In an Instagram post that took her fans by surprise, Taylor Swift, who celebrates her 31st birthday today (December 13), announced that, just five months after the release of Folklore, she will be releasing a “sister record,” titled Evermore.
Although she is no rookie when it comes to album reveals, Swift explained that the process that led to Evermore’s release has been unlike any of those that have come before it. “I’ve never done this before,” she wrote. “In the past, I’ve always treated albums as one-off eras and moved onto planning the next one after an album was released. There was something different with folklore. In making it, I felt less like I was departing and more like I was returning. I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales. I loved the ways you welcomed the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found into your lives.”
Swift went on to explain that she and her co-writers struggled to stop writing when Folklore was completed – meaning that there was more than enough material for an additional full album. “To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs,” Swift added. “To try and put it more poetically, it feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of this music. We chose to wander deeper in.”
Swift’s co-writers for Evermore read the same as Folklore: Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, WB (a pseudonym for her boyfriend, Jo Alwyn), and Justin Vernon, but with the addition of guest collaborators including Haim, Bon Iver and The National. The track listing moves from the wholesome-sounding “Willow” and “Ivy” through to the more quippy “Champagne Problems” and “No Body, No Crime.” The music video for the first, “Willow”, debuted on December 10, and looks like an ethereal affair: in a post on Instagram Swift was seen in an ivory lace Zimmermann gown with a pearly-hued flower crown in her hair.
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Thus far, the Folklore era has been marked with a decidedly cosier wardrobe direction for Swift. Upon the release of her first album, with its headline song “Cardigan”, she released a chunky cream cardigan featuring embroidered appliqué and black piping, available to purchase on her website. Her album artwork was similarly low-key, and Swift did her own hair and make-up for the accompanying video for “Cardigan”. Since then, she has stuck to autumnal, soft, sepia hues, with pieces taking on homespun qualities in soft, sumptuous textures.
This #CottageCore-inflected approach clearly continues with Evermore. Wearing her blond hair in a single braided French plait, Swift wears a plaid pea coat from Stella McCartney’s 2020 collection to wander the outskirts of a woodland for the album artwork. In a statement released by the label, the coat is said to exist as a “part of the continued relationship between the singer and the designer,” with a note to watch both the musician and McCartney’s social media channels for more developments on the partnership.
Swift famously namechecked McCartney in a song from her 2019 album, Lover, and collaborated with the designer on a line of merch to accompany its release. “When I started spending more time in London, Stella and I would go on walks, have cocktails and talk about life,” Swift told Vogue in August 2019, at the time of its release.
The timing of the release – around Swift’s birthday – was no coincidence. “Ever since I was 13, I’ve been excited about turning 31 because it’s my lucky number backwards, which is why I wanted to surprise you with this now,” she shared. “You’ve all been so caring, supportive and thoughtful on my birthdays and so this time I thought I would give you something! I also know this holiday season will be a lonely one for most of us and if there are any of you out there who turn to music to cope with missing loved ones the way I do, this is for you,” she told fans.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk