Writer Takes Us on a Stroll Through Swift’s Most Original Work Yet

Writer Takes Us on a Stroll Through Swifts Most Original Work Yet

Mary Heinold, Author

When 2020 started, we all had high hopes. But the year that should have been the best took a turn for the worst. Nonetheless, one musical artist and her boyfriend would not let a pandemic stop them from doing what they love: writing and performing music. 


Taylor Swift has written and sang many pieces in her career–over 150 songs, in fact. All pieces show her versatility and vocal ability but none has proven more eloquent than Folklore.

Her eighth studio album has an indie-pop feel, along with some of her spunk and outspokenness. The album was surprise released in July, and fans later learned that Swift’s long-time boyfriend, actor Joe Alwyn, co-wrote a few songs in the album under the pseudonym William Bowery.

Listed below are the songs on the deluxe edition of  Folklore and what I thought of them. 

the 1

This song screams nostalgia as Taylor reminiscences of a relationship she was in, but it wasn’t meant to be. She pretends not to care but is still wrapped up in her emotions and yearning for something that was lost. 



This song, the first of three corresponding to the same story, is from an older woman’s perspective.  She is looking back on a relationship that went sour when he cheated on her. We later learn that her name is Betty and his name is James. He comes to her party after they broke up and he apologies for what he’d done and she forgives him


the last great american dynasty

This masterpiece is based on a true story. Taylor Swift owns a house in Rhode Island that was owned by heiress Rebekah West Harkness. Taylor tells Rebekah´s story in this devious song


exile (ft. Bon Iver)

As one of the songs written by Joe Alwyn , it’s only fitting that it is sung as a duet. This song features Bon Iver. It is a sad song, depicting two points of view in a breakup. It’s lush harmonies and beautiful melody perfectly reflect folklore’s overall vibe. 

my tears ricochet 

This lyrical piece is told in such a way so a deceased character is telling the story. Many fan theories about underlying meanings revolve around the fact that Swift left Big Machine Records after a drama blow up. 



A metaphorical track on the album, it can be applied to many scenarios.  One of the most prominent is Taylor’s red carpet life. She, or her fellow entertainers, will “still try everything to keep you looking at me”, meaning that they’re always grasping for the spotlight and the press.



This song is nostalgic, as if she is asking a friend or lover to look back with her to when she was still young, climbing trees and believing in ghosts, playing pretend and not understanding that things can go wrong. 



The second track in the love story trilogy of the album, this song is from the “other girl”’s perspective. In summary, she sings how she truly felt she and James had something real and worthwhile. 


this is me trying

One of the most honest songs in the album, it tells Taylor’s personal thoughts about mental illness and drug or alcohol addiction. It’s told from an afflicted person’s perspective, and is a depiction of what some people who suffer from these conditions feel and wish to say. 


Illicit affairs 

As the sneakiest song on the album, it portrays an undercover love story. Many believe it is based on the beginnings of Alwyn’s relationship with Swift. The couple has been quarantining together since March or 2020, and has been known to keep a very private love life. 


invisible string 

This sweet tune is based off of Taylor and Joe’s relationship, fans speculate. Taylor often describes their relationship as “golden” in songs and interviews, and one of the lines is “ One single threat of gold tied me to you”. Connection?


mad woman 

A song that truly proves Taylor’s ferocity, it describes how a man can get furious and trash his apartment and he’s a masculine role model. If a woman does the same thing, she is called some nasty names. You will be singing this song for days after your first listen. 



The artist genuinely delivered with this Covid inspired song. She sings about a person in the military who can’t ever speak about what they’ve experienced and wonders if that will be the same for healthcare workers after this pandemic. 



The last and most heart wrenching song in the love story trio. Betty is from James’ perspective, wanting Betty’s forgiveness, and was written by Alwyn. My personal favorite on this album, and an excellent ballad of teenage love. 



A quiet, apprehensive song delivered as a question. It was described by Taylor on The Long Pond Studio Sessions as a song that reflects her life. She describes how her and her loved ones get no privacy and her entire life is being watched by the public. 



A hopeless romance is described in this song. Taylor sings of a toxic relationship where all she wants is her lover but knows she will finally need to leave him in the end. 


the lakes 

This last bonus track on the album was a surprise song released on the deluxe edition of the album. It tells of a house on a lake where many stories have been written in its walls.