While the world turned inward during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taylor Swift sought introspection with "Folklore" and "Evermore", her 2020 indie albums, released less than five months apart. Match ten songs to their albums. Good luck!
A classification quiz
Estimated time: 3 mins.
AugustDorotheaBettyConey IslandWillowThe Last Great American DynastyNo Body, No CrimeExileCardiganChampagne Problems
* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the correct categories.
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
The first single from Swift's unexpected lo-fi album "Folklore", "Cardigan" was the downtempo track that listeners couldn't anticipate coming off her pop-heavy prior release, "Lover", back in 2019. It was a wildly successful turn for Swift who, in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, recorded songs remotely and compiled them for release in July 2020. "Cardigan" hit number one on three U.S. charts (including the Billboard Hot 100) and in Australia.
It would subsequently be nominated for two Grammy Awards and help "Folklore" take the award for Album of the Year.
2. The Last Great American Dynasty
Based on 1940s American socialite Rebekah Harkness, whose house in Rhode Island Swift purchased, "The Last Great American Dynasty" was a song that told a story about a well-to-do woman who only left a trail of scandal in her wake. Though never released as a single, it was the top-charting song from the album that wasn't officially promoted; it would hit number thirteen, unprovoked, on the Billboard Hot 100.
Released as a single only a few days after "Cardigan" due to the album's unconventional dropping on the public, "Exile" was a downtempo duet featuring the vocals and instrumentation of indie folk band Bon Iver whose lead singer, Justin Vernon, performed as part of the group Big Red Machine alongside album producer Aaron Desner.
The track would be nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (losing to Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande for "Rain on Me", another major pandemic release). It would also end up reaching number six on the Billboard Hot 100.
Written by Swift and frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, "August" was one of numerous tracks on "Folklore" to follow common story threads surrounding a character named Betty. The name August specifically refers to the narrator character whose boyfriend reconciles his relationship with Betty, resulting in the song. During the week of the album's release, "August" hit number twenty-three on the Billboard Hot 100 through sheer volume of plays (as with most tracks on the disc).
The third and final official single from "Folklore", "Betty" returned Taylor to her country roots towards the end of the album, bringing in harmonica and a certain lilt that made it the ideal track to receive a live debut at the Grand Ole Opry. Written alongside Joe Alwyn (who would share the Album of the Year Grammy win with Swift, Jack Antonoff, and Aaron Dessner), the song is sung from the point of view of Betty's boyfriend.
It peaked at only number forty-two on the Billboard Hot 100, but appeared on country charts as well, unlike others from the album.
Like "Folklore", Taylor Swift dropped "Evermore" as a surprise release, but while the former became a summer record, the latter showed up online in December 2020. It led in with "Willow", the first track on the album, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 and two other U.S. charts (as well as those in Australia and Canada).
The track, and the "Evermore" album as a whole, seemed to be a direct continuation of the aesthetic developed in "Folklore"; Swift leaned even harder into her indie-folk style.
7. Champagne Problems
A ballad written by Swift and her partner, Joe Alwyn, "Champagne Problems" featured little besides piano and guitar backing Swift's vocals. A song about a relationship on the downturn due to the singer's mental health, it ended up becoming one of the more popular tracks from the album. Though it never released as an official single it reached number twenty-one on the Billboard Hot 100.
8. No Body, No Crime
A bit more on the country side than the other tracks on "Evermore", "No Body, No Crime" is one of a handful of collaborations on the album. Created alongside the sisters of the rock group Haim (who opened for Swift on the tour for her "1989" album, it's a song that follows a woman's decision to avenge her friend's death at the hands of her husband.
The track was highly-praised by critics and compared to The Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" in its narrative similarities. It would hit number thirty-four on the Billboard Hot 100 and show in the U.S. Country Charts as well.
Written by Swift and her producer, Aaron Dessner, "Dorothea" was actually written for one of Dessner's other projects, Big Red Machine. Following the titular Dorothea as she returns to her hometown and reunites with an old boyfriend, the song is partnered with another track on the album, "'Tis the Damn Season", to tell the story as a duology. "Dorothea" would reach number sixty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 while its companion track would hit number thirty-nine.
10. Coney Island
The third and final track to release from "Evermore" as a single, this song ended up being a collaborative effort between Swift and American indie band The National (of which producer Aaron Dessner is a part). The male vocals for this track were provided by Matt Berninger, known for his deep baritone. Reaching only number sixty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100, the song was a down-tempo duet about a couple's wistful memories of their time on Coney Island.