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The Study of Swiftology

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  • One of the points the squealy girls made about Folklore makes so much sense to me now that I've listened to it from that angle: that this album is so full of angst largely because it's her goodbye to Scott and her dealing with the sense of betrayal she feels about how he treated her at the end of their partnership. And also her sort of mourning the loss of her songs/work. The 1, Mad Woman, MTR, TIMT, and Hoax could all be about that whole situation. I know we had already decided MTR was about Scott, but to see the whole album as her working out her feelings about him and their relationship is revelatory in a super cool way.

    I also love this detail that they pointed out about her lyrics in Cardigan because I did not piece that together:

    Vintage tee, brand new phone (Country baby Tay)
    High heels on cobblestones (1989)
    When you are young, they assume you know nothing
    Sequin smile, black lipstick (Rep)
    Sensual politics (Lover)
    When you are young, they assume you know nothing

    I mean...that's some good shit.


    • That is some good shit, and those Aussie girls were adorbs. I don't doubt that the sitch with her masters is just hanging over everything she's been working on for awhile.

      Y'all remember that Taylor dressed as Ariel for NYE 2018/19:

      . . . and Ariel's voice/songs had been stolen just like Taylor's STOLEN LULLABIES *sob*. Scott's betrayal is the defining moment of her career post 2016!

      Issie, have you seen the one where the girl had JUST gone through a summer fling break up and was LIVING IN HER FEELS the whole album? It was weirdly cathartic to watch someone sob their way through it.

      Although there were moments when it was like:

      I also like the one where a British kpop dude gets totally wrecked by the cardigan video:

      Okay! Just one quick thing (hoping to have time to do a bigger post tomorrow fyi), someone on tumblr joked that much of the album is Normal People fanfic and! I don't think that's entirely a joke! at all!

      Like, we KNOW that Taylor is a major Sally Rooney fan, this we know factually, and OBVIOUSLY she watched the series on Hulu during lockdown right when she was making the album so!

      She wrote cardigan the DAY AFTER Normal People came out, probs after binging it all night because you know she did, there's no way she didn't.

      Not the whole album obvs, but these songs have Connell and Marianne written all through them to me:

      The1 (more iffy on this one, but it could be Marianne after Connell leaves for NYC)

      cardigan ("when you are young they think you know nothing" "a friend to all is a friend to none" and basically all of it)

      exile (Marianne and Connell that first day in Tuscany! Joe and Taylor probs watched it together!)

      august (M and C in high school!)

      this is me trying (during their respective depressive episodes)

      illicit affairs (M and C in high school again!)

      The idea is percolating throughout fandom:

      fanvids are already appearing:

      cardigan M+C:

      exile M+C:

      ilicit affairs:

      Anyhoo, it took Taylor two years to let it be known that some of rep was inspired by Game of Thrones, and we know she wrote DBATC after watching Someone Great, so . . .

      Last edited by ophy; 07-29-2020, 12:51 PM.


      • Ooh, I am saving the crying girl for later! I need all sad teenage girl reaction videos. Thank you! My favorite review so far was this one.

        When she goes "SIR" I laughed so hard Mr. Issie jumped in his seat. And at some point she goes "This ho has EVOLVED" which I'm gonna start using to compliment people from now on.


          Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


          • I got you isadora! They are just trickling in now.

            illicit affairs / fleabag

            illicit affairs/ Eve+Villanelle


            exile/ Jim + Pam

            exile/ Ross + Rachel (!!!)

            Issie!, AjayII is one of my top go tos. Whenever Taylor does anything, I always watch AjayII, Justin Grey, Dante D'Angelo, Santi XYZ, Lauren Lipman, and Steven in Stereo. I like the way AjayII is so moved by the music, but I don't like the way she lacks stamina and thought both folklore and Lover were 'too long'. I think my faves are Santi and Steven in Stereo. They are usually very thoughtful.

            Arrrgh, I have so many random things right now and it's impossible to organize them!

            This is all just going to have to be a bit higgeldy.

            folklore sold 1.3 million units in 24 hrs!


            Even though its existence was announced just 15 hours before its release, Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” sold more than 1.3 million copies globally in just 24 hours, according to Republic Records, which released the album.

            According to the announcement, the album also broke the global record for first-day album streams on Spotify by a female artist with 80.6 million streams, and delivered “the most-streamed pop album on Apple Music in 24 hours” with 35.47 million streams. “Folklore” also set the U.S. and Worldwide Amazon Music Indie/Alternative Streaming Record, although further details were not immediately available.

            Final first-week numbers will not be available until a week from Monday, but the album could well be on track for the biggest debut of 2020

            And US sales are obvs good:

            folklore is doing good streaming numbers, too.

            This is gonna hurt koots . . . an album with at least a couple of songs on there about how he's a douchebag has displaced his client's biggest hit:

            Notably, Kooters clients are just about the only ones NOT saying nuthin' about folklore.

            All those people who actually put money into promo and building hype for their album drops this year must be silently fuming right now. Taylor didn't even tell her own label she was gonna do this! It's cost them practically nothing!

            Even good reviews can be inherently misogynistic:


            This is nice from the NYER:

            “‘Folklore’ contains a lot of endings—meditations on what it means for something to be over, or unravelling, or headed that way. Swift wants to believe in fate—that, as she sings on ‘invisible string,’ we’re all locked into some inevitable trajectory, and it’s tugging us toward happiness—but she also can’t stop herself from trying to grab the wheel. It’s a heavy tension, wanting to let go while wanting to stay in control, and it has animated Swift’s writing for years. All the characters she invents, borrows, and briefly inhabits here (the “misfit widow” of “the last great american dynasty,” three teen-agers in a love triangle, a scared kid in Pennsylvania, assorted enemies and comrades and ex-lovers) are stuck between acquiescing to the momentum of their lives and wresting control of their own stories. Swift may purposefully inhabit different perspectives—and no one can blame her for seeking a bit of respite from public confession—but “folklore” reiterates that we’re all confused and trying in the same ways. The human experience, however fractured and refracted, is still very much shared.”

            Saw this on tumblr but I don't know which review it is from but I like it:

            All of these great reviews and acclaim remind me of this:

            It hurts that she thinks that. It might be one of the reasons why she's putting out music at a frantic pace the past couple of years.

            Speaking of indie darlings, so you know how Swifties have always tied 'an indie record that's much cooler than mine' from WANEGBT to Jake G. cheating on Taylor with Jenny Lewis (and made the connection to Jake/Jenny with the song/vid for Babe as well)? Jenny Lewis just tried to make that go bust.

            So maybe Jake G. actually cheated with a DIFFERENT redhead indie singer who knows.

            Also, Smash Mouth posted "borelore" and it's just so perfect because folkbore would actually be a lot better of a play on words and they suck so hard they can't even take the low-hanging fruit. Anyway, my boyfriend Dylan O'brien posted shortly after: "Fuck Smash Mouth" and that just goes to show he's still the best.

            Yep, Stiles Stilinski coming through for the Swifties:

            Ha! 'folkbore'. That's great. So much better. As an aside, apparently whatshisname from Smashmouth is buds with Koots, so . . .

            All righty let's talk random stuff about the songs added to Aaron's discussion of the songs from his Vulture interview.



            ‘the 1’ and 'hoax,’ the first song and the last song, were the last songs we did. The album was sort of finished before that. We thought it was complete, but Taylor then went back into the folder of ideas. I think in a way, she didn’t realize she was writing for this album or a future something. She wrote “the 1,” and then she wrote 'hoax’ a couple of hours later and sent them in the middle of the night. When I woke up in the morning, I wrote her before she woke up in LA and said, 'These have to be on the record.’ She woke up and said, 'I agree’ [laughs] These are the bookends, you know? It’s clear that 'the 1’ is not written from her perspective. It’s written from another friend’s perspective. There’s an emotional wryness and rawness, while also to this kind of wink in her eyes. There’s a little bit of her sense of humor in there, in addition to this kind of sadness that exists both underneath and on the surface. I enjoy that about her writing. The song [began from] the voice memo she sent me, and then I worked on the music some and we tracked her vocals, and then my brother added orchestration. There are a few other little bits, but basically that was one of the very last things we did.

            (I wonder which friend the 1 was written for! Could be Lena and Jack, maybe? or anyone, I guess. She has lots of friends. LIKE FRIENDS NAMED MARIANNE AND CONNELL FOR EXAMPLE.)

            An anon on tumblr noted this:

            the album starts with “I” and ends with “do” maybe a coincidence but still


            I still think all the '20s' on this album and on Lover suggest that Joe and Taylor actually did get married/will get married in 2020.




            “That’s the first song we wrote [in early May]. After Taylor asked if I would be interested in writing with her remotely and working on songs, I said, ‘Are you interested in a certain kind of sound?’ She said, 'I’m just interested in what you do and what you’re up to. Just send anything, literally anything, it could be the weirdest thing you’ve ever done,’ so I sent a folder of stuff I had done that I was really excited about recently. 'cardigan’ was one of those sketches; it was originally called “Maple.” It was basically exactly what it is on the record, except we added orchestration later that my brother wrote. I sent [the file] at 9 p.m., and around 2 a.m. or something, there was 'cardigan,’ fully written. That’s when I realized something crazy was happening. She just dialed directly into the heart of the music and wrote an incredible song and fully conceived of it and then kept going. It harkens back to lessons learned, or experiences in your youth, in a really beautiful way and this sense of longing and sadness, but ultimately, it’s cathartic. I thought it was a perfect match for the music, and how her voice feels. It was kind of a guide. It had these lower register parts, and I think we both realized that this was a bit of a lightning rod for a lot of the rest of the record.”

            I wanted to expand super quick on why I think cardigan in particular was inspired by Taylor watching Marianne and Connell brewing fuckwits who could not get it together.

            A friend to all is a friend to none (Connell's pathological need to be liked/popular)
            Chase two girls, lose the one (Connell asking whatshername to the dance)
            When you are young, they assume you know nothing

            But I knew you
            Playing hide-and-seek and
            Giving me your weekends, (that sums up what Connell made Marianne do in high school, hide and seek around empty buildings etc and only giving her the weekends and after school times)

            Tried to change the ending
            Peter losing Wendy, I (Connell/Peter lost Marianne/Wendy because he refused to grow up and treat their relationship with respect)
            I knew you
            Leavin' like a father (Marianne's father had also left)

            I knew I'd curse you for the longest time (duh, she totes did)
            Chasin' shadows in the grocery line (Connell LITERALLY worked as a cashier at the grocery store in their little town)

            Okay, I'm done. Maybe I'm done.

            Did y'all know you can buy the version of cardigan that has the original voice memor Taylor sent to Aaron? Because you can.

            The fact that Aaron has 641 unanswered texts on his phone stresses me out.

            This is why we all have trust issues:

            I like this cardigan video explainer:

            Definitely significant that music was with her wherever she ends up.




            “I wrote that after we’d been working for a while. It was an attempt to write something attractive, more uptempo and kind of pushing. I also was interested in this almost In Rainbows-style latticework of electric guitars. They come in and sort of pull you along, kind of reminiscent of Big Red Machine. It was very much in this sound world that I’ve been playing around with, and she immediately clicked with that. Initially I was imagining these dreamlike distant electric guitars and electronics but with an element of folk. There’s a lot going on in that sense. I sent it before I went on a run, and when I got back from the run, that song was there. She told me the story behind it, which sort of recounts the narrative of Rebekah Harkness, whom people actually called Betty. She was married to the heir of Standard Oil fortune, married into the Harkness family, and they bought this house in Rhode Island up on a cliff. It’s kind of the story of this woman and the outrageous parties she threw. She was infamous for not fitting in, entirely, in society; that story, at the end, becomes personal. Eventually, Taylor bought that house. I think that is symptomatic of folklore, this type of narrative song. We didn’t do very much to that either.”

            I'm obsessed with Taylor's Rhode Island house now.

            The snippet about Betty West/Rebekah Harkness that mentions the lime green cat:

            And more!


            If I report on the demise of the multimillionaire patron of the dance dry-eyed, it is because I am confident in the belief that nothing we say about the dead can prejudice the Defense or tip the Scales of Judgment. I myself wouldn’t give the time of day to anyone who cleaned her pool out with Dom Perignon, put mineral oil in the punch at her sister’s debutante ball and (all in the middle of the Great Depression) got tossed off an ocean liner for shouting obscenities, throwing dinner plates at an orchestra of Filipinos gamely playing the American national anthem, and offending the sensibilities of her fellow passengers by swimming nude - for which actions she counted herself witty. (I do admit, however, that I’d go a long way to read a sentence like this, spoken by Bertrand Castelli, the co-producer of “Hair,” about the time he made love to Rebekah Harkness in her office: “It was as if we were two camels in the desert who suddenly know that the only way to make an oasis is to really talk sense.” After his brief interlude in the oasis, Mr. Castelli was made the artistic director of the Harkness Ballet. “Kiss me,” she commanded. “The others, they just know how to bite.”) Craig Unger, a former editor at New York magazine, appears to be dazzled by all this, although it is sometimes hard to tell whether his breathlessness arises from approval, disapproval, sadness, awe or simple bewilderment. Mr. Unger, who records interviews uncritically and unreflectively, does not permit us to know exactly how he feels about his subject.

            Rebekah Harkness was born in 1915 to a rich, emotionally frigid St. Louis family. She was brought up by a nanny who was chosen because she had worked in an insane asylum. She went to Fermata, a South Carolina finishing school that had sheltered Roosevelts, Biddles and Auchinclosses. There she delighted, as she wrote in her scrapbook, in setting out to “do everything bad.”

            . . .

            After she was widowed, Mrs. Harkness renovated her Rhode Island house; she installed 8 kitchens and 21 baths. This arrangement effectively kept her from having to see her three children on anything like a regular basis. She had a salon of sorts. She traveled a lot.

            . . .

            She was surrounded by a group her son Allen described as “all the fairies flying off the floor, the blackmailing lawyers, the weirdos, the people in the trances.” “We were the favorites,” says a dancer. “We were the loved ones.” In 1961, RebekahHarkness became the sponsor of the late Robert Joffrey’s small ballet troupe. She did this in grand - if occasionally Marie Antoinette-ish -style. Generous, wasteful, willful, demanding and delusional, she broke with Joffrey to form the Harkness Balletwhen he refused to perform the compositions she insisted on writing. In the eyes of many, she had betrayed him. “Costumes, sets, musical scores,” Mr. Unger writes, “many of the best dancers, the entire repertory - even the works choreographed by Joffrey himself - were owned by her foundation.”

            “You see,” she said. “Money can buy anything.”

            . . .

            She rang J. D. Salinger’s bell dressed as a cleaning lady, having conceived the harebrained scheme that the reclusive writer’s short stories be put to music.

            She dyed chocolate mousse blue. She dyed a cat green.

            She moved hundreds of thousands of dollars from one bank to another for the pleasure of confusing her accountants. She believed in reincarnation. She filled her fish tank with goldfish and Scotch.

            At the very end, according to Bobby Scevers, as she lay dying of cancer, “It was complete chaos… . It was so wonderful - everybody running around signing wills and trying on different wigs.”

            She sounds fun but hella exhausting!

            There's a lot more about the history of Holiday House/High Watch here:


            James M. Snowden, Jr., remembers skyrockets and roman candles being set off from the terrace over the ocean on the Fourth of  J uly in the 1940s. These fireworks were launched from glass milk bott les that were current then. He recalls that one guest, Joe Thomas, senior partner of Lehman Brothers, lit the skyrockets with a large cigar.

            Mr. Snowden also remembers hearing from his father abo ut an attempted kidnapping, some years earlier, involving a plane which kidnappers had landed on the golf course. Owing to confusion as to which was the house of their intended victim, the attempt failed.

            Even though the Snowdens were not the target, for the next several weeks at Holiday House, a night watchman was stationed with a submachi ne g un at the end of the hallway where most of the  bed rooms were.

            Sounds like it's always been a dramatic sort of party palace, just perfect for Taylor's 1989 Gatsby era.

            (I really miss Taymerica, but maybe she'll bring that back once Biden's in office. Here's hoping!)




            “Taylor and William Bowery, the singer-songwriter, wrote that song initially together and sent it to me as a sort of a rough demo where Taylor was singing both the male and female parts. It’s supposed to be a dialogue between two lovers. I interpreted that and built the song, played the piano, and built around that template. We recorded Taylor’s vocals with her singing her parts but also the male parts. We talked a lot about who she thought would be perfect to sing, and we kept coming back to Justin [Vernon]. Obviously, he’s a dear friend of mine and collaborator. I said, ‘Well, if he’s inspired by the song, he’ll do it, and if not, he won’t.’ I sent it to him and said, ‘No pressure at all, literally no pressure, but how do you feel about this?’ He said, 'Wow.’ He wrote some parts into it also, and we went back and forth a little bit, but it felt like an incredibly natural and safe collaboration between friends. It didn’t feel like getting a guest star or whatever. It was just like, well, we’re working on something, and obviously he’s crazy talented, but it just felt right. I think they both put so much raw emotion into it. It’s like a surface bubbling. It’s believable, you know? You believe that they’re having this intense dialogue. With other people I had to be secretive, but with Justin, because he was going to sing, I actually did send him a version of the song with her vocals and told him what I was up to. He was like, 'Whoa! Awesome!’ But he’s been involved in so many big collaborative things that he wasn’t interested in it from that point of view. It’s more because he loved the song and he thought he could do something with it that would add something.”

            about William Bowery:

            “I don’t know. We’re close, but she won’t tell me that. I think it’s actually someone else, but it’s good to have some mysteries.”[/quote]

            (he's probs tired of being asked about this!)

            joealwyndaily noted:

            on the corner of Sunset and Vine in Los Angeles there’s a restaurant called The Bowery
            ?? This I did not know. Would be wild if Taylor and Joe met there/near there in LA, then he stayed at The Bowery Hotel in NYC while they were Cruel Summer-ing, and then they also went to The Bowery show for Kings of Leon as their first public-ish date as a couple.

            Joe has liked both Aaron and Justin Vernon's posts about folklore/exile, even though he doesn't follow them.

            Joe also has an english degree and plays guitar, just sayin'.

            We still don't know if WB = Joe or if Joe came up with the concept of exile yet, but! I'd like to note that Joe is in LITERAL exile from his homeland right now. He can go back home to London if he wants to, but! If he goes back to the UK to see his fam, he can't return to the US to be with Taylor for an indefinite amount of time. So he's basically stuck here.

            Which also raises a question -- because he's never been in the US this long before when not on a work visa while filming, presumably -- so what kind of visa is he on right now? Tourist visas are only six months long, right? So that should be up soon. If he's on a K1 visa, he's got three months for them to either get married, or he has to go back. it's possible the rules are super different for rich famous people, but I dunno. (Of course, it's all a moot point if they are already married!).

            So there's a theory that it's Joe who can be seen walking in the exile lyric vid, which I include because it has bigfootesque circles!:


            A shadowy figure who may or may not be a photography/drone operator:

            (or one of their security peeps, or Patrick, or a random dude out for a walk . . .)

            Well, the pic they used for the theory was posted back in March, and Taylor didn't even start work on the album until April, so it seems unlikely that the pic and the drone footage were done at the same time. And I think they were still in the UK back then and obviously haven't gone back there since lockdown began so . . .

            That doesn't mean it ISN'T Joe in the looped vid, it could easily be him, I guess. We do know some of the loop vids were created just for the lyric videos.

            The first thing I thought about when I heard exile:

            "like he's just your understudy/like you'd get your knuckles bloody for me"

            A famous moment in haylor history!


            My Tears Ricochet:

            This is one of my absolute favorite songs on the record. I think it’s a brilliant composition, and Taylor’s words, the way her voice sounds and how this song feels, are, to me, one of the critical pieces. It’s lodged in my brain. That’s also very important to Taylor and Jack. It’s like a beacon for this record.

            Want to point out these lyrics:

            We gather stones, never knowing what they'll mean
            Some to throw, some to make a diamond ring
            You know I didn't want to have to haunt you
            But what a ghostly scene
            You wear the same jewels that I gave you
            As you bury me

            Nobody knows if the diamond ring that Scott B wears a lot was given to him by Taylor, but MAYBE?

            This is the song that my brain goes back to the most often, I just loooove it.




            'mirrorball’ is, to me, a hazy sort of beautiful. It almost reminds me of ‘90s-era Cardigans, or something like Mazzy Star. It has this kind of glow and haze. It feels really good before ‘seven,’ which becomes very wistful and nostalgic. There are just such iconic images in the lyrics [“Spinning in my highest heels”], which aren’t coming to me at the moment because my brain is not working [laughs].



            “This is the second song we wrote. It’s kind of looking back at childhood and those childhood feelings, recounting memories and memorializing them. It’s this beautiful folk song. It has one of the most important lines on the record: ‘And just like a folk song, our love will be passed on.’ That’s what this album is doing. It’s passing down. It’s memorializing love, childhood, and memories. It’s a folkloric way of processing.”




            “This is maybe the closest thing to a pop song. It gets loud. It has this shimmering summer haze to it. It’s kind of like coming out of ‘seven’ where you have this image of her in the swing and she’s seven years old, and then in ‘august’ I think it feels like fast-forwarding to now. That’s an interesting contrast. I think it’s just a breezy, sort of intoxicating feeling.”


            this is me trying:


            “‘this is me trying,’ to me, relates to the entire album. Maybe I’m reading into it too much from my own perspective, but [I think of] the whole album as an exercise and working through these stories, whether personal or old through someone else’s perspective. It’s connecting a lot of things. But I love the feeling in it and the production that Jack did. It has this lazy swagger.”

            I love this song whenever I hear it and then I accidentally forget about it for some reason. It's folklore's So It Goes, I think.


            illicit affairs:


            This feels like one of the real folk songs on the record, a sharp-witted narrative folk song. It just shows her versatility and her power as a songwriter, the sharpness of her writing. It’s a great song.

            halsey was really feeling this one in her folklore cardigan:


            invisible string:


            “That was another one where it was music that I’d been playing for a couple of months and sort of humming along to her. It felt like one of the songs that pulls you along. Just playing it on one guitar, it has this emotional locomotion in it, a meditative finger-picking pattern that I really gravitate to. It’s played on this rubber bridge that my friend put on [the guitar] and it deadens the strings so that it sounds old. The core of it sounds like a folk song. It’s also kind of a sneaky pop song, because of the beat that comes in. She knew that there was something coming because she said, ‘You know, I love this and I’m hearing something already.’ And then she said, 'This will change the story,’ this beautiful and direct kind of recounting of a relationship in its origin.”

            1989remastered on tumblr:

            I just had a possible epiphany regarding invisible string... In the verses Taylor is obviously citing examples of the string tying them together before they knew each other, and she perplexingly talks about the teal color of the shirt Joe wore at the yogurt shop he worked at when he was 16, which seems random - until you realize that the cover of Taylor's debut album was teal and it was released when she was 16, which might be the invisible connection she's referring to

            I really really want to know what prezzie taylor sent to Willa Jonas. A folklore baby cardiagn maybe??


            mad woman:


            “That might be the most scathing song on folklore. It has a darkness that I think is cathartic, sort of witch-hunting and gaslighting and maybe bullying. Sometimes you become the person people try to pin you into a corner to be, which is not really fair. But again, don’t quote me on that [laughs], I just have my own interpretation. It’s one of the biggest releases on the album to me. It has this very sharp tone to it, but sort of in gothic folklore. It’s this record’s goth song.”




            “For ‘epiphany,’ she did have this idea of a beautiful drone, or a very cinematic sort of widescreen song, where it’s not a lot of accents but more like a sea to bathe in. A stillness, in a sense. I first made this crazy drone which starts the song, and it’s there the whole time. It’s lots of different instruments played and then slowed down and reversed. It created this giant stack of harmony, which is so giant that it was kind of hard to manage, sonically, but it was very beautiful to get lost in. And then I played the piano to it, and it almost felt classical or something, those suspended chords.I think she just heard it, and instantly, this song came to her, which is really an important one. It’s partially the story of her grandfather, who was a soldier, and partially then a story about a nurse in modern times. I don’t know if this is how she did it, but to me, it’s like a nurse, doctor, or medical professional, where med school doesn’t fully prepare you for seeing someone pass away or just the difficult emotional things that you’ll encounter in your job. In the past, heroes were just soldiers. Now they’re also medical professionals. To me, that’s the underlying mission of the song. There are some things that you see that are hard to talk about. You can’t talk about it. You just bear witness to them. But there’s something else incredibly soothing and comforting about this song. To me, it’s this Icelandic kind of feel, almost classical. My brother did really beautiful orchestration of it.”

            Still cannot talk about this song.




            “This one Taylor and William wrote, and then both Jack and I worked on it. We all kind of passed it around. This is the one where Taylor wanted a reference. She wanted it to have an early Bob Dylan, sort of a Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan feel. We pushed it a little more towards John Wesley Harding, since it has some drums. It’s this epic narrative folk song where it tells us a long story and connects back to ‘cardigan.’ It starts to connect dots and I think it’s a beautifully written folk song.”

            (whether or not betty = queer canon)

            “I can’t speak to what it’s about. I have my own ideas. I also know where Taylor’s heart is, and I think that’s great anytime a song takes on greater meaning for anyone.”

            I don't love this song, but apparently it's being sent to country radio and people think it might win country awards, dunno.




            “I wrote this, and Justin provided the pulse. We trade ideas all the time and he made a folder, and there was a pulse in there that I wrote these basslines to. In the other parts of the composition, I did it to Justin’s pulse. Taylor heard this sketch and she wrote the song. It reminds me of Joni Mitchell, in a way — there’s this really powerful and emotional love song, even the impressionistic, almost jazz-like bridge, and she weaves it perfectly together. This is one of my favorites, for sure. But the truth is that the music, that way of playing with harmonized basslines, is something that probably comes a little bit from me being inspired by how Justin does that sometimes. There’s probably a connection there. We didn’t talk too much about it [laughs].”

            an anon on tumblr pointed this out:

            “I’m a fire and I’ll keep your brittle heart warm, if your cascade ocean wave blues come”

            Taylor’s a Sagittarius (fire) and Joe’s a Pisces (water)




            This is a big departure. I think she said to me, ‘Don’t try to give it any other space other than what feels natural to you.’ If you leave me in a room with a piano, I might play something like this. I take a lot of comfort in this. I think I imagined her playing this and singing it. After writing all these songs, this one felt the most emotional and, in a way, the rawest. It is one of my favorites. There’s sadness, but it’s a kind of hopeful sadness. It’s a recognition that you take on the burden of your partners, your loved ones, and their ups and downs. That’s both’ peace’ and 'hoax’ to me. That’s part of how I feel about those songs because I think that’s life. There’s a reality, the gravity or an understanding of the human condition.

            This song has sparked a looot of debate.

            zobothehobo from tumblr:

            I’ve decided what hoax is to me.

            It’s a promise. Hear me out…

            so we hear references to Joe’s depression on all three albums now… We know that like… he’s been very low. So hoax picks up when he’s in the middle of a depressive episode, saying he’s going to leave because this isn’t fair to her and she’s like “no. What’s not fair is you thinking that this love is conditional.”

            she’s hurt and angry that he doesn’t trust what they built. “what you did was just as dark” references distrusting this relationship. “darling this was just as hard, as when they tore me apart” references her emotional vulnerability.

            But also “you knew the hero died so what’s the movie for”/”you knew you won so what’s the point of keeping score” while talking about the pain underneath her scars.. She’s like “what is the point of all of this? like I was in serious pain and you helped me through that and now you don’t want to give me the chance to do that for you? Are you kidding me???”

            It’s a promise that she will always love his shades of blue. That she’s a fire and she’ll keep him warm as she says in peace. It’s a promise that she’s going nowhere - and will be damned if he does.

            It’s a couple in the middle of a trauma – one unsure trying to find footing, scared and thinking about running away and the other hellbent on getting them through this.

            blankspace17 from tumblr :

            Thinking about how “your faithless love’s the only hoax I believe in” doesn’t mean a love that’s UNfaithful, rather a deep and true love for someone, despite their lack of faith -whether it is in themselves or their demons or the world, their love is faithless in the sense they struggle with finding faith that they deserve this kind of love, or that anyone could stay, etc. but Taylor is saying to them that their “faithless love” -the love they think isn’t enough for their partner or fit for the world, or an flawed charade (like imposter’s syndrome), even if their partner thinks it’s a “hoax” or’s still the only thing she believes in. To have it follow peace is also purposeful I think, because someone is asking in peace if their love is enough, feeling a lack of faith in whether their love is enough, and hoax is the reply that yes, even if you think it’s not enough or flawed or a hoax hiding all your IS enough

            These all sound reasonable. It's a very nuanced song.


            the lakes:


            “That’s a Jack song. It’s a beautiful kind of garden, or like you’re lost in a beautiful garden. There’s a kind of Greek poetry to it. Tragic poetry, I guess.”

            lyrics snippets:

            It'll probably be a couple of weeks before this leaks, but I'm EXCITED.


            Other bits from Aaron's Vulture interview:

            “She said that she’s a fan of the emotion that’s conveyed in our music. She doesn’t often get to work with music that is so raw and emotional, or melodic and emotional, at the same time. When I sent her the folder, that was one of the main feelings. She said, ‘What the fuck? How do you just have that?’ [laughs] I was humbled and honored because she just said, 'It’s a gift, and I want to write to all of this.’ She didn’t write to all of it, but a lot of it, and relatively quickly. She is a fan of the band, and she’s a fan of Big Red Machine. She’s well aware of the sentiment of it and what I do, but she didn’t ask for a certain kind of thing. I know that the film [I Am Easy To Find] has really affected her, and she’s very much in love with that film and the record. Maybe it’s subconsciously been an influence.”


            “We didn’t talk about it at first. It was only after writing six or seven songs, basically when I thought my writing was done, when we got on the phone and said, ‘OK, I think we’re making an album. I have these six other ideas that I love with Jack [Antonoff] that we’ve already done, and I think what we’ve done fits really well with them.’ It’s sort of these narratives, these folkloric songs, with characters that interweave and are written from different perspectives. She had a vision, and it was connecting back in some way to the folk tradition, but obviously not entirely sonically. It’s more about the narrative aspect of it. I think it’s this sort of nostalgia and wistfulness that is in a lot of the songs. A lot of them have this kind of longing for looking back on things that have happened in your life, in your friend’s life, or another loved one’s life, and the kind of storytelling around that. That was clear to her. But then we kept going, and more and more songs happened. It was a very organic process where [meaning] wasn’t something that we really discussed. It just kind of would happen where she would dive back into the folder and find other things that were inspiring. Or she and William Bowery would write “exile,” and then that happened. There were different stages of the process.”

            (on if Taylor explains the lyrics to him):

            “She would always talk about it. The narrative is essential, and kind of what it’s all about. We’d always talk about that upfront and saying that would guide me with the music. But again, she is operating at many levels where there are connections between all of these songs, or many of them are interrelated in the characters that reappear. There are threads. I think that sometimes she would point it out entirely, but I would start to see these patterns. It’s cool when you see someone’s mind working.”

            . . .

            “It’s almost like a song would come out like a lightning bolt. It’s exhilarating. The shared focus, the clarity of her ideas, and the way she structures things, it’s all there. But I think she works really hard when she’s working, and then she tweaks. She keeps going, so sometimes things would evolve or change. By the time she actually sings it, she’s really inside of it. She doesn’t do very many vocal takes before she nails it”

            My fave thing:

            “I was so glad that we kept it [a secret] because I didn’t want to be the one that spilled the beans. I have a eight-year-old daughter, and one day she asked me. She’s just like, ‘Daddy, do you know Taylor Swift?’ It was the morning after we’d written one of these songs. And every time we would write a song, it was like a weird lightning bolt, getting this struck by lightning or something, just exhilarated with electricity. I just looked her straight in the eye and said, ‘No’.

            I honored my confidentiality.”

            Ha. That's cold.

            O-kay! Just a few kay bits and pieces to finish up:

            keeping it klassy!

            There's not a whole lot for the kays to cling to in this album, so they are exercising their extreme reaching muscles instead.

            Taylor . . . planned . . . this entirely unplanned album? that's what y'all are saying?

            'Somebody' decided this was the perfect time to drop another Karlie and Taylor are STILL FRIENDS articles, I guess because 'somebody' wants to keep beating a dead horse for relevance.


            Karlie Kloss Shows Subtle Support for Taylor Swift's folklore Album

            Despite rumors of a feud, Karlie Kloss is showing her support for Taylor Swift's new album, folklore. Read on for more on the model's recent social media activity.

            No bad blood here! Karlie Kloss is showing some support for Taylor Swift's new album.

            Despite rumors of a rift between the celeb BFFs, the supermodel's recent social media activity proves that it's all just folklore. Over the weekend, the 27-year-old took to Instagram to "like" a series of posts about the Grammy winner's eighth studio album, including one from fellow model Martha Hunt. In the picture, Hunt can be seen wearing a cardigan gifted to her by the superstar singer, a nod to her new single of the same name.

            Hunt, a close Swift pal, captioned the Instagram snap with lyrics from the star's song "Cardigan," writing, "peter losing wendy."

            Kloss also showed love to a Swift-related post from designer Christian Siriano. "Well #taylorswift inspired a paint session last night after a very hard day in fashion," he wrote on Instagram along with a photo of his art. "So her wonderstruck gown painting is now available on! Oh and my custom Siriano little sofa is fitting in just perfectly!"

            Fans of the duo have also pointed out that Kloss herself might've unintentionally promoted Swift's new album. On Thursday, July 23, Kloss took to her Instagram to share a series of photos from an outdoor adventure. "happy place," she captioned the photos, showing her posing alongside trees.

            So, what's the connection? Well, Kloss posted the photos on the same day that Swift announced her surprise album, sharing the news alongside a series of photos of herself in the woods.

            After, Kloss received a flood of comments from fans about the folklore connection, but she has yet to respond.

            Kloss and Swift, who became instant BFFs after meeting at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2013, have appeared to spend less time together in recent years, sparking rumors of a feud. However, Kloss addressed the speculation in a March 2018 interview with the New York Times, stating, "Don't believe everything you read."

            Months later, the duo reunited at Swift's Reputation stadium tour stop in Nashville and posed for a selfie. "No one puts on a show like @taylorswift...#ReputationTour Nashville was out of this world, I am SO proud of you," Kloss captioned the photo.

            However, feud rumors were reignited in Oct. 2018 when Swift was noticeably absent from Kloss' wedding to Joshua Kushner. However, Swift was on the Australian leg of her tour at the time.

            The Kode With Klossy founder once again squashed reports while appearing on Watch What Happens Live in March 2019. When asked about the singer's essay in Elle, in which she talked about lessons she's learned over the years, Kloss said, "Taylor's incredible. And I feel really lucky to call her a friend. She's one of the hardest-working women and I loved her essay."

            Things to note!

            1) The pic they used for this article was the one from the Nahville show in '17 because that's LITERALLY the only time Taylor and Karlie were in the same space at the same time in the past 4 years.

            2) Their only 'proof' that there is no 'bad blood' come entirely from Karlie's side. Duh. Until SOMETHING comes from Taylor's side , none of this stuff means anything at all.

            3) Karlie has to like other people's pics of themselves in the folklore cardigan because Taylor didn't send her one (even though she sent out a gazillion of them).

            The kween's kourt can see right through it to The TRUTH!

            This is one of the very bestest reaches of all, though:

            Vulture finally did an article that acknowledges that Taylor has said she is straight, but STILL accuses her of queerbaiting with Lover (but says she gets it 'right" with folklore):


            Taylor Swift’s Songs Can Be As Gay As You Want Them to Be

            Taylor Swift told us she’s straight. She said as much to Vogue last year after releasing her rainbow flag of an album, Lover. “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of,” Swift explained while discussing her foray into vocal LGBTQ allyship at the time. For months prior, rumors about Swift swirled around online — in media circles and Swift fandoms alike — that Swift was going to come out of the closet. Rumors, however wildly flung, only furthered by Swift’s own actions. (The downside of becoming infamous for breadcrumb trails, hidden easter eggs, and everything meaning something is that your fandom will come to assume that your every move is subliminal, whether it actually is or not.) The subtle: a short, blue and pink manicure. (Blue and pink are, notably, colors from the bisexual flag.) The less-subtle: The wording Swift chose to announce her first single off Lover — “‘ME!’ out now!” (“Me!” featured Brendan Urie of Panic! At the Disco, who came out as pansexual in 2018.) The beat-you-over-the-head: Swift debuting the single on Lesbian Visibility Day in an interview with Robin Roberts while wearing a sparkly, rainbow romper. And then, a surprise performance at the Stonewall Inn. Much of Lover felt like being trapped in a crowd of drunk, straight people during a Pride parade.

            Her latest album, folklore, is a refreshing departure from all that. It’s a newish sound for her, but the narrative style she uses on some of the album’s best tracks feels at once familiar and novel. It’s a callback to some of her earliest work. It’s “Enchanted” off Speak Now with its neutral pronouns and lyrics about being kept awake until 2 a.m. plagued by the “lingering question … ‘who do you love?’” It’s “Breathe” all over again. It all set the stage for “betty,” a song about a love triangle which, depending on how you listen to it, could be about three women and absolutely zero men. To arrive at that interpretation, you need to know that, like much of Swift’s best songwriting, it’s all coded: Swift is named for James Taylor and all three of the names used in the song — James, Inez, Betty — are the names of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’s three daughters. James is a woman and Betty, the classmate she pines for the entire song, is too. When James skateboards past Betty’s house, she can’t breathe.

            . . .

            While “You Need to Calm Down” starred a litany of queer celebrities and stylized the word “glad” as “GLAAD,” the overall effect made it feel like Swift herself was the one who needed to calm down.

            . . .

            Conspiracy theories about Swift still abound. The whole album is in lowercase save for Bon Iver’s name. His initials spell … you know. William Bowery is an anagram for “wow I’m really bi.”

            And in a real back-breaking reach, some stans say if you listen to “Mad Woman” around the 1:15 mark you can hear the phrase “Taylor Kloss come out” hidden inside the lyrics. (The actual words are “till her claws come out.”) In the lead-up to the music video for “You Need To Calm Down,” a rumor spread online claiming Swift and Katy Perry — who had famously feuded up until Lover — kissed (and made up) at the end of the video while dressed as french fries and a hamburger, respectively. (Allegedly, footage of the kiss had leaked.) In reality, the two only hugged.

            “That is ABSOLUTELY false,” Swift said of the rumor on Tumblr. “To be an ally is to understand the difference between advocating and baiting. Anyone trying to twist this positivity into something it isn’t needs to calm down.”

            . . .

            Queerbaiting is creating art specifically for queer people, art that targets us for our clicks, our views, and our dollars. Allyship is creating art where we’re just naturally part of the narrative. With folklore, Swift finally gets it right.

            Again, the nitpicky acusations of 'queerbaiting' have always felt like people irritated at Taylor for not paying into their fantasy (which isn't her fault!) or for being the kind of person who always goes overboard when she does anything (like trying to be an ally). She can't help that either!

            But! 'wow, I'm really bi'. Ha! That's klassic.

            Speaking of people who are actually LGBTQ, I guess this is how Swifties found out Cara D is now dating Kaia Gerber:

            It does look comfy cozy I'll bet Karlie wishes.

            Last edited by ophy; 07-30-2020, 11:45 AM.


            • I hate not having my laptop available. Hate posting through my phone.
              Thanks for all the updates guys. I love the album but what else is new. My favourites are cardigan and seven I think but that may change with further listening.

              Here's hoping for a 2020 wedding


              • Thanks, O! That is a lot to absorb.

                The Uproxx review is great. I read the whole thing and it is all about damning the patriarchy and their ideas of the what Taylor Swift is.

                I'm obsessed with Taylor's Rhode Island house now.
                I am obsessed with the house and Rebekah. I would read a biography.

                William Bowery, the singer-songwriter

                I hope that Karlie with the tree and liking random posts is just a coincidence, because her wanting to insert herself into this would just be sad.

                I kinda want a cardigan but It is acrylic and I am a snob. I checked Ravelry and the knitters are working on recreating the pattern but don’t have it there yet. (Though I am such a slow knitter and wouldn’t get to it for years anyway because I have a to-knit list that is long).


                • I see TSwift fans have harassed and doxxed a Pitchfork writer for 'only' giving the album 8 out of 10,

                  They are obsessed with Metacritic averages and hate any lowering of the average (!)

                  I am sure TS does not condone this, but this is definitely the downside of cultivating an intense parasocial relationship with fans, to the extent that they have a crazed desire to defend her at all costs. She needs to come out hard against this kind of shit.


                  • Absolutely uncool, Swifties! Particularly cause 8/10 isn’t a pan! That is still a good review.


                    • After she was widowed, Mrs. Harkness renovated her Rhode Island house; she installed 8 kitchens and 21 baths. This arrangement effectively kept her from having to see her three children on anything like a regular basis.
                      She said "Y'all feed and bathe yourselves, I'm busy."

                      And Karlie liking posts about the cardigan is so sad, I can't. Like why does she do this? They were besties for maybe 2 years and then had a falling out that their friendship couldn't recover from. They weren't even close for very long and no one but Kaylors even believes that they talk anymore. Just STAHP, KK.


                      • Ophy - thanks for the song posts. A great read.

                        I am loving "folklore" but still haven't heard the whole thing. I got it off iTunes a few minutes after it was released - - and fell asleep listening to it. I've played it while working around the house or while driving - - but my sister talks over it, I get distracted, or stuff happens and the album is done before I can process it.
                        From what I've heard it is excellent, dreamy, layered. And, for me, sleep inducing. Every night I put it on but fall asleep within a song or two. It sucks because I recently bought one of those meditation/sleep apps - wasted money right there. If she'd released a week earlier I'd saved myself a few bucks.


                        • Thanks for the update, o!

                          I can't process not liking Betty. It's definitely one of my favorites.
                          Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                          • Hoax and MTR are both about Scott to me. The lyrics sort of mirror each other in pretty obvious ways. Basically, Hoax is what happened to her from their relationship ending and MTR is what happened to Scott or what Scott did. And both use a lot of battle/fighting imagery with weapons and warships.

                            My winless fight

                            'Cause when I'd fight, you used to tell me I was brave

                            I am ash from your fire

                            And if I'm on fire, you'll be made of ashes, too

                            My smoking gun
                            My twisted knife

                            And you can aim for my heart, go for blood

                            My sleepless night

                            And when you can't sleep at night (You hear my stolen lullabies)

                            There might be more connections, but those were the ones that stuck out to me.

                            So I've basically had the album on a loop for a week and after several listens, the songs I still get super in my feels about are Cardigan, Exile, MTR, and August. And this doesn't have any real auto skips (not like ME!, LWYMMD, It's Nice to Have a Friend) but I sometimes skip Seven, Mad Woman, Illicit Affairs, and Epiphany. I will say Mad Woman is maybe what The Man wanted to be in terms of tone and energy, but is way stronger and better. It took awhile for The Man to grow on me and I like it now, but still don't LOVE it. It's hard to think that this tops 1989 as my fave album overall, but man, I so love it. Maybe it does?


                            • I like The Man so much more than mad woman, but maybe it will grow on me.

                              I agree that there are fewer skips on this. Really mad woman is my only potential skip at the moment, though I am giving it more listens. Seven is not great and I don’t love hoax musically, though the lyrics are good. I understand Is’s betty love, though it is just a strong like for me.

                              I am really into tlgad, peace, august, illicit affairs, and exile.


                              • I read somewhere that August is Kiss Me for the 2020 set and ITA. Knowing that Kiss Me was the first song Taylor learned on her guitar makes me believe it even more. Also, I forgot to mention all of the comparisons to Lana Del Ray. I hear it, especially in Cardigan, but would not necessarily call it derivative which is what some folks have been saying.