Just like the rest of you, I saw that “not a lot going on at the moment” tweet last month and thought Aha, Taylor! I won’t be fooled again. You must be up to something.
Of course, I assumed “something” would be re-recordings of her old masters and not an entirely new studio album, but I suppose that’s a more pleasant example of the loops 2020 keeps completely throwing me for!
When I finished the requisite five (okay, six) listen-throughs, I felt compelled to write about it. Not in a review kind of way. I’m not a music critic.
But luckily Taylor’s work is actual poetry, and I am very much a former English major. So I dusted off my close reading skills and discovered that, in the language and the music, evermore is absolutely a winter album. It gives off major end-of-year vibes, and Taylor herself even called it the fall/winter to its sister album folklore’s spring/summer.
While I’m onboard with evermore as winter, there’s another album that will always signify fall to me. Which led me to wonder, is folklore really spring and summer? One thought became two more, and now I’m pleased to present: the seasons as Taylor Swift albums. Here we go!
The Seasons as Taylor Swift Albums
Spring – Lover
Spring is a time of renewal, a beginning to a new year, a transition from one phase to the next. And if we’re considering seasons as Taylor Swift albums, that is exactly what Lover feels like to me. It was a new era of Taylor and her music after the exclamation point interrupter that was reputation.
In Lover, we get to hear about the love of Taylor’s life and how it all began, though in a more nuanced way, without the hints she used to leave us in her albums’ liner notes. It’s a pretty consistently upbeat album with poppy beats and sweet-yet-clever turns of phrase.
New outlook on life
I remember taking a deep breath when Lover came out. Oh good, I thought. She’s in a brighter place now. After the dark melodies and tortured lyrics of reputation (don’t get me wrong, I do love the reputation era for what it was), Lover felt a bit more like the T-Swift I knew. However, the lyrics proved that this Taylor had learned a few life lessons in her time away from the spotlight.
I think she learned that while it’s okay to keep maps of all the places you’ve buried hatchets, maybe it’s best to stuff them to the back of a drawer and forget about them.
I forgot that you existedI Forgot That You Existed
And I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t
And it was so nice
So peaceful and quiet
And I ain’t tryna mess with your self-expressionYou Need to Calm Down
But I’ve learned a lesson that stressin’ and obsessin’ ’bout somebody else is no fun
I’ve been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark nightDaylight
And now I see daylight, I only see daylight
The beginnings of love
I get a lot of new love vibes from Lover, and I like to think Taylor was catching us all up on what her life had been like in a way she couldn’t do in reputation. One of my favorite songs on the album, Cornelia Street, does a particularly good job of showing how a relationship goes from “a fresh page” to something established and worthy of keeping.
Growth, especially of delicate things like flowers and little baby animals, is a key component of the spring, and the way Taylor describes her love blossoming is what firmly places Lover in the spring column for me.
We were a fresh page on the deskCornelia Street
Filling in the blanks as we go
Lyrical smile, indigo eyes, hand on my thighI Think He Knows
We could follow the sparks, I’ll drive
The moon is highPaper Rings
Like your friends were the night that we first met
Went home and tried to stalk you on the internet
Now I’ve read all of the books beside your bed
Just like springtime, a wedding is the beginning of a couple’s life together. And Lover has wedding imagery and then some. Church bells, wedding rings, the old, new, borrowed, blue tradition; it’s all there.
Church bells ring, carry me homeIt’s Nice to Have a Friend
Rice on the ground looks like snow
My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blueLover
All’s well that ends well to end up with you
I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper ringsPaper Rings
Uh huh, that’s right
Darling, you’re the one I want
Summer – folklore
The second of my seasons as Taylor Swift album slots folklore in as the summer pick. Maybe it’s because she released it during the summer that threatened to never end, but an album that I thought would be placed firmly in the fall column is actually very much a summer.
folklore has a timeless quality that I personally associate with the summertime. With old-timey Fourth of July celebrations, childhood breaks from school, and a dreamy sepia-toned haze that color my own memories of a time in my life when summer was all play and no work. In fact, I was perfectly content to think of all these stories as occurring in the mid-twentieth century until Taylor dropped that lyric about meeting up at the mall.
The last great american dynasty is among my favorites on this album, and that timeless beat coupled with what we know about Rebecca and Holiday House gives me images of the seaside in summertime and girls in old-fashioned bathing suits.
This classic summer setting then gives way to creeks and open fields in seven. It takes me back to tire swings and driving four-wheelers around my friend’s property on scorching summer afternoons in Georgia.
They say she was seen on occasionthe last great american dynasty
Pacing the rocks, staring out at the midnight sea
Please picture me in the treesseven
I hit my peak at seven
Feet in the swing over the creek
As every former schoolchild knows, every summer has its end. I was always a fan of back-to-school season because I’m a huge nerd and love school, but the end of summer was still a bittersweet time.
That’s the vibe I got from a number of these songs: it’s either right at the end of summer or the very very beginning of a new school year, and you’re looking back on the last few months and wondering how it flew so quickly. In a broader sense, this also works as an adult remembering the magic of summers during their childhood.
Betty, I won’t make assumptionsbetty
About why you switched your homeroom, but
I think it’s ’cause of me
Our coming-of-age has come and gonepeace
Suddenly this summer, it’s clear
Sweet tea in the summerseven
Cross your heart, won’t tell no other
And though I can’t recall your face,
I still got love for you
Song called august
Is it cheating to use the name of the song august as proof that this is a summer album? Perhaps. But I think it stands because it just reinforces the points I’ve already made.
It’s the memory of a woman looking back on a high school summer’s romantic affair. The lyrics are so indicative of that “timeless, dreamy summertime” thing this whole album has going on. And, it’s called august, which just reinforces that whole “back-to-school” nostalgia thing. Plus, it’s just really helpful to my argument that a summer month is the title. Sue me.
But I can see us lost in the memoryaugust
August slipped away into a moment in time
Fall – Red
This one was an absolute no-brainer for me. I dare you to find a more iconic autumn album than Red. First of all, it’s from that era when we’d receive a brand-new Taylor Swift album every other fall. Secondly, it’s called Red, which is such an autumn leaves color.
Revisiting this album for the first time in quite some time, I also found that it lyrically speaks to me as an autumn album. A lot of Red is Taylor working through a few different heartbreaks and regrets. Not something new for her, but I do think she does it in a specific way in this album, which of course, lends itself to being autumn on my list of seasons as Taylor Swift albums.
That’s right. Our girl knows what’s up. She also obviously knew this would be the autumn album to end all autumn albums, which is why she threw us some bones. I honestly thought there would be more leaf imagery in this album because it feels like there should be. But she also gave us the MAPLE LATTE liner note secret message for All Too Well, and I think that should count here, too.
Like the colors in autumn, so brightState of Grace
Just before they lose it all
We’re singing in the car getting lost upstateAll Too Well
Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place
And I can picture it after all these days
Mourning a relationship you aren’t over yet
Now, here’s the meat of why this is an autumn album. So much of this album is about relationships that went wrong and the “moment she knew.” This kind of mourning a relationship is very distinct from what we hear in evermore. In those songs, it’s over, it’s irrevocably broken, we’re in the acceptance part of our grief.
The songs in Red are not that. I think there’s something so autumnal about that stage of a relationship when things are over, but you’re still living in the memories, still sitting in the pain of it. The leaves are falling, but the tree’s not dead yet. And good God, do I have some examples of this unique stage for you!
Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoesRed
Tell myself it’s time now, gotta let go
But moving on from him is impossible
When I still see it all in my head
Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by itAll Too Well
I’d like to be my old self again
But I’m still trying to find it
And I just want to tell youI Almost Do
It takes everything in me not to call you
And I wish I could run to you
And I hope you know that
Every time I don’t
I almost do
This is the last time I let you in my doorThe Last Time
This is the last time, I won’t hurt you anymore
In dreams, I meet you in warm conversationSad Beautiful Tragic
We both wake in lonely bed, different cities
And time is taking its sweet time erasing you
I’ve been spending the last eight monthsBegin Again
Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
And this is when the feeling sinks inCome Back… Be Here
I don’t wanna miss you like this
Come back, be here
Winter – evermore
And here we are, back at evermore. I’m sure you’re all surprised! As far as the seasons as Taylor Swift albums goes, this one is winter. Perfectly emotional in that “it’s the end of a long year” kind of way, and who isn’t feeling that at the end of this very stupidly long year?!
There’s also a fair bit of cold weather imagery and the end-of-relationship acceptance I hinted at when we compared it to Red.
Just like with Red, this album is full of lyrics that evoke the season I believe it represents. In evermore, you’ll find the chill of winter and a good bit of snow imagery, too.
It’s the kind of cold, fogs up windshield glass’tis the damn season
But I felt it when I passed you
In from the snowivy
Your touch brought forth an incandescent glow
Tarnished but so grand
And I was catching my breathevermore
Barefoot in the wildest winter
Catching my death
I still haven’t made it through marjorie without crying. While I’d like to blame that on the ball of feelings that has been 2020, it probably has more to do with my own grandmother and the pain of her loss, even ten years later. She’s on my mind often, especially during the holidays, and I think Taylor perfectly captures that magical place between nostalgia and heartbreak in this song.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were still aroundmarjorie
I know better, But I still feel you all around
Does anything evoke images of winter like the holidays? Twinkle lights, evergreen trees, decking the halls; it’s all present in evermore. In general, they aren’t particularly positive references to the holiday season, but it’s enough evidence for me that this is a winter album!
The holidays linger like bad perfume’tis the damn season
How evergreen, our group of friendschampagne problems
Don’t think we’ll say that word again
And soon they’ll have the nerve to deck the halls
That we once walked through
The end of relationships
There is a lot of relationship storytelling in this album. However, unlike the way she described events and feelings in Red, I believe the tone of these songs is less “pining for a relationship that went wrong” and more “I’m at peace with this relationship that is over now.” It’s matter-of-fact, introspective. Very this, too, shall pass.
I mean, my God, there’s even a song called closure. Can we imagine a Red-era Taylor writing a song with a chorus that ends “I don’t need your closure?” To me, this phase of post-relationship grief is firmly in the acceptance column. If we wanted to compare that process to a calendar year, that, my friends, is winter.
There’ll be happiness after youhappiness
But there was happiness because of you
Your mom’s ring in your pocketchampagne problems
My picture in your wallet
Your heart was glass, I dropped it
And I couldn’t be sureevermore
I had a feeling so peculiar
This pain wouldn’t be for
Yes, I got your lеtterclosure
Yes, I’m doing better
I know that it’s over, I don’t need your
And that’s my rundown of the seasons as Taylor Swift albums. Just think! At this rate, I’ll be able to do all her albums as signs of the zodiac in another year and a half.