Dedicated Taylor Swift fans know that track number five is usually reserved for the most emotional song on the album, and that streak continues with "My Tears Ricochet" on Folklore.
Swift previously explained that the song was about "an embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of affection," but if you give the lyrics a closer listen, it becomes apparent she isn't talking about a previous romance. Instead, she seems to be referencing her exit from Big Machine Records and everything that has ensued since.
In the first verse, she alludes to Big Machine Records founder Scott Borchetta selling the label and her masters to Scooter Braun as she sings, "Even on my worst day, did I deserve, babe/All the hell you gave me?/'Cause I loved you, I swear I loved you/'Til my dying day." She then notes in the chorus that she didn't have it in herself to "go with grace," referencing the lengthy Tumblr post she wrote after the acquisition.
In a statement on Twitter, Taylor revealed that the album had been written over the last three months while she, like the rest of us, was in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While Taylor herself has remained characteristically quiet in terms of interviews, her collaborator Aaron Dessner — who cowrote and produced 11 of the album's 16 tracks — has revealed some tidbits of information about its creation.
First of all, Dessner revealed in an interview with Pitchfork that nobody — including Taylor's label, Republic Records — knew about the album until "hours before it was launched".
He also said they worked on a lot of the songs together by means of voice memos recorded on Taylor's phone, which dedicated Swifties will know has been Taylor's method of working for years now. In fact, she included three of those voice memos on the deluxe edition of 1989, illustrating that her songwriting process "happens differently every time".
On Tuesday, Dessner posted a screenshot of a text from Taylor on Twitter where they were discussing the album's lead single, "Cardigan" — and, listen, I have been a Taylor Swift fan for almost half of my life and am therefore probably disproportionately fascinated by this, but I immediately had to analyse it.
Thirdly, we can see these lyrics Taylor wrote at 2am — which is very on brand for her — are literally exactly the same as the lyrics that ended up on the album. She did that in five hours. I just think that's cool!!!
Maisie Peters took to social media on Monday (July 27) to share her take Taylor Swift's new track "Betty," and ended up earning praise from none other than the superstar herself.
"It’s important @taylorswift13 knows that i would die for betty," the rising singer-songwriter captioned the video of her tender, piano-driven cover of the Folklore highlight. "You heard the rumors from Ines/ You can't believe a word she says/ Most times, but this time it was true/ The worst thing that I ever did/ Was what I did to you," the teen croons over spare, ruminative piano on the track's confessional pre-chorus.
One day later, Swift took particular note of Peters' cover. "My ears have been blessed on this fine Tuesday," she replied on Twitter along with several praying hands emojis.
Mapes’ even-handed review deftly and artfully expressed Folklore’s strengths and weaknesses—and given Pitchfork’s historical skepticism toward popular artists, the piece might as well have been a rave.
But certain lines didn’t sit well with Swift’s most rabid fans. And perhaps more importantly, the 8.0 numerical score that accompanied Mapes’ review—a metric determined not by the reviewer, but from multiple staffers’ ratings—threatened to drag down the album’s aggregated Metacritic score.
That, apparently, was an intolerable insult.
Various tweets, some of which have now been deleted or removed and some of which still remain, included Mapes’ address and phone numbers old and current. Some have included photos of Mapes and even her home. Users have “joked” about burning her house. Others have posted screenshots of a Halsey tweet responding to a bad review earlier this year—in which the singer wrote, “can the basement that they run p*tchfork out of just collapse already.” Halsey deleted the tweet at the time after realizing that Pitchfork is, in fact, run out of One World Trade Center.
Swift’s representative did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Taylor Swift took to social media on Wednesday (July 29) to react to a Folklore joke posted by none other than Mark Ronson.
The clip shared by the famed producer shows the two stars deep in conversation at the 2016 Grammys -- the year Swift took home her most recent album of the year win for 1989. "Taylor actually telling me about #folklore back in 2016. On tape. Crazy," Ronson jokingly captioned the video, which is dubbed over with fake dialogue of Swift revealing she was working on "that 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' s--t" with The National's Aaron Dessner.
Naturally, the viral tweet caught the eye of Swift herself, who quickly proved she was in on the joke. "Thank you for keeping the secret til now," she replied, retweeting Ronson's doctored video with several laugh-crying and prayer hand emojis.
As one of Swift's newest collaborators, Dessner co-produced 11 of Folklore's 16 indie-leaning tracks, including first single "Cardigan" as well as album highlights like "The 1," "The Last Great American Dynasty" and "Invisible String." Meanwhile, Ronson has teamed up with Lady Gaga multiple times in recent years, producing both her 2016 album Joanne and the 2018 soundtrack to A Star Is Born.
Released as a surprise on Friday (July 24), Folklore has already become the best-selling album of 2020, moving more than 500,000 units in just three days. Less than a week after dropping the album, Swift also doubled down on lead single "Cardigan," releasing a "Cabin in Candlelight" edition of the cozy track featuring new instrumentation and an alternative music video.