‘Taylor Swift IS the music industry’

Senior reviews recent Taylor Swift albums


Drawing provided by Oceana Jin

A drawing representing one of my personal favorite songs ever written by Taylor Swift, champagne problems on her ninth studio album, Evermore. The song gives the message of someone ultimately saying no to a marriage proposal due to “champagne problems,” trivial issues that prevent her from committing to the man she tries so hard to love. The drawing shows a broken champagne glass, representing the “champagne problems” causing chaos with a wedding ring in the middle, the wedding ring/proposal essentially igniting the chaos.

Abby McMorris, Reporter

Taylor Swift – Is she worth the hype?


Taylor Allison Swift, a singer-songwriter who has been one of music’s most popular artists for nearly the past two decades, is most definitely worth the hype.

At just age 14, Swift signed a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV, which made her the youngest signing in the company’s history. 

In 2006 Swift signed with Big Machine Records and had her first Top 40 hit, titled “Tim McGraw.” She soon released four more singles and a self-titled album. She was a self-proclaimed country artist.

Swift went on to release eight more albums.

Fearless – 2008

Speak Now – 2010

Red – 2012 (After Red, she soon became known as a “pop” artist rather than a country artist.) 

1989 – 2014

Reputation – 2017

Lover – 2019

Folklore and Evermore – Both 2020, just months apart

Swift radically changed the music industry and has been a role model for me. She has recently spoken out about her political views after feeling silenced for so long, thinking she had to be a “good girl” with no opinions on anything controversial. 

She is an LGBTQ+ ally and has participated greatly in the fight for equal rights for all.

Swift’s fans have grown up with her as she has grown up with us. She has been through a lot and Swift Nation has seen it all. 

From Kanye West interrupting 19-year-old Swift at the VMA’s during her speech to praise Beyoncé, to her mom being diagnosed with cancer, to her sexual assault case against DJ David Mueller when Swift was 24 and her very public battle with Scooter Braun over her masters, Swift has had a quite the journey to stardom.

But here she is, at 31, after many breakup songs, in a happy relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn who happens to assist her music-making under the name William Bowery. All while Swift breaks records with her two most recent albums, Folklore and Evermore.

Swift is a music-making machine. She released two albums, each with 17 songs, all within five months of each other. 

She writes all of these songs herself, though she does not shy away from collaborating with other writers, but I think she is one of the few artists out there who are independent and true to herself and what she creates.

Evermore and Folklore are my two favorite albums of Swift’s. They are “sister albums” and both give off similar vibes while seeming to have connecting storylines.

My Top 5 rankings of Folklore songs and summaries:

  • cardigan – Part of the trio story on Folklore, from the point of view of “Betty,” a girl who was cheated on by “James” with a girl who is rumored to be named “August” or “Augustine”. It is a very emotional, yet catchy song, that I find relatable and just lyrically genius. “Tried to change the ending, Peter losing Wendy” (the backstory of the trio story – august is from the point of view of Augustine, “the other woman” who was in love with James too, and betty is from the point of view of James, the one who regrets cheating on Betty with Augustine and wants to get her back)
  • illicit affairs – Extremely emotional song about a couple in a secret relationship or “affair.” the narrator is extremely in love with their partner but their relationship is hidden from others…the relationship is hard but the narrator will always want their partner. I was just shocked when I heard this song for the first time, it was so beautifully written and produced. I also can relate to it more so than some of Folklore’s other songs. I’d like to think this song is inspired by her current relationship with Joe Alwyn that has always been very secret and not very public, but the song is too sad for that to be true. “And you know, damn well, for you I would ruin myself, a million little times”
  • betty – I mentioned Betty previously, and this song is part of the trio story Swift created in Folklore. James is singing to Betty about how he never should have cheated on her with Augustine that summer and wants to get her back. This song is just extremely catchy and tells a good story. “Those days turned into nights slept next to her but, I dreamt of you all summer long” 
  • the 1 – An extremely catchy, emotional yet upbeat song about reflecting on a past relationship where you thought you were going to marry them, but it just didn’t work out. It resembles someone letting go of that relationship and moving on, but still imagining a life with them in a way. I like the emotional lyrics yet upbeat vibe of this song. Swift sounds so serene while telling a story that so many can probably relate to. “But it would’ve been fun if you would’ve been the one.” 
  • this is me trying – A gut-wrenchingly sad song about someone trying their very best after having struggled so much and wanting to give up. As I mentioned before, Swift had quite the journey to stardom and quite the battle with the public eye. She “disappeared” for a year as she mentioned in her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, due to the overwhelming amount of hate she got. “I didn’t know if you’d care if I came back, I have a lot of regrets about that,” is Swift referring to her falling away from the public eye and not releasing anything for a long time. This song  makes me feel for Swift and can  be relatable for anyone who has struggles and feels like the world is caving in sometimes, but they just keep going. It’s a broad concept of a song, but also so specific to Swift and her journey in the music industry. She has been through hell and back but continues to try and try. “Could’ve followed my fears all the way down, and maybe I don’t quite know what to say, but I’m here in your doorway, I just wanted you to know, that this is me trying.” 

I could listen to Folklore on repeat forever, but those are just my five absolute favorites. I simply would recommend that album to anyone with ears.

Now for Evermore, Folklore’s sister album…

My Evermore Top 5 and summaries: 

  • champagne problems – An emotional song with a BEAUTIFUL bridge, my favorite bridge she’s ever done, about someone in a relationship, about to be engaged/married, that cannot commit to their partner. They love them, but have trivial, internal issues with themselves that prevents them from being with the one that truly loves them. Their partner then goes on to find someone else, someone less complicated if you will. This song is beautifully written with so many clever lyrics that I will never get over. It tells a story, something Swift has always been good at. It’s super catchy but also can without a doubt put you straight in your feels. The beautiful bridge: “Your Midas touch on the Chevy door, November flush and your flannel cure, ‘This dorm was once a madhouse,’ I made a joke, ‘Well, it’s made for me,’ how evergreen, our group of friends, don’t think we’ll say that word again, and soon they’ll have the nerve to deck the halls that we once walked through, one for the money, two for the show I never was ready, so I watch you go, sometimes you just don’t know the answer ’til someone’s on their knees and asks you, ‘She would’ve made such a lovely bride what a shame she’s f**ked in her head,’ they said, but you’ll find the real thing instead, she’ll patch up your tapestry that I shred.”  
  • ivy – A song that I theorize to be about Swift’s public battle with Scooter Braun over her masters. She was trapped and could not have full ownership of all albums she made prior to Lover, being her self-named album Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation. Braun bought all those albums and he and Swift feuded publicly, but now she finally has full ownership of those albums and plans to re-record them. This song refers to what I believe to be someone infringing on someone’s dream and what they want to be their own. “Ivy” is growing and tarnishing something special. This song is catchy, upbeat yet has a deeper meaning, and made me think about what it’s truly about. “Oh, I can’t stop you putting roots in my dreamland, my house of stone your ivy grows, and now I’m covered in you.” 
  • long story short – I theorize this song to also refer to Swift’s battle with Braun while also referencing her past relationships that did not work out. She’s finally “survived” the long journey that made her the  star she is today and is finally with the man I’m pretty sure she’s going to marry after so many failed relationships. Specifically referring to her rebound relationship with Tom Hiddleston after breaking up with Calvin Harris (“the nearest lips” being Hiddleston). This song is super catchy, upbeat, and reminds me that no matter the journey, I’m going to survive and it will bring me to where I need to be with lessons that I needed to learn. “And I fell from the pedestal, right down the rabbit hole, long story short it was a bad time, pushed from the precipice, clung to the nearest lips, long story short, it was the wrong guy…Long story short, I survived, now I’m all about you.” 
  • coney island (ft. The National) – This is an extremely clever song where Swift refers to multiple of her exes. “Were you standing in the hallway, with a big cake, happy birthday, did I paint your bluest skies the darkest gray? A universe away, and when I got into the accident, the sight that flashed before me was your face, but when I walked up to the podium I think that I forgot to say your name.” Jake Gyllenhaal, did not show up to Swift’s birthday party when they were dating, hence the birthday cake line. In one of Swift’s most well-known songs, Dear John, she mentions her ex John Mayer metaphorically painting her skies blue, then making them rain, hence the blue skies turning gray lyric. Swift also got into a car accident with Harry Styles, her other ex, hence the lyric about the accident. Finally, when giving a VMA’s acceptance speech, she failed to mention her current boyfriend Calvin Harris. They broke up soon after, hence the lyrics about forgetting to say a name at the podium. This song sounds beautiful and is so clever. How did she manage to refer to so many of her exes in one verse and make it make sense? They do not correlate with  each other but she did it. A musical masterpiece. “And I’m sitting on a bench in Coney Island wondering where did my baby go?” 
  • marjorie – This song is about Taylor Swift’s grandmother, Marjorie. It refers to the advice her grandmother gave her and how much she misses her after her passing. Swift feels Marjorie’s presence and even says, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were singing to me now,” then in the background you can hear her grandmother’s opera vocals, literally singing to us. Swift is a genius and makes everything so meaningful. It’s such a meaningful song with a beautiful bridge. “What died didn’t stay dead, you’re alive, you’re alive in my head.”

Evermore is a work of art that I would recommend to anyone.

Both Folklore and Evermore have so many stories behind each song. Swift has outdone herself once again, but I know she will continue to shock us all with whatever she comes out with next. 

Taylor Swift IS the music industry. 

She changed music forever and continues to with everything she makes. She has set the standard for artists everywhere while also being an activist for LGBTQ+ members, advocating for women and equal rights. 

So yes, Taylor Swift is worth the hype.