For perhaps her whole career, Taylor Swift has been branded as a sort of lyrical storyteller. With her past two albums, folklore and evermore, she has taken hold of her storyteller identity in ways she hasn’t before. Even the albums’ titles suggest that their content is meant to take listeners through carefully crafted plots.
Just five months after releasing folklore, Swift surprised fans with evermore, which she refers to as the "sister record" of its predecessor. The nickname makes sense; the artistic and musical styles of both albums are incredibly similar. The main visual difference is that one cover is in color and the other in black and white.
Both albums seem to reveal the intimate emotions of a relationship – whether it's Swift's own, one can only guess – but evermore is darker and more mature. The only happy song on the album is “willow.” While a few other songs such as “dorothea” carry the same uplifting kind of tune, “willow” is the only one with lyrical content that is all about the good in a relationship.
Other songs, such as “champagne problems,” which tells the story of a rejected proposal, revolve around lost love and heartbreak. More unexpectedly but very on-brand with the storytelling theme, “no body, no crime” gives an in-depth recount of a murder mystery in which the narrator is assumed to be the murderer.
evermore almost makes you feel like Swift is pining over an old relationship or maybe even lamenting her current one. In “tolerate it” she sings to a lover “I made you my temple, my mural, my sky. Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life.” She sings that she knows her “love should be celebrated, but you tolerate it.” The feeling of being inadequate is so intense, it makes you wonder if Swift wrote it as a plea for acknowledgement.
Truthfully, evermore as a whole, while musically and lyrically great, is melancholy, and it makes you wish that there were a few uplifting songs to balance out the lows. The mood of the album is appropriate for the year it closed out, but also, in some ways, is a reminder that there is beauty to be found in every sad song.