Skip to main content

“Her greatest album—so far.” —Rolling Stone Magazine

Taylor Swift spent the spring orchestrating a secret silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic. Using the time she gained because of her canceled world tour, she gave us a surprise album called Folklore. Partnering with Aaron Dessner (The National), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), and longtime collaborator Jack Antinoff, Taylor Swift solidifies her creative legacy. Those who dismiss Taylor Swift as a simple popstar, limited to singing about romantic break-ups, are missing her evolution into arguably the best performer, songwriter, and wordsmith of this generation. 

Swift understands her audience, reflecting the mood of a society struggling to come to terms with an unexpected global health crisis. She uses fantasy and fiction to allow listeners to grieve loss and find moments of escape. Her voice cuts clearly through the noise of culture, singing softly to be heard rather than trying to out-shout others around her. Taylor Swift joins two indie music veterans, performing as if she’s been performing in the indie-folk genre for her entire career. 

Folklore is full of memorable songs with unforgettable melodies and stories. Swift has three or four minutes in a song to tell a story. She uses every word carefully to introduce characters, build a plot, and most importantly invite the listener to find their place within the story. Several songs on Folklore explore a fictional teenage love triangle from a variety of perspectives. One of the rare nonfictional songs is “The Last Great American Dynasty.” It tells the story of Rebekah Harkness, an American socialite who used to live in the house Taylor Swift now owns in Rhode Island. This mixture of fact and fiction throughout Folklore intrigues and invites the listener to carefully listen. 

Swift's skill in writing lyrics has always been a strong suit, and this is no exception. She knows how to combine words in unique ways that describe complex human emotions with simple and striking metaphors. The song “My Tears Ricochet” illustrates how Swift uses a unique image to represent a tormentor who continues to want vengeance despite the death of the person they haunted. Words like “gauche,” “exile,” and “epiphany” appear alongside simple phrases about a movie with a bad ending or a disco ball reflecting many faces. She writes words with a wisdom rarely seen in the most veteran of songwriters.

Folklore provides compelling evidence that Taylor Swift continues to establish herself as one of the best performers, songwriters, and lyricists of the 21st century. Much like a classic work of fiction, this album should be studied and appreciated for its aesthetic attributes. Christians can empathize with challenging emotions and discern complex human truths through the stories Swift tells. In a time when the world is struggling with so much loss, Taylor Swift provides a much-needed gift. (Republic Records)

Content Warning: Folklore contains rare uses of profanity, which might be challenging for some listeners to hear. Caution and conversation is needed when processing this music with children. For further dialogue about profanity in music, check out the article “Is Profanity Getting in the Way of Knowing our Neighbour?” (

We Are Counting on You

The Banner is more than a magazine; it’s a ministry that impacts lives and connects us all. Your gift helps provide this important denominational gathering space for every person and family in the CRC.

Give Now