Taylor Swift explains the genesis of her surprise album Folklore in a new essay

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Taylor Swift explains the genesis of her surprise album Folklore in a new essay

Taylor Swift surprised and delighted her fans in the early hours of Friday when she released her eighth studio album Folklore with less than 24 hou

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Taylor Swift surprised and delighted her fans in the early hours of Friday when she released her eighth studio album Folklore with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Now the 30-year-old pop superstar is opening up about the process of writing and recording her album in isolation in a social media posts. 

The songbird wrote that trusting in her imagination and focusing on songwriting helped her to escape the isolation and doldrums that came with quarantining amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Going deep: Taylor Swift, 30, opened up about her writing process on her surprise album Folklore in social media posts from Friday; pictured in January

Going deep: Taylor Swift, 30, opened up about her writing process on her surprise album Folklore in social media posts from Friday; pictured in January

‘In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness,’ Swift began a short essay about her creative journey.

‘Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve,’ she continued. 

The Blank Space singer wrote that Folklore ‘started with imagery. Visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity.’

She listed some of the images that inspired her song titles, including Caridgan and August.

'In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness,' she wrote.

‘In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness,’ she wrote.

Building blocks: Taylor credited the genesis of the songs with a focus on abstract imagery

Building blocks: Taylor credited the genesis of the songs with a focus on abstract imagery

‘Stars drawn around scars. A cardigan that still bears the scent of loss twenty years later. Battleships sinking into the ocean, down, down, down. The tree swing in the woods of my childhood. Hushed tones of ‘let’s run away’ and never doing it,’ she wrote.

‘The sun drenched month of August, sipped away like a bottle of wine. A mirrored disco ball hovering above a dance floor. A whiskey bottle beckoning. Hands held through plastic. A single thread that, for better or for worse, ties you to your fate,’ she continued.

From these isolated and abstract images, Taylor began to craft stories and populate them with characters.

‘Pretty soon these images in my head grew faces or names and became characters,’ she wrote. ‘I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t.’

New direction: The songstress wrote that her songs were more fictional than previous releases, which have been lambasted by some critics as a form of score settling

New direction: The songstress wrote that her songs were more fictional than previous releases, which have been lambasted by some critics as a form of score settling

‘An exiled man walking the bluffs of a land that isn’t his own, wondering how it all went so terribly, terribly wrong,’ she wrote. ‘An embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of obsession. A seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning to apologize. Lovestruck kids wandering up and down the evergreen High Line. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. A misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out.’

Taylor’s last few albums have come under criticism for deploying overly personal lyrics, which some critics considered to be score settling, but the Shake It Off songstress made it clear she was focusing on her song craft with more fictionalized tunes.

‘A tale that becomes folklore is one that is passed down and whispered around. Sometimes even sung about. The lines between fantasy and reality blur and the boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indescribable,’ she explained. ‘Speculation, over time, becomes fact. Myths, ghost stories, and fables. Fairytales and parables. Gossip and legend. Someone’s secrets written in the sky for all to behold.’

First peek: Preceding the album release was Taylor's video for her song Cardigan, which she released shortly before the rest of the album

First peek: Preceding the album release was Taylor’s video for her song Cardigan, which she released shortly before the rest of the album

Gorgeous: The video was directed by the artist and featured a wandering journey from a water-logged piano to a lush forest to her home, where she's enveloped in the safety of a cardigan

Gorgeous: The video was directed by the artist and featured a wandering journey from a water-logged piano to a lush forest to her home, where she’s enveloped in the safety of a cardigan

Excited: On Thursday night, she shared a black and white closeup of herself with a glass of wine as she prepared for the video, which was filmed with COVID-19 compliant personnel

Excited: On Thursday night, she shared a black and white closeup of herself with a glass of wine as she prepared for the video, which was filmed with COVID-19 compliant personnel

Preceding the album release was Taylor’s video for her song Cardigan, which she released shortly before the rest of the album.

The video was directed by the artist and featured a wandering journey from a water-logged piano to a lush forest to her home, where she’s enveloped in the safety of a cable-knit cardigan.

In credits for the video, Taylor thanked the ‘on-set medics, COVID-19 compliance personnel and the crew for operating under the strictest guidelines including wearing PPE, practicing through sanitization and respecting social distancing during the video shoot.’ 

On Thursday night, she shared a black and white closeup of herself with a glass of wine as she prepared for the video’s premiere. 

'I've been on the phone all night with Jack [Antonoff] and Aaron [Dessner], screeching. We're so happy you love it,' she gushed, referring to her producers

‘I’ve been on the phone all night with Jack [Antonoff] and Aaron [Dessner], screeching. We’re so happy you love it,’ she gushed, referring to her producers

Taylor returned again late Thursday night to take a victory lap with a short clip posted to her Instagram Stories.

‘I’ve been on the phone all night with Jack [Antonoff] and Aaron [Dessner], screeching. We’re so happy you love it,’ she gushed.

Folklore, which is already receiving rave reviews and has been labeled her best work to date by some critics.

The album, which was largely produced by Dessner of the rock group The National, along with her regular producer Antonoff, features a more meditative sound, suffused with piano, atmospheric guitar and orchestrations, along with experimental electronic effects, a striking departure from her more boisterous pop album Lover from last year.  

Big hit: Folklore is already receiving rave reviews from critics, with some labeling it her best work to date and a significant departure from the boisterous pop of Lover

Big hit: Folklore is already receiving rave reviews from critics, with some labeling it her best work to date and a significant departure from the boisterous pop of Lover

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