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TIME: folklore is the best album of 2020

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1. Folklore, Taylor Swift

Folklore is best listened to alone, on a long walk at sunset, as the wind picks up and the memories and feelings rush in. You have to presume that was Swift’s intention. After exploring the upper reaches of pop maximalism on her recent projects, she makes a powerful about-face on Folklore, an album that’s as much an experiment with emotional delicacy as it is a lush take on the intersection of folksy storytelling and contemporary pop. Swift has been a public figure for well over a decade, but never before has she sounded so consistently vulnerable, so at home in her voice and so willing to play with sounds: hypnotic string plucks, angelic chorus hums, the unexpected gruffness of Bon Iver’s vocals on “Exile.” Her lyrics, meanwhile, are sharp and tinged with layered bittersweetness. Some trade on the nostalgia of adolescence, others on an imagined American mythology, but the best offer hazy, intimate glimpses into the messiness of relationships and their frayed endings: “I didn’t have it in myself to go with grace,” she sings on “My Tears Ricochet.” “No other sadness in the world would do,” she laments on “Hoax.” Folklore is Swift finding the beauty—and pop power—in stillness and reflection. Perhaps that’s the most we could hope to achieve in quarantine.—RB

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The album is full of masterpiece after masterpiece. Well deserved! rav3

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It certainly is one of them, yes. clap3 

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