Is Taylor Swift’s ‘Evermore’ better than ‘Folklore’? Here’s what the reviews say

Taylor Swift surprised her fans and the music industry with her surprise 2020 album “Folklore.” But just as she was basking in the plaudits for that acclaimed release (six Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year), she released another surprise album in the same creative vein, “Evermore.” So how does this new collection of songs compare to its big sister? The reviews are in, and it’s about a draw.

As of this writing “Evermore” has a MetaCritic score of 85 based on 25 reviews. That’s a little lower than “Folklore,” which scored 88 based on 27 reviews. But when the margin is that small it’s just splitting hairs. The fact that Swift could creatively change course into a folksier, more alternative direction and get the best reviews of her career, and then come out with another hour’s worth of songs five months later and get the second best reviews of her career is a landmark moment for an artist as established as Swift is.

This album is being described as “thrilling” and “a different kind of revelation” from “Folklore.” It would be a “jewel” even without the impressive feat of writing and producing it in just a few months. It sounds “radiant and meticulous,” though a more critical take argues that it “keeps a certain emotional distance.” But what do you think? Check out some of the reviews below and join the discussion with your fellow music fans here in our forums.

Maura Johnston (Entertainment Weekly): “‘Evermore,’ recorded in the wake of ‘Folklore’ after Swift ‘just kept writing,’ offers a different kind of revelation: It expands on its predecessor’s promise in thrilling ways, with Swift cracking open her universe of subjects and following musical ideas to serendipitous places.”

Chris Willman (Variety): “‘Evermore,’ like its mid-pandemic predecessor, feels like something that’s been labored over — in the best possible way — for years, not something that was written and recorded beginning in August, with the bow said to be put on it only about a week ago. Albums don’t get graded on a curve for how hastily they came together, or shouldn’t be, but this one doesn’t need the handicap. It’d be a jewel even if it’d been in progress forevermore and a day.”

Sam Sodomsky (Pitchfork): “While ‘Folklore’ seemed to materialize from nowhere as a complete, cohesive vision, ‘Evermore’ is structurally akin to something like 2012’s ‘Red,’ where the breadth of her songwriting is as important as the depth … On ‘Evermore,’ she seems at peace with her past, in a suspended moment of transition, letting us follow along as she learns: Don’t just get settled, she tells us through this bounty of material. Get stronger.”

Jon Pareles (New York Times): “For most of ‘Evermore,’ Swift turns even further inward, away from her pop past, than she did on ‘Folklore,’ drifting toward elegant but cerebral craftsmanship … The sonic details of ‘Evermore’ are radiant and meticulous; the songwriting is poised and careful. It’s an album to respect. But with all its constructions and conceits, it also keeps a certain emotional distance.”

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