With a jump from Pop Music, Is folklore Taylor Swift’s Best Album?

Taylor Swift folklore, What the Critics Say (hint: It's all good)

We think Fiona Apple has some competition in the race for best album of 2020 with Taylor Swift’s folklore. It appears we are not alone. The critics do as well. Taylor Swift nails it with folklore. Check out what they are saying:

 

The Guardian’s Laura Snapes gave Taylor Swift’s folklore Five stars. Yes, you read that right 5 stars our of 5. “This strange summer of arrested development is steadily ending.  Snapes says, “Folklore proves that she can thrive away from the noise: if you interpret “classmates” as pop peers, Swift is no longer competing. Bombastic pop makes way for more muted songwriting, and a singular vision compared to the joyful but spread-betting Lover. With concerts off the table for the foreseeable future, no longer needing to reach four sides of a stadium may have proven liberating.” She goes on to say, “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.” Read Full Review.

Telegraph’s Neil McCormick also give Taylor Swift’s folklore five stars. In his review, McCormick says, “These are beautifully turned songs filled with empathy for downtrodden characters battered by life but always ready to fight back, bridging social distance with langorous melodies and deep emotion. The lockdown may have been a terrible moment for music and musicians, but it has resulted in Taylor’s Swift’s most powerful and mature album to date.” Read Full Review.

Independent’s Roisin O’Connor gave Taylor Swift’s folklore four stars out of five and says, “This is an unconventional record – at least for the world’s biggest pop star. It’s also brilliant.” O’Connor went on to write, “There are no pop bangers here, just exquisite, piano-based poetry. There are characters Swift has never introduced before. Some are fictional, it seems; some are inspired by family members; some are people Swift wishes she hadn’t met. Folklore’s songs care less for those showstopping one-liners and more about the small details.” Read Full Review.

NME’s Hannah Mylrea gives Swift’s folklore four out of five stars and says “The Last Great American Dynasty’ might be Swift’s “best song ever.” Mylrea says, “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.” Read Full Review.

USA Today’s Patrick Ryan says folklore “is the album Taylor Swift was born to make.” Ryan goes on to say, “Folklore” is undoubtedly Swift’s most melancholy album. (Try not to cry listening to “August,” in which she wistfully recounts a summer love gone south in achingly specific detail.) But the 30-year-old has also never sounded more confident or mature.” Read Full Review.

USA Today’s Nate Scott’s “instant review” of Swift’s Folklore is: “A stunning accomplishment.” Scott goes on to say, “At first listen, at least for me, it’s her best album since 1989, and right up there with the very best work of her career. It’s also a record I’m excited to spend time with. It feels like it can only grow from here.” Read Full Review.

Esquire’s Madison Vain says, “folklore is beautiful and soothing—as whispery and intimate as all those lowercase song titles and filtered photos suggest. It’s a short story collection for your bedside table in the house you won’t be leaving anytime soon; an album recorded during a lockdown when your productivity sputtered out after that dense loaf of sourdough you baked in March.” Read Full Review.

Glamour’s Abbey Gardner says, “Now, Folklore is here, and it’s one of Swift’s strongest albums to date. Sonically, it’s a return to form for the singer: all stripped-back and acoustic with some very deep lyrics. Those lyrics, of course, are currently being dissected and analyzed by Swift’s legion of fans. Swifties are experts at deciphering meaning and intention behind their fave’s music, and the theories about Folklore‘s songs are vivid. ” Read Full Review.

Teen Vogue’s P. Claire Dodson says, “folklore resists the urge for theatrics and blunt-force trauma. Vocally, there’s no overproduction, no rogue cackle or sandpapery belt. Instrumentally, it’s Taylor at her most mild and restrained. But the mildness isn’t toothless.” Real Full Review.

Mashable’s Erin Strecker calls folklore  a gorgeous mood.” Strecker goes on to say, “Folk and indie rock and country thrills combine for a surprising new sound for Swift, one that honors her past but moves her oeuvre forward in special ways. Time will tell if it’s a contemplative one-off born of the freedom of isolation, or the first steps in a new way forward for her impressive career. Either way, it’s exciting to know one of the the biggest stars can still stun, and deliver a thoughtful, revelatory, quiet quarantine zig for a world zagging.” Read Full Review.

US Weekly’s Nicholas Hautman who gave folklore four our five stars says “Taylor Swift’s songwriting is at its peak on ‘wondrous’ surprise album.” He goes on to write, “Folklore is muted yet rich, mysterious yet introspective…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.” Read Full Review.

Los Angeles Times’ Jody Rosen calls folklore, “radically intimate” and a “perfect quar album.” Rosen goes on to write, “t’s an ambitious and, in the best sense, odd record, which finds Swift extending her reach sonically, vocally and especially, as a songwriter and storyteller. Swift composed the songs and recorded her vocals at her home in Los Angeles during the coronavirus lockdown. It sounds like a quarantine record. The album is ruminative and dreamy, the work of an artist, who, cut off from the everyday world, turned inward, following the rushing rapids of her imagination and scooping up songs as they flowed past.” Real Full Review.

Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield gives folklore 4.5 stars and calls it “head-spinning” and “heartbreaking.” Sheffield goes on to say, “It’s a total goth-folk album, mostly acoustic guitar and piano, largely in collaboration with the National’s Aaron Dessner. No pop songs at all. It’s as far beyond Lover as Lover was beyond Reputation. She’s always relished her dramatic creative zigzags, but this is easily her most audacious move, full of story-telling depth she’s never come close to before. Some of us have spent years dreaming Taylor would do a whole album like this, but nobody really dreamed it would turn out this great. Her greatest album — so far.” Read Full Review.

Slates Carl Wilson writes, “Folklore finds the former teen prodigy abandoning tabloid dramas to probe more adult concerns.” Wilson goes on to say, “Folklore finds Swift growing into her fuller self, becoming surer how to act her age, seemingly more rapidly within a few months than in the past five years together, without any major stumbles. That merits some noisy, albeit socially distanced, celebration.” Read Full Review.

MusicOHM’s Chloe Johnson gives folklore five stars and writes, “What Folklore ultimately achieves in its narrative of escapism is reinforcing the notion that Swift isn’t one of the greatest twenty-first century artists because her work is autobiographical, or because she leaves cleverly crafted clues leading up to her albums (although these are all interesting elements) but rather because she is, first and foremost, a storyteller. Folklore is sad, beautiful, somewhat tragic, a little bit off the wall, but most of all it feels free.” Read Full Review.

Variety’s Chris Willman describes folklore as, “a fully rounded collection of songs that sounds like it was years in the interactive making, not the product of a quarter-year’s worth of file-sharing from splendid isolation.” Read Full Review.

The Washington Post’s Chris Richards writes, “The triumph of “Folklore” isn’t that Swift has suddenly become tasteful and tuned-in. Having so thoroughly crashed the pop charts like a fluorescent tidal wave, she’s finally making enough space in her music for her modest voice to sound like itself.” Richards goes on to say, “Folklore remains a soft turn on the ears. Swift has never been the type to turn blind corners, anyway. Like that mirrorball she’s spinning slowly, clockwise, into the future.” Read Full Review.

Vanity Fair’s Erin Vanderhoof writes, ” 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.” Vanderhoof says of Swift, “on Folklore she establishes that, more than any genre or approach, her core identity is really just a well-written song and a desire to keep changing.” Read Full Review.

Entertainment Weekly’s Maura Johnston gives Swift’s latest album an “A” and writes, “Folklore mostly abandons Lover‘s festival-sized splendor for songs that reveal more facets with repeated listens.” Johnston goes on to say, “It’s reflective of how time spent alone can force one not only to look inward, but to get so tired of doing so that they’re forced to find other stories so they can stay amused.” Read Full Review.

 

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Taylor Swift folklore, What the Critics Say (hint: It's all good)