Folklore- The Long Pond Studio Sessions Review

Hello world, and welcome to blogmas day three!

Let me start off the blog as I usually do- how are you today? How are you feeling, how did your day went by? Anything new? Something really awesome happened to me yesterday- if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know that I worked through almost all of august, trying to save money for a record player. Well even though I’ve earned enough money, I wasn’t able to go and buy it because of covid-19. Until now. Yesterday my mum just asked me randomly if I’d like to and get it, as the stores just opened about two weeks ago. I was like “AH, okay!” and so I did!! It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve even seen, and it’s currently sitting on top of my bookcase. Before buying the record player I bought online a record of Taylor Swift’s 7th album, “Lover”, and played it on my new record player while writing yesterday’s blog.

Speaking of Taylor Swift, I kind of think that we should get right into today’s blog. So, in case you didn’t know, during July 2020 Taylor released her 8th studio album, “folklore”. It’s incredible and amazing and you should definitely check it out. Probably my favorite of her albums so far. But well, usually when releasing an album, Taylor does this thing called “secret sessions”, where she invites some fans to her house, play the new album for them, tell them stuff about the songs… Last year she even did the Lover’s Lounge on YouTube. Since this year she was unable to do any of that, she teamed up with Disney+ and together they released the Long Pond Studio sessions- a film on Disney+ in which Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner play the entire album, and talk about the songs and the meaning behind them. Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver also joins them to play “exile”. As a massive fan of Taylor’s work and especially of “folklore”, I obviously watch the whole thing, and here’s my review 🙂

So to start off, I LOVED the whole vibe of the film. It was very cozy, and I loved how every interview of every song was in a different location. The music was amazing, as it really stayed true to the original recording of the songs, but yet somehow it was different, in a very good way. I loved the extra fun facts and details about the songs that we got to learn while watching the film.

So the album starts off with “the 1”, which in the way that I see it, is talking about a good relationship that ended long ago. The writer is reviewing the relationship after being over it, saying “it would’ve been fun if you would’ve been the one” (or at least that’s how I see it, Taylor didn’t really go into details in that one). Honestly, even though it’s a great song, and I’ve listened to it so many times I could sing it to you in my sleep, it isn’t my favorite. Again, Taylor didn’t go into too many details with that one, but the performance was amazing. Same goes to “the last great american dynasty”, Taylor did say a bit more about this one, but it isn’t really my favorite so even though I sang along while watching, I wasn’t as interested in it as I was in the next song.

If you listen to the album you probably know that there’s a love triangle- instead of writing about her life, in a few of her songs Taylor writes about fictional people, a fictional love triangle, actually. “cardigan”, the second track in the album, is from Betty’s point of view. Betty is a girl, around the age of seventeen, who was cheated on by her boyfriend, James. The song “betty” is from James’ point of view- he’s kind of apologizing about his actions. The song “august” is from the other woman’s point of view. She’s reviewing and going over what she thought she had with James. According to Taylor, the song “cardigan” takes place about 20-30 years after that summer, when James cheated. Even though he treated her badly, Betty ends up forgiving him and making their relationship work.

In the song “Betty”, James explains how he didn’t know better, as he was only seventeen (“I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything”). In “cardigan” however, Betty says that SHE knew better (“But I knew you…”). I really love how the songs are connected in so many ways, I wish I had time and space to talk to you about all of them. But, back to the film- Taylor said that it was her boyfriend, Joe, that wrote the chorus to “betty”, which I thought was so cool! It was also cool knowing that James and Betty end up together.

Then, Taylor went on and talked about “august”. “august” is actually my favorite song off the album, and it also ended up being “my song of the year” in Spotify. I’ve listened to it about 344 times (holy….!!). So I got super excited when Taylor talked about it, that I almost cried. Taylor explained how there isn’t such a thing as “the other woman”. August, just like anyone else, was a girl who wanted to be loved. She thought that she and James had something real, and is broken to know that they didn’t. That made me really sad, because I was like “yup, same”. I loved the explanation, and hearing the live version of the song afterwards made me extremely happy.

Two songs that I ended up loving more after seeing Taylor talking about them in the film were “this is me trying” and “peace”. Especially “this is me trying”. Taylor said that usually, in school, we get this little pat on the back every time we get a good grade, etc. But in “real life”, it is a little bit “harder” (I guess) getting that positive attention. Sometimes we’ll be going through so much stuff, and no one will know. But even staying here, even holding on to what we have is trying, it is still making an effort. Hearing that made me lowkey sad, but also it gave a whole new meaning to the song for me, which I loved. In “peace”, it was actually Aaron Dessner who made me change my mind about the song. The song is about kind of asking someone, “will you still be with me, even if I could never give you peace?”. Aaron talked about having depression, and how that effected his relationships in the past. How being unstable in that way made it harder to be with him. That literally made me cry- I loved that. I love how Taylor wrote this mostly about the fame (could be wrong about that but hang on) and how Aaron was able to take it to a different place, one where many people could relate to.

Seeing Taylor talking about “illicit affairs” made me think a lot too. I took it to a different place though- the line “You taught me a secret language I can’t speak with anyone else” made me think about something different then an affair. In every relationship, friendship or any type of communication you have with anyone- you can almost never have the same thing, the same energy and chemistry with someone else. This song made me think about previous friendship breakup and about people that are no longer in my life.

Wow I’ve been typing for some time now! I really need to put this blog out in like three minutes lol. So I think that I’ll stop here for now. These are my main points that I took from the film. Honestly, this review turned into me talking about “folklore” more then me reviewing. But alas, it is what it is.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this blog, and that if you’re a fan of “folklore” I’ve given you some things to think about :)) Thank you for joining me for blogmas day #3! Stick around if you’d like to read some of my previous blogs, and feel free to follow in order to read the next blogs in my “blogmas” series. Take care of yourself, drink water and wear a mask if you’re going outside.

Toodles! 🍃

-ocean girl