My Personal Rankings of the songs on “folklore”
Taylor Swift saw us in lock down for the past however many months and gave us what we all needed – a surprise new album.
This new album gives us a stripped down version of the pop star Taylor Swift that we’ve come to know over since the release of 1989. The sound leans heavy into the indie/folk genre. “folklore” expertly highlights Taylor’s songwriting and story-telling.
It feels very different than “Lover”, but it’s great to get this kind of range of music within a year. It feels like Taylor’s country past and pop future are coming together in this album.
Here are my rankings of the songs on “folklore”:
1. exile (feat. Bon Iver)
I love love love this collaboration with Bon Iver. I think it highlights the style Taylor was going for in this album. It’s a cool way to see the two sides of a breakup. The bridge gives me chills every single time. I love these two voices together. It took a couple listens of the album for this song to become my number one, but it’s cemented there.
Favourite Lyric: I can see you starin’ honey, like he’s just your understudy
2. the 1
Is it ironic that “the 1” is my number two favourite song on the album? I think it’s a really great song to start it all off. I find it a really easy-listening pop song. It was my favourite on the first few listens but it got dethroned for exile. I was shocked to hear Taylor Swift swear on the first line of this new album. That’s when I knew we were in for something a little different.
Favourite Lyric: I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit
Oh damn, do I love ‘betty’. This song feels very much like early Taylor Swift. I feel like it would fit perfectly on “Taylor Swift” or “Fearless”. I love the way that “betty” connects with a few other songs on the album, tying together three different perspectives.
Favourite Lyric: Betty, I know where it all went wrong
This song feels like a dedication to Taylor’s current boyfriend. It’s a declaration that it won’t be easy being with her but it will be worth it and she will fight for them. I just really like it!
Favourite Lyric: The devil’s in the details, but you’ve got a friend in me
The lead single off the album comes in the top of my rankings. That hasn’t been the case for the last few albums. It doesn’t feel like it’s out of place, which I felt like “Me!” did on “Lover”. I love the cardigan imagery, I think it’s a cool metaphor.
Favourite Lyric: And when I felt like I was an old cardigan under someone’s bed, you put me on and said I was your favorite
I love a song about summer that feels like a fall song. This song about young love also feels like it fits seamlessly in with the trio of songs centered around “betty”, but I don’t actually think it’s part of it. “august” also feels like some early Taylor.
Favourite Lyric: August sipped away like a bottle of wine
7. the last great american dynasty
This is the perfect song for history junkies that love mostly correct facts. The song covers Rebekah Harkness’ interesting life. A fun detail is that Taylor now owns the Rhode Island house that Rebekah owned with her husband. She makes parallels between herself and Rebekah in the song.
Favourite Lyric: She had a marvelous time ruining everything
8. my tears ricochet
I always think I don’t like this song as much as I do because I find the title a little weird. The chorus on this song is one of my favourites on the album. It build and it builds, and then I am just a tad disappointed my the “my tears ricochet’ part. IDK.
Favourite Lyric: I didn’t have it in myself to go with grace
9. this is me trying
This song feels like Taylor getting really honest with us about herself in a way that I don’t feel like we’ve fully gotten in the past. I love the echo-ey and haunting vibe that this song has. It gives it a little more intrigue than some of the other tracks.
Favourite Lyric: I had the shiniest wheels, now they’re rusting
10. illicit affairs
This is another song that feels like classic Taylor with the plucky guitar and a focus on the lyrics, but it’s more mature. Talking about an affair is something Taylor would have never done in her first few albums – unless she was on the receiving end. It’s a nice-sounding song.
Favourite Lyric: And you know damn well for you I’d ruin myself
Hoax is the start of the trio of songs that I don’t find particularly memorable. It’s hard for me to even think of the melody or any of the lyrics. It’s an interesting choice to the end the album with.
Favourite Lyric: Your faithless love’s the only hoax I believe in
12. invisible string
This is a nice little song about fate in finding your partner. I like it. It sounds nice. I just don’t think it’s particularly special or memorable.
Favourite Lyric: A string that pulled me out of the wrong arms, right into that dive bar
When I think about epiphany, I truly can’t remember anything about it. Even listening to it I think it’s just fine.
Favourite Lyric: Somethings you just can’t speak about
This is another song that sounds like classic Taylor, but not in my favourite way. It feels a little bit bland and uninspired, and I don’t think it’s a song I will return to often.
Favourite Lyric: And I’m still a believer but I don’t know why
15. mad woman
This very much feels like an extension from ‘The Man’ on Lover. It goes into how a woman is less able to speak her mind, fight back, or get angry than a man. Sure, I’m behind the message, but it is just kind of a boring song.
On the first listen through the album I liked “seven” a lot more than I do now. Also, actually listening to the lyrics it’s a pretty sad song, and not just in a breakup way. I don’t think I will return to this song often.
Favourite Lyric: Love you to the moon and to saturn