Reese and Payton’s Unshakenly Unbiased Pop Culture Review: Evermore

Payton+and+Reese+frolicking+in+a+field+with+the+one+and+only+Taylor+Swift+

Payton and Reese frolicking in a field with the one and only Taylor Swift

Reese Hillman and Payton Breck

Taylor Swift recently dropped her 9th studio album in December of 2020. We, as Radnor’s resident Taylor Swift enthusiasts, have taken it upon ourselves to review the masterpiece that is Evermore. We would like to preface by saying that music taste is subjective, but if you disagree with us, you are wrong.

In July, she surprise-released Folklore, which began to delve into the indie/alternative genre. Met with unprecedented success, Taylor is now nominated for 6 Grammys. If Justin Beiber’s “Yummy” beats Folklore’s second track, “Cardigan,” for song of the year, we, along with a band of Twitter stans and enraged Swifties, will commit arson. If that does not work, then we will pull a circa 2009 Kanye West and interrupt Justin Beiber in the middle of his acceptance speech. She is an icon, she is a legend, and she IS the moment. Come on now.

Evermore is the sister album to Taylor Swift’s objectively iconic folklore. She released it at midnight, like the queen she is, after announcing it that morning. The album full of soul-crushing sadness, mind-twisting lyrics, and existential- crisis- inducing songs Immediately made the Billboard Hot 100 list. As of right now, Evermore is number one, with Folklore close behind at number eleven.

willow

As the first song on the album and the first music video, there was a lot of pressure on this song to be good. And it was. Willow opens with a beautiful strummed melody, similar to the one in the intro of Invisible String on Folklore. The music video started at the last scene of the Cardigan music video, which was released when Folklore dropped. The rush of emotion that overcame me when listening to this song was devastating- mainly excitement and pride for Taylor because the song was so good. Although it’s not one of the best songs on the album, in my (very correct) opinion, it was a great transition from Folklore to the more moody and emotional tones of Evermore and left me sitting in shocked silence trying to process it for minutes. Overall, it’s a great vibe. Truly can’t complain. 

 

champagne problems

This song absolutely broke me. I will set the scene for you. It’s 12:15 in the morning. Reese and I were on facetime listening to the whole album. Champagne problems is the second track, so I was already emotional. I was also not prepared for the surge of emotions that came over me while listening to this song. It was a story. Let me tell you this story. A woman rejects a man’s proposal, and they are both heartbroken in separate ways. The sound of her voice reflects the overall emotion that she embedded in not only champagne problems but also the entire album. The middle of the song features a very defining bridge. The former half of the song is lovely and slow, while the latter half of the song is quicker and more emotional. This comparison between the two halves of the song reflects Taylor’s heart-wrenching changes in champagne problem’s story. The song did in fact make me burst into tears. I probably still listen to it every single day. 

 

gold rush

Like many of Taylor’s songs, half of the fun is speculating who this one’sabout. On my first listen, I automatically assumed Taylor was referencing her (probably PR) relationship with Harry Styles with lines like “What must it be like to be so beautiful, with your hair falling into place like dominos,” in addition to the title’s reference to Harry’s song Golden. However, the deeper speculators think this song is a reference to Kaylor, Taylor’s supposed relationship with Karlie Kloss. In fact, in an Instagram post from May 6, 2019, Karlie Kloss poses in a golden dress with the caption “Gold rush.” No matter who this song is about, it’s truly a fun time nonetheless- a head bopper that still fits the artistry and muted quality of the rest of the albumIt opens with a high chorus before the beat drops, and Taylor spouts her godly lyrics. The chorus includes a key shift that’s surprising but exciting, reminding me of Lorde. . With lyrics like “At dinner parties I call you out on your contrarian shit, and the coastal town we wandered round had never seen a love as pure as it. And then it fades into the gray of my day old tea cause you know it could never be,” how can you not simultaneously want to sob, dance, and scream into your pillow? Taylor communicates her angst in such an amazing way.

 

‘tis the damn season

This song represents the transition between the fall and the winter – aka “the damn season”. In the song the brilliant Swift comments on going back to her hometown and having this ambiguous and ongoing relationship that is filled with uncertainties. The chorus features more powerful vocals than the bridge, which is more lovely and soft. When I listened to this song the very first time, probably at around 12:45 am at this point, I pictured falling autumn-themed leaves and reconnecting a spark with someone. The line that really stuck out to me was when Swift sang “and the road not taken looks really good now, and it always leads to you and my hometown.” These two lines close the song, leaving the listener fulfilled but also questioning everything; at least, that is what it was like for me. The framing of this lost innocence when one leaves their hometown to go out into the world only to return every so often and feel it once again really captures the fleeting feeling of growing up, which left me questioning the world around me. Now I listen to this song almost every day and let’s be honest, it never gets old and the meaning is never lost on me. Well done, Taylor. 

 

tolerate it

Who knows where to start with this song? All I can say is that Taylor did not need to bring her listeners through this devastating, soul-crushing emotional journey. With a soft piano opening and low chorus, you can practically feel the sadness resonating through the speakers. The heartbreak truly sets in at the chorus when Taylor sings  about unreciprocated love, with the lyrics “Wait by the door  like I’m just a kid, use my best colors for your portrait, lay the table with the fancy shit, and watch you tolerate it.” Taylor i communicates that perhaps the most painful type of rejection is indifference. While listening to this song, I buried my head into my pillow. Too numb to cry, I was just lying there literally heaving. Although this song is absolutely beautiful, take this review as your warning: after listening to this song, you will feel like you want to throw yourself into a pit and lie there for a long, long time. 

 

no body, no crime [feat. Haim]

After tolerate it, the mood completely switches with this song. While tolerate it is soul crushing, no body, no crime is exciting and almost shocking. It acts as an amazing contrast between tolerate it and happiness. It is arguably the most up-beat song off of Evermore. After sobbing during tolerate it, I lay on my bed with drying tears trying to come to terms with this new and enthralling song. The second Evermore was released, fans have been speculating about the connection between no body no crime and the song Getaway Car from Reputation. The two songs both talk about a crime; Getaway Car depicts Taylor committing the crime with someone else (many think Harry Styles) and no body, no crime depicting the aftermath of the same crime, leading to many fan theories that Taylor Swift committed vehicular manslaughter. I am not sure how much of those theories are rooted in truth, but it sure is entertaining to think about at 3 in the morning while re-thinking your entire life as I find myself doing every other day! This song tells the story of a woman named Este. In the opening verses of the song, Taylor alludes to Este’s husband’s cheating on her and some shady business dealing. After Este claims she is going to confront him, she mysteriously goes missing. Taylor sings that she believes Este’s husband killed her, and because no body is found, the husband is not convicted of any crimes (hence no body, no crime). In the latter half of the song, Taylor further alludes to the idea that she actually murders the husband, but she is never convicted because there is no body or evidence. Overall, this story is a mystery novel in itself, which can be attributed to Taylor’s love of true crime podcasts. 

 

happiness

After no body, no crime, this song serves as a slow interlude. The title is very deceptive as the song is certainly not happy, but rather focuses on a loss of happiness from a relationship. She sings about the various points during a relationship where love begins to feel superficial. Happiness represents a turn in her album, much like the theme of the song represents a turn in a romantic relationship. For example, Swift sings “Tell me, when did your winning smile begin to look like a smirk? When did all our lessons start to look like weapons pointed at my deepest hurt?.” Fans have connected this line to the lines in the song Haunted in Taylor’s Speak Now album, along with several other connections they have made from evermore to Taylor’s old albums.This song is also one of the longer ones on the album, clocking in at just over five minutes. After the excitement of no body no crime, this song’s mournful subject will certainly make you question your life and some of your various relationships. 

 

dorothea

One of the most underrated songs on the album, dorothea, forces you to shift your melancholic emotions after happiness into those of almost…  tranquility? In dorothea, the narrator sings about their high school memories with Dorothea, who has moved on to bigger and better things and become famous, while our narrator wistfully watches, stuck in a small town. They wonder, “Hey Dorothea, do you ever stop and think about me?” The lyric “And if you’re ever tired of being known for who you know, you know, you’ll always know me” is a devastating line masked with a soft beat and calming instrumentals. I think that Taylor is expressing her exhaustion at her fame, only known for “who she knows,” and maybe begging for a lifeline like the one the narrator is trying to provide for Dorothea. All I can say is, Taylor, if you ever read this article, come on down to Radnor, and Payton and I will take you out to coffee. Hopefully with the mask, you won’t even be recognized! Anyways, I absolutely adore this song. The small beat drop at about 1:44 truly makes me wonder why I haven’t dropped everything to live in a giant meadow dancing in flowers. This song is absolutely incredible. It sounds like cottagecore dresses, desire, serotonin, and angst.

 

coney island [feat. The National]

This song may as well be the most brooding song on Evermore. A couple of the most heartbreaking lyrics from this song include (but are certainly not limited to) “Lost again with no surprises, disappointments close your eyes,” “Did I close my fist around something delicate? Did I shatter you?” and “Did I paint your skies the darkest grey?” Those are just snippets of a heartbreaking song rooted in passionate and soul crushing memories, also featuring a male perspective sung by The National. The story of two souls who constantly try to connect to each other, but fail to, is heartbreaking. The line “I’m sitting on a bench in Coney Island wondering where did my baby go” depicts a breakup that had no definitive conclusion, leaving both taylor’s character and the National’s character feeling lost. When I first listened to this song it felt like I was Taylor and could feel all of the emotions that she was going through in this song. Similar to tolerate it, this song is soul crushing and will most likely leave you in tears. 

 

ivy

At least on Tik Tok rankings, ivy is a fan-favorite off of evermore. Like dorothea, the instrumental is lighter than the brooding minor chords and piano of songs like champagne problems and tolerate it. The lyrics are absolutely stunning: “In from the snow, your touch brought forth an incandescent glow” and “My pain fits in the palm of your freezing hand.” ivy illustrates an all-consuming, but probably not very healthy romance. When I listened to the bridge for the first time, I clapped my hand to my mouth and started tearing up. I’m not sure what about hits so different. Maybe it’s Taylor’s vocals, which are clear, precise, and unprocessed, portraying her raw emotion and vulnerability so perfectly.. ivy is a perfect representation of evermore– angst, exhaustion, desire over all else, pristine vocals, and enchanting lyrics.

 

cowboy like me

In an interesting contrast to ivy, cowboy like me is one of the most slandered songs on TikTok. It’s consistently at the bottom of rankings, and although I personally do not understand this outlook, I believe it is because the song’s slow tempo and melancholy lyrics aren’t as engaging and exciting as her other music. However, I believe that the cowboy like me hate era is a PR stunt because this song is a masterpiece. Lyrics like “And the skeletons in both our closets plotted hard to mess this up” and “Now you hang from my lips like the Gardens of Babylon” keep me up at night. Taylor’s vocals are absolutely ethereal and this listening to this song is like simultaneously falling into an abyss and rising into heaven.

 

long story short 

This song is quite different then the rest of the songs off of evermore. When I first heard the song, it appeared as slightly upbeat and made reference to Alice inWonderland with lyrics such as “right down the rabbit hole.” This song reminded me less of folklore – its sister album – and more of a mix between Red and Lover. Taylor  comments on her new found romance and how it brought her out of a dark time from a previous romance. The metaphor of being put on a pedestal and then being thrown off is extremely powerful because it depicts the toxicity of idolization, especially within relationships. Many fans additionally claim that this is their favorite song off of evermore. Taylor even name drops the album singing quote “and my waves meet your shore ever and evermore.” 

 

marjorie 

On top of being significant to her listeners, marjorie is a very special song to Miss Swift because it is about her late grandmother, Marjorie. It is sure to evoke a tear- or, allow me to rephrase, a tsunami- from any listeners that have lost a relative. Frankly, I need 5-7 business days to recover from listening to this song. As if it’s not painful enough, Taylor’s genius shines through in that she uses vocals from her grandmother in the song. That’s right. The two get to sing together. Taylor clearly poured her heart and soul into this song. Lyrics reflecting on her relationship with her grandmother like “I should’ve asked you questions, I should’ve asked you how to be” make me tear upon impact. This song reminds me of “Never Grow Up” on her third album, Speak Now, in its mature theme and reminiscent element. In summary, this song is deep, powerful, resonant, and absolutely heartbreaking.

 

closure

Personally, and I absolutely do not blame Taylor for this, it is my belief that her producer accidently put this song on the album. We will disregard this song. 

 

evermore [feat. Bon Iver]

evermore, being the name of the album and the last featured song, represents an ongoing lust and romanticism. The whole record dabbled in themes of life and love, and this final song encompasses how life and love are meant to be: evermore. The direct definition of evermore is “always,” meaning that life is always round us, even when we believe it to be dead. Love is always with us, whether in the form of romantic love or platonic love. The addition of Bon Iver’s ethereal voice fits perfectly with the song, and it even seems to encompass some of the long notes of his own music. The song has this sort of mysticism to it that will leave you both broken-hearted and mended at the same time. The final lyric of the whole album is “evermore” which Taylor sings slowly and elegantly, tying the record together in perfect harmony. At this point, it was around two in the morning when I finally finished listening to the entire record, and let me tell you, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. 

 

right where you left me

There are a lot of factions in the Swift fandom, but almost all Swifties can agree on one thing: right where you left me is one of Taylor Swift’s best songs. The first of Taylor’s two bonus tracks, this song’s most incredible trait is its versatility. Taylor could have released it in any of her eras, and it would have been a smashing success. Although this is completely unconfirmed, I like to theorize that right where you left me is from Este’s perspective (the woman murdered in no body, no crime). Allow me to elaborate. The chorus of this song goes “Help, I’m still at the restaurant…I swear you could hear a hair pin drop right when I felt the moment stop.” In no body, no crime, Taylor writes that Este goes to Olive Garden frequently, and I imagine this “hair pin drop” scene as the moment that she found out that her husband has a mistress (a sneaking suspicion apparent in the opening of no body, no crime).  While this is only a guess, this song is still stunning and a wonderful representation of Taylor’s genius.

 

it’s time to go

Taylor’s second and final bonus track resonates with the devastating themes of tolerate it and right where you left me. it’s time to go is about giving your all in a relationship with no reciprocation. Fitting with the rest of the album, it’s time to go is heartbreaking. Again, Taylor’s vocals are mature and enchanting. What makes me the most sad about this song is that it’s the last song of evermore, and, by extension, the closing of the folklore era. evermore was an admitted extension of folklore, it’s “sister album,” and Taylor is never one to fixate on a certain sound. We can definitely expect her to delve into a new genre following this album and the vulnerability and uniqueness of the Folklore era is definitely something that I and her other fans will miss. Something breaks inside me when I listen to the closing of this song: “You know when it’s time to go, so then you go, then you go, you just go.” 

 

Personally, the evolution of Taylor throughout the years is deeply connected to me because I grew up listening to her. I remember dancing around my living room at age nine screaming my head off to Our Song from her debut album. Now, evermore represented, to me, growing up from this whimsical child and all of the dreamy ideas we had as children. However, that does not mean that we should not dream. Evermore’s whole theme really encompasses how I think we  all feel growing up. Taylor argues through her music that growing up is not necessarily a negative thing, despite how afraid society is of it. Life and love will persist in an elegant array of emotions flying from person to person, and we evolve with our own souls, and evermore allowed me to come to this realization. Thank you, Taylor. Thank you.