Not even a full year has gone by since she released her last studio album 'Lover', but Taylor Swift surprise-released a new album at midnight last night.
Swift revealed 'folklore' just hours before its release yesterday, explaining that "in isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result." She co-wrote the album with Aaron Dessner of The National (who also produced it), while Justin Vernon of Bon Iver also duets on one song.
In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve. Now it’s up to you to pass them down. folklore is out now: https://t.co/xdcEDfithq
📷: Beth Garrabrant pic.twitter.com/vSDo9Se0fp
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 24, 2020
The question is - for those of you who didn't manage to stay up until midnight on a school night - is it any good?
Here's a selection of what the early reviews are saying...
"Folklore proves that she can thrive away from the noise: if you interpret “classmates” as pop peers, Swift is no longer competing. Bombastic pop makes way for more muted songwriting, and a singular vision compared to the joyful but spread-betting Lover.... Swift’s most coherent record since her staunchly country days, it’s nonetheless her most experimental, developing on Lover’s stranger, more minimalist end. More than one song evokes the intimate celestial tenderness of Sufjan Stevens circa Carrie and Lowell." - The Guardian, *****
"For some fans, it might take a couple of spins around the block with this very different model to become re-accustomed to how there’s still the same power under the hood here. And that’s really all Swift, whose genius for conversational melodies and knack for giving every chorus a telling new twist every time around remain unmistakable trademarks. Thematically, it’s a bit more of a hodgepodge than more clearly autobiographical albums like “Lover” and “Reputation” before it have been.... her eighth album is a fully rounded collection of songs that sounds like it was years in the interactive making, not the product of a quarter-year’s worth of file-sharing from splendid isolation." - Variety
"'Folklore' is undoubtedly Swift's most melancholy album. (Try not to cry listening to "August," in which she wistfully recounts a summer love gone south in achingly specific detail.) But the 30-year-old has also never sounded more confident or mature... Eight albums and 14 years into her career, it's also thrilling to watch Swift continue to grow and evolve, showing that she can still surprise us in more ways than one." - USA Today
"‘Folklore’ is something totally unexpected from one of the world’s biggest pop stars... ‘Folklore’ feels like Swift has travelled to a metaphorical cabin in the woods – albeit one with a very strong WiFI connection – and concocted a gorgeous, relaxed record filled with modern folk songs." - NME
"This is an unconventional record – at least for the world’s biggest pop star. It’s also brilliant... Maybe there wasn’t a perfect time to release Folklore. But it’s a near-perfect album." - The Independent (UK)
"A project created in isolation, Folklore finds Swift pouring every inch of her current psyche, amidst an imperfect reality, into her songwriting. We’re fortunate that she decided to share it with us, too." - Billboard
"Folklore puts the focus back on pure Swift songwriting magic, with the star shining lyrically more than she has in years... We all know that Taylor can do a pop chart-topper, but this has reminded the masses that first and foremost, she is one of our generation’s greatest songwriters, and she didn’t need the indie heavyweight help of The National to remain as such." - Metro
Stream the album below: