Pop superstar Taylor Swift has been keeping her fans on their toes recently with unexpected new music releases. Known for carefully planning album cycles years in advance, Swift decided to change course and start spontaneously dropping new songs and albums with little advance warning. This new approach has thrilled her dedicated fanbase and allowed Swift to explore music on her own terms.
It all started in April 2020 when Swift released “Folklore”, an indie-folk album she recorded entirely in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Swift had not even announced she was working on new music before unveiling the album on social media just hours before its release. The intimate, emotional songs on “Folklore” were a departure from the radio-friendly pop Swift had been making and showcased her songwriting in raw, stripped-down arrangements. Critically acclaimed for its vulnerable lyrics and subdued production, the album allowed Swift to tap into a new musical direction free of expectations and pressure from her pop success.
Then, only five months later, Swift surprise-released another brand new album titled “Evermore”. A companion to “Folklore”, “Evermore” continued Swift’s folk-pop exploration, reuniting her with collaborators like Bon Iver and The National’s Aaron Dessner. Full of storytelling songs touching on grief, love, and aging, “Evermore” captivated critics and fans with its detailed lyricism and emotional maturity. Swift called it a “sister record” to “Folklore” and cited quarantine boredom, creative inspiration, and desire to keep connecting with fans as reasons for her continued prolific output during the pandemic.
Most recently, Swift re-recorded and released her iconic 2012 album “Red” with the new title “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in November 2021. After a very public dispute over ownership of her master recordings, Swift decided to re-record her first six albums to regain control of her music catalog. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” included 30 total songs, including duets with Ed Sheeran and Phoebe Bridgers along with previously unreleased tracks from the “Red” era like the heartbreaking ballad “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”. Reviews praised the album’s expanded storytelling and Swift’s evolved vocals compared to when “Red” was first released nearly a decade prior.
Now at age 32, Swift continues to evolve her musical identity and draw inspiration from new places while staying connected to her loyal supporters. While she built her career on big pop albums and stadium tours, Swift’s recent surprise releases have allowed her to make music just for music’s sake again, stripped of chart expectations and media hype cycles. For Swift’s fans, this has been a thrilling and emotional ride keeping them constantly surprised and engaged. No one knows what Swift will do next, but one thing is for sure – her fans will be eagerly awaiting whatever she shares with them next during this creatively fruitful period of her life and career. Wherever her muse takes her, Swift’s songwriting genius and vulnerability truly shine when she has the freedom to create music just for herself and her fans.