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December 11, 2020

This article is about the album. For its title track, see evermore (song).
evermore (stylized in all lowercase) is Taylor’s ninth studio album. It was released on December 11, 2020, via Republic Records, less than five months after folklore, her eighth album. Taylor regards the two as sister albums. evermore was a spontaneous product of her collaboration with Aaron Dessner, mainly recorded at his Long Pond Studio in the Hudson Valley. The subject matter is an anthology of tales about love, marriage, infidelity, grief, and noir, exploring the complexities of human emotion through impressionist storytelling and interlacing narratives.
Taylor described evermore as an offshoot of “the folklorian woods” — an escapist, cottagecore-inspired direction she first ideated with folklore during the Covid-19 pandemic. Announcing the album, she wrote:

«To put it plainly, we just couldn't stop writing songs. To try and put it more poetically, it feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of this music. We chose to wander deeper in...I've never done this before. In the past I've always treated albums as one-off eras and moved onto planning the next one after an album was released. There was something different with folklore. In making it, I felt less like I was departing and more like I was returning. I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales. I loved the ways you welcomed the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found into your lives. So I just kept writing them.»

What makes evermore an essential addition to Taylor’s catalog is her willingness to tell others’ stories with the same insight and compassion with which she’s always told her own. And on this album in particular, the stories she tells are about how her narrators’ choices impact others, often in ways that cause irreparable harm.
Table of Contents

Background and Release

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, on July 23, 2020, Taylor announced her eighth studio album and first surprise album, folklore, and released it the next day. Produced by herself, first-time collaborator Aaron Dessner, long-time collaborator and close friend Jack Antonoff, and then boyfriend Joe Alwyn, the album was a critical and commercial success, becoming the best-selling album of 2020 and winning Taylor her third award for “Album of the Year” at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. On November 25, 2020, a concert documentary titled folklore: the long pond studio sessions, shot at Dessner’s Long Pond Studio in Hudson Valley, was released to Disney+. It detailed the making of folklore with live performances of its songs.

After releasing folklore, Taylor continued to work remotely with Dessner, who would send her instrumental tracks, to which she would write the lyrics. She stated the rave reception of folklore encouraged her to experiment further with its musical style. Aaron Dessner confirmed this, saying in an interview:

«folklore almost immediately was treated as a classic or a masterpiece. It was elevated fairly quickly and had been commercially really successful, so obviously it’s hard to follow something like that up. But one of the things I love about evermore is the ways in which [Taylor] was jumping off different cliffs. The ability she has to tell these stories, but also push what she’s doing musically, is really kind of astonishing. It’s like I went to some crash course, some masters program, for six months.»

Soon after, Taylor’s sessions with Dessner resulted in a project that was a natural extension of folklore, which eventually assumed its individual identity as evermore. Dessner dubbed the album a “weird avalanche” effecting from folklore. In comparison to its predecessor, the development of evermore was a more experimental process, during which the duo did not subject themselves to any limitations.

On December 10, 2020, three days prior to her 31st birthday, Taylor posted nine photos on Instagram, which together formed an image depicting her back, with her hair in a braid and facing a forest. In another post across her social media, she announced her ninth studio album, titled evermore, releasing at midnight. She also revealed the tracklist and a music video for its opening track, “willow“, which would premiere on YouTube alongside the album release. Referring to lockdown regulations in light of the pandemic, Taylor wrote:

«You've all been so caring, supportive and thoughtful on my birthdays and so this time I thought I would give you something! I also know this holiday season will be a lonely one for most of us and if there are any of you out there who turn to music to cope with missing loved ones the way I do, this is for you.»

The album announcement came as a surprise, even to insiders: While Taylor had said in interviews that she’d been writing, there was no suggestion that a new album was in the works, let alone weeks away from release. “I feel differently today than I felt the day after releasing folklore because, even the day after releasing folklore, Aaron and I were still bouncing ideas back and forth and we just knew we were gonna keep writing music,” Taylor told Apple Music‘s Zane Lowe on the release day of evermore. “With this one, I have this feeling of quiet conclusion and this weird serenity of, ‘We did what we set out to do and we’re all really proud of it’, and that feels really really nice.”

Transition from folklore to evermore

Taylor and Aaron Dessner didn’t expect to make another record so soon after folklore. As they were putting the final touches on Taylor’s album in summer 2020, the two artists had been collaborating remotely on possible songs for Big Red Machine, Dessner’s music project with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver (who also dueted with Taylor on the folklore track “exile”). “I think I’d written around 30 of those instrumentals in total,” Dessner recalled. “So when I started sharing them with Taylor over the months that we were working on folklore, she got really into it, and she wrote two songs to some of that music.” Taylor told Zane Lowe in an interview for the 2020 Apple Music Awards:

«My world felt opened up creatively. There was a point that I got to as a writer who only wrote very diaristic songs that I felt it was unsustainable for my future moving forward. So what I felt after we put out folklore was like, 'Oh wow, people are into this too? This thing that feels really good for my life and feels really good for my creativity… it feels good for them too?'»

One was “closure,” an experimental electronic track in 5/4 time signature that was built over a staccato drum kit. The other song was “dorothea,” a rollicking, Americana piano tune. The more Dessner listened to them, the more he realized that they were continuations of characters and stories from folklore. But the real turning point came soon after that album’s surprise release in late July, 2020, when Dessner wrote a musical sketch and named it “Westerly,” after the town in Rhode Island where Taylor owns the house previously occupied by Rebekah Harkness and where her song “the last great american dynasty” takes place. “I didn’t really think she would write something to it — sometimes I’ll name songs after my friends’ hometowns or their babies, just because I write a lot of music and you have to call it something, and then I’ll send it to them,” Dessner said. “But, anyway, I sent it to her, and not long after she wrote ‘willow’ to that song and sent it back.” Taylor told Zane Lowe:

«With folklore, one of the main themes throughout that album was ‘conflict resolution’, trying to figure out how to get through something with someone, or making confessions, or trying to tell them something, trying to communicate with them. evermore deals a lot in endings of all sorts, shapes and sizes. All the kinds of ways we can end a relationship, a friendship, something toxic and the pain that goes along with that.»

Art Direction

Following the lush, ghostly, woodland aesthetic of folklore, the visual aesthetic of evermore takes upon a wintry theme, extending as a yuletide sequel of the former’s cottagecore. Time stated that folklore is a muted, autumnal palette of sounds and feelings, whereas evermore is its winter companion with lingering sadness and regret. At the same time, while folklore adapts a grayscale monochrome, evermore employs colors. The Times of India opined that evermore embraces “1960s-era Laurel Canyon”.

The album cover artwork of evermore, photographed by folklore collaborator Beth Garrabrant, shows Taylor in a barren field, facing away from the camera, looking over the bare trees in the distance. She is seen standing at the edge of a forested area, while on the cover of folklore, she was seen inside the forest. Her hair is styled in a French braid and she wears a single-breasted, brown and orange checked flannel coat, taken from a collection by English designer Stella McCartney. Following evermore‘s release, replicas of the flannel coat Taylor wore on the cover artwork quickly sold out. The album cover was the third most-searched album cover of 2021 on the internet.

Taylor's Second Remote Collaboration

Like her last album, evermore was cowritten and produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff. Justin Vernon and Taylor’s partner Joe Alwyn also returned, the latter under his pseudonym William Bowery. She said: “I would say that it was a surprise when we started writing together, but in way it wasn’t because we have always bonded over music and have the same musical taste.”

Additionally, evermore was also Taylor’s second product of remote collaboration. In a normal world everyone might have gone on to do other things after folklore, but without the option of touring in 2020, the entire team simply continued writing songs. In September, many of the musicians who played on the album gathered at Long Pond for the shooting of a making‑of documentary, folklore: the long pond studio sessions. The temporary presence of Taylor at Long Pond changed the working methods somewhat, as she could work with Aaron Dessner in the room, and Jonathan Low was able record her vocals. After Taylor left again, sessions continued remotely until December, when evermore was released.
Taylor Swift photographed for her eighth studio album, "folklore" (2020)

folklore & evermore Era

folklore & evermore Era 2020–2021 If there’s one thing we know about Taylor, it’s that she works hard. In her documentary released in January 2020, Miss Americana, the intense pace of her life, and the similarly intense pressures of the scrutiny she finds herself under, was laid bare for all to analyze. But then the Covid-19 pandemic swept in and, presumably, cleared her pop star slate.

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Writing and Recording

Even more spontaneous than the album that preceded it, evermore features more eclectic production alongside Taylor’s continued project of character-driven songwriting. It also includes an even wider group of collaborators, like HAIM and Dessner’s own band The National. Taylor recorded most of her vocals at Aaron Dessner’s Long Pond Studio in September, 2020. She stayed after after the production of the concert film folklore: the long pond studio sessions had wrapped. Aaron Dessner recalled: “It was crazy because we were getting ready to make that film, but at the same time, these songs were accumulating. And so we thought, ‘Hmm, I guess we should just stay and work.’”

«The ideas were coming fast and furiously and were just as compelling as anything on folklore, and it felt like the most natural thing in the world. At some point, Taylor wrote 'evermore' with William Bowery [Joe Alwyn], and then we sent it to Justin, who wrote the bridge, and all of a sudden, that’s when it started to become clear that there was a sister record [...] And with Taylor, I think it just became clear to her what was happening. It really picked up steam, and at some point, there were 17 songs.»

There weren’t limitations to the process, according to Dessner. It was really impressive to him that Taylor could tell these stories as easily in something like “closure” as she could in a country song like “cowboy like me,” which is much more familiar, musically. “But to me, she’s just as sharp and just as masterful in her craft in either of those situations. And also, just in terms of what we were interested in, there is a wintry nostalgia to a lot of the music that was intentional on my part,” Dessner said. “I was leaning into the idea that this was fall and winter, and she’s talked about that as well, that folklore feels like spring and summer to her and evermore is fall and winter. So that’s why you hear sleigh bells on ‘ivy,’ or why some of the imagery in the songs is wintery.” Fittingly, the code name used for evermore was November.

Lyrics and Themes

Much of the 17 tracks on evermore are “mirrored or intersecting” tales, Taylor explained in the liner notes. These stories are dripping with murder and intrigue and tortured romance. Con artists and Hollywood dreamers inhabit the richly varied world of evermore, which in some ways is even more spellbinding than folklore. Co-writer and producer Aaron Dessner described his collaboration with Taylor as one of the most special musical connections of his life:

«I’ve rarely had this kind of chemistry with anyone in my life — to be able to write together, to make so many beautiful songs together in such a short period of time. Inevitably, I think we will continue to be in each other’s artistic and personal lives. I don’t know exactly what the next form that will take, but certainly, it will continue. I do think this story, this era, has concluded, and I think in such a beautiful way with these sister records — it does kind of feel like there’s closure to that. [Hopefully,] there will be other records that appear in the future.»

By painting evermore as mostly escapist fantasy, Taylor dispels the usual gossip hounds that slaver over her work, allowing the album to stand alone as its own weird and wonderful thing. She delights in slipping between personas: One minute, she’s reconnecting with a high-school sweetheart over the holidays, playing house at her parents’ home until she jets back to LA (“’tis the damn season“). The next, she’s haunting a small-town Olive Garden plotting revenge with the HAIM sisters (featured on the scorching “no body, no crime,” a mischievous return to Taylor’s country roots).

But it is the elegant simplicity that makes Taylor’s songwriting so continually astonishing, planting daggers in your heart with tossed-off turns of phrase. “willow” and “tolerate it” are lyrical standouts about falling for less-than-stand-up guys, while “ivy” ranks among the most devastating love songs Taylor has ever written. Other highlights of the more-than hourlong album include “marjorie” a tribute to Taylor’s late grandmother, and “champagne problems” co-written by the once-mysterious William Bowery. The latter song delicately recalls a rejected marriage proposal, and features an all-time opening line: “You booked the night train for a reason so you could sit there in this hurt.” It’s the kind of lyric that many songwriters would spend entire careers trying to write, telling us all we need to know about this character’s emotional state. That it comes so effortlessly to Taylor is the least surprising thing about evermore.

Critical Reception

evermore was met with widespread acclaim upon release, with several critics admiring its kinship with folklore and Taylor’s expansion of her musical boundaries. Distinguishing her as an unrivaled songwriter, Brodie Lancaster of The Sydney Morning Herald found evermore traveling deeper into Taylor’s fictitious narratives, and praised the depth and variety of its characters. In congruence, American Songwriter designated folklore as the “archetypal older sister — a careful, yet hopeless romantic” whereas evermore is the “bold, scrappy younger one”, with the latter being a yuletide evolution of the former’s sound. Spin critic Bobby Olivier thought that the “career-redefining” album finds Taylor at her prime, joining “the pantheon of songwriters who consistently deliver despite unimaginable expectations”. He and several other critics regarded evermore as an even stronger work than folklore.

By the time Taylor unveiled the album, most publications had already issued their year-end best albums lists for 2020. evermore was included on lists published after December 11, 2020, topping those by USA Today, NJ.com, and Variety critic Chris Willman.

Commercial Performance

Republic Records reported evermore sold one million copies in its first-week worldwide, marking Taylor’s third album in 16 months to do so, and her eighth consecutive studio album to achieve it. Aided by evermore and folklore, Taylor was 2020’s top streamed artist on Amazon Music across all genres. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) named her the best-selling soloist and female artist of 2020, and second overall.

evermore debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and topped the chart for four weeks. Unavailable in physical copies during its first week and supported only by digital music and streaming platforms, the album opened with 329,000 units, consisting of 220.49 million on-demand streams and 154,000 pure copies; it earned the biggest sales week for an album since her own folklore, as well as since bundles and concert ticket offers stopped factoring. evermore is Taylor’s second number-one album in 2020 and eighth consecutive number-one debut, making her the third woman with eight number-one albums, behind Barbra Streisand (11 number-ones) and Madonna (9). Alongside folklore at No. 3, Taylor became the first woman in the chart’s history to simultaneously have two albums in the top-three. The gap between the number-one debuts of folklore and evermore was 140 days, breaking the Guinness World Record for the shortest gap between two chart-topping albums by a woman on the Billboard 200.

All of the album’s 15 tracks entered the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously, generating five top-40 hits. evermore became Taylor’s third album to chart all of its standard tracks together, after Lover (2019) and folklore. “willow” landed at No. 1, scoring her seventh number-one single in the US, second number-one hit in 2020, and the third number-one debut of her career. Despite its availability for the last two weeks of 2020 only, evermore became one of the top 10 best-selling albums of 2020; its sister record, folklore, was the top best-seller of 2020.

The album scored its fourth week atop the Billboard 200 in June 2021, when it rose 73 spots to No. 1 with 202,000 units, following its vinyl release. 192,000 of that sum were pure sales, surpassing her own Fearless (Taylor’s Version) for the largest sales week of 2021. It marked the 53rd chart-topping week of Taylor’s career, extending her record as the female act with the most weeks at No. 1 in Billboard 200 history and the third-most weeks overall, only behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley. evermore sold 102,000 vinyl copies in the same week, breaking the record for the biggest sales week for vinyl albums since MRC Data began tracking sales in 1991 (she surpassed this record herself in November of the same year with RED (Taylor’s Version), the re-recording of her 2012 album, RED).
folklore by Taylor Swift (Republic Records, 2020)


folklore July 24, 2020 folklore (stylized in all lowercase) is Taylor’s eighth studio album. A surprise record, it was released on July 24, 2020, through Republic Records, only a day after its announcement. folklore was written and recorded while in isolation

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At the 2021 American Music Awards, evermore won for “Favorite Pop Album” as Taylor’s record-breaking seventh nod and fourth win in the category. She was also nominated for “Artist of the Year” and “Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist”, marking her record-extending eighth nomination for the former. evermore was further nominated for “Album of the Year” at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, making it Taylor’s record-breaking fifth nod in the category.
General Information
ArtistTaylor Swift
ReleasedDecember 11, 2020
StudioApril Base (Fall Creek)
Ariel’s House (Los Angeles)
Electric Lady (New York)
Kitty Committee (Los Angeles)
Knobworld (Los Angeles)
Long Pond (Hudson Valley)
Rough Customer (Brooklyn)
Scarlet Pimpernel (UK)
GenreAlternative Rock
Chamber Rock
Indie Pop
LabelRepublic Records
ProducersAaron Dessner
Taylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
Bryce Dessner
folklore (2020)evermore (2020)Fearless (Taylor’s Version) [2021]
Album Certification
Album Artwork
The evermore Chapters
Highest Honor
Sister Album

folklore (2020)

evermore Era

evermore Era

evermore Songs

Taylor's Discography