all you uneducated wieners) gives me diarrhea. JK, I know they’re talking about the trashy pier amusement park south of NYC. I think at one point in life, Coney Island was the belle of the ball. But from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty gross now. I wasn’t kidding about Hoffmann’s coney’s though, those dogs pack a punch. Only try one if you’re near a bathroom. These are the things I yap about when I don’t know what to say about a song because it’s just doesn’t knock my socks off. You’re welcome.
best lyric: If I can’t relate to you anymore / Then who am I related to? (love a good wordplay)
10. ivy. It’s important to note that not only is Taylor free flowing with the F bombz now, but clearly has also taken an affinity to G-D as well. I shorten G-D because it is the one swear that my dad does not tolerate, and he is one of my few loyal readers so I try not to T him off. Although, he did just send me a text to brag about how they were playing Friday Night Lights on TV this weekend knowing that I don’t have cable. So who is the real troutsniffer here?
Anyway, other than my dad taunting me with that babe soda Coach Taylor, this song picks things back up a bit. It makes me want to skip through a field but not in an outfit you would wear to a one room schoolhouse (jk I pull that shit OFF-see below.) Also noteworthy: another song about an affair. SCANDALOUS.
best lyric: My pain fits in the palm of your freezing hand
11. cowboy like me. I knew the first time I heard this song that it was going to be my insta-skip for this album. There’s one every time. A weird song that I don’t vibe with and I immediately want to get it out of my earholes. Last album was epiphany, before that it was nice to have a friend on Lover. This song is like sad 90’s country and honestly it just draaagggsss. Bonus points for another hard F though. GET IT, GURL. EARN that parental advisory.
best lyric: Forever is the sweetest con (daaaaaamn that has some stank on it.)
12. long story short. This was a much needed bopsicle after the cowboy ballad that preceded. Got some 80’s feels to it but I literally would’ve accepted anything to wake me from that heartbreak slumber. Even though this one is also about WAIT FOR IT a breakup. Or at least, a romantic history. Bad times and wrong guys, tale as old as time. Some say this is about Tom Hiddleston, and to that I say buuuuulllllshit. I still believe ole Tommy boy was a publicity stunt and she never actually dated him. WAY too many photographs in such a short period of time. That paparazzi snap of him in the ocean at her 4th of July bonanza wearing an I ❤ TS shirt still lives rent-free in my mind to this day. And also makes me cringe. A wifebeater in the ocean, woof.com. Long story short: Tom Hiddleston was a decoy. Convince me otherwise, I dare you.
best lyric: Your nemeses / Will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing
13. marjorie. Another toss to the family lineage, Epiphany was about her grandfather’s military experience (also track thirteen on folklore) and Marjorie was her grandma’s name. So obviously her grandma visited her from beyond the grave and was like what am I? CHOPPED LIVER?! And Taylor was like I HAVE TO PUT OUT A SISTER ALBUM FOR GRAMS. Facts. It took me until looking up the lyrics to see that she was saying “what died didn’t stay dead” and not using a weird accent with WHAT I DIDN’T SAY IS. This song is fine. Like I said, I felt like things really went downhill after happiness (for me.) Kinda sounds like her grandma is haunting her and as someone who learned that spirits visit us at certain hours of the night and have been terrified of a post-grave visit ever since, I’m out on ghosts.
best lyric: Never be so politе You forget your power / Nevеr wield such power You forget to be polite (solid advice, Grams)
14. closure. Sassy Tay comin in hawt at the end PLUS a little backbeat to soundtrack this metaphorical FU. Take your letter and shove it up your b-hole cause Taylor don’t need your stinkin’ closure. Since we’re on the topic, closure is crap. No one will ever have closure. It’s one of those made up things we use as an excuse to see someone we fell out with and then you realize that no matter what they say or do, and no matter what you say or do, it doesn’t change things. Thus, CRAAAAAP. You’ll never feel settled about something ending in a way you didn’t want it to end, you’ll just have to get the hell over it. And that’s talkin’ closure from the most bitter ass bitch in the room. Thank you for reading because I feel SO MUCH BETTER NOW having said my peace. Nahhhhhhhht.
best lyric: I know I’m just a wrinkle in your new life / Staying friends would iron it out so nice
15. evermore (feat. Bon Iver). I guess I’m like a whole ass Bon Iver stan now because Exhile slaps and so does this. I’m really getting in touch with haunting piano and whiny vocals in my later years in life. If you ask me, that’s basically this past year in a nutshell so it’s not surprising that I’m getting my depression vibes on with these jams. Starting out with “Gray November, I’ve been down since July” really solidified that as well for me. If you know, we could sub out “July” and tap in “January” in its place. Cause yes November is grey and yes I’ve been down and out since January and probably will be EVERMORE. Another word no one will be able to stop me from using and abusing going forward. Saying something lasts forever? That’s so 2019 back when we had things to look forward to in life. Nah, now it’s EVERMORE. Soooo much more melodramatic. Can’t wait to drop it in everyone’s grillpiece. THIS PAIN WILL BE FOR EVERMORE.
best lyric: I rewind thе tape but all it does is pause / On thе very moment, all was lost
OVERALL album notes: Listen, you come to The Salty Ju, you’re gonna get brutal honesty. I’m a superfan (not a ‘read into signs and guess that Taylor is hiding the fact that she gave birth to triplets based on an obscure tree branch in the background of cover art’ kind of superfan) and yet I can also tell it like it is with Tay. Folklore was kind of a storytelling phenomenon for her. She’s always been a bitchin’ lyricist using highfalutin vocabulary, synesthesia (see? I know big words too), and in-depth imagery. Folklore brought that to the next level because it was no longer about what music will tour well or play on the radio, it was just about writing good shit that tells a compelling story. It seemed like she was trying the least to make a statement and yet all of those songs made a statement. And that’s why I love her. HOWEVER, I feel like there’s a reason artists pick a limited amount of songs to release on an album. If they released every song they ever wrote, we’d be real inundated with a lot of songs that were just ok and maybe there’s a reason they wouldn’t make the cut. And that’s how I feel about evermore. Are there some more great songs on here? Absolutely. But is there a lot of eh? Also yes. I love crying my face off to a breakup song as much as the next sad B, but it comes to a point after several hours of the sobsies that you have to mix a real uplifting bop in or you’ll be on suicide watch. And 32 slow songs about death, loss, divorce, addiction, love triangles, witches, women-haters can seem A WEE BIT OVERWHELMING. Which leads me to my next point: everyone is CONVINCED there’s a third “sister” album coming. Taylor loves a trilogy and there have been little clues here and there that this is actually going to be a three album story and to that I say
I truly can’t take anymore. I know I said before that I feel seen but maybe I feel a LITTLE TOO SEEN. I never thought I’d see the day when I want LESS sad music to smother me this year, but I think this era can comfortably end here. Let’s pep it up for 2021 and pretend things are getting better. So there you have it. evermore can’t top folklore–although I do appreciate it showing up to the party– and “woodvale” should sit this one out. Now excuse me while I continue to drown myself in lowercase letters, while my eyes leak acid rain, as I use these poetic lyrics to describe my own feelings in therapy until the new year. (My therapist will be a Swiftie by the time I’m through with her.)