All these people think love’s for show but I would die for you in secret“Peace,” ‘Folklore’
Let me first start by saying that I took 48 images for this specific shoot, on film, but half the time I guess my shutter stuck or never opened, because I got 12 images back from those exposures, and maybe 4 are usable [a very sad lol]
Film is beautiful when it works. So the images that DID turn out I adore, however, this is why I did take digital just in case but the colors aren’t as soft and eloquent in digital as they are in film. For my film shots I used a 400ASA black and white Ilford film, and an 800ASA color film for inside.
So the images that DID turn out look like this:
Some are shaky, some are out of focus, some are of nothing – lol. My shutter went off a few times when I was MOVING my camera, after I had already pressed the shutter but it must have stuck. However I think it’s hilarious the most clean shot I got is of a couch and wall paneling. Perfect.
This album came as a lifeline for many of us. Taylor didn’t really know she would be releasing an album in quarantine, and she stated it was just of a happy accident, but since all of her energy wasn’t being spent on planning tours or events, she just got to… write. I referenced this interview with apple music in Evermore, but during this interview she said it was just so strange writing and producing music in her bedroom away from everyone else- but it was the most freeing she had ever been – writing an album simply just because instead of wondering what songs would make it to the radio, what songs would be stadium tour songs, and what others she needed to include.
The album is a loaded story, some songs feeling sad while others feel content with the growth of a story. “August,” “Betty,” and “Cardigan” being a trilogy of stories, all intertwined with love affairs and betrayal starting off this album with folk-stories for it’s listeners to follow. Again, not sure why Cardigan was the single on this album, because “The One” definitely is more of a radio hit, and the lyrics of Cardigan are pretty damn heavy to be a radio song lol.
‘Cause I knew you
Steppin’ on the last train
Marked me like a bloodstain,
I knew you tried to change the ending
Peter losing Wendy,
I knew you
Leavin’ like a father
Running like water,
And when you are young, they assume you know nothing
But I knew you’d linger like a tattoo kiss
I knew you’d haunt all of my what-ifs
The smell of smoke would hang around this long
‘Cause I knew everything when I was young
I knew I’d curse you for the longest time“Cardigan” – ‘Folklore’
So the album opens with “The One,” which Jack said actually was the last song created, and placed first. Since this is a ‘folk story’ album, it makes sense. “The One” is actually the closer, it is the ending to the story, but it is placed first as a: “this is where I am at now, wouldn’t it have been cool if it worked out?? But here is the story…” and then it’s followed by “Cardigan,” “Betty” and the heart ache attached to those betrayals.
There is a lot of speculation on this album – but honestly, creatively, this and ‘Evermore,’ were musically some of Taylor’s most experimental albums, and lyrically some of her most freeing songs. I think that there are always, of course, some elements of the song writer IN the album but as for fans reading into every line? That ain’t it. She wrote ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’ with other collaborators, including her boyfriend [fiance/husband??] Joe Alwyn. She stated a lot of times that they both really just love writing sad songs, and of course you can pull past emotions into songs but the story lines – especially to make a great storyline – may not add up to the real truth of their existences.
On my larger blogpost being released June 10th, I am going to go further into this narrative and discussion of lyrics, song order, and perhaps deeper meanings of this album, but if you haven’t watched the long pond sessions – Taylor pretty much gets us an insight to every single one of these songs.
Alana and I had been planning this one for awhile. My goal was to bring my 120mm film camera and take most of the images on that, but I did take digital images as back up [thank god lol] and I got what I envisioned. My friend Jenna allowed us to use her recently bought home that had a massive amount of wood paneling and wallpaper that could give us the vibe for Folklore that Taylor shot in. so Indoor images first:
I kind of went back and forth on between editing in real black and white, which presents with more of a cool tone – vs – a lighter sepia black and white toning. I’ve actually been digging a warmer black and white image lately but the album itself is more of a cool black and white. I have a Taylor Swift 2022 calendar in my office that I’ve been staring at all winter long for some inspiration, lol, but the composition that Beth uses on these images are just so strange to me – both in a weird and good way. Here are the sepia images in comparison.
There was an element of color on this album as well – which I love these versions, too!
Any ways, curation has never been my forte [lol].
We photographed on a very rainy Friday morning, which ended up being a benefit to the look we were going for. ‘Folklore’ definitely isn’t a happy go lucky album so the rain only benefitted us, besides we were pretty much drenched after the shoot. My friend also found a sub-reddit that discusses the similar imagery in ‘Red’ and ‘Folklore.’ This is something I didn’t realize. Again, fan speculation takes it too far and they start saying that it must mean there is a link of the stories, but honestly, the creator in the imagery isn’t Taylor [although she may have an idea of how she wants it], it’s the photographers – SO I’m not really sure what to make of it, but there are a lot of cross over imagery wise.
So after the indoor shoot, Alana and I headed to a park to get the range of field imagery and lake/pond imagery. Besides the album cover we were really thinking about “The Last Great American Dynasty,” and I also was thinking about “Peace.” Honestly, those two songs are my favorite on the album and I could die and rise again to them.
But I’m a fire, and I’ll keep your brittle heart warm
If your cascade ocean wave blues come
All these people think love’s for show
But I would die for you in secret
The devil’s in the details, but you got a friend in me
Would it be enough if I could never give you peace?“Peace,” ‘Folklore
I think about the song “Peace” a lot. It’s obvious… because I keep writing about it. But when I heard her explanation of the song, and creating lyrics that were the opposite of the sound of the song, I just couldn’t let it go – or understand it fully. But as I read the internet more, I gain a deeper understanding of what she meant. Not because there are people decoding the lyrics, but because of the speculation that goes into her relationships from the internet, from fans, from enemies… but mostly faux fans. People write and place their narratives on to her [as many celebrities]. They speculate she is straight, gay, bi, and that she had relationships with people who she has stated she hasn’t. Now again, I have some speculation based off of lyrics alone [in larger blog on June 10th], but honestly, as a respectful fan I haven’t made up my mind, nor will I, and I will not place my narratives onto her nor be disappointed of any are not true, or are true. Because I love and support her as an artist first, her music is what made me love her most, her donations and selfless behavior behind closed doors is 2nd, and her infinite love for cats 3rd [lol].
But these lyrics started to make sense to me. As Joe Alwyn releases his “Conversations with Friends,” I see the internet constantly ask him about her- as if his only success comes from her, as if he is not his own person. This isn’t peace, and she understands that his whole life, this may follow him around. There is speculation they … or she, tried to break it off because of this – and he said, “absolutely not,” and then they chatted it out –
I packed my bags, left Cornelia Street
Before you even knew I was gone
But then you called, showed your hand
I turned around before I hit the tunnel
Sat on the roof, you and I
I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends“Cornelia Street,” ‘Lover’
The rooftop on Cornelia Street is also referenced in “King of my Heart,” on ‘Reputation,’ and a few other songs. So although some people think this song was written about someone else, the truth of their private relationship and the link to “King of my Heart,” has me pretty convinced this is the lineage of their relationship. But peaceful? No.
“Peace” is also the most experimental song, musically, on this album and works its way perfectly into ‘Evermore.’
I love the song “The Last Great American Dynasty” [play this at my funeral please], and the story of how it was written. A song written about the previous owner of Taylor’s house – turned into a song slightly about her as well. Who gets bored and looks up the history of their house and writes a song about it? lol, amazing. The idea of storytelling really is evident in this song but also shows how funny she is… and how small facts are altered in songs to make better rhyming schemes as well as story plots
For example: the lyric
They say she was seen on occasion
Pacing the rocks, staring out at the midnight sea
And in a feud with her neighbour
She stole his dog and dyed it key lime green“The Last Great American Dynasty,” ‘Folklore’
Rebekah actually stole her neighbors cat and died it green, but we know how much Taylor loves cats.. so either because of her love for cats or the rhyming scheme of dog – she changed that fact in her song [lol].
Stood on the cliffside
Screaming, “Give me a reason”
Your faithless love’s the only hoax
I believe in“Hoax,” Folkore
The album [original] ends on Hoax. Hoax is a PAINFUL song. But there are also others on this album like “Tolerate it,” and “This is me trying,” that are equally as painful and either are about mental illness, living in a relationship that is tolerated rather than celebrated [and how it’s more painful to be with someone who doesn’t appreciate you and just living by your side rather than either hating or loving you], and then there is “Hoax.”
As I discussed in “Lover,” the color blue is kind of where Taylor falls when discussing true love. The bluest of blues, because when there is true love, the deepest amount of sadness or loneliness can be felt without them. “Don’t want no other shade of blue, but you. No other sadness in the world will do.” Although this is a song that feels removed from her or Joe, she references that a part of her was left back in New York [I swear this girl only know NYC, LA and London in her songs lol], and many people are wondering… who is that person that left you there, Tay.
The last song I want to write about that speaks to where she is at through and through is “The Lakes.”
This is another song I think about a LOT. Her lyrics feel more.. to her fans than anything else… but also to the general public and their obsession with celebrities. Unrelated: I’ve been seeing this narrative a lot more in all artists, and I think about Machine Gun Kelly A LOT with his newer song, “Mainstream Sellout.”
You got it easy, you’re a celebrity
You got new friends, and no enemies
You’re no icon, you’re just a parody
You might be relevant, but just barely“Mainstream Sellout,” Machine Gun Kelly
I know it’s a different genre… and everything, but this idea of being celebrity as ‘easy’ because they have profit? has got to go. Taylor has sang about this before, and although there is an element of relationship in “Out of the Woods” and “I Know Places,” I see these songs also exposing the narrative of trying to hide from the media and personal opinions, constantly and how exhausting that is on relationships. These songs, and “Archer” all have elements of anxiety in them as well. Mental health still is apart of celebrities… and I wish people would realize that being in the eye of the spectacle constantly, is exhausting.
Is it romantic how all my elegies eulogize me?
I’m not cut out for all these cynical clones
These hunters with cell phones“The Lakes,” ‘Folklore’
I want auroras and sad prose
I want to watch wisteria grow right over my bare feet
‘Cause I haven’t moved in years
And I want you right here
A red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground
With no one around to tweet it“The Lakes,” ‘Folklore’
So any ways, the more I produce these individual blogs, the more I analyze these small lines that are so impactful. My bigger blog will feel a lot more like this one that I have laid out. Harder discussions with lyrics as well as my work flow within each set of imagery. Recently Taylor spoke at the NYU ceremony for graduation, and she does bring up these moments of ‘cringe’ and recoil from the media and how it made her stronger. She also brings up unsolicited advice, which she also talks about in her Miss Americana documentary. You can tell 2016 really still affects her mentally – because she does in fact bring it up a lot. It is definitely still a scar to her – so when I see people saying online that she “would be intolerable to look through a hetero-lens if in fact she wasn’t bi or gay,” or if she “doesn’t release an album she’s let us down,” I see nothing but fake fans, only fans for the idea of clout or popularity, because 2020-2021 it was cool to like Taylor Swift because tiktok said so.
Not every single word or thing she puts out via lyric or instagram caption is an easter egg. She is still a 32 year old woman, having fun with her life, posting or singing melodies that are fun to her- and I think the internet needs that reminder. Maybe she hasn’t posted a lot because she’s afraid to let down her fans when she just wants to post something fun with no hint that something is coming?
Anyways, love ya Dr. Swift.
Next up: Bleachella