Vital Status: Alive & Stable😴
Analogy: You’re lying in your bed, just thinking, with nothing to do all day and end up falling asleep
Length: 1 hour
Taylor Swift is really pushing her new alt/folk sound by releasing her 2nd album of 2020. Evermore is the follow up album to Folklore (released in July, 2020) and by all accounts a sister album. Evermore‘s condition is Alive & Stable but compared to Folklore it is the weaker of the two.
No one quite writes a pop song like Swift and her being able to take that skill set and rework it for a more folk and alternative sound is rewarding. I do prefer the first half of this record over the second. The second half feels like it drags a little but we’ll cover that as we move forward.
This album starts off with one of my favorite songs “Willow”. It’s a great intro track and she is picking up right where she left off from Folklore. Taylor’s singing is sweet and the voice fluctuation on the chorus just adds to the catchiness of it all as she writes about a desire towards a person and how one can be so invested you allow them into your life to “wreck your plans”.
“Champagne problems” is a nice piano ballad follow up where she throws us right into a marriage proposal gone wrong. We get a glimpse of the aftermath and not only how the two people in the relationship are handling it but also family and friends.
The 3rd song on this album “Gold Rush” has beautiful strings playing throughout. The chorus does give off a feel like we’re moving towards a climax but the verses bring us in for a soft landing. It’s the idea of coming out of a daydream about a beautiful person but there is jealousy in reality.
Swift gives us a nice little holiday song with “tis the damn season”. Taylor is able to convey the feelings of returning home for the holidays and having that euphoria of true love around you even if it’s only for a little.
Making our way towards the middle of this album “tolerate it” has a cool music theory fact that the unconventional 5/4 time signature is used. With the piano leading the way again on this song, Taylor, pleads that she made this person her everything and just wants to be the bare minimum in their life as seen in the lyrics below:
I made you my temple, my mural, my sky
Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life
This can be a pretty heart wrenching song about when a relationship doesn’t feel equal and what can transpire because of that.
At this point in Evermore we’ve had a pretty steady pace of how these tracks play out. More on the calm and slower side but Taylor does give us a switch up with “no body, no crime” featuring HAIM. I was really looking forward to this song because I loved HAIM’s latest album and these two coming together felt like a match in heaven, but, HAIM takes a huge backseat here and lets Taylor run the show. “no body, no crime” is a unique folk, country tune with a western twang. It’s a fun murder mystery song with a sprinkle of adultery.
Bringing us to the middle of this album is “happiness”. Another solemn song reflecting on the departing of a relationship. Through the lyrics and instrumentation picking up its pace throughout the song, Swift, is able to convey a current sadness but with a hopeful future in how these past lovers move forward.
In my opinion the album starts to fall into its tropes a little too much moving forward. There’s not the same vibrance in the songs as earlier and a few more lulls that make it feel like we’re crawling towards the end.
“Dorothea” starts this trend with a dry chorus and a story about chasing the Hollywood dream but theres lingering ties to the small town mindset. We slightly heard this story before and with nothing new being added makes this one of the weaker tracks.
On the mediocre side of things “Coney Island” takes the cake with a feature from The National. Matt Berninger’s (The National) deeper voice does play well with Taylor’s and we saw this on Folklore with the song “Exile” featuring Bon Iver. Taylor’s steady singing doesn’t give the listener much to hold onto here and is kind of forgettable.
After that lull we do pick back up with “Ivy”. I love the sound of the acoustic guitars on this and gives a spring time vibe. This vibe bodes well with the picture, Taylor, paints of ivy growing over a house and comparing it to the idea of a married women having an affair and letting things get out of control.
“cowboy like me” may be one of the more boring instrumentation found on Evermore. It’s a song about lovers comparing themselves to cowboys or an outlaw mindset. This song just doesn’t offer up to to much in terms of lyrical juice, theres no great story behind this one in my opinion just about cowboys hooking up.
Swift picks up the pace a little with “long story short” with some super slight electronic instrumentation. It can be a fun song and she uses fairy tale and game like lyrics to convey battles she went through. I do love the line
I wanna tell you not to get lost in these petty things
Will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing
Coming down the final stretch here’s where things start to drag a little more. “Marjorie” is a sentimental song about Taylor’s grandmother. The contradicting verses used I feel are on the weaker side of Taylor’s writing ability. I do love the bridge where she does bring us into her relationship with her grandmother for a second. Other then that, Taylor, probably gets more out of this song then the listener will and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Closure” is a great song where Taylor is blunt and not bullshitting at all. More electronic elements come in again, but, the reason I enjoy this song so much is because it’s Taylor saying I’ll handle closure my own way; even if that’s crying, drinking, and lighting candles.
The song “evermore” closes this album, which, originally I was super excited for since I loved Bon Iver’s feature on Folklore. Unfortunately, it didn’t hit the same here. Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) is singing in his upper registry and when he and Taylor go back and forth on the bridge it doesn’t feel as this big climax which I think they were going for.
I do believe this style of music is Taylor’s lane and the potential moving forward is great. Evermore has some great lyrical writing, which is no surprise from Swift, but can feel a little dull in terms of instrumentation at some points. It’s a solid follow up to Folklore, but missing some of the stand out moments.