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Alternative & Indie - Released August 18, 2020 | Taylor Swift

Hi-Res Distinctions Grammy Awards
It’s important to remember that before becoming a gold-standard pop star, Taylor Swift grew up on Nashville country music. Music City's folklore now seems a long way off for the thirty-year-old singer. However, Taylor Swift has never stopped dipping her pen into the same ink as her cowgirl elders, perfectly handling romance, heartbreak, introspection, sociopolitical commentary and personal experiences, such as when she sang of her mother’s cancer on Soon You’ll Get Better… It was in lockdown, with restricted means and limited casting, that she put together Folklore, released in the heart of summer 2020. The first surprise here is Aaron Dessner on production. By choosing The National’s guitarist, whom she considers one of her idols, Swift has opted for a musician with sure-footed tastes and boosted her credibility among indie music fans. She hammers this home on Exile with Justin ‘Bon Iver’ Vernon (the album’s only duet), a close friend of Dessner's with whom he formed Big Red Machine.This surprising, even unusual album for Swift is by no means a calculated attempt to flirt with the hipsters. And it really is unusual for her! No pop bangers, nor the usual dig aimed at Kanye West; the album is free of supercharged beats and has delicate instrumentation (piano, acoustic guitar, Mellotron, mandolin, slides…). Folklore toes a perfect line between silky neo-folk and dreamy rock. It’s as if the star had tucked herself away in a cabin in the forest to dream up new ideas, much like Bon Iver did in his early days… By laying her music bare and relieving it of its usual chart music elements, Taylor Swift has added more substance to her discography. This is clear on August, which would never have resonated as well if it had been produced by a Max Martin type… Upon announcing the album, Swift wrote online: “Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world.” A wise decision for a beautiful and mature record. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz