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Folklore (stylized as folklore) is the eighth studio album by American singer and songwriter Taylor Swift, released on July 24, 2020, through Republic Records.

Legacy[]

Folklore was contextualized as a lockdown project instantly upon release,[1] and earned a reputation as the archetypal quarantine album.[2] Los Angeles Times thought that the album was ruminative and dreamy, displaying the work of an artist "cut off from the everyday world, turned inward".[3] The Guardian opined that Folklore was a respite from chaotic global events, converting dark emotions into something beautiful,[4] while The Daily Telegraph called it "an exquisite, empathetic lockdown triumph".[5] NME wrote the album will be remembered as "the quintessential lockdown album" that acted as a soothing balm during lockdown, and while many artists created quarantine albums, it was Folklore that "felt like the perfect accompaniment for the weird loneliness" of 2020.[6] Echoing similar sentiments, Insider stated that Folklore would be known as "lockdown's one true masterpiece", out of the works released by artists during the pandemic.[7]

Taylor’s Inner Circle got access to "cardigan" and ideas for the Folklore cardigan before being announced and before getting shut down.

Rolling Stone predicted that the album may go down in history as "the definitive quarantine album" for providing comfort and catharsis "just when we needed it most".[8] Billboard proclaimed that it would be cherished as one of Swift's most influential albums for transcending the unprecedented times and freeing listeners from a monotonous, socially distant life.[9] Uproxx noted how Folklore changed the tone of music in 2020,[10] and added that its impact on the year's cultural landscape "can't be measured", owing to how it erased "all the pain and anguish and anxiety" in the world when music fans fled to social media to celebrate the album. Clash credited Swift with softening the tragic start of 2020s which was shaping up to become a tumultuous decade, by using a "wintery album released smack in the middle of summer" that "forces us to slow down and take stock of where we are now in love and life".[11]

In a list awarding the most creative works that shaped quarantine, Vulture labeled Folklore as 2020's "Best Breakdown in Musical Form": An album that speaks to loneliness, rich with "the kinds of thoughts we try to keep to ourselves".[12] Vogue also listed the album amongst the best moments of lockdown culture.[13] The Week called it "the first great pandemic art" for being the first prominent body of work to emerge from popular culture that is "almost exclusively a product of the quarantine", and added that Swift set high standards for future pandemic projects.[14] In agreement, Financial Times named Swift one of the most influential women of 2020, calling Folklore "the first great lockdown album",[15] while Hot Press termed it "the first great album of the lockdown era".[16]

Judging from its acclaim and commercial success, music critic Tom Hull concluded that Swift "caught the spirit of the times" with Folklore's "long, pleasant, intricate songs".[17] Billboard named Folklore and Evermore as the best examples of innovative albums from artists who were compelled to amend their creative process during the pandemic. The magazine highlighted how Swift created Folklore in an unconventional approach, by forwarding song files back-and-forth with her producers while working remotely on FaceTime, achieving "massive" chart success and Grammy Award nominations with it, and adapted to the pandemic by performing the album live in an isolated recording studio.[18] Yahoo! wrote Swift became the voice of 2020 by touching "the core of a cultural crisis" with two albums that embody the sensation of a historic pandemic, and pondered whether "we will be able to listen to Folklore and Evermore without being reminded of 2020, and a pandemic that those who come after us will never quite understand".[19]

According to SEMrush, 50% of 2020's top trending albums were released after the lockdowns in mid-March, and Folklore was one of the year's three most googled albums, garnering 1.2 million monthly searches after its release in July; the other two are J Balvin's Colores and Selena Gomez's Rare.[20] Folklore was also the most popular album of 2020 on Genius, earning an average total of 1.174 million views per track—the only album to achieve the feat. It was followed by The Weeknd's After Hours (749,000 average views per track).[21] "cardigan", "exile" and "the 1", were among the year's top 20 popular songs on the website—the most for any artist.[22] Swift was also 2020's top searched artist on Genius, with her lyrics amassing 31 million total views.[23] Hayley Williams of Paramore revealed that she is recording her own record equivalent of Folklore.[24] Phoebe Bridgers suggested that her next record could be inspired by the album.[25] Critics noted influences of Folklore on Olivia Rodrigo's debut single "Drivers License".[26][27]

Singles[]

Promotional singles[]

Track listing[]

Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."the 1"Taylor SwiftAaron DessnerDessner3:30
2."cardigan"Swift • DessnerDessner3:59
3."the last great american dynasty"Swift • DessnerDessner3:51
4."exile" (featuring Bon Iver)Swift • William Bowery • Justin VernonDessner • Joe Alwyn4:45
5."my tears ricochet"SwiftSwift • Jack Antonoff • Alwyn4:15
6."mirrorball"Swift • AntonoffSwift • Antonoff3:29
7."seven"Swift • DessnerDessner3:28
8."august"Swift • AntonoffSwift • Antonoff • Alwyn4:21
9."this is me trying"Swift • AntonoffSwift • Antonoff • Alwyn3:15
10."illicit affairs"Swift • AntonoffSwift • Antonoff • Alwyn3:10
11."invisible string"Swift • DessnerDessner4:12
12."mad woman"Swift • DessnerDessner3:57
13."epiphany"Swift • DessnerDessner4:49
14."betty"Swift • BowerySwift • Dessner • Antonoff • Alwyn4:54
15."peace"Swift • DessnerDessner3:54
16."hoax"Swift • DessnerDessner3:40
Total length:63:29
Deluxe/Target Exclusive
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
17."the lakes"Swift • AntonoffSwift • Antonoff3:31
Total length:67:01
  • All tracks are stylized in all lowercase.

Chapters[]

On streaming platforms, 4 distinct EPs, called "chapters", featuring thematic compositions of songs from the album were released in August and September 2020.

Taylor introduced the chapters' releases in a tweet, explaining that "the songs on folklore fit together in different groups and 'chapters' - based on how they fit together thematically".[28]

The first chapter, titled The Escapism Chapter, was released on August 21, 2020.

The Escapism Chapter
No.TitleLength
1."the lakes"3:31
2."seven"3:28
3."epiphany"4:49
4."cardigan"3:59
5."mirrorball"3:28
6."exile" (featuring Bon Iver)4:45
Total length:24:02

The second chapter, titled The Sleepless Nights Chapter, was released on August 24, 2020.

The Sleepless Nights Chapter
No.TitleLength
1."exile" (featuring Bon Iver)4:45
2."hoax"3:40
3."my tears ricochet"4:15
4."illicit affairs"3:10
5."this is me trying"3:15
6."mad woman"3:57
Total length:23:02

The third chapter, titled The Saltbox House Chapter, was released on August 27, 2020.

The Saltbox House Chapter
No.TitleLength
1."the last great american dynasty"3:50
2."august"4:21
3."the 1"3:30
4."seven"3:28
5."peace"3:54
6."betty"4:54
Total length:23:57

The fourth and final chapter, titled The Yeah I Showed Up At Your Party Chapter, was released on September 21, 2020.

The Yeah I Showed Up At Your Party Chapter
No.TitleLength
1."betty" (Live from the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards)5:12
2."the 1"3:30
3."mirrorball"3:28
4."the last great american dynasty"3:50
5."invisible string"4:12
6."cardigan"3:59
Total length:24:14

Spotify streams[]

Standard edition
No. Song Streams
1. the 1 580,232,920
2. cardigan 1,338,807,427
3. the last great american dynasty 367,275,476
4. exile 771,064,988
5. my tears ricochet 496,795,198
6. mirrorball 424,683,508
7. seven 314,333,386
8. august 1,130,703,152
9. this is me trying 399,861,880
10. illicit affairs 424,435,234
11. invisible string 373,446,804
12. mad woman 216,501,788
13. epiphany 186,938,974
14. betty 360,303,389
15. peace 212,070,288
16. hoax 189,153,495
Deluxe edition
No. Song Streams
17. the lakes 157,441,293
* Total streams 8,241,445,654

Booklet[]

Physical booklet ("In the Trees" Deluxe edition)[]

Promotional[]

Photoshoot[]

Main article: Folklore photoshoot

Awards and nominations[]

Folklore received 8 awards from 16 nominations.

Year Organization Award Result
2020 American Music Awards Favorite Pop/Rock Album Nominated
Apple Music Awards Songwriter of the Year (Folklore) Won
ARIA Music Awards Best International Artist (Folklore) Nominated
Danish Music Awards International Album of the Year Won
E! People's Choice Awards The Album of 2020 Nominated
Guinness World Records Most day-one streams of an album on Spotify (female) Won
NetEase Annual Music Awards Top Western Album Won
Top Folk Music Album Won
2021 Billboard Music Awards Top Billboard 200 Album Nominated
Gaffa Awards International Album of the Year Nominated
Grammy Awards Album of the Year Won
Best Pop Vocal Album Nominated
Japan Gold Disc Awards Best 3 Western Albums Won
Juno Awards International Album of the Year Nominated
IHeartRadio Music Awards Best Pop Album Won
2022 TEC Awards Outstanding Creative Achievement – Record Production/Album Nominated

Trivia[]

  • On the "hide and seek edition" of the album, in the top right corner, the word "woodvale" can be found. "Woodvale" was the original code name for folklore, but this sparked many fan theories about another album called woodvale.
  • This is her first album to feature a Parental Advisory warning, which was shown on retail packaging of the explicit versions.
    • This is also her first album to mention the F-word.

Subpages[]

References[]

  1. Hyden, Steven (December 14, 2020). "How Taylor Swift Reinvented Herself With 'Folklore' And Now 'Evermore'" (in en-US). https://uproxx.com/pop/taylor-swift-evermore-album-review/.
  2. Fagen, Lucas (September 19, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Quarantine Folktales". https://hyperallergic.com/588670/taylor-swift-folklore/.
  3. Rosen, Jody (July 24, 2020). "Review: Taylor Swift's radically intimate 'Folklore' is the perfect quar album". https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2020-07-24/taylor-swift-folklore-album-review.
  4. Snapes, Laura (July 25, 2020). Taylor Swift: Folklore review – bombastic pop makes way for emotional acuity
  5. McCormick, Neil (July 24, 2020). Taylor Swift, Folklore review: an exquisite, empathetic lockdown triumph
  6. Richards, Will (November 27, 2020). "'Folklore: The Long Pond Sessions' review: secrets, songs and self-isolation with Taylor Swift". https://www.nme.com/en_asia/reviews/film-reviews/taylor-swift-folklore-the-long-pond-sessions-film-review-2827515.
  7. Ahlgrim, Callie; Larocca, Courteney (July 24, 2020). Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' might be the best album of her entire career https://www.insider.com/taylor-swift-folklore-review-tracklist-breakdown-2020-7
  8. Sheffield, Rob (July 24, 2020). Taylor Swift Leaves Her Comfort Zones Behind on the Head-Spinning, Heartbreaking ‘Folklore’https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-album-reviews/taylor-swift-leaves-her-comfort-zones-behind-on-the-head-spinning-heart-breaking-folklore-1033533/?sub_action=logged_in
  9. Lipshutz, Jason (July 24, 2020) Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’: There’s Nothing Quiet About This Songwriting Tour De Forcehttps://www.billboard.com/music/pop/taylor-swift-folklore-review-first-listen-9423659/
  10. White, Caitlin (December 8, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' Changed The Tone Of Pop In 2020" (in en-US). https://uproxx.com/pop/taylor-swift-folklore-album-of-the-year/.
  11. Magan, Valerie (July 28, 2020). "Taylor Swift - Folklore". Clash. https://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/taylor-swift-folklore.
  12. "The First (And Hopefully Last) Quarries In which we award the most scrappy, absurd, ingenious works that shaped our year in quarantine.". December 7, 2020. https://www.vulture.com/article/best-quarantine-culture-quarries-2020.html.
  13. Maitland, Hayley (September 1, 2020). "The Best, Worst & Downright Ugliest Moments Of Lockdown Culture". https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/lockdown-culture.
  14. Lange, Jeva (July 25, 2020). "Taylor Swift has made the first great pandemic art" (in en). https://theweek.com/articles/927296/taylor-swift-made-first-great-pandemic-art.
  15. "Who have been the most influential women of 2020? FT readers respond". December 6, 2020. https://www.ft.com/content/469df412-7ed8-416e-99c3-2fabf0996ad6.
  16. "Hot Press Albums of 2020: The Top 10". December 30, 2020. https://www.hotpress.com/music/hot-press-albums-of-2020-the-top-10-22836912.
  17. Hull, Tom (July 27, 2020). "Music Week". http://tomhull.com/ocston/blog/archives/2869-Music-Week.html.
  18. Havens, Lyndsey (December 29, 2020). "Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and More Innovated In the Pandemic — But What Strategies Will Stick?" (in en). https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/9501019/taylor-swift-dua-lipa-pandemic-strategies-2020/.
  19. Iyer, Kahini (December 28, 2020). "How Taylor Swift Bottled 2020’s Ennui in Two Sublime Albums" (in en). https://in.news.yahoo.com/taylor-swift-bottled-2020-ennui-141246283.html.
  20. Angulo, Fernando (December 9, 2020). "World data trends 2020 by Semrush" (in en). https://www.semrush.com/blog/world-data-trends-2020/.
  21. "Genius Year In Lyrics: The Top Albums Of 2020" (in en). December 30, 2020. https://genius.com/a/genius-year-in-lyrics-the-top-albums-of-2020.
  22. "Genius Year In Lyrics: The Top Songs Of 2020" (in en). https://genius.com/a/genius-year-in-lyrics-the-top-songs-of-2020.
  23. "Genius Year In Lyrics: The Top Artists Of 2020" (in en). https://genius.com/a/genius-year-in-lyrics-the-top-artists-of-2020.
  24. Jones, Damian (January 6, 2021). "Hayley Williams says she is recording her "own ‘Folklore'"". NME. https://www.nme.com/en_asia/news/music/hayley-williams-says-she-is-recording-her-own-folklore-2850882.
  25. Rossignol, Derrick (August 8, 2020). "Phoebe Bridgers Hilariously Compared Taylor Swift’s New Music And Hers" (in en-US). https://uproxx.com/indie/phoebe-bridgers-taylor-swift-comparison-folklore/.
  26. "What Will Be The Impact Of Olivia Rodrigo's "Drivers License" And Its Historically Massive Debut?" (in en). 2021-01-18. https://www.stereogum.com/2112914/olivia-rodrigo-drivers-license/columns/the-week-in-pop/.
  27. Curto, Justin (January 11, 2021). "Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ Is Nothing New — of Course It’s a Hit" (in en-us). https://www.vulture.com/2021/01/review-olivia-rodrigo-drivers-license-lyrics-analysis.html.
  28. Taylor Swift on Twitter (August 21, 2020)
folklore
"the 1" • "cardigan" • "the last great american dynasty" • "exile" • "my tears ricochet" • "mirrorball" • "seven" • "august" • "this is me trying" • "illicit affairs" • "invisible string" • "mad woman" • "epiphany" • "betty" • "peace" • "hoax"
Deluxe Edition
"the lakes"
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