"I'm doing good I'm on some new shit."
That's the first line of the first song on Taylor Swift's new album "Folklore". And boy did it grab me. And not "on" as in, on drugs. You know what she means, I know what she means.
We're all on some new shit now, aren't we?
I'm not a Swift stan, nor hater. I like some of her music, don't care for some of it. So I was shocked when I couldn't stop listening to this album. In fact, I fell asleep to it last night.
Without any doubt, this is Swift's best work to date. And perfectly timed to compliment my quarantine dreams. This music took me on a lush, hazy, dreamy tour of my own past. Some of it perhaps, imagined, or at least heightened. When it was done with me I wanted to start all over and do it again.
The One is about the one who coulda, or maybe, shoulda, been, well, the one. But it's not bitter, not even bittersweet. It's just a memory, and after all, it's alright now. This song reverberates through you in slow motion, evoking beautiful memories. It's for you if you can remember the one who could have been, who maybe should have been, but you're not hurt or angry anymore even if you ever were. Because it was long ago and it's alright now. You're exactly where you should be.
This song for me was J.
"I thought I saw you at the bus stop I didn't though."
"But we were something, don't you think so?"
Broken fragments of sharp memories rise to the surface, but don't scratch. I smile. The next song plays.
Cardigan. When she sings
"But I knew you
Dancing in your Levi's
Drunk under a streetlight, I
I knew you
Hand under my sweatshirt
Baby kiss it better, right"
M drifted into my mind, from long ago. Teens still. Well, when you're young they assume you know nothing. Making out in a cold outside booth in the winter, during Christmas season at the retail shop where we both worked. Funny how I can still feel his muscles underneath my fingertips.
Exile comes on and it's D from my 20's.
"I can see you standing, honey
With his arms around your body
Laughin', but the joke's not funny at all
And it took you five whole minutes
To pack us up and leave me with it
Holdin' all this love out here in the hall"
And I still remember when the outside door swung open, while J held me in the parking lot behind the office, and D's face. But we weren't together anymore. We ended five whole minutes ago. Not long after you scribbled "will you marry me" on a cocktail napkin at the bar. But you said it was a joke and I never learned to read your mind.
I can see you starin', honey
Like he's just your understudy
Like you'd get your knuckles bloody for me
Second, third, and hundredth chances
Balancin' on breaking branches
Those eyes add insult to injury
But he was never your understudy, and you would never fight for me, and I never did learn to read your mind.
And on and on, through my past, and somehow, the whole time, I'm smiling. It all feels so right, and it's for the best now. My quarantine dreams all make sense, I'm done with all that and on some new shit now. And there is a future.
Then comes Mad Woman, and it's not so hazy and so many men have said I'm crazy. My brothers, my lovers, and most of all, Donald Trump, who more than anyone, made me this way. A mad woman.
And I am definitely mouthing FUCK YOU FOREVER. Not smiling.
Every time one of them calls me crazy I get more crazy.
And when they say I seem angry I only get more angry.
And what about that...
But I know that this too shall pass, and Trump will die like all men do. And some day, soon, there will be another lover, straight out of my quarantine dreams. And until then I have Folklore. Released at the perfect time, embodying all of my many quarantine moods.