Music

John Mayer – Sob Rock

Keeping things spicy over here by introducing a new artist to the classic Salty Ju feature where I recap an album track by track and relate every song back to my own personal experiences. And then I judge those songs based on absolutely 0 musical expertise. JOIN ME, WHY DON’T YA?! It’s John Mayer’s first album since 2017 and it’s a short one but I welcome it with open arms because who doesn’t love an 80’s cassette player aesthetic and a breakup album. For those of you who are in the know, J.May’s 2006 album Continuum is the greatest breakup album of all time and though it will never be topped, I feel like this is the first time John has inched back to the genius of that all-time classic both musically and lyrically speaking. So let’s hop right in and sob our faces off (shout out Taylor Swift and John for really coming in hot with the soundtracks to our hearts being shattered into a million pieces this year.)

 

  1. Last Train Home.* John’s first single off of Sob Rock and what a musical snack it is. When it was first released I tweeted this:

And I still stand firmly behind that. Guy’s clearly got a thing for trains but thank God he went for the uppers this time around when using locomotive imagery. We’ve got a little Toto’s Africa vibe to it with the funky instrumentals and it just makes you want to wiggle your hips. Simple song with a nice hopeful message that Johnny boy will find his wifey and ride that train right on into a home filled with kids. I guess kinda sad because he’s pushing 45 and clearly wants to settle down now but certainly not as sad as Stop This Train which is about how we all die and he doesn’t want to. So, like I said, much more of a bop in the train category of tunes. Plus… there’s only about 3 seconds at the very end of Maren Morris doing backup vocals, which is really all we need. Thank you for your time, Maren.

Best Lyric: “I’m not a fallen angel, I just fell behind”

Here’s the music video, which was absolutely nothing special and could’ve been much better but further gives off that throwback vibe to set the tone for this album.

2. Shouldn’t Matter But It Does.* Oooohh baby, this is a great little ditty to really get in your feels with. You wanna know the WERST part of a breakup? That you feel ALL of the things and you can’t do anything to stop it. All anyone wants to do is not care afterward and yet it’s actually SUPER hard to not care. Show me a person who says they’re carefree and I’ll show you a liar because that person does not exist This is a lovely slow jam with a dose of real talk lyrics about all the things that you feel or think about after a breakup that you want to not feel or think about but that’s life, man…no control I tell ya. There’s all kinds of kinds when it comes to breakup songs and as we’ve seen with the popularity of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” the post-breakup rage is alive and well. But sometimes after your twenties, you need a little more lowkey rage and you just wanna listen to something a scooch more mellow passive aggressive and text your ex: hey, this shouldn’t matter but I’m listening to John Mayer on my bathroom floor at 3 am with a bottle of wine and guess what it DOES matter.

Best Lyric: You shoulda been sad instead of being so fucking mean. (BURN CITY TIMES A ZILLION.)

3. New Light. I was a little thrown off when I was giving Sob Rock my first blind listen that he included songs he released literally three years ago. Kinda a boner kill when you’re excited to discover new songs and you hear one that not only has been out for several years but also kinda stinks. Never been a huge fan of New Light. It’s a little *too* experimental with what I can only imagine are computer-generated sounds in the background. John, my love, you’re a phenomenal guitar player – you do not need all these bells and whistles to make a song “breezy.” Although I am a real sucker for a groove break, which this song has right before John rips a tasty solo lick. I do love that John’s more recent music is embracing the fact that he’s old as hell and yet still in the dating world dealing with all the bullshit us fellow singles are dealing with. He’s out here getting friend zoned…John Mayer. Friend. Zoned. Just makes him even more relatable, especially after his very un-relatable outing for being a semi-abusive douchey boyfriend in Jessica Simpson’s memoir–people don’t forget!

Best Lyric: Pushing 40 in the friend zone. (Yoikes, rough look)

And his super weird 80’s music video for this one back in 2018:

4. Why You No Love Me. This is a sad mariachi song. As soon as I heard the first grammatically incorrect “why you no love me” I was equal parts confused and hysterically laughing because I pictured John in a Mexican restaurant singing this while wearing a large sombrero. Other than that very dramatic chorus, the rest of the lyrics were legit and I mean come on, the album is called sob rock…this certainly fits the bill. The end of this song sounds like a 90’s TV show theme song coming to a close. Oddly specific but that’s exactly what I thought of, like oh ok Growing Pains is about to start.

Best Lyric: Hurt me once, I let it be / Hurt me twice, you’re dead to me / Three times makes you family. WHAT A GREAT PLAY ON WORDS HERE. No one hurts you like family does so guess you’re part of my family now, bitcc!

5. Wild Blue. Your jazzy insert to this album. Groovy beat and all about that jam band life but kind of an eh song overall. Since I don’t have much to say about this song, I’ll tell a fun story. This past week I was rehashing to my dad how my staff meeting zoom call got all sorts of awkward when an impromptu game was added to share what’s on your desk at home that you would bring to your desk at work. There was minimal sharing and a whole lotta dead air, and my dad’s response was “you should’ve said check out my Steely Dan.” And I was like why would I randomly bring up 70’s rock band Steely Dan during my staff meeting. And my dad goes you know how they got their name right? Obviously I did not. It was the name of a vibrator. YA LEARN SOMETHIN NEW EVERY DAY I TELL YA. Not only is that a fire flames name for a battery operated boyfriend but ALSO a great band name. Win, win for all. Can confidently say I will not be bringing vibe talk to the table amongst my work colleagues but what a fun piece of music trivia to insert into this blog that should be passed along for generations to come as we’re reelin’ in the years. (wink.) Also, if you didn’t enjoy my story, enjoy John dancing awkwardly to this song via his Tok.

@johnmayer

In the words of the great @rejectedjokes – Dance small. Listen big. #wildblue #sobrock #newmusic #music #dancesmalllistenbig

♬ original sound – johnmayer

Best Lyric: This entire verse is art: All the tears I meant to cry / Dance across the evenin’ sky / And in my sorrow, I can see / That missing you belongs to me

6. Shot In The Dark.* A catchy tune and wOrLd’S cOLLiDiNG, it is *heavily* rumored that several of the lyrics in this song are nods to Taylor Swift. I don’t subscribe to the belief that John Mayer is nearing his 50’s and is looking back wistfully on Taylor Swift hoping for a second chance. But I do believe that he loves pop culture and appreciates a nod for intrigue or chatter. I think Taylor was probably young and naive and John Mayer is a reputable star and when they worked together, they hooked up and Taylor took it much more seriously than it was and was heartbroken and John was casj and cool as a cuke about it. Taylor wrote Dear John which was most obviously about him right down to featuring guitar that sounds like a John Mayer song. It was not subtle. I definitely don’t think Dear John keeps J.May up at night but he did look like a real creep after it came out, so if intertwining his music with Taylor’s again clears his name, I’m sure he’d be willing to give it a shot. Taylor’s song Getaway Car has the lyric “we never had a shotgun shot in the dark” so this could potentially be a play on that. Regardless of if there’s any intentional wordplay here, it’s a bangerang of a song. John was killin em with smoove lyrics about love and breakups way before Taylor ever was and he’s reaffirming that with this album.

Best Lyric: I’ve loved seven other women and thеy all were you.

Enjoy this music video featuring some quality and highly entertaining John dance sequences:

7. I Guess I Just Feel Like. Another cheat song originally released two years ago. This one I like better than New Light probably because I’m such a Positive Polly. That was sarcasm, guys…this song is depressing AF. It’s basically a stream of consciousness or a classic diary entry of like everything in the world sucks now, I have too many worries and I’m alone. YOIKES. This is a song exclusively for days when you have a real aggressive case of the poor me’s. Listen to it, nod your head soulfully, then shake it off and go find a butterfly or something nice to remind you why you’re not on suicide watch. At least the end of the song has a hopeful spin. John’s like HAHA it’s ok guys no need to do a wellness check, I just felt like giving up but I’m gonna find my way so don’t you worry about me. ALL GOOD!

Best Lyric: That love’s gonna save us from a world that’s gone mad.

8. Til The Right One Comes.* Oh jeeze we needed this pick me up after that debbie downer. Classic rock vibes here as John tells us that he’s actually not going to die alone. He’s just waiting for the right lady. He’s not going to just dive into bed with whoever these days, he’s looking for that forever kind of love and she’s just around the damn corner so everyone just reeeelaxxxxxxx. I admire John’s positivity here and also may I take a moment to really appreciate how guitar heavy this album has been. I feel like pop, rock, and country songs rarely include an instrumental bridge and it’s refreshing to have a moment in each of these songs to just bop right along.

Best Lyric: As if I woke up lonely one morning / Looked around and decided I would stay that way. AND Headed the wrong way down that highway of dreams. (I couldn’t choose just one, sue me.)

9. Carry Me Away. Apparently this was released in 2019. Honestly I don’t think I’ve heard it. Also can we make it a law going forward that if you’re going to do a BIG lead up to an album drop, lots of press, merch, a tour, etc. the album has to be 100% new songs. None of this recycling shit. If I’m going to get hyped up this hard I want 10 brand spanking new unheard songs. I know you can sit down and write a smash-hit breakup song in a few hours, so this was just a lazy move here. This song is decent but didn’t knock my socks off. It’s certainly no Ravioli Shoes and I think we all can agree.

Best Lyric: You’re just the kinda crazy I’ve been lookin’ for.

10. All I Want Is to Be with You.* Strong finish with a fresh jam. I would’ve been MAD online if he closed out the album with a recycle. I love him singing in the lower register here and the way he breaks up/the cadence of “All I Want Is to Be with You.” I’m sure there’s a real fancy musical term for this, but you get what I’m saying right? The way he sings it with the guitar strums matching up is chef’s kiss. Also just in general the low guitar notes here. It feels kinda like Johnny Cash song and I’m here for it. Full disclosure, I called my dad at 9:30 last night to ask if this was a guitar or a bass because I didn’t want to be like damn he’s really slappin that bass and it sounds amazing and be completely wrong. So moral of the story is the efforts I put in (and really my dad puts in) to make this blog accurate are top tier. You’re welcome.

Best Lyric: I dance alone with deja-vu / But all I want is to be with you.

Overall Sob Rock Note: I know I gave J.May a lot of shit for bringing back old songs but I assume he did so because of the theme of this album and the cohesive story he wanted to tell. It’s not often that you can listen to an album front to back anymore and I feel like he really nailed it with this one. I listened to it on repeat all weekend and never pulled a skiperoni, plus it was rainy as shit this weekend so honestly the mood lined up perfectly. It’s like John Mayer knew this summer was going to be gloomy and depressing and was like ASSEMBLE, TEAM, IT’S TIME FOR SOB ROCK. It’s also not lost on me that Sob could stand for Son of a Bitch, which the press has really made John Mayer out to be over the years (the press and Jessica Simpson.) He’s had quite the reputation as womanizer controlling pee-drinking crapface…I may have gone a little off the cuff there but I think the older John gets, the wiser he gets when it comes to relationships and love. Yeah breakups are literally the pits, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding the right one but maybe proceeding with caution. FIND THAT LAST TRAIN HOME, JOHN! We’re rooting for you.

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taylor swift – evermore.

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.)

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Taylor Swift – folklore.

Alright gang, here we are, back again together so much sooner than expected to hear ALL of my unfiltered thoughts on every single song off of T’s new album. I’ve spent the entire weekend getting in my feels and listening to it so that I can bring you some hot takes on where her 8th studio album falls in the lineup. Right out the gate, this surprise drop inconvenienced me because I wasn’t able to skip on over to Target and get a hard copy for all of my listens. I’m still waiting on my deluxe edition to be shipped so I had to listen to Spotify like a poor (why aren’t digital downloads a thing when you purchase a physical CD?) which also means that I will not be able to review the bonus track until that bad boy arrives. Otherwise, let’s dive in to all the tales she told on this album.

1. the 1. “I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit” is one HELL of a way to kick off a surprise album. Also this is now the only appropriate response to “how are you?” for the rest of 2020. Strong first track and pretty much everyone who I yapped about this album to agreed. It’s easily my favorite song on folklore. And that’s saying a lot as Taylor just keeps making her albums longer and longer, thus forcing me to really pull a lot of commentary out of my ass these days to deliver these track by tracks blogs. Anywho, great beat to this and loving that it plays right into my hands of being a bitter cynic that thinks no one stays together anymore with “you know the greatest loves of all time are over now.”

Best Lyric: I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit (OBVIOUSLY)

2. cardigan. I gave a brief review of cardigan while I was listening for the first time and I really hated that she chose this song to do the music video. I immediately gravitated to like 6 or 7 other songs upon first listen to this album and cardigan was not one of them. The music video was fine, the song is fine, but it was tough to be the first snippet of this album I heard, especially while forcing myself to stay awake past my bedtime to rabidly consume it. I think she made it the “single” so to speak because it definitely sets the weird hipster artistic vibes she’s aiming for on this album. Also amazing marketing tool by her once again to send influencers Taylor Swift cardigans. Kinda shitty I didn’t get one, I basically live in the snowbelt of America and could really use a cozy cardigan with Taylor Swift’s name on it but WHATEVER Tay.

Best Lyric: And when you are young, they assume you know nothing (it’s true tho.)

3. the last great american dynasty. So the biggest thing I took away from this album is that Taylor basically wanted to tell other people’s stories. Real, made up, old, new, whatever. So as literally every single foaming at the mouth news outlet will talk about how each song is about Joe or Karlie Kloss (seriously, relax on the lesbian theories with those two)–I’m choosing to just enjoy the stories she’s telling and not overthink who they’re about. So I’m firmly Team Rebekah on this one. I love a divorcee who loves a good party. As far as the sound goes on this one, “I had a marvelous time” in that breathy Wildest Dreams voice really hits different. Made this a top song for me. That and the fact that she uses the word gauche. If I read that by itself I would never pronounce it correctly. But now that Taylor has sang it, I’m basically a wordsmith. Couldn’t tell you what I learned in college, a degree I’ll be paying for for the rest of my life, but now I know that gauche rhymes with goes and is a word for unsophisticated.

Best Lyric: The wedding was charming, if a little gauche / There’s only so far new money goes

4. exhile (ft. Bon Iver). I’ve never been a huge Bon Iver guy because he’s got a real sadboi voice and you certainly need to be in a mood for that type of music but call me a sadboi because I’m LOVING this song. It’s also very important for me to say (and this will ONLY resonate with One Tree Hill stans) this is a Peyton song and there’s no other way around it. Specifically, a Peyton season 5 post-rejecting Lucas’s proposal and having to see him move on with someone else. When she’s opening that record label in Tree Hill and just basking in The National’s deep voice sadness:

 

Ya that’s where I’m at with this song. And that’s fine. Peyton was whiny as hell and had two moms die and a casual psycho stalker so it’s not like her life was peppy but we’ve all had some Peyton moments where you just want to drown in haunting voices and feel sorry about your life. This is the PERFECT song to do that to.

Best Lyric:I think I’ve seen this film before / And I didn’t like the ending (not the first time she’ll reference a film on this album)

5. my tears ricochet. Taylor coincidentally dropped her MOST romantic album last year at the same exact time I was going through a breakup. Obviously I was bitter as hell and not having an easy time identifying with her rainbows of LOVE songs which really put a damper not only on how I viewed the album, but also how difficult it was for me to review it. Like ok, we get it you’re in love EYE ROLL, whatever. It wasn’t a good time for her to brag about it in my personal life and honestly it was rude of her to not take that into consideration. The point of that ramble was to say that if Lover was about Love, folklore is about loss and struggle. AND THAT’S WHERE I LIVE, BABY. I’m LOVING this album because nobody knows how to get down in the dumps like ya gurl the Salty Ju. Dramatic lyrics about breakups? PILE IT ON ME, BOO. SO now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s first confront her singing “cause I looooooooved you, I swear I looooooved you” in an Irish brogue. We gonna let that one slide? Her dramatics in love and loss have caused her to try out a new accent? Besides that little slip up, I’m all in on this song.

Best Lyric: And if I’m dead to you, why are you at the wake? (Every drama queen’s first post-breakup caption SEND.)

6. mirrorball. This was the first one I came across in the lineup of listening that I wasn’t crazy about. It’ll probably be a skip for me. Definitely a retro feel to it of the times when dance contests were all the rage. To be perfectly honest I kept thinking of the episode of Gilmore Girls where they do the dance marathon and wear 50’s girl outfits and Dean dumps Rory. So apparently I’m just going to relate every song off of this album back to mid-2000s teen shows. Super fitting for me.

Best Lyric: And I’m still a believer, but I don’t know why

7. seven. Another skip for me unless I’m really wanting to get in touch with my Lilith Fair side. If I may relate it back to another pivotal teen show in my life, this 90’s chick singer throaty vibe she’s throwing sounds like something that would be on Dawson’s Creek. I half expect to see Joey tucking her hair behind her big ass ears and Dawson talking about how badly he wants to stop talking about sex and start having it in his giant army green cable knit sweater. I’m sorry. I can’t stop. I’m a teen soap monster.

Best Lyric: And I think you should come live with me / And we can be pirates (cause why not?)

8. august. Ok she got me back on this one. Summer is my favorite season of all time and also feels like it goes SO fast, so leave it to Taylor to put that into beautiful words and also use comparisons to wine to get my attention. August is the Sunday night scaries of summer. And we’re almost there, unfortunately so this is hitting a little too close to home right now. I’m not ready for fall. I’m NEVER READY FOR FALL. What helps a little bit is toward the end of the song when she gets a little pep in her step with “remember when I pulled up and said get in the car” and it was giving me a little Getaway Car flashback. Or, in dumber terms, my note in my phone for that part of the song is “YAAASSSSSSS.”

Best Lyric: For me, it was enough / To live for the hope of it all

9. this is me trying. This falls in middle ground territory. This song is neither great nor terrible. It’s got a lot of the elements that we’ve already seen her leaning into on this album. References to a failed relationship being a film, a breathy orgasmic outburst (AT LEAST I’M TRYING) and killer lyrics. The person contributing to lyrics genius claims this is a Taylor taking credit for her flaws in relationships song, and yet there’s a HEAVY undertone of this individual being an alcoholic, which I don’t believe Taylor is, so I think her fans really need to cool it on reading into every song relating directly back to her life. Also there’s a real divide between fans who think she secretly married Joe and fans who think she broke up with him and let me be clear ALL OF THESE THEORIES ARE CONCLUDED FROM PEOPLE OVER-ANALYZING HER LYRICS. God quarantine needs to end cause we all need to get a life. (FTR, I’m firmly in the Joe is her end game camp…so if they’re married I wouldn’t be surprised.)

Best Lyric: They told me all of my cages were mental / So I got wasted like all my potential / And my words shoot to kill when I’m mad / I have a lot of regrets about that (B2B bomb lyrics. Verse 2 packed a punch.)

10. illicit affairs. Maybe Tay wrote this one about her good bud JT. BAM. Ricochet shot. (I’ll never be over JT being a public cheater, oBViOuSlY.) I do really like this song for her going up into the high notes for random words. It’s like the musician version of putting a word in bold. I also giggled at “tell your friends you’re going for a run, you’ll be flushed when you return.” As if anyone could pass off banging in a hotel room as a quick jog.

Best Lyric: And you know damn well / For you, I would ruin myself / A million little times

11. invisible string. Oohh shit we’ve got a little banjo in the mix now! What a nice way to spice things up as I was just starting to move into a comatose state of synths. For the record, this does seem like a song about Joe. She had to sneak one in somewhere. It was only fair. So we’ll rap about how she references the song Bad Blood, which apparently Joe heard in a cab in LA, a reference to the yogurt shop he used to work at, the dive bar where they hung out that she referenced in delicate and then there’s a little part about boys who broke her heart and now she sends their babies presents. Which led to an unfortunate headline on one of the gossip rags about how Taylor Swift is sending Joe Jonas a baby gift. And honestly, she dated Joe for a brief mo when she was like 18 and he dumped her on a 30 second phone call so are we really doing a callback to that garbage relashe? I feel like people are so desp to create headlines out of her lyrics that they’re really starting to reach. Either way, another lovely ode to her current relationship–he gets paper rings AND invisible strings.

Best Lyric: Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven

12. mad woman. Our first Taylor Swift F bomb. THIS IS AN OCCASION. Taylor has been OVERLY PG on most of her albums. I believe we got our first swear on Reputation (shit) and nothing has ever escalated beyond that. So to get a straight F bomb–AND have it not be the only one on this album. Praise be, our girl’s all grown up! My trash mouth that can’t STOP F bombs from flying is v. proud of her for this. But also this is a classic Taylor feminist song. Pointing out the double standards of men vs. woman and showing that passionate females are treated like they should be committed. This tune could be a GREAT soundtrack for the latest Dirty John season because Betty Broderick was a straight up MAD WOMAN.

Best Lyric: Or does she mouth, “Fuck you forever”? (Adding forever in really makes this curse slap harder.)

13. epiphany. This is a church hymn. Since I’m not in the business of listening to prayers, chants and church jingles in my free time, I’m fully out on this song. It’s like the “it’s nice to have a friend” of this album. Immediate skip. Sorry not sorry. It’s apparently about her grandfather serving in the war, which is ironic because it gives me PTSD to high school when I had to go to church every Sunday and if I missed one I had to go to confession. (Obviously that is said with the most sarcasm, being at war has no comparison to going to church in white suburbia so pls don’t cancel me.) TYSM.

Best Lyric: Only twenty minutes to sleep / But you dream of some epiphany / Just one single glimpse of relief / To make some sense of what you’ve seen

14. betty. This was like ALL THE RAGE the day the album came out that Taylor released the name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold’s third child that they hadn’t announced yet. To think that Taylor who has everything planned and pre-meditated about her music and her marketing and how she puts herself out there would have just casually decided to out a child’s name without their parent’s permission is straight idiotic. I can guarantee you that she wrote the song and immediately sent it to them and asked for their feedback. So everyone trying to call her a bad friend needs to take a page from Lover and CALM DOWN. She happened to toss their collection of RANDOM ASS names into this song. Like honestly Blake and Ryan seem pretty normal (for being gorgeous and rich celebs) and yet named their three girls James, Inez & Betty. K. Anyway, now that we’ve established that she used their names and they have absolutely nothing to do with the song, let’s talk about how this is an OG Taylor smash. It’s got all of the early, crimped hair, Christmas Tree farm in backwoods PA sounds to it and I love this nostalgic flashback. That harmonica, OOOooOO Baby. Also, notably, another F bomb.

Best Lyric: Standing in your cardigan / Kissin’ in my car again (what a rhyme.)

15. peace. The second this song started I was like am I listening to a John Mayer song? That guitar coming in right off the bat was an ode to J.May if I’ve ever heard one. And guess what? I love John Mayer so this worked out perfectly. I dig the stripped down guitar vibes and also this song had the most ME lyric of all time (see below) that I quite literally gasped when she sang it. So that certainly helps.

Best Lyric: I’d give you my sunshine, give you my best / But the rain is always gonna come if you’re standin’ with me (UM HI IT’S ME, PERPETUAL RAIN CLOUD FOLLOWING WHEREVER I GO, WAITING TO DUMP A RAINSTORM RIGHT ON MY HEAD.)

16. hoax. Not a strong finish for me. It sounds a lot like cardigan so this makes sense. It’s just giving me uneasy, eerie feels. Considering her drowning with her piano in dark choppy waters for the cardigan video gave me night terrors, I’m not so into feeling the creeps from a song. So moving forward, folklore will start with the 1 and end with peace. And that’s a wrap, folks.

Best Lyric: You knew you won so what’s the point of keeping score? (Another bomb sassy post-breakup zinger.)

BONUS TRACK – the lakes. TBD whenever my stupid CD comes in the mail. Thanks for making everything more complicated by cutting Target out of the deal, TAY.

Update: After almost exactly one month…I placed my order on July 24th, I received the physical CD on August 20th, I can now review the BONUS track that we weren’t allowed to hear for a whole ass month. WHY?! Honestly, WHY TAYLOR?! What’s with the dramatic delay? There were Swifties popping off all over TikTok that she was holding off on releasing the bonus track because it’d be announcing her pregnancy or marriage and here we are, The Lakes has arrived. And it stinks on toast. It says nothing that she hasn’t already said on this album. It’s really a meh song. One that I feel like I didn’t need to wait this long for. Is my bitterness clouding my judgment of this song? Perhaps a little. But it is most certainly not a bangpiece hit and there’s a reason it wasn’t included on the original album to begin with. Jus Sayin.

Best Lyric: I’ve come too far to watch some namedropping sleaze / Tell me what are my words worth (EAT IT SCOTT BORCHETTA & SCOOTER BRAUN)

@thesaltyju

When your #folklore CD comes a month after you ordered it with star confetti and NOT a personal cardigan from Taylor Swift herself. 🙄 ✌🏽

♬ exile – Taylor Swift

OVERALL ALBUM NOTES: I may be biased because I’ve been a Taylor stan my whole life but I commend the way that she can create a whole mood for each album. She’s pushed herself to make albums that sound completely different from each other and are so cohesive like a CD storytime. There’s quite literally a T.Swift album for every vibe that you could be feeling and I think that’s a really cool way to approach music. I mean if you want to scream F the world, you hit up Reputation, if you want to brag about meeting your soulmate–you pop in Lover and if you want to have profound thoughts and tell ghost stories, you fire up this bad boy. Obviously this is a slower record and much more for deep listening and none of these will ever be called bops, BUT I would also argue that it’s her strongest songwriting record. She’s always been a phenomenal songwriter giving fans relatable lyrics, but reaching and telling other people’s stories just added to that and I’m guessing because it probably started from her just writing away while in quarantine. I too have been writing away while in quarantine but my writing has a lot of swears and I’ve never once used a word like clandestine because I couldn’t even tell you what it means. Different strokes for different folks. That’s why we love Taylor–the word play, the references & easter eggs and of course, the dramatics when it comes to loves lost, I think this was a hot to trot lyrical masterpiece.

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