If you don’t quite understand what Taylor Swift is up to right now, it may feel like the singer has released approximately 1,000 songs over the past couple of months. We don’t blame you — Swift seems to be very happy staying in the folklore and evermore eras of last summer and winter (who can relate?).
But no, she technically hasn’t been releasing anything new, per se. Which begs the question: What’s exactly going on here?
On January 28, Swift announced that she released a new "chapter," called forever is the sweetest con. It's not a brand new album — the singer isn't the Pirates of the Caribbean of music — but rather a playlist of six tracks pulled from folklore and evermore: "cowboy like me" (which the playlist is named after), "mirrorball," "evermore," "long story short," "invisible string," and "willow."
Swift dropped her first chapter, the escapism chapter, in August 2020 after the release of the folklore deluxe album's bonus track "the lakes." The idea is that each chapter, or selection of songs, is chosen to highlight a different theme or idea within the album's narrative. For example, songs chosen for the sleepless nights chapter all are about guilt ("exile ft. Bon Iver, "illicit affairs") and the yeah I showed up at your party chapter are all songs about Swift's character "Betty" and include the live acoustic version of "Betty" that Taylor performed at the ACM Awards, "cardigan," "the 1".
Swift also released the saltbox house chapter (songs about the history of her Rhode Island home), and now that evermore is out, she's pulled songs from both albums for her two latest chapters: dropped your hand while dancing and forever is the sweetest con.
In addition to it being a smart and sneaky way to keep her streaming numbers up and keep her albums top-of-mind, releasing reconstructed "chapters" is an inventive way to highlight the various (and sometimes confusing) themes and threads within her recent work. And listen, if that means we can hide away in Swift's woodsy fantasyland for a little longer, we're not complaining.