Taylor Swift, the well-known and beloved country-to-pop star, has been extraordinarily prolific in the last year. After the release of her pop album “Lover” in 2019, Swift has released two full albums, “folklore” and “evermore” (stylized in all lowercase), as well as deluxe versions of those albums and live studio sessions. The original “folklore” album has sixteen tracks and the “evermore” album has fifteen. Both albums feature Bon Iver, and the second features HAIM and The National. As if that was not enough content, she has recently announced that she will be releasing a new version of her 2008 country album “Fearless,” complete with twenty-six songs and including six unheard songs “from the vault”.
Swift’s fans have been elated all through the last year about the amount of content she is releasing. She has been one of the most active artists throughout the pandemic, when many went silent. As a result, Swift became a voice of the people, for in her songs she sought to find beauty in the small and ordinary, just as we have learned to do when the world closes down.
Many fans wonder: Why now? Why is Taylor Swift working on and releasing so much music, and so quickly? It seems that the answer has to do with a kind of reclaiming of her own narrative. Since entering the mainstream, Swift has been one of the most well-known singers in the United States, and her image has been produced and tailored to perfection. She has always been a country and pop singer that defined the mainstream, never stepping out of the bounds of people’s expectations. However, with “folklore” and “evermore,” Swift began to show more unique colors. Her new albums tell stories and span many genres, instead of limiting themselves to just one. The genres presented in her two new albums span from folktronica to indie folk to baroque pop and alternative rock, according to Google Music. Taylor Swift is breaking up the narrative that has been created for her by branching out.
On social media, Swift has talked about why she is releasing a new version of “Fearless.” She says that this is only the beginning, and that she plans to remake all six of her first albums.
“I’ve spoken a lot about why I’m remaking my first six albums, but the way I’ve chosen to do this will hopefully illuminate where I’m coming from,” she writes on Instagram. “Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really *knows* that body of work. For example, only I know which songs I wrote that almost made the “Fearless” album. Songs I absolutely adored, but were held back for different reasons (Don't want too many downtempo songs, can't fit that many songs on a physical CD). Those reasons seem unnecessary now. I've decided I want you to have the whole story, see the entire vivid picture, and let you into the entire Dreamscapes that is my “Fearless” album.”
When Swift talks about wanting her audience to see “the entire vivid picture”, we understand that she wants us to understand her. We are seeing more and more that Taylor Swift is longing for her hundreds of millions of fans to understand her better, and that is a beautiful, uncommon thing.