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Taylor Swift: The Real Inspiration Behind Her Latest Album ‘Folklore’ And Why It Differs To Her Past Music

Kym Du Toit

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Taylor Swift Image
UMG

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.


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Music News

9 Musicians Who Nearly Died On Stage

Aaron Phillips

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Dave Grohl Foo Fighters in plaster image
RCA

Going on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans doesn’t sound like it should come with a health warning. But there have been many instances of a musician who nearly died on stage. Here are nine that almost ended up as toast.

There are many jobs that should come with a health warning. Bomb disposal expert and skyscraper window cleaners come to mind. You would expect some elements of danger with those roles. But what about a musician?

1. James Hetfield – Metallica

Metallica have always put on hard-hitting shows, particularly frontman James Hetfield. Although he has entered rehab many times over the years, it was an on-stage incident that nearly caused his demise. During a 1992 show in Montreal, Hetfield walked into one of the many stage pyrotechnics that was going off. The mistake left him with second-and three-degree burns. Miraculously, he wasn’t seriously injured and was back on stage within a few weeks.

2. Wattie Buchan – The Exploited

Legendary Scottish punk band The Exploited are known for their hi-energy shows. Frontman Wattie Buchan is also one of the most vocal and antagonistic figures in punk. Not afraid to take potshots at fellow musicians and politicians, his persona is as famous as the band he fronts. It almost ended in 2014 when Wattie had a heart attack on-stage in Lisbon, Portugal. After surgery and a few months off, he was back writing with the band. A true punk hero.

3. Keith Moon – The Who

Although Keith Moon ultimately met his demise in 1978, he almost went to the band in the sky in 1973. The story goes that he took what he thought were tranquilisers backstage before a show in San Francisco. Unfortunately, it was PCP, which made Moon pass out on the drum kit. Twice. The crew couldn’t wake him after the second time, so he was rushed to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. It was good news for Scott Halpin, who was plucked from the crowd to take Moon’s place to finish the show. Lucky guy. As for Keith Moon, he managed to survive for another five years before an overdose finally killed him.

4. Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters frontman has had quite a few slips and trips on stage over the years. One that went viral recently was when he ordered a beer from the stage, but slipped off on his way back, guitar in tow. One that could have been much worse happened back in 2015 at a show in Gothenburg, Sweden. The band were two songs into their set when Dave misjudged a ramp and fell from the stage into the security area. After going to the hospital to get bandaged up, he returned to the stage an hour later and finished the show. Albeit sat down with his leg in a cast. He even did the next few shows in a wheelchair. A true rock and roll legend.

5. Till Lindemann – Rammstein

If you’ve ever been to a Rammstein show, you will know that there is enough pyro to fuel a small country. It’s actually surprising that none of the band has met a fiery demise so far into their career. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some close calls. Frontman Till Lindemann is the force behind the band’s pyro effects. He’s actually a qualified pyrotechnician nowadays, but in the mid-90s it was trial and error. There were a couple of instances in those early days where he and several of the crew suffered burns from wayward pyro. And more recently he suffered a serious knee injury when keyboardist Flake crashed into him on stage with a Segway. He looks indestructible on stage, and past incidents prove as such.

6. Nick Lowe – Brinsley Schwarz

Singer-songwriter Nick Lowe actually did die in this incident. Albeit briefly. During a show in London’s Soho, Lowe went to pick up a microphone that was ungrounded. The following electric shock sent him flying across the stage into the amplifiers. The fact that the amps blocked the access to the power and the fact Lowe still had hold of the mic made it an impossible situation. It was his keyboardist who tried to kick the mic off but ended up kicking Nick in the ribs. According to medics, this restarted his heart, thus saving his life. He was taken to hospital but returned a few hours later; joining his bandmates in the bar. A typical British response to almost dying on stage.

7. Ariana Grande

There’s something magical about an artist appearing through the floor and on to the stage. Not quite so when something goes wrong though. During her 2015 Honeymoon tour, Grande rose on an elevator from under the stage. Unfortunately, a plank of wood snapped meaning she was trapped under the stage. Her guitarist helped her up through the gap, but it could have been much worse.

8. Chris Rea

The legendary musician actually collapsed on stage during a tour in 2017 and nearly died on stage. He had had a stroke the year earlier so wasn’t in the best of health. Fans were shocked to see him fall backwards mid-song and collapse on stage. He required hospital treatment but was soon back out again and touring. Apparently, it was due to the effects of his stroke and not any faulty equipment. Still, it could have turned out differently, and who would have driven us home for Christmas then?

9. Meat Loaf

Musician Meat Loaf has collapsed on stage a few times over the years and nearly died. More recently in 2016 during a show in Edmonton in the US, although that was put down to dehydration and exhaustion. It could have been a lot more serious in 2003 when he collapsed on stage during a show in London. He was rushed to hospital and ended up having a heart procedure but was given a clean bill of health not long after that. He’s still playing shows now which just goes to show you can’t keep a good man down.


That’s our list of nine musician and artists who nearly died on stage. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out five famous actors that were in bands HERE.

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