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Monday, December 14, 2020

Review: Folklore The Long Pond Studio Sessions

By this time, I think everyone has heard of or listened to Taylor Swift’s album Folklore, and everyone has started listening to its sister-album Evermore. I plan on writing a review of Evermore soon, but it’s too early to say which songs are my favorites and why so I think this is the best time for me to share what I thought of her Disney+ special called Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.

It was funny when I read that someone had said that the special was just “Taylor Swift singing in a barn.” Funny because it was true, but funny because if you dismiss it as being just that, you miss out on the bits and pieces that she shares about the creative process that she had undergone writing the album. As a fan and as someone who thoroughly enjoyed her album, it was interesting to know how each of the songs came about and how the writing and the music were developed. 

I thought that it was interesting how this album was created from home (bringing the idea of work from home to a whole new level) – making her bedroom into a recording booth, with the other side of the wall being for production and working online with her other collaborators during recording. They made music from separate locations and The Long Pond Studio Sessions is the first time that all of them came together to play the album together. I find it amazing that with technology today you can make an entire album separately like this and still make it come together sounding like everyone made it together.

Before I go on, I just have to mention that Jack Antonoff likes the term “(the/a) bit…” he says this more than once during the whole special. I guess it is his thing, and I found myself taking note of it every time that he says it. Oh, and there is also the mention of William Bowery (aka Taylor’s boyfriend Joe Alwyn), who is confirmed to be one of the writers on the album. 


“Everyone needed a good cry, as well as us. - Taylor Swift”

 

I think that what Taylor said about it is true. Her album came at a time when people have been feeling uncertain about life and how we feel about everything and getting an outlet to allow ourselves to feel and yes, have a good cry, was a good (and comforting) thing to have.

Watching Taylor Swift and her collaborators perform the songs together in this special is not the same as listening to the album. There is something that just feels more relaxed, raw, and more heartfelt in a way that I think is brought about by performing together. There is something about it I think that makes the artists feed off each other and come out with a different version of the songs from Folklore. I really enjoyed listening to these versions and I was happy to later discover that these versions are available online on streaming apps such as Spotify.  



Oddly enough, however, my favorite is still the song where Taylor sang separately from Justin Vernon of the band Bon Iver. This song has become one of my most played songs from Folklore, and even if the two sang separately from The Long Pond Studio Sessions it is still the song that moves me the most. It either makes me sing out loud along with it or just makes me want to sit down and wallow in the feeling that the song brings. 

If you want to watch The Long Pond Studio Sessions, do not expect anything fancy. It is a stripped-down, laid back performance of the album, mixed with stories about how it was created. I enjoyed it so I cannot help but wonder if Taylor will also come up with something for Evermore since it is the sister-album of Evermore. I would love to see something for it if it happens.

OK, off to listen to Evermore now. 


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