By Melanie Love Salazar
Web Content Contributor
On March 14th, 2021, Taylor Swift won her eleventh grammy. This time for her album folklore, which was released this past July. It was a special moment, not just for her, but for the millions of people who felt this album was created for them.
Over the past year, the pandemic caused people worldwide to search for ways to connect with others despite being stuck in their homes. Zoom calls were made, social media use was at an all-time high, banana bread was baked and millions of people turned to music for comfort.
It seems that musicians, too, searched for different ways to cope. Artists such as Twenty One Pilots, Alec Benjamin and One Republic are all examples of those who wrote and released music during the initial quarantine in 2020.
One musician in particular, however, wrote and released two full-length albums which came as a surprise to many, as not much information had been released about it. Taylor Swift’s albums folklore and evermore quickly became hits, not just for their catchy instrumentals, but the heartfelt lyrics in every song.
Swift’s songwriting ability is unmatched and she has a way of expressing feelings and stories that most people, including me, could not put the right words to.
folklore released in July 2020 and seemed to come right at the time I needed it. It was the summer of my senior year of high school, which was absent from traditional graduation or a “last” day and nothing felt normal.
My emotions and thoughts about everything going on in both my personal life and the world were all over the place. Being an emotional person in a society that seems to see that as a weakness, I am drawn in by others who are as expressive as I like to be.
Swift’s album touches on many topics such as love, loneliness, failed friendships, betrayal and wanting forgiveness from those you have hurt. I have had my fair share of those experiences and it felt as if I was receiving closure that I could listen to at the click of a button.
Of the many ways music connects people, one, in particular, is the way it feels personal, directly from the writer to the listener. Millions of fans have voiced their love for the album and it brought my attention to how personal it felt for people worldwide.
People were struggling in different ways. Some desperately tried to make the most sense of our reality and others desperately tried to escape it. Some, relieved of the business of their daily life, were forced to confront issues of their past; others were simply trying to find ways to make it through the present day.
As difficult as it was knowing how much pain millions of people were in, it somehow felt cathartic to have a connection with strangers through our shared pain. So many of us turned to her music to feel what we needed to feel.
This realization once again showed me the impact choosing to be vulnerable can have. Although nothing could make the state of life we are living comfortable, millions of us now feel less alone.
Swift’s overall message of the albums is unclear to her fans, but she wrote in an Instagram post on July 23rd, “Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve. Now it’s up to you to pass them down.”
The songs that mean the most to us are the ones we have made our own, whether that be because of the memories we associate with them or the way they say what we are unable to. Perhaps our call to action is to take the stories we have been given and made our own, and share them with others. We are the best tellers of our own stories after all, and we never know who it might help.
Featured image via folklore album cover.