Posted in Other

evermore – Taylor Swift Multi-Song Theory

Yesterday I posted my reactions to all the songs on Taylor Swift’s new evermore album. While putting my thoughts together and reading through all the lyrics to pick out my favourites to include in that post, I started to see repeated metaphors and themes between songs led me a rabbit hole… and it was a good time. So, I’m probably way, way off with this but here is a potential narrative theory that connects half of the songs on evermore. Buckle up and here we go.

Ok, let’s start off with cowboy like me, a love story about two con artists. What if one of the “cowboys” is also the speaker in willow? The lyrics seem to suggest that their lover disrupted their life plans (“wreck my plans”) and there is conning imagery in the song too (“bait-and-switch”, “one prize I’d cheat to win”). If cowboy like me is about how they fell in love in the first place, willow could be one of them describing their love for the other. Whereas their partner, who is a bit more reluctant to totally give into their feelings recounts their different experience of falling in love in gold rush.

However, as time goes on, things don’t go so well. Maybe one of them rejects the other’s marriage proposal, leading to champagne problems or maybe one of them ends up not really feeling the same as the other anymore and starts just tolerating their love. Both of these songs could even fit into the same storyline if the speaker in tolerate it decides to attempt proposing to their partner in order to see once and for all if they really are in love and the speaker in champagne problems describes rejecting this proposal and the guilt that comes with it. I think this is unlikely though, I don’t think these two songs are part of the same narrative but, they could be potentially and honestly, none of this theory is probably right, it’s just for fun!

Then, the rejected proposal and/or one of them feeling as though their love is merely tolerated leads to the breakup where happiness and evermore come in. Each of the partners is represented in these two songs. I know this is a lot but stay with me because I have lyrical evidence!

In willow there’s a reference to a “head on the pillow” and in happiness there’s a “pillow where you used to lay your head”. Also in willow, the speaker refers to themselves as “the water when your ship rolled in that night” but in evermore, the speaker is “shipwrecked” and “unmoored”, suggesting that water actually led them to a painful place i.e. the relationship broke down. Also, the water/ship imagery is explored in gold rush too. Both willow and gold rush feature references to ships on water at the beginning of the songs but in willow, the speaker is comparing themselves to the water whereas in gold rush, the speaker describes their partner being like the water (“Eyes like sinking ships on waters/ So inviting, I almost jump in”). The speaker in willow is more certain of the relationship and the speaker in gold rush is more hesitant, perhaps leading to them not showing their partner how much they care for them. This could make them reject the other’s proposal or make their partner misconstrue their hesitancy for lack of appreciation and lead to them thinking their love is only tolerated.

Hope you’re saying with me on this because believe it or not, I’m not done. So, one of these speakers, the one who ignored their lover in tolerate it, probably the same speaker as evermore, sits alone on a bench in Coney Island, wishing they had treated their ex-lover better. The evidence here is more conning imagery popping up in coney island. Example lyrics for this include: “do you miss the rogue?”, “coaxed you into paradise” and the romanticising of a simple suburban life that two longtime con artists would likely be unfamiliar with: “the mischief, the gift-wrapped suburban dreams/ Sorry for not winning you an arcade ring”. Again, the apology over a ring could tie us back into champagne problems.

So, the speaker of gold rush, possibly champagne problems and coney island is then also the person behind evermore. They are “writing letters” for their ex to apologise and get a sense of closure. However, the speaker of willow and possibly tolerate it and cowboy like me doesn’t want to accept this closure. There’s a direct parallel between lyrics in tolerate it and closure here, in tolerate it, the speaker says “I made you my temple, my mural, my sky/ Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life” and in closure they say “I know I’m just a wrinkle in your new life”. The sense of prolonged hurt and not being ready to forgive is echoed in happiness, “All you want from me now is the green light of forgiveness”.

However, I think both evermore and happiness, although very sad songs, end with hopefulness. The pain the speakers are experiencing won’t last forever and they’ll find happiness again, just not with each other.

Finally, to put it all together. I think, and this is just one great big highly unlikely theory (especially as I’m not even getting into the fact that some of these are duets and so possibly have two speakers in them already) that the speakers of these songs are as follows:

willow: speaker 1, likely a young female con artist

gold rush: speaker 2, a slightly older male con artist who is a bit insecure about his lover’s beauty

’tis the damn season: Dorothea in a completely separate storyline

tolerate it: speaker 1 when she realises her partner isn’t treating her with as much love and appreciation as they used to

no body, no crime: completely separate storyline

happiness: speaker 1, post-breakup

dorothea: Dorothea’s home-town lover in a completely separate storyline with ’tis the damn season

coney island: speaker 2 when realises where he went wrong, harking back to how his ex was feeling in tolerate it

ivy: I have no idea, probably completely separate storyline

cowboy like me: speaker 1 but it’s the origin story of speaker 1 and 2’s relationship

long story short: completely separate, personal TS song

marjorie: completely separate, personal TS song

closure: Could be either of the speakers but in my version of events, I’m saying speaker 1

evermore: speaker 2

There we go, that’s my potential theory and dissection of some of Taylor Swift’s beautiful imagery. Let me know what you think about the album in the comments.

Posted in Other

evermore – Taylor Swift Song Reactions

Was anyone as stunned as I was that Taylor Swift dropped her second surprise album of the year this month?! I’m certainly not complaining but wow, I’m still not over the Heavenly blessing that is folklore and now we have a whole new album of stories and characters to devour! Here I’ve put my thoughts on each tracks and my favourite lyric but I have a theory that ties together over half the songs in the album into one continuous narrative so stay tuned tomorrow for that blog post as well!

Track 1) willow

Argh this has such gorgeous imagery and somehow it’s both beautifully indie-sounding and a catchy love song. Also, the music video for this song is one of my favourite Taylor Swift videos, it almost looks like a fantasy movie and it’s a great tribute to folklore with the gold string and Taylor picking up where she left off in the same room from the cardigan video.

“Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind/ But I come back stronger than a 90s trend”

Track 2) champagne problems

I didn’t get the storyline of this song when I first listened to it but on second listen while reading the lyrics, this song really made me feel some things. This song is sang from the point of view of someone who has turned down a proposal and they are clearly feeling guilty about it. It explores the emotional turmoil of the speaker and their fragile mental state.

“She would have made such a lovely bride/ What a shame she’s fucked in the head, they said/ But you’ll find the real thing instead/ She’ll patch up the tapestry that I shred”

Track 3) gold rush

GOLD GOLD GOLD. We can probably assume this mystical-sounding ditty is about her lover because by now we know gold and blue are the symbolic colours for her love. I’m interpreting this song as being about the anxiety that comes with being with in love with someone who is well… gorgeous (see what I did there?) and dreams about a simplistic, homely life with that person but not being able to go for it.

“My mind turns your life into folklore”

Track 4) ’tis the damn season

I don’t know why but this song has strong exile vibes to me. Maybe because there’s a muted sense of longing and lost love that feels buried beneath other complicated feelings. One song it is nothing like is Taylor’s other holiday hit, Christmas Tree Farm… it feels like we’re quite far away from the Lover era now! I adore this song honestly, it contrasts the speaker’s successful but vapid lifestyle in LA with that of their past love from their small hometown, a place very much now in the rear-view mirror of her life. I wonder if the speaker is Dorothea and the “you” in the song is an ex-lover of Dorothea’s maybe? More on her soon.

“The road not taken looks real good now/ And it always leads to you and my hometown”

Track 5) tolerate it

Ow. A lot of the songs on this album are truly sad listens but there’s something so much more intensely painful about this one. The storyline seems to be about someone who is in love with their partner but their partner has fallen out of love with them. The speaker knows this but can’t let them go so they keep the relationship going, knowing their “love should be celebrated” and coming to the difficult conclusion that they need to accept the situation and move on for their own sake.

“I made you my temple, my mural, my sky/ Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life”

Track 6) no body, no crime

This might just be my first favourite (I’ll probably go through a few favourites the more I listen). The storytelling in this song is so damn smart. It’s only three and a half minutes long and you get an entire crime thriller! The tone of this one is so sleek, suspicious and dark, I just love it.

“Good thing my daddy made me get a boating licence when I was 15/ And I’ve cleaned enough houses to know how to cover up a scene/ Good thing Este’s sister going to swear she was with me/ Good thing his mistress took out a big life insurance policy”

Track 7) happiness

At the moment this one isn’t as up there for me with the rest but it will definitely grow on me. The speaker is just at the moment of a difficult breakup, she can’t be mad at the person she was with or even at herself because they equally hurt each other and she knows she’ll find happiness down the road but right now, it hurts.

“You haven’t met the new me yet”

Track 8) dorothea

Let’s ask the question that we’re all wandering, does Dorothea know Betty, James and co? Maybe. But, I don’t see Dorothea as being a part of their story necessarily, as I said before, I think her story might be shared with the speaker of ’tis the damn season. However, dorothea has a much more upbeat sound. It seems a big life on the “small screen” and “shiny friends” is a much more painful and lonely experience for Dorothea than her old hometown lover who reflects happily on their younger years without a sense of resentment or self-pity. Generally, this song is just much more hopeful and maybe advocates for the small town simple life over big dreams and Hollywood scenes.

“You got shiny friends since you left town/ A tiny screen’s the only place I see you now/ But I got nothing but well-wishes for ya”

Track 9) coney island

This is definitely a song I need to listen to more but my overall opinion is that this is an enchantingly sad song. I do have a theory on this one though, there seems to be a sense of regret and letting someone down with lyrics like “I forgot to say your name”, “Sorry for not making you my centerfold” and “Did I leave you hanging every single day?” that makes me wonder if the speaker from tolerate it perhaps did leave their partner and now it’s their partner’s turn to realise where they went wrong and to express an apology for their neglectfulness and lack of appreciation for their ex. Or, you know… maybe not.

“If I can’t relate to you/ Then who am I related to?

Track 10) ivy

Wow, this song has such pretty lyrics! For me, this song has similarities to the lakes, only in the strong nature imagery though, not so much the sentiment. The story itself seems to be a classic woman is unhappily married but someone else catches her eye, she falls in love but their romance is doomed because… well, because of the whole being married thing. That imagery that I mentioned is what makes this song so sad, there is a fantastical feel to this song, with the speaker referring to her “dreamland” and the object of her affection being “magnificently cursed”.

“My pain fits into the palm of your freezing hand”

Track 11) cowboy like me

I like this song, it’s weirdly cute compared to all the other so very sad songs on this album. The story is about two con artists who fall for each other. They have usual targets, mostly older people, that they swindle money from but everything changes when they find a fellow “cowboy”. There’s definitely an exploration of people and situations being grey in this album and folklore. By which I mean, in the folklore/evermore cycle, she presents the stories of people who are flawed and not black and white. But, there’s no comment or sense of needing to justify giving their stories airtime, it’s just a study of humanity.

“The old men really did believe that I was the one/ And the ladies lunching have their stories about/ When you passed through town/ But that was all before I locked it down”

Track 12) long story short

This is a very personal song about overcoming the things you’ve been through and looking back on all that pain and sadness knowing what you didn’t know then: that, ultimately, you’d be ok. The song is also a tribute to Taylor and one of her favourite songwriting subjects, her lover, who came into her life at just the right time. I’d say this was perhaps the most poppy song on the album, perhaps because it’s reflective, looking back on when she was writing upbeat pop songs but struggling the most as opposed to now when she writes sad, indie songs but is much more happy and settled in life. Swiftie irony.

“Long story short, it was a bad time/ Long story short, I survived”

Track 13) marjorie

I really appreciate what Taylor did with this song, track 13 on folklore, epiphany, makes reference to her grandfather so track 13 on evermore is a tribute to her grandmother. As someone who has lost three grandparents during pretty formative years and deeply regretting not listening to their stories and advice better, this song speaks to me on a pretty personal level. Also, the fact that Taylor’s grandmother’s voice is included at the end of the song is just absolutely beautiful.

“I should’ve asked you questions/ I should’ve asked you how to be/ Asked you to write it down for me”

Track 14) closure

This is a simple song about feeling like someone is trying to bring up old wounds to give themselves closure when you’re not in the same place. It’s bitter and presents the idea that it’s ok to not have to get over something that hurt you. It’s a real feeling that can be applied to be so many situations and I think it’s one of the most relatable songs Taylor has written. It’s not as deep in imagery and literary allusion as many of the other folklore/evermore songs but it wouldn’t make sense to be super eloquent over that raw feeling so there is strength in its simplicity. This one also gives me subtle Reputation vibes.

“Yes, I got your letter/ Yes, I’m doing better/ I know that it’s over/ I don’t need your closure”

Track 15) evermore

This one isn’t my favourite, it doesn’t really make me feel quite as emotional as some of the others on the track list. You could perhaps place it next to happiness as evermore feels to be the pessimistic cousin of happiness. It is a nice song and I know it will grow on me but it’s not my absolute favourite right now.

“Writing letters, addressed to the fire”

So, there you have it, my initial thoughts on all the evermore songs. What’s your favourite song on the album and do you think we’ll have anymore surprise album drops soon? Let me know in the comments.