I’ve been a Taylor Swift fan since her early years of playing country music. I discovered her second album Fearless when I was thirteen, and I fell in love with her songs. But it wasn’t until her album Red came out, that I started a see a pattern or connection. It’s hard to explain it without making me sound like a crazy fan. Still, it’s very simple, Taylor is only five years older than me, so when she was writing about her life experiences on each album, her music matched what I was experiencing at that time. Which I think it’s something most people that grew up with Taylor Swift also experienced.
The connection I have with her songs is something I have never felt with any other artist or band. Her music has followed me through every year of my adult life. Each one of her albums has marked a different stage in my life, and I related to them because they felt relevant to who I was at the time each album came out.
Taylor Swift through the years
I was 18 in 2012. It was my first year of university when Taylor released Red, her first pop album. I had just moved to Barcelona, and it was my first time living alone. I was starting to experience the freedom that comes with being independent and entering adulthood. Red was the album that would mark Taylor’s new era by being the moment she started to distance herself from country music. The songs from Red felt more grown-up and unique than her previous country songs. It was the beginning of a chapter for both of us.
When Taylor released 1989 in 2014, I was in my third year of university. In just two years, my life had changed a lot. I moved in with my first long-term boyfriend, my student life was cool and fun, and I was starting to make plans for my future. 1989 was Taylor’s most iconic album at that time, its 80’s vibes and upbeat soundtrack had this romantic and naive message that nothing could go wrong.
But then came Reputation three years later in 2017, and I was nowhere close to where I thought I’d be three years ago. I was back home at my parent’s house. I had a shitty job that was unrelated to my university degree, I was broke, and I had no idea of what to do with my life. Being back in my childhood bedroom at 23 was incredibly depressing, but Reputation made me feel so much better.
Taylor’s life was also a mess (albeit her situation was completely different from mine), but her songs helped me make sense of my life. I impulsively bought a plane ticket to see her play in Dublin during her Reputation Stadium Tour. It was during that trip that I decided I wouldn’t stay in my hometown any longer. Being in Ireland, far away from everyone I knew, reminded me of how much I missed my freedom, and if Taylor had been able to come back after what happened in 2016, I could get my life back on track.
Fast-forward to 2019, when Lover came out, and I was no longer hiding at my parent’s. I had switched jobs, I was dating someone new, and I had moved to England. Taylor’s songs were happier and stronger now; you could tell she was finally in a good place after Reputation. Lover represented the light that came after the hard time she had during her previous album, it was a new beginning, and I could relate to that. When I left Spain and everything I had there and moved to England, I finally felt like I could breathe again.
A year later in 2020, the pandemic started and Taylor decided to write a new secret album that came as a surprise for everyone. Folklore came out amid chaos and worldwide craziness, and it’s arguably her best album so far.
Folklore is the album she was born to write. Taylor is finally doing whatever she wants. She’ll be 31 this year, and I’ll be 26 in just a week. We’re both doing whatever we want right now. She felt like writing an alternative album, moving away from pop to play indie music and she did it because she wanted to and she’s no longer under the control of her old record label. I felt like finally starting to write again, so that’s what I’m doing now.
Folklore is a collection of different stories told from the perspective of multiple people that get entwined with Taylor’s own stories. She provides an escape from reality by singing songs that take you to a different place in time, which was exactly what I needed this year.