If there’s one thing that can make most of the music world stand still, it’s a surprise Taylor Swift album. And that’s exactly what happened Thursday night for “Folklore,” an album that virtually no one who hadn’t signed a non-disclosure agreement knew was coming until Swift revealed on Thursday morning that it was coming in about 15 hours. Music’s social media channels talked of little else as people all across the world dug into the low-key and intimate album — which was probably part of the reason she surprise-dropped it — which was largely created in collaboration with Aaron Dessner of Brooklyn-based alternative band The National.
A highlight of the album is the single “Cardigan,” and Swift dropped a video for it around the time of the album’s release. The single is part of a “fictional high school trilogy” of songs on the album (for more on that, read our review). While there’s not much high school in the video, it definitely suits the album’s folkloric and intimate vibe, beginning with Swift playing a piano in a dimly lit room, and then climbs into a wooden chest filled with water and emerges in a woodland and sits down and finishes the song on a moss-covered piano that has a waterfall streaming from the back of it. Then the same thing happens when she climbs into the piano bench, and emerges in a stormy sea that just happens to have a piano floating in it. It’s all very “Narnia.”
In the announcement, Swift noted that the shoot for the video, which she directed, was “overseen by a medical inspector, everyone wore masks, stayed away from each other, and I even did my own hair, make-up and styling.”
In a social media posts, Swift explained that the album is the result of many of her plans for 2020 — including a short stadium tour supporting her 2019 album “Lover” — were scrapped due to the pandemic. In lockdown, she wrote the new album’s songs in isolation, collaborating with Bon Iver, William Bowery and Jack Antonoff.