So instead of releasing a deluxe edition of “Folkore” — her surprise July release that’s the best-selling LP of 2020 — the 30-year-old “Shake It Off” singer dropped an entire “sister” album, “Evermore,” out of nowhere on Friday.
Arriving at the beginning of Hanukkah, two weeks before Christmas and three days before the star’s birthday, it’s the ultimate gift for Swifties.
Consider your stocking stuffed.
But whereas “Folklore” came as a revelation — its moody, alt-folk intimacy a radical departure from the peppy pop of 2019’s “Lover” — “Evermore” is, well, more of the same.
That’s not to say it’s a bad thing — certainly not if the quarantine chill of “Folklore” was your jam. It’s just that, like most sequels, it doesn’t measure up to the original.
“The Godfather Part II,” it isn’t.
If anything, “Evermore” brings to mind when Justin Timberlake released “The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2” just six months after dropping “The 20/20 Experience” in 2013. The best stuff — “Suit & Tie,” “Mirrors” — went on the first album; the second one got the outtakes.
But with the artistic heights that Swift reached on “Folklore” — which received six Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year — even her leftovers are solid if not stellar. No doubt, T-Swizzle was in her singer-songwriter zone on 2020 lockdown.
The National’s Aaron Dessner, who produced and cowrote much of “Folklore,” returns for even more duty here. In fact, his band — with vocals by lead singer Matt Berninger — is featured on the wistful “Coney Island.”
Elsewhere, “Dorothea” and “Marjorie” add to the fine catalog of character songs that Swift is building. On the latter, she kicks some meme-worthy wisdom: “Never be so polite, you forget your power/Never wield such power, you forget to be polite.” Word.
The title-track “Closer” is another haunting, piano-laced beauty with Bon Iver following their “Folklore” joint “Exile.” They just need to do a whole album together already.
As with “Folklore,” it’s not about splashy singles on “Evermore.” It’s a vibe, though.
While industry cynics might think that Swift released “Evermore” just in time to boost her Grammy chances for “Folklore” — or to boost her bank account with no touring in 2020 and the uncertainty of any future road haul — it’s still a true artist getting real when the world needs it. And you can’t be mad at that.