Taylor Swift just made a surprise announcement on Instagram. Like so many other people, she’s been super quiet for months during the pandemic. And it turns out she wrote and recorded an entire album that’s dropping tonight called folklore. This is her eighth album, coming less than a year after the release of Lover in August 2019.
She also revealed the tracklist and that there will be multiple deluxe editions of the album all available to purchase on her website:
I need to do some research on this so I might get to the finer points of it tomorrow but I’m curious how these deluxe editions work with Billboard’s new rule changes for sales tracking that I posted about last week when I wrote about how BTS’s approach and their sales numbers have been further legitimized by Billboard’s adjustments. Physical album sales always count more than streams and deluxe CDs are not counted as bundles and extras that artists have been using as a way to juice up sales. Let’s come back to this later.
In addition to all that, Taylor’s also coming with a new video for a song called “Cardigan”.
As you can see, the aesthetic for folklore is a total departure from Lover, with its bright pastels and sparkly vibe. Given the collaborators she’s mentioned who she worked with on folklore (including Bon Iver), the album may not necessarily be pop, the sound perhaps more stripped down, like the looks she’s showing us so far, perhaps a hybrid between her music when she first started and the pop direction she moved into.
What I enjoy most about Taylor as I’ve said over the years is that she works. There’s obviously been a lot of work put into folklore, including the work of the rollout with the album packaging, the video, and a clear marketing plan. And as always, Taylor is strategic. Releasing folklore now, six weeks ahead of the Recording Academy’s 2020 eligibility deadline means that the album will no doubt be considered an automatic contender for Grammys. Lover, by the way, was not the Grammys force that a Taylor Swift album usually is. That’s not the most important thing for Taylor, the artist, but it would be disingenuous to pretend that she doesn’t. Folklore could be exactly suited to what the Grammys typically reward. And the added bonus about that it’ll be another chance for her to dunk on Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta.