Books, Music

whoops, evermore is my favorite actually: an album dissection (with book recs!)

Yes, I’m back with another album dissection. ’tis the damn season.

No one expected a second Taylor Swift album release in 2020, least of all me.

I didn’t see how evermore could live up to folklore.

It did…and it might be my new favorite album.

Hear me out:

evermore is more cohesive in sound and narrative.

It doesn’t drag in the middle like folklore does.

It employs more narrators and is stronger for it.

It’s more of a slow burn than a tsunamic wave of emotion and it ends on a hopeful note.

As much as I love folklore, I can’t help but adore evermore.

I keep ranking and reranking all the songs. Perhaps one day I’ll settle on a final ranking.

For now, I’ll talk about each song individually.

I also included book recs because I’m out of control.

willow

Is it fair to call this song Appalachian?

“willow” perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album.

This song has been a slow burn for me because everyone else likes it the most and I’m an iconoclast.

Turns out I’m just like everyone else in this regard.

I’m secretly soft for unexpected love stories. This one is PROBABLY about Joe Alwyn, not me.

Probably.

Book recommendation: Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters

You’ll get: a banjo-fueled mystery with an unexpected romance

champagne problems

The first time I heard this song, I started crying.

The opening piano reminds me of “New Year’s Day,” one of my favorite tracks from reputation.

It took me longer to get on board with the story but now I’m INVESTED.

She turned down your proposal, say? What a scoop!

This song sounds glamorous like a Gatsby party.

I am fully picturing a 1920s gala that takes a dramatic turn on the dance floor.

Book recommendation: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

You’ll get: an old-money Catholic family marred by scandal

gold rush

Twitter claims this song is sapphic.

It took me a few listens but I see it now.

The lyrics are simultaneously bitter and dreamy.

If I had to pick a ship that it reminds me of, I’d pick Adora and Catra.

I love the line, “I’ll call you out on your contrarian shit.”

PLEASE DO THAT. Contrarians are SO ANNOYING.

This is one of the album’s best tracks and not just for gay reasons.

Book recommendation: I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

You’ll get: a sapphic enemies-to-lovers romance

’tis the damn season

When I listen to this song, Im hit with memories of time spent at an ex-friend’s house in Tracyton.

I don’t miss him as much as I miss the feeling of being friends.

Before he became a literal abuser, we would bake scones together.

I don’t know. I’m almost thirty. Bittersweet “What if?” scenarios speak to me.

Book recommendation: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

You’ll get: a second chance romance + love triangle

tolerate it

There’s a relationship I’ve alluded to in past posts that messed me up for a long time.

I recently learned that lots of queer people experience this type of friendship.

In short, I acted as the emotional lodestone for my partnered platonic pal.

I devoted all of my emotional energy to this relationship (while, mind you, I was working at the Worst Job Ever, fighting depression, and writing a novel) and got very little in return.

(That’s not true! I got tons of criticism from her for free!)

I finally gave up when I figured out said friend didn’t care about me.

This song hits so hard, I dissociate when I listen. Engaging fully would hurt too much.

Book recommendation: Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

You’ll get: a first-person account of a teen’s escape from an abusive relationship with a celebrity

no body, no crime (feat. HAIM)

We love a murder ballad.

This is probably the catchiest song on the album. I find myself singing it a lot.

“no body, no crime” feels more convincing than Swift’s past attempts at edginess (see: reputation.)

I don’t care if The Chicks “did it first”; this song is really fun and let’s Swift return to her country roots.

The final bridge is my favorite:

Good thing my daddy made me get a boating license when I was 15

And I’ve cleaned enough houses to know how to cover up a scene

Good thing Este’s sister’s gonna swear she was with me (“She was with me dude”)

Good thing his mistress took out a big life insurance policy

Ice cold.

Book recommendation: Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold

You’ll get: a teen wolf hunter revenge-murdering predators

happiness

This might be Swift’s most mature breakup ballad.

It’s a very poignant portrait of someone making the most of a breakup.

Breakups, as much as they suck, can generate positive change. Happiness mingles with grief, leaving one with complicated memories of the past.

This song features Swift’s best vocal acting since “Style.”

It’s one of my top three evermore songs, hands down.

Book recommendation: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

You’ll get: the very definition of “complex grief”

dorothea

Okay, surely one of these feminine-named songs is canonically queer.

“dorothea” isn’t my favorite track, but it’s the one I’m most convinced is sapphic.

At the very least, there are strong Romantic Two Girl Friendship vibes.

Also, I picture Dorothea wearing a button-down, plaid pants, suspenders, and a hat.

Like a gay hobbit.

Or Brandi Carlile.

Movie still from V for Vendetta (2006): Valerie and Ruth kissing
Or Ruth from V for Vendetta.

I’m rooting for this couple. I think they can work things out.

Book recommendation: Ruinsong by Julia Ember

You’ll get: childhood friends reuniting in a slow burn romance

coney island (feat. The National)

This is my first skip track of the album.

I can’t help thinking of it as “inferior ‘exile.'”

The lyrics are nice. I’m less into the melody.

Something about it leaves me cold.

I truly have nothing else to say about it.

I’m sitting on a bench and everything and I still don’t care.

Book recommendation: Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

You’ll get: a rescue romance with the protagonist literally wondering where their baby went

ivy

Maybe it’s no surprise that my favorite song on evermore blends elements from both “betty” and “invisible string.”

This song sounds like a period piece about pioneer days.

Romantic imagery AND swearing in the chorus? Taylor, you spoil me.

I love this track the most.

Book recommendation: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

You’ll get: a set of stories about Black women trying to realize their desires

cowboy like me

I hate this song.

The guitar solo is nice, though.

Book recommendation: Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

You’ll get: anti-fascist queer librarian cowfolks

long story short

This song sounds like it belongs on an earlier album. (1989, perhaps?)

Pretty fun, kind of forgettable.

Book recommendation: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

You’ll get: a Latinx teen deciding she deserves to be appreciated for who she is

marjorie

I foolishly assumed this was a sapphic grief song because I have a one-track mind.

I like that this one is personal. (According to what I’ve read, it’s about Swift’s grandmother.)

Solid “I miss you” track.

Not as queer as “dorothea,” but stronger emotionally.

The breathy vocals and the specific memories make it.

Book recommendation: Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

closure

Another song that hits me especially hard.

I haven’t heard Taylor Swift play with time signature before.

Compared to “tolerate it,” this song feels somewhat triumphant.

The narrator sounds secure in their decision to reject reconciliation attempts. I believe them when they say they’re doing better.

You know the friendship I mentioned in “tolerate it?” That friend made a half-assed attempt at reconciliation.

I tortured myself trying to come up with a response and finally decided she didn’t deserve one.

I’m fine with my spite. I earned it.

Book recommendation: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

You’ll get: a protagonist navigating challenging and occasionally unhealthy relationships

evermore (feat. Bon Iver)

“evermore” is both a perfect closing track and a perfect title track.

I love the get-dumped-and-stare-out-the-window-for-four-months vibes.

I also love that Taylor Swift fans have been treated to both low register Bon Iver and falsetto Bon Iver.

“evermore” is the quietest, wintriest track on the album, yet it also carries a sense of hope.

2020 has been utter shit but we’re going to be okay.

Book recommendation: The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

You’ll get: two survivors finding healing together

I AM listening to other albums, okay?

Sometimes I listen to Lover!

Listen, if we a get a third Taylor Swift album before 2020 ends, I will lose my mind.

Let me know your favorite track in the comments.

5 thoughts on “whoops, evermore is my favorite actually: an album dissection (with book recs!)”

  1. I enjoyed your track by track analysis to the album! I have to say when I first listened to this album I wasn’t in the right headspace for it so I didn’t care for it. Then my second listen, WOOF I was hit with SO many emotions!!! Turns out I do actually like this album… do I like it more than folklore, I don’t know yet… I need to listen to it some more!
    I haven’t decided what my fave song is yet. I am SO with you about cowboy like me, I can’t stand that song and I feel like it’s a blend of the music and the lyrics.
    Happiness is such a good song that I find myself humming. And I have to say no body, no crime grew on me really fast. I wasn’t a fan at first, but now every time I listen to it I feel like I’m listening to the story for the first time every time and it’s SO catchy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! A few of my friends really loved folklore and were thus unimpressed with evermore, which I get. It’s VERY DIFFERENT.

      cowboy like me is so weird to me, like what is it DOING here? Even country Taylor would never have done this!

      Oh man, both those songs are so catchy. I especially love the story work in no body, no crime! WE GOTTA AVENGE ESTE.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They are very different and after listening to it multiple times I’m really enjoying it. And if I was to pick at this time I’d prefer to listen to evermore over folklore. Right now my favourite song is evermore. But it changes constantly.

        HA! I agree, I find myself skipping cowboy like me every time because I just can’t get through it.

        YES! The story is SO good!

        Liked by 1 person

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