Music Features
Music Features

Swifties Need to Calm Down

When "stans" attack those who criticize their heroes, why won't those heroes speak up?

It's time for us to reevaluate stan culture.

For those who somehow missed the news, Taylor Swift released her surprise eighth album, folklore, last weekend. Featuring contributions from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and the National's Aaron Dessner, it marked a notably stark sonic shift for our reigning pop princess, a noted indie fan in spite of what that one line in "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" might've suggested.

But even the extremely short notice of folklore's release didn't keep Taylor Swift's most diehard fans from, well, doing what Swifties do best.

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Music Features

What Is Cottagecore and What Does It Have to Do With Taylor Swift's 'folklore'?

Taylor Swift's "folklore" breaks down time, threading personal mythologies with nonlinear storytelling, embedding raw personal emotion into fictional stories.

Taylor Swift Folklore

After months of isolation, Taylor Swift released a surprise album, shifting the world on its axis.

Swift has always been a master of narrative and image, and true to form, folklore is as curated as any Swift album, albeit in completely new way. Though the album has inevitably been branded as too saccharine for navel-gazing folk and indie purists, it seems likely that this album will represent a fork in the road between pre and post-COVID pop.

In the promotional photos, Swift wears soft-looking sweaters and stands in forests, wrapped up in a black and white filter. In the album's first video, "cardigan," she leans over a moss-drenched piano, riding the waves of different elements.

Taylor Swift - cardigan (Official Music Video)

In the music, Swift does what she does best—she tells stories—but she wraps them up in arrangements as delicate as forest lichen, spinning them in fairy lights and sending them out on the river in little boats. The songs are beautifully complex, both lyrically and musically, but they sound effortless and simple. With production from The National's Aaron Dressner, Jack Antonoff, and an enigmatic figure named William Bowery who may or may not be Joe Alwyn, folklore is an enviably gorgeous departure into a sleepy alternate universe.

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Music Features

Before Its Time: How EDM Transformed Ellie Goulding's Folk-Pop

The British pop star's career might've looked entirely different if it weren't for the DJs like Bassnectar and Calvin Harris.

In 2010, a singer-songwriter by the name of Ellie Goulding went from a relative unknown to the newly crowned ruler of the British music charts.

Raised in a village of fewer than 1,000 people, Goulding went on to study at University of Kent, where she was spotted by her future manager. After building a presence on MySpace and linking up with various producers, the budding star inked a record deal with Polydor, who released her first EP, An Introduction to Ellie Goulding, in 2009. The Guardian called her a "pop sensation" before the EP had even hit stores.

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