Taylor Swift’s new album Folklore has won huge praise from fans and critics following its surprise release at midnight on Friday.
The songstress, 30, stunned her legion of ‘Swifties’ around the globe when she announced she was set to release her eighth album, consisting of 16 songs penned during lockdown to help her pour out her ‘whims, dreams and fears’.
While fans flooded Twitter with praise for the ‘masterpiece’, critics were equally favourable as early reviews deemed the album ‘near-perfect’.
Taylor took to Instagram on Thursday to make the surprise announcement, first teasing jigsaw pieces of her album artwork before posting a black and white photo which showed Taylor walking through a forest.
In her official announcement, Taylor shared a snap of the the album artwork alongside a teaser of the music video for her new single Cardigan.
In an accompanying caption Taylor wrote: ‘Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore…
‘Surprise Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into.’
After speed-listening to the track, fans swarmed Twitter to issue their gushing reviews of the album – with near-unanimous praise for the record.
Excited fans penned: ‘There is NOTHING like a Taylor Swift album release day. Literally nothing. It’s better than Christmas. And Taylor is just giving us one in the middle of a pandemic… Taylor Swift went from country to pop to alternative…
‘She’s one of the best musicians of all times and you can’t convince me otherwise #folklore… i know this is difficult because taylor swift’s new album folklore makes us all wanna cry until 2050 but in case you need this: DON’T. TEXT. YOUR. EX…
‘Taylor Swift went from country to pop to alternative. She’s one of the best musicians of all times and you can’t convince me otherwise #folklore… #folklore is a masterpiece. Immaculate. Taylor Swift is a living, breathing, beautiful legend…
‘I cannot speak. She out f**king did herself. Impeccable… cardigan by taylor swift isn’t just a song, it’s a FEELING and the music video enhances the meaning and brilliance of the song immensely….
‘i’ve been single all my life and yet i resonate with every single love song taylor swift has ever written #folklore… #folklore is gritty, raw, & vulnerable…
‘It’s Love’s exposed underbelly, Love’s dynamic flaws. But she salvages the tarnished beauty & weaves a tapestry. Taylor, my dear, that was absolutely magnificent to experience. I can’t wait to do that a million more times Sunflower…
‘I really thought Taylor Swift was gonna drop some grown ass love songs but instead #folklore got me wanting my boyfriend to hurt my feelings just so I can relate to every damn lyric…
Others were delighted that Taylor swore in some of the songs, with a fan penning: ‘ “she mouth “f**k u forever”” “would you tell me to go f**k myself?” “flew in all her b***h park friends from the city” “i’m doing good, i’m on some some new s**t” TAYLOR SWIFT CURSING IS A BIG MOOD #folkloredon’t deserve her.’
Away from social media, official reviews from a host of publications were equally glowing just hours after the release of the track.
The Independent’s Roisin O’Connor gave four stars for the album and stated: ‘Swift has always had a particular talent for describing secret behaviour in exquisite detail – on Folklore she’s outdone herself…
‘Maybe there wasn’t a perfect time to release Folklore. But it’s a near-perfect album.’
Alongside a five star rating, The Guardian’s Laura Snapes branded Taylor’s new music move as ‘bombastic pop makes way for emotional acuity’.
She wrote: ‘This strange summer of arrested development is steadily ending. Folklore will endure long beyond it: as fragmented as Swift is across her eighth album – and much as you hope it doesn’t mark the end of her pop ambitions – her emotional acuity has never been more assured.’
Another five star review came from The Sun, Howell Davies writing: ‘She has pivoted entirely to make music which will be so soothing to millions of people as the world struggles with the lockdown in which it was written…
‘On Folklore, Taylor has never sounded so sublime.’
The Times’ Will Hodgkinson gave four stars and wrote: ‘The pop megastar has turned to sweet folk and it suits her’
Variety did not give a star rating, yet wrote of the track: ‘It’s hard to remember any contemporary pop superstar that has indulged in a more serious, or successful, act of sonic palate cleansing than Swift has with her eighth album, a highly subdued but rich affair written and recorded in quarantine conditions…
‘But what keeps you locked in, as always, is the notion of Swift as truth-teller, barred or unbarred, in a world of pop spin. She’s celebrating the masked era by taking hers off again.
Taylor proved to also have celebrity fans as Halsey penned: ‘i would die for taylor swift’, while Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka also gushed over the track.
Taylor’s last album release, Lover, was in 2019. Her 2006 eponymous debut studio album was the longest-charting album of the 2000s.
Having sold more than 50 million albums and 150 million singles globally, Swift is one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time.
Her accolades include 10 Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and seven Guinness World Records; she is the most-awarded act and woman at the American Music Awards (29 wins) and Billboard Music Awards (23 wins), respectively.
Taylor’s surprise announcement comes after she told The Sun it was ‘so sad’ Glastonbury was cancelled, but it was ‘the right decision’.
The songstress was scheduled to perform her chart-topping hits at the music festival, which had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Taylor said: ‘I wanted to perform in places I hadn’t performed in as much, do things I hadn’t done — like Glastonbury. It’s so sad. But I know it’s the right decision.’
The Lover singer was set to headline the festival on Sunday night and announced her appearance on Instagram back in December.