The question is, did you double-check that Twitter and verified that blue check for confirmation? Took a fast glance at today’s date just to be sure it is not a prank or a late celebration of April fools? Yep, it’s all good to be true: one in all the most acclaimed and charismatic pop stars of the 21st century is releasing a nostalgic piece of art, previously unannounced album to date.
Okay, so it isn’t an entire surprise, and we are used to it– Taylor Swift will make us think wild about 16 hours of the interval before the midnight release of her anticipated 8th album Folklore, which by this year’s standards may be more sort of a week in non-2020 time. But the news remains shocking as her fans are preparing for her unexpected and sudden comeback.
What a clever move in an unexpected time. The first, of course, is that Swift’s previous era wasn’t necessarily the same as they advertised before, the reason why everybody was shocked by the sudden release. The Reputation era was released in 2017 by the nerve-wracking and full of vengeance electro-pop single of “Look What You Made Me Do,” which shot to No. 1 on the recent 100 but vanished quickly after, with some fans and critics dubbing it as purposeful revenge.
Last year’s Lover, which was bombarded with colors, aesthetic, and the playful pomp-pop of “ME!” in April. The song became Taylor’s first lead single in four albums to not hit No. 1 on the new 100 — though it was only a historic monolith of a smash that kept it at No. 2 — drew largely mixed reviews, and also didn’t match previous Swift singles for radio ubiquity. Four months, and another cavalcade of big-budget videos and elaborately staged performances, separated “ME!” and Lover’s August release date.
The singles’ she released were underwhelming only by Swift’s unearthly standards of success, and Reputation and Lover earned a deserved massive first-week numbers. But in an exceedingly streaming age where the largest pop artists were moving faster than ever, the long wait is over. What’s more, the previous era has broken the boundaries of pop for her accompanying sets: “Look What You Made Me Do” which stirred so many controversies, now and then the sensual album that Reputation ended up being, while “ME!” was colorful and gay, joyous and few heartbreaking pop contained on Lover.
So now we know what Taylor is up to during the quarantine and makes for a fairly stark contrast, but a welcoming and nostalgic one. And although we will not make sure until we hear it tonight, it is a very smart and enticing move too. Everything she’s spilled to date about Folklore – from its cozy title to its woodsy sepia art to its collaborator list (including indie heroes Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner, the latter of The National), to its billing as having been recorded “in isolation” — suggests that this can not be the large Pop version of Taylor Swift we’ve gotten for many of the past decades, but rather something a bit closer to her singer-songwriter genre, which is the country music.
While many of Swift’s longtime fans speculate that the album would be” country” or would likely be delighted by a kind of back-to-basics, perhaps less traditionally “pop” Taylor Swift album, it’d have marked something of a risk if unrolled like one in all her previous albums. How would the single lead play on top 40 radio? What song makes the foremost sense to perform at the VMAs? What reasonably first-week numbers is she looking at or playing at? By releasing it overnight with reproof her is an unprecedentedly minimal amount of build-up and made the fans crazy overnight, she frees Folklore from all of those questions and expectations. If fans like it and consume it like sin, then great. If it gets a lukewarm response critically and/or commercially, then she will underplay it as a quarantine-released personal project, not subjected to the identical standards joined of her “official” albums — sort of a mixtape.
And no matter what it means for her career and her standing within the pop mainstream, it’s just a good move for any artists to gift fans right away with an unexpected album — an album that they do not even have enough time to induce excitement in their bones and on the brink of real risk being disenchanted. For an artist so well-known for her careful, intricate, embracing spontaneity may fine find yourself being one amongst her wittiest moves yet.