Though the news seems to grow bleaker by the day, there is a bright spot in this quarantined world. Our favorite artists have been cooped up long enough themselves to release new music.
Among others, Beyoncé’s album film Black is King and The Chicks’ new Gaslighter have brought some much-needed joy into an uncertain and tumultuous world.
However, one work stands alone as perhaps the “perfect” quarantine album. Taylor Swift’s Folklore was announced less than a day before its release on July 24, and less than a week later, both the album and the single “cardigan” had reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
But Folklore is more than just a collection of poetic and poignant songs. It is the perfect album to listen to during quarantine due in large part to the fact that it was created in isolation.
Listening to the album can do wonders for your wellness, even if you don’t consider yourself a “Swiftie.” Here’s how it can positively impact your well-being.
1. It was written in isolation.
Despite her celebrity status, T-Swift is no more immune to COVID-19 than anyone else. Her album was written in isolation from the outside world, and it shows.
Songs like “cardigan” and “Exile” resonate with feelings of solitude and loneliness. But rather than finding fear and dejection in these feelings, Swift embraces them through her songwriting. The warm, rhythmic feel of Folklore is apparent in every verse.
Folklore teaches us that loneliness, if dealt with in the proper way, is okay. It’s a friend for someone who, like its creator and her characters, have been alone for a long time.
2. It tells insightful stories.
If nothing else, the pandemic has shown us the importance of art in our daily lives. Where would we be without Netflix and Spotify in these trying times? In addition to containing beautiful melodies and harmonies, the music of Folklore tells powerful stories.
Swift herself, in a statement released to accompany the album, said of her songwriting process: “It started with imagery…images in my head grew faces and names and became characters.”
More importantly, Swift’s stories are told “from the perspective of people I’ve never met.” In other words, there’s something for everyone in Folklore. Anyone can be the wearer of the “cardigan,” or the sweetheart of the incomparable “betty.”
3. It can be inspiring.
If Taylor Swift, essentially with nothing but a pen and paper and some friends, can create such a beautiful work of art in the seemingly-helpless conditions of quarantine, is there anything we can’t do?
Folklore is a delight to listen to, not only because the music is good, but because it was released under such trying circumstances. It’s not perfect; it revels in imperfection.
The diverse characters of the songs share a common thread of imperfection: the shameless heir of “the last great american dynasty,” the enigmatic “mad woman,” the star-crossed lovers of “illicit affairs.” All of them are somehow perfect in their own imperfect beauty.
4. It’s about healing.
The penultimate song on the album is an important one: “peace.” Despite the chaos of life of the pandemic, there is peace on the other side. In the lyrics, importantly, is not a pure peace or foolish hope, but a bittersweet and cautiously hopeful promise: “I’m a fire and I’ll keep your brittle heart warm.” Still, there is peace.
Folklore is the best new album to listen to during quarantine—again, and again, and again—whatever you’re going through. It speaks to the loneliness of the times, and fights it.
It relishes the perfectly imperfect beauty in everyone. And it lets us know that though things may seem dark now, there is peace on the horizon.