Welcome to Rosé Reviews, a segment that combines two of my favourite past-times: drinking wine and judging the latest trends, cultural phenomenons and Gen Z staples. Pls fill your glass and enjoy the read.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past weekend, you no doubt are aware of Taylor Swift’s legendary Folklore album announcement.
The window of anticipation got my Swiftie blood pumping with excitement and turned me into 12-year-old reminiscing on all the highs and lows the pop queen’s bangers have gotten me through over the past decade or so.
I fell in love with “Love Story”, screamed “Our Song” in the car with my bestie at the top of our lungs, dueted “White Horse” with my little sis before we knew how ruthless love could be, felt the relationship anxiety of “Out Of The Woods”, and sang along to the thrills and uncertainties hidden in “Cornelia Street”. So obviously I couldn’t wait for my ears to be filled with the sweet poetry of broken love stories, and my heart to be shattered for the millionth time.
Let me preface this by saying I have listened to this album twice over already, because there is no WAY I would be able to write coherent sentences when hearing it for the first time. So here I am at 11pm, curled up on my couch in a cardigan, rosé in hand with the pop queen’s latest bangers streaming through the speaker.
I am ready to be torn apart again.
main image via @bethgarrabrant
- the 1
This track is one I can 100 per cent relate to. It’s an ode to an ex-lover that you thought would be “the one” — an especially poignant concept in your 20’s that is just so perfectly captured in this song. It’s dainty and fun and melancholy and really cuts deep.
Persist and resist the temptation to ask you if one thing had been different, would anything be different today?
OOFT. That got me girl, and still gets me with every listen. This is for the one that got away, the first “big love” that you don’t want anymore but is always at the back of your mind. Cheers for digging that up Tay *finishes first glass of wine*.
I’m a sucker for a solid piano riff and this intro has me HOOKED. Then the lyrics start and I’m just…
Okay THERE ARE SO MANY HIDDEN GEMS IN THIS SONG. The hook, the poetry, the imagery, the AUDACITY of Ms. Swift capturing an entire heartbreak in just three minutes and 59 seconds.
You drew stars around my scars
But now I’m bleeding
Dear lord, take me now. I am a mere shadow of my former self. I am not worthy of this artistry.
3. the last great american dynasty
Ah yes, the classic fractured fairytale song. It’s a signature Tay move, akin to songs like “The Lucky One” — a ballad that tells an entire story (which she perfected back in her country music days) and plays on the events of times past.
Okay who is this Rebekah Harkness and how do I become her? Swimming in a champagne pool sounds DELIGHTFUL, and I too would probably have a marvellous time ‘ruining everything’.
It’s so easy to get lost in this story, and I’m drawing lots of parallels between the way Rebekah was cast out and how Taylor herself has been in recent times. Classic Tay playing the haters and turning their critiques into a fun, upbeat tale of a socialite turned villain.
4. exile (feat. Bon Iver)
Yep, right on time. A super melancholic, slow heartbreak song featuring the one and only Bon Iver. It’s line 4 and I’m preparing myself for the onslaught of tears.
I remember thinking ‘this is the breakup song I never knew I wanted/needed/could capture my the entire ending of last relationship’ the first time I heard this *adds to breakup playlist*.
Love her or hate her, you’ve got to give it to her folks. The woman KNOWS how to write a song that effortlessly captures the tragedy, yearning, disappointment and moving on that comes with the ending of a relationship.
You didn’t even hear me out
I gave so many signs
This song should really come with a trigger warning bc there’s no way you can listen to this as someone who has experienced a break-up and not get all the feels again, despite how over your ex you may be.
Drink up y’all!!
5. my tears ricochet
This track literally begins with a vocal riff harmony that cuts straight to the soul, so you best believe the rest of the song with cut just as deep. Is it inspired by an ex-lover? By one of the fictional characters Tay has created for this album? Who knows and who cares tbh, ’cause the bottom line is that it applies to almost any rejection, exile or break-up any woman goes through.
And if I’m dead to you, why are you at the wake?
Like come ON Tay, please spare me. I’m still recovering from the last track and now you’ve given me all the feels AGAIN.
11/10 for simultaneously making me sob yet also having me teetering on the edge of the sweetest dreams I ever had. A true artiste.
Alright I’m gonna be honest: the first listen didn’t stand out to me so I haven’t paid this track much attention. So idk if its the wine, ability to recover faster from the pain of the first five tracks, clarity of a second listen or a combination of all the above, but this song is actually a bop.
I feel super nostalgic listening to this, but also like I’m experiencing the entire song in this very moment. And not sure why, but I have the urge to put on a cute mini dress, party makeup and a faux fur coat and slow dance at prom.
It’s innocent yet so complex, and really sums up the whole notion of being the “good girl” and maintaining a facade to the rest of the world. There’s that feeling vulnerability and not being good enough, which is definitely something pretty much everyone can relate to.
And now I’m in a rabbit hole of existential emotions so that’s fun!
I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is I love so much about this song but I think it’s the fact that it just encapsulates childhood innocence so well that it’s impossible not to fall in love with.
There’s a thread of family violence that is communicated so well that it results in a bitter-sweet ode to a childhood friend. I wish I had the words to explain exactly how this song makes me feel, but it just really hits like no other.
Aight here’s the tea: this is one side of the triangle love story that is cardigan/august/betty (living for these juicy deets). It’s a sweet and innocent story about a first almost-love; an all-consuming summer fling with a bitter ending.
‘Cause you were never mine
It’s a phase of in-between dating that we can all relate to; the almost that never was. A serious throwback to the situationships of my late teens. Cheers for the heartache and hope you guys are doing well! (Y’all know who you are lol).
9. this is me trying
Firstly, I would like to make a note that Taylor has created the “indie record that’s much cooler than mine” from back in the day.
Secondly, and I’m not sure about you, but I have been struggling a little with communicating my wants/needs/concerns to my bf (and that’s on anxiety and cheating, gaslighting exes) so this song really hit a MAJOR chord for me.
It’s everything I wish I could say, but haven’t had the words for. This track is the ultimate new beginnings song for anyone that has experienced extreme instability and broken trust in a prior relationship.
They told me all of my cages were mental
So I got wasted like all my potential
Goddamn this line broke my heart. The vulnerability in this song is almost palpable and I’m convinced that Taylor is reading all the thoughts in my brain ’cause I felt this on another level.
Send this track to your boo and pour yourself a refill.
10. illicit affairs
Not sure how I’m still breathing after copping all these lyrical daggers to the heart, but I know that this song is going to be the nail in the coffin that is my ability to cope with this album.
This track is a poetic re-telling of a hidden relationship that obviously broke down quite unexpectedly. The premise of forbidden love shines through, and perfectly encapsulates the inadequacy someone feels when they are under the thumb, yet so in love that they can’t escape.
So I leave you with this last resounding line and you can do with it what you will:
And you know damn well
For you, I would ruin myself
A million little times
11. invisible string
Oh my god I am IN LOVE with this song. I’m a believer of loves that are “meant to be” or whatever, a concept that this track just nails. It’s cute and playful and hopeful for a greater love and connection that just makes sense.
It’s a song that reminds us why we need faith and trust, and holy shit this rosé is getting to my head. Can’t help that I’m a hopeless romantic at heart :’)
12. mad woman
Petition to make this song the anthem of feminism bc it’s a bloody masterpiece. From the opening piano melody to the stinging lyrics, “mad woman” deserves a whole essay but imma keep it short.
Every time you call me crazy, I get more crazy
What about that?
And when you say I seem angry, I get more angry
Every woman has dealt with this behaviour at some stage in their lives. Gaslighting is not okay y’all, and also can we just talk about this line for a sec:
Women like hunting witches too
THIS CUTS TO THE BONE. It’s one thing for men to gaslight, but women turning on other women really f*cking grinds my gears. It’s the patriarchy at it’s finest. Like we’ve got enough shit to fight until we achieve equality, lets not drag each other into the fray pls.
God there are too many relevant/delicately masterful lines in this song I can’t pick a favourite. Moral of the story: TREAT WOMEN BETTER, PERIODT.
Those strings. The mood. The ETHEREALITY. I feel like I’m suspended in slow motion. And if the instrumental interludes aren’t enough to bring you to tears, the lyrics sure bloody will.
Someone’s daughter, someone’s mother
Holds your hand through plastic now
‘Doc I think she’s crashing out’
Is this an old war song or based in present day pandemic times? It feels relevant to all kinds of battles; some we have fought and lost, and others we are still fighting to get the upper hand on.
Brb, just curling up in a ball to cry for a hot sec.
The third side of the triangle: James’ perspective. Lil hoe cheated on his almost-gf (Betty from cardigan) with a summer fling (Inez from august), but honestly has a really honest undertone that makes me feel a tiny bit more trusting of the male population.
It’s a fun, innocent track that ties up any loose ends from the prior love story tracks and offers a huge throwback to the teen love triangles from my (and everyone else’s) high school days.
HOT TIP FOR MY 14Y.O. SELF: Guys (i.e. James) are dumb and mostly think with their d*cks, so make sure you get to know ’em before you fall too hard.
Ah, finally a rejuvenating love song. My hope in romance is (partially) restored by this charming and all-too-realistic representation of a new relationship.
It captures that feeling that you’re not quite good enough, but you’re always learning to be better in yourself and helping your S.O. to be their best. And we’re all our own toughest critics, right:
Would it be enough if I could never give you peace?
It’s melodically and lyrically beautiful, a real, raw depiction of modern-day love and overcoming self-doubt in order to be vulnerable and share your life with someone else. I could go on about it all day but it’s currently 1am and I have one more sip of wine left so bottoms up!
And just like that, my newly pieced-together heart has shattered again. If you thought you’d be getting a second happy song on this album you’ve been PUNK’D.
But although this final track may cut deeper than ever before, it’s definitely one you’ll be replaying over and over again. It’s another heartbreak-turned-lullaby, crooning for a lost lover:
Don’t want no other shade of blue but you
If you could summarise a breakup in words, this song would be it. It’s the perfect concoction of helplessness, yearning, broken promises, betrayal and sadness, and hot damn am I FEELING right now.
So there you have it, a track-by-track review of Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album Folklore. The entire thing feels like a fever dream, a surreal state of nostalgia that inserts you into every single moment to the point that damn near buries us mere mortals in the ghosts of emotions past.
I’m now clinging desperately onto a now empty wine glass listening to the solemn outro of hoax as it fades to nothingness — the epitome of my current state.
After that emotional rollercoaster, you may be tempted to text ya ex (but PLS DON’T). You may also be tempted to crack open another bottle of rosé, and honestly, same sis. You do you.
But it is here I leave you to channel your inner Taylor: pick up the broken pieces of your fragile heart, get on some new shit, say yes instead of no and write some bloody BANGERS (or, like at least journal or go to therapy or something).
This is Georgia for Rosé Reviews over and out xo