Folklore | Taylor Swift

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Folklore

Folklore (stylized in all lowercase) is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on July 24, 2020, through Republic Records. A surprise album, announced without pre-release promotional campaigns, Folklorewas written and recorded while Swift was in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Musically, the album eschews the upbeat electropop sound of its predecessor for stripped-down, acoustic tunes driven by piano and guitar, featuring producers Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff. Categorized by mainstream reviewers as an indie folkalternative rockelectro-folk, and chamber pop record, the album portrays what Swift called "a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness" rising out of her imagination. It manifests vivid storytelling from third-person narratives that details heartbreak and retrospection. -Wikipedia

Critic Reviews

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  • Variety

    a highly subdued but rich affair written and recorded in quarantine conditions. 

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  • USA Today

    'Folklore' is the album Taylor Swift was born to make. 

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  • The Guardian

    Folklore will endure long beyond it: as fragmented as Swift is across her eighth album – and much as you hope it doesn’t mark the end of her pop ambitions – her emotional acuity has never been more assured.  

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  • The New York Times

    The desolate, stubborn, overcomposed indie rock of “Folklore,” though, is a tough thicket to tame. Sometimes she triumphs, wrestling it until it’s slack. But when it stifles her, it deserves all the eye rolls it gets. 

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  • NME

    ‘Folklore’ feels fresh, forward-thinking and, most of all, honest. The glossy production she’s lent on for the past half-decade is cast aside for simpler, softer melodies and wistful instrumentation. It’s the sound of an artist who’s bored of calculated releases and wanted to try something different. Swift disappeared into the metaphorical woods while writing ‘Folklore’, and she’s emerged stronger than ever.  

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  • Pitchfork

    Swift’s eighth album is a sweater-weather record filled with cinematic love songs and rich fictional details.  

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  • National Review

    Folklore gives folklore a bad name. 

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  • PopMatters

    The spartan and bucolic ballads on Folklore represent a compelling and entrancing patchwork of American short stories constructed by a major league pure pop artist maneuvering outside of her comfort zone, offering solace and retreating from the noise of the crowd-pleasing mainstream. These songs lean into a more earthy, elemental, and wounded mode, and Swift's art feels all the better for it.  

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  • Junkee

    ‘folklore’ Is Taylor Swift’s Saddest — And Best — Break-Up Record Yet. 

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  • AV Club

    In the end, folklore may or may not reflect a permanent musical shift for Taylor Swift. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be a grand step forward—that it’s a whimsical and intriguing album offering new insights into Swift’s work is completely enough. 

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  • The Wall Street Journal

    Taylor Swift has created an impressive album during quarantine that sounds like nothing else in her catalog. 

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  • The Washington Post

    Folklore may be her quietest and most sophisticated work to date.  

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  • Paste Magazine

    Swift proves quarantine can be a crucible for musical magic on surprise 8th LP  

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  • Medium

    the 16-track release is an intoxicating collection of stories about the invisible strings that tie us all together. 

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  • Stereogum

    Swift has still made a perfectly gorgeous album in a style that’s almost completely new to her. Swift might not be able to sing the word “fuck” gracefully yet, but she’s got just about everything else figured out. 

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  • Consequence of Sound

    On folklore, Swift has come of age, emotionally and sonically, and proven herself — not that she needed to — as not only an exceptionally autonomous auteur but a nimble collaborator with an ever-broadening palate.  

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  • nz herald

    Taylor Swift's new album Folklore is strikingly heroic. 

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  • Atwood Magazine

    Cohesive. 16 songs, one cohesive artistic statement. 

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  • Daily Mail

    Folklore, Taylor Swift's surprise album is more sorrowful, intimate bedroom pop than folk, but it's her most grown-up album to date... and her best. 

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  • The Atlantic

    Folklore, the singer’s surprise eighth album, gorgeously and empathetically challenges the public’s voyeurism. 

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  • Uproxx

    Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ Burns Bright In Dark Times. 

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  • Alligator

    Swift's surprise new album has officially become the indie-record much cooler than hers.  

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  • Loud and Quiet

    In Swift’s ever-morphing musical output from acoustic country to glittering arena-ready pop, folklore’s sad-but-polished indie is a welcome break from expectation. Sure, it’s about seven tracks too long, overly-saccharine and with a penchant for over-dramatics, but it’s pretty good.  

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  • Slant Magazine

    She may sing of wasted potential, but Folklore finds Swift living up to all of the praise she earned for her songwriting earlier in career.  

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  • Daily Collegian

    Taylor Swift’s ‘folklore’ is subtly beautiful. 

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  • Vanity Fair

    Eleven months after her last record, Swift returns with a suite of songs that reinvents practically everything about her sound without losing her signature wit. 

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  • Metro News

    Folklore gathers all these thoughtful strands and presents them as a fully realised package.  

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  • The Young Folks

    folklore reveals an earnestness and eloquence that Swift has never before expressed to such an extent. Like the towering trees on its cover, it’s a testament to both steadfastness and growth.  

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  • Riot Magazine

    The surprise eighth album sees Taylor Swift’s song-writing at its barest and most delicate; and as expertly crafted as ever. 

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  • The Firenote

    it’s a solid work, with plenty of strong, memorable songs, and lots of curious, if unexpected, depth packed into these fine 16 tracks.  

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  • The Post

    Folklore is a testament to the musical power Swift has. Continually exceeding expectations and spanning an array of aesthetics per each album, Swift is truly one of the best in modern popular music, and it’s plain to see with the release of Folklore.  

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  • Us Weekly

    The quality of Folklore indicates that Swift is thriving in isolation, something not everyone can say. At one point, the album was a sunken treasure chest, filled with gems but closely guarded within the walls of the artist’s home. But now, it has floated to shore, and, boy, is it a saving grace for 2020.  

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  • PopSugar

    It's a Lyrical Masterpiece. 

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  • The Independent

    Taylor Swift’s surprise album shows a new maturity from the pop princess - it may be her best yet.  

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  • Stereoboard

    An artistic watershed moment, ‘Folklore’ is the record we’ve always wanted her to make.  

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  • Metro

    Swift is at her lyrical best on her most coherent album yet.  

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  • inews

    a dazzling, timeless surprise album.  

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  • The Berkshire Eagle

    Taylor Swift's 'folklore' is first-class. 

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  • MSN

    'Folklore' is the album Taylor Swift was born to make. 

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  • The Times

    The pop megastar has turned to sweet folk and it suits her.  

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  • Glamour Magazine

    Has Taylor Swift just dropped the perfect album? YES and it’s an incredible feminist masterpiece without you even realising it. 

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  • Bernard Zuel

    This is in fact a pop record, just a quiet one, the variety evident once you get past the limited palette. It’s packed with very good writing and some of the best songs of her career and it tells enough and shows enough to bring her closer to our lives, but lets the listener make the last part of the connection her or himself.  

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  • Digital Journal

    the musical treat that everybody needed in 2020.  

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  • Beats per Minute

    Swift’s best album to date: the muted sonic palette allows for her to finally be wholly comfortable as a performer, to let go of the awkwardly goofy bubblegum tracks of the past and showcase her talent as sensual lyricist.  

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  • NBHAP

    folklore is not a masterpiece, but it’s impressive exclamation mark of a restless artist who just started an important new chapter in her career.  

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  • Spectrum Pulse

    if Taylor Swift can make a sound like this huge, that opens so many doors for so much great music to get more attention, and that is unquestionably good. And if Taylor Swift is going to keep on growing as a writer and evolving her sound, that’s a net positive too - because the best songs here are among the best of her career thus far, and I’m genuinely looking forward to hearing more.  

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  • The Reviews Are In

    As her eighth studio album, folklore will either be the start of a new era in Taylor Swift’s career, or it will be an outlier that we’ll always look at as her quarantine dreamscape of indie-rock influenced imagination. 

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  • The Upcoming

    Folklore is an understated, sophisticated work of genius best enjoyed alone and repeated. Fantastical yet authentic, distanced yet intimate, dancing across time yet timeless; writing in lockdown has surely unlocked the vastest freedom.  

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  • Wales Arts Review

    The release of this album must have felt like a finger to the wind risk, but as record-breaking streaming figures abound, Swift’s demonstrable versatility guarantees a more interesting future for the singer-songwriter than any of us could have previously imagined. 

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  • A Bit of Pop Music

    To call this her best album would dismiss the pop brilliance of 1989 perhaps a little too soon, but folklore is easily her most cohesive, mature and above all the boldest move in her career so far, which is already paying off! 

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  • Attitude

    Shaking off stadium-sized pop for introspective folk, the superstar is at the peak of her song-writing powers on her surprise eighth studio album.  

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  • The Indiependent

    folklore proves if nothing else, Taylor Swift is untouchable when it comes to telling stories through music. Unlike her other seven albums this feels more focused, purposeful even. The fact she created it in lockdown in less than four months in the midst of a global pandemic, when she should have been on her Lover world tour is astounding.  

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  • euphoriazine

    Overall, the album is strong in entrancing this listener in an emotionally captivating story: I feel like an intimate friend of Swift’s, going through a storybook of her life.  

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  • The Popbreak

    I appreciate and value the experiment and dig the moments on folklore that are real, but we need to see this for what it is: Taylor Swift experimenting with being a cool indie folk kid for a day.  

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  • The Star

    Taylor Swift's new album is strikingly heroic. 

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  • The Edge

    Taylor Swift soars beautifully high in her newest album, offering an intimate, heartwarming and, once again, deeply personal collection of songs.  

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  • The Telegraph

    an exquisite, empathetic lockdown triumph.  

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  • Platform Magazine

    Swift proves with folklore that what she created during her time in lockdown is her most introspective and authentic self yet.  

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  • BuzzFeed

    Taylor Swift's "Folklore" Is A Personal Yet Vicarious Victory. 

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  • Hypable

    Taylor Swift’s ‘folklore’ proves she shines brighter than her ‘reputation’ and her ‘lovers’. 

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  • The San Diego Union Tribe

    Taylor Swift’s radically intimate ‘Folklore’ is the perfect quar album. 

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  • Rolling Stone

    Her eighth album is a radical detour into the deepest collection of songs she’s ever come up with.  

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  • Under the Radar Magazine

    It is both her most cohesive release and freshest shift in aesthetics since her transition to pop superstardom. Whether as a quarantine-induced folk detour along Swift’s pop trajectory or as a hint at a new direction for her music, Folklore is an unexpected work of genuine emotion.  

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  • All Music

    Combined, the moodier, contemplative tone and the emphasis on songs that can't be parsed as autobiography make folklore feel not like a momentary diversion inspired by isolation but rather the first chapter of Swift's mature second act.  

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  • The Irish Times

    A triumph of wistful, escapist melancholy.  

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  • The Sun

    Popstar’s new 17 song album is passionate and reflective. 

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  • Teen Vogue

    Altogether, Folklore comprises mini-narratives that shape themselves around the after effects of emotional blasts, those feelings that ricochet after the initial hit and the subsequent euphoric shock. It’s the album embodiment of sitting with uncomfortable feelings or with months of isolated self-reflection.  

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  • Earbuddy

    What Swift and company have done here is pull off the surprise album in the most spectacular way possible. They turned out a really great album that we’ll likely be talking about again come the end of the year. Is this the best Taylor Swift album so far? I’d say it is.  

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  • The Red & Black

    Taylor Swift's 'folklore' showcases her best songwriting yet. 

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  • The Sunflower

    Taylor Swift’s “folklore” is a bittersweet surprise. 

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  • musicOMH

    Folklore is sad, beautiful, somewhat tragic, a little bit off the wall, but most of all it feels free. It appears Swift has become the indie record much cooler than hers.  

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  • The Spinoff

    This is the first Swift album that doesn’t just have that one moment. It feels like a moment in its entirety. 

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  • The Arts Desk

    folklore's sepia-toned colour palette and muted production only adds to its magic.  

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  • Gigwise

    A standout work from one of America’s greatest living songwriters.  

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  • The Odyssey

    This is the album I have waited years for. It is pure excellence. 

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  • Giglist

    Released with a surprising lack of commotion, folklore features some of Swifts most unadorned and mature work yet. 

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  • The Line of Best Fit

    Folklore finds Taylor Swift elegantly evoking amid a perfectly minimalist sound.  

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  • The Sydney Morning Herald

    Taylor Swift's new album is a fever dream you won't want to wake up from.  

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  • Sputnik Music

    Once again, listeners must dig through a veritable mountain of songs to find the gold nuggets that are always present on her albums. But they are becoming fewer and farther between.  

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  • The Standard

    A delicately exquisite indie transformation.  

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  • Thomas Bleach

    ‘folklore’ is Taylor Swift’s most cohesive record to date, and it’s also her most different sonically. Breathing in a new found maturity, these tracks stand on their own as incredible works of art without needing to use her name to sell them to people.  

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  • The Boar

    folklore is her most mature album yet, and experiments with a new image for Swift, whilst remaining familiar to her fans. Full of expertly spun third-person narratives and personal stories, her singing and songwriting are at centre stage, leaving behind highly produced pop songs in exchange for softer, intimate, alternative masterpieces. True to its name, folklore is a timeless album full of captivating tales.  

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  • Clash Magazine

    Peace can be used to describe everything about folklore, from the sonic atmosphere it creates, to the creative period in which she’s written it, to the cocoon of misplaced longing and self-reflective mental housekeeping that quarantine forces you into.  

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  • Daily Press

    But what keeps you locked in, as always, is the notion of Swift as truth-teller, barred or unbarred, in a world of pop spin. She’s celebrating the masked era by taking hers off again.  

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  • Insider

    Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' might be the best album of her entire career. 

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  • Fatherly

    Folklore isn’t blowing my mind, but what is blowing my mind is how much I like it. The album is like Taylor Swift covering National songs you’ve never heard because that’s almost literally what it is. 

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  • SimplyLiz Lemonade

    In conclusion, folkore by Taylor Swift is a genuine work of ART and if you haven’t listened to it yet, what are you doing? 

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  • Our Culture Magazine

    Folklore is Swift’s most mature collection of songs – and if the best it can offer is the simple comfort of diving into its intricate yet poignant fictional worlds, that’s certainly more than enough.  

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  • Riff Magazine

    Folklore contains Swift’s most thoughtful and engaging material to date. The bass and guitar harmonies of “peace” and spiraling piano lines of “hoax” are welcome additions to Swift’s sound, like every flourish this album pulls off.  

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Listeners Reviews

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  • Taylor Swift is always a great listen 5/5

    By Mary Anne K