Reviewed by Amruta Gijare, BA A, Batch of 2024, Kirit P. Mehta School of Law
Taylor Swift, the ultimate enchantress, released Evermore, a chamber rock, folk-pop (We already melt here) album, that opened straight atop “Billboard 200”, crowning the already queen, Taylor, as the only woman in America with 8 consecutive #1 debuts.
A twin of the earlier Folklore, a cocktail of dreamy, impressionist backgrounds, Evermore, not unlike the sister, satiates a deep thirst, and yet somehow makes you long for more. The serene music ties itself deeply within one, while Taylor goes on to weave tales of love, life, pain and heartbreak, enveloping you in a cocoon, cut off from the world; out of which you emerge grounded and more in-touch with your inner self.
The plain magic that generally accompanies Taylor’s music ensured her breaking the Guinness World Record for the “Shortest Gap Between Two Number-one Albums by a Female Artist” after ‘Evermore’ (about time folks!).
The first track Willow, pulls you right in. It expresses the onset of love: the intrigue, playfulness, and desire – all toyed and teased with a guitar. This track is a dance in itself. Further, sliding with a smooth piano into Champagne Problems, a tale of a relationship that ends nascently, like a prematurely popped bottle of champagne.
Up next, with hymn-like music crossed with upbeat pop, Gold Rush portrays painfully holding back the desperate want of that one perfect person we almost worship, knowing it to be a “sinking ship”, and avoid the ‘gold-rush’. Relate much?
‘Tis the Damn Season then takes you to the reunion brought by the holiday season, where an old flame is rekindled while revisiting a road left behind; whereas Dorothea shows the other perspective of a similar setting: A person ‘left behind’ reminisces the old days, and wonders if the ‘friend’ thinks of him, now that she has moved on to a shinier life. While both tracks have nostalgic guitars, the latter has slower, country-like music and an accent.
Taking a melancholic turn, a piano tune in Tolerate it sends you into the agony and anguish of a neglected dutiful lover, who is taken for granted.
Happiness (ironically) is about a lover in an intolerable relationship, and the agony of the wasted years. There can be happiness only after it ends. Keeping up with unsatisfying relationships, Ivy portrays a scandalous and painful tale of a married woman who cannot let go of her lover. Electric guitar, banjo and drums bring out her will to continue with the status quo.
Further, in Coney Island, a seemingly great relationship comes to an unexpected end. Dusk-like imagery whilst the relationship is culminating, with indie-folk and alternative rock, gives you the chills (crucial tip: Keep tissues around). In contradiction, Cowboy like me is the commencement of an extremely unexpected love story: Two deceptive tricksters who used “love” as a game ultimately succumb to it. Birds of the same feather, folks.
Taylor swiftly turns the gears in No Body, No Crime to bring about an engaging murder mystery (wait, what?!). With compelling scenes of wailing sirens, drums, and quite the accent, the tale of a murder and infidelity set in the country grips you tight.
Moving on, the upbeat Long Story Short is a retrospective track from the desperate bad times of the fall, and traces the learning curve of the narrator to a mature transformation (ALERT: your antidote for those blue days is here.)
Track no. 13, Marjorie, with a soulful piano, is an ode to Swift’s late grandmother. It is imbedded with pearls of wisdom, likely by her grandma, brilliantly brought forth through a split voice in those verses.
With “stripped down” versions of certain instruments, especially drums, the penultimate track, Closure, has curious music, possibly to go with the essence of the song: even with the erratic end, distance is the only closure.
The titular final track, Evermore, popularly called the “pandemic depression anthem”, is a ‘v’ curve on the emotional graph. It captures the torturous journey and pain extending for ‘evermore’. At 2:41, the slow piano is suddenly replaced by upbeat music and chorus where the narrator finds hope through a ‘friend’, and from 3:44, the serene piano resumes, with the serenade that the pain won’t be forever more.
The album is a reflection of life: an emotional rollercoaster full of pain and happiness, despair and hope, chaos and order; that leaves you humbled and cathartic about the power and beauty of being human.