Folklore (Taylor Swift album)

Cover artwork of Folklore
Standard cover
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 24, 2020 (2020-07-24)
RecordedApril – July 2020
Taylor Swift chronology
Live from Clear Channel Stripped 2008
Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (From the Disney+ Special)
Singles from Folklore
  1. "Cardigan"
    Released: July 27, 2020
  2. "Exile"
    Released: August 3, 2020
  3. "Betty"
    Released: August 17, 2020

Folklore (stylized in all lowercase) is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was a surprise album, released on July 24, 2020, via Republic Records. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Swift cancelled the concert tour for her seventh studio album Lover (2019). She conceived Folklore during quarantine as "a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness", working with producers Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff virtually; her vocals were recorded at an inbuilt studio in her Los Angeles home, while Dessner and Antonoff operated from Hudson Valley and New York City, respectively.

Departing from the mainly upbeat pop production of its predecessors, Folklore consists of mellow ballads driven by neo-classical instruments, pursuing indie folk, alternative rock, and electroacoustic styles. Influenced by loneliness during quarantine, Swift explores themes of escapism, empathy, nostalgia and romanticism in the album, using a set of characters, fictional narratives, and story arcs, in contrast to the autobiographical tone of her previous projects. The title was inspired by the lasting legacy of folk songs, whereas its visual aesthetic reflects cottagecore.

Upon release, Folklore broke the record for the biggest opening day on Spotify for an album by a female act.[note 1] Three of its tracks reached the top 10 in eight countries, namely "Cardigan", "The 1", and "Exile" featuring Bon Iver, the first of which is the album's lead single and marked Swift's sixth number-one song on the US Billboard Hot 100. Folklore topped the charts in various countries and is certified platinum in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was Swift's seventh number-one album on the US Billboard 200, where it reigned atop for eight weeks and became the best-selling album of 2020.

Folklore received widespread critical acclaim, centering on its emotional weight, poetic lyricism, and relaxed pace. Critics found its introspective essence timely for the pandemic and regarded its sound a bold reinvention of Swift's artistry. The album was featured on numerous 2020 year-end rankings, often referred to as the quintessential lockdown record. It won Album of the Year at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, making Swift the first woman in history to win the honor three times, following her wins for Fearless (2008) and 1989 (2014). She discussed Folklore and performed it live in the Disney+ concert documentary Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, premiering on November 25, 2020, and released Folklore's sequel record, Evermore (2020), two weeks later. Several music artists cite Folklore as a source of inspiration.

  1. ^ Iasimone, Ashley (November 14, 2021). "Taylor Swift Breaks Spotify Single-Day Streaming Records With Red (Taylor's Version)". Billboard. Retrieved November 14, 2021.

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