Today I’m going to look at the real inspiration latest album from Taylor Swift, ‘Folklore’ and why it differs to her past music. For us mere peasants, the Covid-19 UK Lockdown consisted of binging on junk food and watching back to back episodes of Netflix series. Also going on the occasional run after trying on a pair of jeans which no longer have that “give” they had before. Then realising we aren’t cut out for running, we could just buy new jeans, and beginning the process all over again.
But, for American sweetheart and song-writing mastermind Taylor Swift it was different she gave us ‘Folklore’. Quarantined days were spent writing deep and expressive music. Alongside drinking wine, watching old movies and sending money to fans. That is, according to her Instagram.
On July 23rd she took to Twitter with a post:
“Surprise. Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my 8th studio album, folklore”
A Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter. Swift is well-known in the music industry for her various-styled albums. This young superstar crash-landed into the music scene in 2006. And her life has been a constant rollercoaster ever since, but how much has her life affect her music?
We’re going to take a closer look at the inspirations behind ‘Folklore’ from Taylor Swift. How it compares to some of her older, life-affirming releases that pinpoint her career.
On her new album Folklore Swift tweeted:
“folklore; an entire brand-new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into.”
And how very true that is, Taylor. The album is stunning, filled with stripped-back lyrics and a simplistic indie-folk melody.
I love nothing more than a good story. And Swift’s music tells tales of lost loves, deeply personal turmoil, stolen time and epiphanies, the whole album resembles an epic.
One song in particular that hit me like a freight train, and possibly the most intriguing song I have ever heard, is ‘betty’. Upon the release of the album, Swift professed that she’d created a few specific songs from perspectives of three sides of a high school love affair. The triangle – involving “august” “betty” and “cardigan” – even expresses possible bisexuality. Despite the album’s textual straightness.
Even so, songs such as “seven” truly offer the “folklore” vibe, offering soft, haunting melodies and powerful lyrics.
Also included in her personal essays broadcasted through Twitter. Swift expressed that her ‘imagination had run wild and this album is the result. A collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness.
The album was inspired by her isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak, ‘Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history and memory.’
She even explained her creative process: ‘It started with imagery and visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity…
The lines between fantasy and reality blur. And the boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indiscernible.
Speculation, over time, becomes fact. Myths, ghost stories and fables, fairytales and parables, gossip and legend.
Someone’s secrets written in the sky for all to behold. It’s a powerful statement to make. And is packed with so many cryptic messages, of her past relationships. As well as shattered friendships, friends she wished she had never met rumours and speculation.
No wonder, then, that the album’s release opened at number 1 on the Billboard charts with a huge 846,000 sales in the US alone. But how did she get to this point in her musical profession?
At the very beginning of Taylor Swift’s career. Way back in 2006. She released a self-titled album jam-packed with her longest-lasting love, country music. Including songs such as ‘Our Song’ and ‘Teardrops on my Guitar’.
The vibe is typical of the genre, relaxing with a slow, foot-tapping beat. It fits perfectly with the album cover which shows a young free-spirited Taylor. With her long curly locks, exactly the image she projected in those initial years stepping into main-stream music.
But, it was clear that Taylor’s innocent portraits of country-bumpkin life were at an end with the announcement of her fourth album, Red. Her 2012 release was evoked by Swift’s encounters with past relationships. It began to unveil the more mature, more independent woman we see today.
The album still contained echoes of her past records. But it was Red that really pinpointed the change, as Swift stated to Billboard: ‘[‘Red’] the song was a true turning point for Red the album.
When I wrote the song my mind started wandering to all the places we could go’. A shift began to take shape in America’s pop-sweetheart, and this was starting to emerge in her music.
As well as her rising all-rounder musical talents. The release of Red and the upcoming tour saw Swift in the limelight for a different reason. Whispers of feuds with other stars started to bubble on the surface.
One of the most well-known being the drama that unfolded with Katy Perry. Supposedly fuelled by an argument surrounding tour dancers leaving the Red tour early to perform on Prismatic. It sparked a huge media following, and the feud was confirmed by Perry’s elusive Twitter reaction.
Although much of Taylor Swift’s music career has centred around her relationships. It was 1989 that cumulated previous intimate details leaked through the years.
If Red was the beginning of Swift’s new outlook on life, then 1989 was her affirming her place as a strong female in the industry. In the aftermath of the release, more feuds were brewing. Including the all-out explosive argument with Kayne West and Kim Kardashian-West.
Enter Taylor Swift’s most dramatic yet, Reputation. This aggressive, salacious album released in 2017 and it was basically a middle finger to all that had wronged her, in pop form.
For example, the lyrics to ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ were so acutely descriptive that an abundance of ‘decoding’ articles filled the internet within hours of its release. From Katy Perry to Kayne West, Swift left no stone unturned with addressing her issues through music.
For some it was pure sass, for others, like me, it was way too ferocious and so not the sweet, talented Swift we all aged with. Thank the lord for her 7th studio album, Lover and the absolute wonder that is her newest release. Taylor, we thought we had lost you for a moment there.
And that was the real inspiration behind the latest Taylor Swift album ‘Folklore’ and why it differs to her past music. If you’re a fan of Taylor, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
More of our music articles HERE.
9 Drummers That Became Lead Singers
It’s widely regarded that drummers are the most important members of a band. That’s what a drummer will tell you anyway. Sometimes though, they move from the drum stool to the front of the stage. Here are nine drummers that became lead singers.
9. Dave Grohl
The often labelled ‘nicest man in rock’ is the first on our list. Starting life as a drummer in hardcore bands he then joined Nirvana and changed music history. His drumming with them was solid, and perfectly complemented the chaos of Kurt Cobain’s manic guitars. You’d think the legacy he left with Nirvana would be enough. But after Kurt’s tragic suicide, he set up Foo Fighters and departed the drum stool for lead vocals and guitars. And what a fine job he does as the Foo’s are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet. Imagine being that talented and nice. We’re not jealous. Ok, maybe a little.
8. Don Henley
Not content with being a founding member of one of America’s greatest bands, The Eagles, Don decided to go solo in 1980 after the band split. Ok, this one is a bit tenuous as Don shared vocal duties with fellow Eagle Glenn Frey, but bear with me. In 1980 he went out front into the bright lights of a solo artist and released a slew of cracking songs. Boys of Summer being his most well-known, and what a gem that was. It was a wise choice to leave those sticks behind.
7. Phil Collins
Perhaps one of the most famous names on our list, Phillip David Charles Collins started life behind the kit with prog-rockers Genesis. Although he did lead vocal duties whilst drumming after the departure of Peter Gabriel in 1976, it’s his solo career that really took off. Genesis had some big hits throughout the 80s with Collins’s drumming and singing. But the bigger hits came with his solo career from 1981 onwards. There’s no denying he has some great chops behind the kit, but his voice is as familiar as your favourite shoes. And so are his hits. ‘In the Air Tonight’ was his debut solo single. It doesn’t get much better than that.
6. Roger Taylor
The legendary Queen drummer is known for his ability to hit those falsetto notes on many a Queen hit throughout their career. But he also had a string of solo albums don’t you know? Since 1981 he has released five solo albums. His last being from 2013, so maybe there are more to come? He sang and played most of the instruments on the albums as well. That’s impressive. They are also pretty good albums too. Although he still performs behind the kit with Queen and Adam Lambert, he’s shown he can be centre stage as a lead singer.
5. Todd La Torre
If you’re not a fan of progressive metal, then this one may have passed you by. Todd La Torre is the current singer for the progressive metal band Queensryche. But it wasn’t always that way as he started off in his career behind the kit. Having started playing at fourteen, he spent the next twenty-four years playing in a variety of local original and cover bands. It was only in 2010 when he joined Florida-based metal band, Crimson Glory, as their lead singer. He then replaced Geoff Tate as the frontman of Queensryche in 2012, continuing to this day. Although he’s been at the front of the stage for twelve years, he says that he still feels like a drummer who likes to sing. You can take the drummer away from the kit, but he’ll always be a drummer.
4. Karen Carpenter
Although Karen sadly passed away at aged thirty-two, she managed to achieve a lot of success in such a short space of time. There had been various musical iterations with her brother Richard, but success came when they settled on The Carpenters. Karen was a very accomplished drummer and played live during the early years of the band. It was the success of her vocal abilities that ultimately took away from the kit and to the front of the stage. Not to mention the fact her small stature made it hard for fans to see her behind the kit on stage. If you want to be reminded of her drumming prowess, just have a look on YouTube. An incredible talent taken too soon.
3. Taylor Hawkins
Most famous for being the man behind the kit for the Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins has recently gone to the front. I wonder where he got that idea from? He’s released solo efforts with his own band Coattail Riders, and more recently, The Birds of Satan. There’s no denying Hawkins’ love of Queen and Roger Taylor, and his solo albums reflect that. He has a rather good voice and is certainly a showman. That is obvious from his energy behind the kind. I guess the natural progression is to take that to the front. I’m sure Mr Grohl gave him plenty of advice about going solo.
2. Ringo Starr
Ok, so John Lennon once said that Ringo wasn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles, but that’s a bit unfair. Ringo was great at what he did, holding the beat and keeping that groove. Serving the song is one of the most important things a drummer can do. And Ringo did that perfectly. He’s also gone on to release an astounding sixteen solo albums. Yes, his vocal range is limited, but a discography that big is impressive. He also secured two back-to-back number one hits in the US. Go Ringo!
1. Levon Helm
Levon Helm was the drummer in the critically acclaimed American roots rock band The Band. They backed Bob Dylan in the 60s but went on to have success under their own name. An innovative and creative drummer, Levon also had a deeply soulful and country-tinged voice. He used that voice to good use with six solo albums through the ’70s, ’80s and 2000s. He won not one, but two Grammy awards for his albums and was also a film actor. Sadly, he died in 2012, but what a musical legacy he leaves behind.
That’s our list of nine drummers who became lead singers, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about seven underrated rock albums that defined the 2000’s HERE.
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