For her 31st birthday,
Taylor Swift has gifted us all with surprise sadness. Whereas her eighth studio album Folklore was the perfect soundtrack for crisp autumn walks and spiked apple cider, its recently dropped companion piece, Evermore , is an album meant for being cold and sitting alone in the darkness. I'm an expert at sitting next to a window and pretending I’m starring in a moody black-and-white music video and so, in that spirit, I present this essential ranking of the 15 songs on Evermore.
“Gold Rush” describes a narrator’s torment over being attracted to a guy that everyone else also wants. This song does not really make me want to stare out a window on a rainy day, but it does make me ridiculously grateful that I’m not still 22 and living in Brooklyn back when every single girl on Twitter had a crush on the same freelance media writer boy with two roommates and no top sheet.
The main reason this song — about deciding that you don’t always need to forgive and forget — is so high on the list is because it has a sort of crunching industrial-style drum beat in the background. I like to imagine Taylor stomping around a scrap metal yard like she’s in
, gossiping about all of the friends she’s not forgiving while drinking coffee with the Harry Connick Jr. character. The Iron Giant
The Haim collab might be my favorite song on the album. It definitely is the one that I’ve listened to the most since I shut out the world and went on a self-imposed sabbatical from doing actual work until I learned all of the lyrics to the full album. It’s a country-western murder mystery about Taylor avenging the murder of her fellow Olive Garden-loving friend, and it’s close to perfect. We don’t get a little Signature Taylor Swift Laugh, which I would have loved, but we do get Danielle Haim with a spoken-word moment in the background, which is almost as good. I
do want to look out a window on a rainy day to contemplate how I might murder a man who wronged me, but more than that this song makes me want to boot scoot.
Unfortunately a song named “Evermore” makes me think of the song the Beast sang in the 2017 live action
about how sad he was to be a beast. Beauty and the Beast
second favorite song on the album, but again, it just makes me want to get up and dance. I’m waiting for a high-energy “New Romantics” style remix.
Now here we go. This is a song
Taylor Swift wrote mourning her grandmother. When she hits the bridge, she sings, “I should've asked you questions / I should've asked you how to be / Asked you to write it down for me / Should've kept every grocery store receipt / 'Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me.” HOOO boy. Here I am, thinking about the ephemeral nature of life itself and the meaning of memory and legacy and I want to watch the movie and also call my mom. Coco
This collab with the National is poetic, but a little too abstract for me to want to spend
too long listening to while watching the droplets of rain come down my window pane. I do get a particular type of heartsickness when Taylor and Matt Berninger sing about the mall before the internet and the nostalgic urge to drink a Frappuccino and walk around for three hours before a movie. I wish I was listening to this song on the F train.
A sad, beautiful, tragic love affair! A married woman meeting someone else! Her pain fits in the palm of his freezing hand! This song is an elegant
New Yorker short story with classic Taylor Swift imagery of houses of stone and fire and drinking wine.
Sometimes the hardest breakups are the ones that happen slowly, the ones without a blowup fight or anyone doing something awful, but just two people who weren’t right for each other. This is the perfect song for mourning that type of relationship, having to start over after you showed someone “all of [your] hiding places.” “There’ll be happiness after you / but there was happiness because of you” is the embarrassing email I would 100% save as a draft and not let myself send to an ex, but then get drunk and send anyway.
This is a happy, contented gazing out of a window song! A song about finding someone on your wavelength, accepting each other’s pasts and deciding to move forward together (probably while watching watch
on the couch together). Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
“Dorothea” is the sister song to the old
Fountains of Wayne classic “Hackensack.” Go listen to “Hackensack” and then come back, seriously. They’re both songs about someone stuck in their boring hometown, watching the years pass, and seeing the girl they once loved making it in Hollywood. It’s sad and nostalgic and hopeful, and you should absolutely be looking out a rainy window while you listen to it. (Ideally a rainy car window while you drive past billboards featuring people you went to high school with.)
Oh, Taylor, don’t come for my heart this way. How could you have known I would have dated someone I tried so hard to impress only to feel him, well, tolerate it? This song makes me feel like I’m married to Don Draper or something and he’s out having a bunch of affairs. The window gazing should be after you put a perfect Jell-O mold in the fridge to set and fixed your lipstick even though he doesn’t notice your lipstick anymore.
I love listening to this song (while gazing out a window, obviously) pretending I’m living in
Pride and Prejudice (2005) starring Keira Knightley. I want to be clear, in this universe I’m not Keira Knightley or Elizabeth Bennet, I’m just wearing a flowing cotton gown and taking afternoon walks through dew-damp fields and meeting the man I’m going to marry at dawn while the sun rises behind us.
This song is the prequel to “Dorothea,” the same pair several years earlier, told from the perspective of the woman this time, the girl who returns to her hometown and wants to spend a weekend with the boy who represents the road not taken before she returns to Los Angeles. This is
peak rainy window nostalgia, especially if that window happens to be your childhood bedroom and you have a yearbook handy.
Undoubtedly the saddest, most rainy-window song on the entire album, an entire relationship told through a single polaroid instant: a proposal between college sweethearts gone wrong. Full disclosure, I am currently in a happy relationship but for a second this song makes me forget that and makes me feel like I’ll never be able to make love work and I’ll have to watch my former love go on to meet and marry someone less complicated.
In Just Why, Dana Schwartz examines the strange and sublime pop culture moments being discussed on the internet this week.