Taylor Swift pretty much left her massive fandom in tatters when she released her eighth studio album on July 24, without any warning.
The album, which carries 16 tracks, was written while the pop superstar was in quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In isolation, my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness,” she wrote in a post on Twitter.
She shared that the creation of the album began with images that came into her head: “Stars drawn around scars. A cardigan that still bears the scent of loss twenty years later. Battleships sinking into the ocean, down down, down. The tree swing in the woods of my childhood. Hushed tones of ‘lets run away’ and never doing it….”
The images, she said, then grew to become the characters who would be the basis of the stories she told in her songs.
“I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t,” she said.
“A tale that becomes folklore is one that is passed down and whispered around. Sometimes even sung about. The lines between fantasy and reality blur and boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indiscernible,” she said.
Taylor shared that writing songs was her way of “escaping into fantasy, history, and memory” while in isolation.
“I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy the deserve,” she added.
She told her listeners to pass the stories on, like folklore: “Now it’s up to you to pass them down.”
Her fans heeded the call, as “#Folklore” topped Twitter trends shortly after the album was released. Many listeners live-tweeted as they listened to the album, others tweeted lyrics, and some quickly came out with their own rankings for each track. Many fans are already naming it the album of the year.
Listen to Folklore here: