favorite evermore lyrics and initial review and reaction

 

Evermore is a gorgeous, brilliant, shining record. I knew I'd love evermore before I put on the first track, but I was also nervous. How do you top folklore so soon after its release? I felt like I was finally starting to understand folklore on a deeper level and there was already something new. Evermore radiates in a way folklore doesn't. While folklore flows together in a dark woods at twilight feeling, evermore's songs glitter in individual, shining way. These songs have higher highs and stand alone stronger than folklore. They have more vitality, interesting production, and beats. Still, folklore stands out as a full run of seventeen songs, not to be picked into individual segments. Both albums have places of strength, but they play beautifully together. Evermore makes the perfect sister album by playing on folklore's strengths and tropes and taking them in a new direction. Evermore also feels a bit older, like the characters are moving forward. There was a trio of high school romance on folklore and now our fictional characters are in college. Also, I'm learning from this that William Bowery might be my new favorite Taylor co-writer. 

As always, Taylor has delivered so many beautiful stories and captivating lines that I want to go through, track by track, and talk about my first interpretations and favorite lyrics. I'm going to make a reaction for my YouTube channel: find that here this weekend or Monday, but I wanted to get my first thoughts down here.

1. willow

"willow" starts the album with an entirely new tone. It's bouncy and has a lilting tone you want to nod along to while still having that folk edge that's become trademark to this era. The melody in the chorus is infectious. During the YouTube chat, she wrote, "‘willow’ is about intrigue, desire, and the complexity that goes into wanting someone. I think it sounds like casting a spell to make somebody fall in love with you (an oddly specific visual)". 

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (produced by Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics

Begging you to take my hand/Wreck my plans, that's my man

Like you were a trophy or a champion ring/But there was one prize I'd cheat to win

Show me the places where the others gave you scars (love this lyrical parallel to "cardigan")

Every bait-and-switch was a work of art

2. champagne problems

I love break up songs that just ooze pain, and this one does that completely. "champagne problems" is one of the most self contained stories on the album. Even though she's only looking at the end of the relationship under the microscope, it still feels like you can see their entire world. I also like that the perspective of this one casts Taylor's character as the villain in a sense even though she was only doing what was best for her. The song is generally about two college sweethearts who are getting together over the holidays, and the love interest is planning to propose, but Taylor rejects his proposal. There's so much guilt while also staying resolute. Also, it reminds me of "last great american dynasty" in the sense that we're diving into Taylor's characters emotions but also getting the misogynistic comments from the town too. It's the perfect messy love story/break up. This is one of my absolute favorites. 

Writers: Taylor Swift and William Bowery (produced by Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics

You booked the night train for a reason/So you could sit there in this hurt

Your heart was glass, I dropped it

Your hometown skeptics called it/Champagne problems 

One for the money, two for the show/I never was ready so I watched you go

Sometimes you just don't know the answer/Till someone's on their knees and asks you

But you'll find the real thing instead/She'll patch up the tapestry I shred

You won't remember all my/Champagne problems

3. gold rush

This one wasn't on my gut reaction list of favorites, but now it's quickly creeping into my top 3 maybe. I love the syncopated sound as she jumps into the chorus. There's so much life in it. I love the concept of the song. It's basically about idealizing someone who you're crushing on. She imagines this life with this person, but then she reminds herself that it'll never be. It's like she's fighting a battle in herself between keeping up the dream and knowing that'll only hurt more. There's an added layer that the object of affection is desired by everyone around her too. They're evidently special, and that extra attention makes Taylor even more nervous. This is also Jack Antonoff's favorite on the album. 

Writers & Producers: Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift

Favorite Lyrics:

I don't like anticipating my face in a red flush

I don't like that anyone would die to feel your touch

Everybody wonders what it would be like to love you

I don't like slow motion, double vision in a rose blush

I don't like that falling feels like flying till the bone crush

I see me padding across your wooden floors/With my eagles T-shirt hanging from the door/At dinner parties I call you out on your contrarian shit

Cause it could never be

4. tis the damn season

I was scared she was going to go full Christmas song here. Instead it's a song about going back to your old town for the holidays and you get back with your high school sweetheart, even if it's a horrible idea. There's a nostalgia baked into it and an uncertainty. Again, it has my favorite trope. People who are maybe mean to be but aren't. They wonder about each other when they're gone and marvel at how they're so connected, but she can't stay with them.  I love this song so much. It's by far one of my favorites on the album. 

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (produced by Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

If I wanted to know who you were hanging with/While I was gone, I would have asked you

So we could call it even/You could call me "babe" for the weekend

I'm stayin' at my parents' house/ and the road not taken looks real good now

Now I'm missing your smile, just hear me out/We could just ride around

Sleep in half the day just for old time's stake/I won't ask you to wait if you don't ask me to stay

I know the only heart I'm breaking is my own 

5. tolerate it

Ready for a crushing break up song. It's always resignation that stabs the deepest to me in songs. People settling for things they shouldn't, believing they don't deserve better. The twist here is that Taylor intellectually knows that she deserves more than toleration, but she's still putting up with it. You can also watch Taylor gaslight herself in these lyrics as she repeats the idea that he's so much older and wiser. There has to be something she's doing wrong that she's missing. Then, in the bridge, she gains so much more agency and wonders about leaving. I love how this song illustrates that what you know and what you can do in your life are worlds apart. 

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (produced by Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

I notice everything you do or don't do

wait by the door like I'm just a kid/Use my best colors for your portraits

Lay the table with the fancy shit/And watch you tolerate it 

I know my love should be celebrated/But you tolerate it

Where's the man who threw blankets over my barbed wire 

Now I'm begging for footnotes in the story of your life 

Took this dagger in me and removed it 

6. no body, no crime (feat. HAIM)

From the second I heard the opening notes of this song, I saw a saloon showdown right in front of me. There's a western bar in my town (literally named the cowboy bar), and I picture that place and the old western theater every time I hear this song. It is probably the most complete, dramatic story that the album has to offer. Layers upon layers upon murder mystery. Again, you can feel the country influence that runs through this entire album. In the YouTube comments, Taylor mentioned she wrote it about her love of true crime podcasts, and how she ended up casting her best friend, Este Haim, as the main character. It's so fascinating as each verse elevates. It starts with suspected cheating. Then Este goes missing and it seems like she was murdered, and then it ends with Taylor disposing of his body. 

Writers: Taylor Swift (produced by: Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

Her husband's acting differently, and it smells like infidelity 

That ain't my jewelry on our joint account

I think he did it, but I just can't prove it

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

Good thing Este's sister is going to swear she was with me 

7. happiness

"happiness" was one of my immediate favorites because it's all complicated break up feelings. Taylor has been so inspired by divorce on this record, and for some reason, my 17 year old self loves it. There's so much complexity in those sad emotions. In the loss. This feels like a sister song to "peace" because they're both dark songs about light emotions. "happiness" is both about falling apart and moving on at the same time. I also love how Taylor gets a dig in and then backs off from it. It's like she's navigating the confusion of becoming a new person without her love interest. She knows there's happiness after this pain, but she's also still in the thick of the grief. This song was finished just a week before release day.

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (produced by Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

all these years I've given/Is just shit we're dividing up

I was dancing when the music stopped

There'll be happiness after you/But there was happiness because of you/Both of these things can be true

When did all our lessons start to look like weapons/Pointed at my deepest hurt

I hope she'll be your beautiful fool/Who takes my spot next to you/No, I didn't mean that/Sorry I can't see facts through all of my fury" 

I can't make it go away by making you the villain

But now my eyes leak acid rain on the pillow where you used to rest your head

8.  dorothea

This was the first song written for the album, interestingly enough. This song is probably linked to "tis the season" in a way because "dorothea" is about a small town girl who moves to LA to chase her dreams, and "tis the season" is about a girl from LA who comes home. This seems to be from the perspective of the love interest now, building on the idea that they're the one person who truly understand each other. This love interest offers Dorothea the chance to come home and be understood if Hollywood has gone sour. I love this concept, so even though it's not my favorite production, it makes me so happy. It has that nostalgia I love. 

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (produced by Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

You got shiny friends when you left town/A tiny screen's the only place I see you now 

It's never too late to come back to my side/The stars in your eyes shined brighter in Tupelo

And if you ever get tired of being known for who you know

Ooh, you're a queen selling dreams, selling make up in magazines

Hey Dorothea, do you ever stop and think about me?

When it was calmer, skipping prom just to piss off your mom and the pageant scheme

9. coney island (feat. The National)

This was one of my original favorites. I honestly wish it wasn't a duet, but I don't think that The National messes it up either. There's a rumor this was a Rep reject, which might point to why I love it so much. There are so many incredible lines in this song, and it completes the album because Taylor needs an NYC nod in every single album. I think I'm also drawn to this song because it's about a relationship that has died, and they're both just sitting there wondering what happened. In expressing that, she puts such a clear image to it. I can so clearly see a foggy day on the end of a boardwalk with a paint chipped bench. I'd totally forgotten William wrote on this song too, but it keeps up the pattern. 

Writers: Taylor Swift, Aaron Dessner, Bryan Dessner, and William Bowery

Favorite Lyrics:

Break my soul in two looking for you/But you're right here

And if this is the long haul/How did we get here so soon?

Did I shatter you?

And I'm sitting on a bench at Coney Island/Wondering where did my baby go?

What's a lifetime of achievement/If I pushed you to the edge?

But you were too polite to leave me

Will you forgive my soul/When you're too wise to trust me and too old to care?

There's also a brilliant section of the bridge where Taylor seems to go through well known, major moments when her relationships started to fall apart, giving a nod to each ex in this long road of stale relationships. Where did it all go wrong.

Did I leave you hanging every single day? 

Were you standing in the hallway (not likely, but this could be a tie to Harry Styles who has a song on his debut album called "Meet Me In The Hallway)

With a big cake, happy birthday (this is probably a nod back to her song "The Moment I Knew" off of Red from the famous moment Jake Gyllenhaal stood her up on her birthday

Did I paint your bluest skies dark grey (this is a clear tie back to "Dear John" off of Speak Now where she realizes how wrong John Mayer was to date her when she was 19 and he was 32. "you paint me a blue sky and go back and turn it to rain"). 

A universe away

And when I got into the accident/The sight that flashed before me was your face (This is probably the more likely Harry reference than the first one, tying back to "Out of the Woods" and the famous snow mobile accident.)

When I walked up to the podium I think that I forgot to say your name (this is most likely a Calvin Harris dig from old award show drama). 

This is a brilliant whose who of old songs even more than old exes. 

10. ivy

I had a feeling this wouldn't be about a name but about the plant, and somehow, I was right! This whole song makes me think of a pioneer woman in a bonnet standing in the prairie, feeling her heart get ripped out. Which is dramatic, but I think it speaks to the song. If this song isn't meant to be set on a homestead in the 1800s sometime, I'm going to be really confused. Also, this seems to be an old timey "Illicit Affair".

Writers: Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, and Taylor Swift (produced by Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

I'd meet you where the spirit meets the bones

Your touch brought forth an incandescent glow 

My pain fits in the palm of your freezing hand

Stop you putting roots in my dreamland

11. cowboy like me

For as vintage as "ivy" feels, "cowboy like me" is a surprisingly modern twist on the subject. This concept reminds me a lot of "Getaway Car". Like "Getaway Car" if they both made it out in the end. They're both con artists falling for one another, something the narrator never thought would happen. It's a fascinating character study. 

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (produced by Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

Now I know/I'm never gonna love again

Now I'm waiting by the phone/Like I'm sitting in an airport bar

Eyes full of stars/Hustling for the good life

We could be the way forward/And I know I'll pay for it

And the old men that I've swindled/Really did believe I was the one 

Now your boots beneath my bed/Forever is the sweetest con

12. long story short

This song is exactly what I wanted it to be. It's Taylor running through her history and the twists and turns. It's like the Cliff Notes of the entire Reputation Era with an assured happy ending. This time, she's not writing about all the horrible things she's gone through, she's skimming through that to get to the good stuff on the other side. 

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (produced by Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

I tried to pick my battles til my battles picked me

If the shoe fits, walk in it til your high heel breaks 

And I fell from the pedestal/Right down the rabbit hole (this seems like a nod to "Wonderland")

Pushed from the precipice/Clung to the nearest lips/Long story short it was the wrong guy

I always felt like I must look better in the rear view

Your nemeses/Will defeat themselves before you get a chance to swing

Rare as the glimmer of a comet in the sky

13. Marjorie

"marjorie" was the closest I got to crying listening to this album. Folklore seems to be much more of the crying album. Evermore is lighter and breezier. This song pays tribute to her grandmother, Marjorie, since "epiphany", the 13th track on folklore, pays tribute to her grandfather, Dean. In this song, Taylor talks about reflecting on her childhood with her grandmother and the life lessons she learned from Marjorie. She also discusses how she still feels like Marjorie is still close to her, even though she passed in 2003. Marjorie was an opera sister and her background vocals are used in this song. The bridge is particularly incredible and briefly touches on how Taylor seems to think she inherited her career from her grandmother. 

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (produced by: Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics:

Never be so kind/You forget to be clever/Never be so clever/You forget to be kind

You're alive, you're alive in my head

Never be so polite/You forget your power/Never wield so much power/You forget to be polite

And if I didn't know better/I'd think you were listening to me now

And I complained the whole way there/The car ride back and up the stairs/I should've asked you questions/I should've asked you how to be

Should've kept every grocery receipt/Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me

All your closets of backlogged dreams/And how you left them all to me

14. closure 

This song is probably the most sonically different on the album from everything else. It starts with clashing metal sounds and progresses into a soft piano ballad, which is a bit confusing. I like the essence of the song a lot, and it has some brilliant lines, but it does get repetitive. 

Writers: Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift

Favorite Lyrics:

And seeing the shape of your name/Still spells out pain

Yes, I got your letter/Yes I'm doing better/I know that it's over/I don't need your/Closure 

Don't treat me like I'm/Some situation that needs handled 

Staying friends would iron it out so nice

15. evermore 

I have the least opinions on "evermore" out of everything because it's the one I've heard the least, and you can thank Bon Iver for that one. His part was so jarring I couldn't even process the second half of the song last night. It's less horrible this morning, but it's still frustrating. I sincerely have no other opinions on this song besides that I loved it till he showed up. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but I don't even know what the story is supposed to be at this point. Why couldn't he have just replicated his "exile" performance

Writers: Taylor Swift, Bon Iver, and William Bowery (produced by Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner)

Favorite Lyrics

Motion Capture/Put me in a bad light

Writing letters/Addressed to the fire

Can't remember/What I used to fight for

I rewind the tape, but all it does is pause

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