Songs on Evermore and Shawnee Things I Associate Them With

Leah Lentz

In every lifetime, there is a first and a last. On Friday night, many people heard fifteen songs that they had never heard before from Taylor Swift’s new album evermore, a sister to her August release, folklore. In the past, I have covered topics on a grander scale, so I decided to cover this album in terms of things at Shawnee that I associate each song with.

Track 1 – willow

This song has been in my head ever since I initially heard it at midnight on Friday night. I cried because of how lonely it made me feel. It was incredible. It was cathartic. It slapped. In terms of Shawnee, I associate this song with the shelves of the Shawnee library because I really like looking through the books in the Shawnee library. Also, I’ve made pretty intense eye contact there. Finally, I think that if you’re going to fall in love somewhere, the most romantic location is tucked in between the shelves of a library.

Track 2 – champagne problems

I personally love when songs have numbers in them. I really like counting. Kiss Off by the Violent Femmes is on no less than ten of my playlists. Taylor does count in this song, and I loved it so much that I wrote in my notes “I love when Taylor counts.” This song reminds me of Upper C Hall. It’s calm, quiet, but still holds an air of mystery. No one ever really wanders up there, and the only people in Upper C are people that have a class there. It is my favorite C Hall.

Track 3 – gold rush

“gold rush” is a Jack Antonoff production, and it makes me feel so many emotions so intensely. I could get into them, but I won’t. It makes me want to go on a run like a protagonist at the end of a movie. I associate this song with the weird tension between you and the beautiful stranger you just made eye contact with for a little too long. When you text your friends about it later, you won’t remember what he looked like, but for that brief moment, you saw everything that could’ve been, everything that maybe once was, and you knew that in a previous lifetime, they were someone to you.

Track 4 – ‘tis the damn season

I have not stopped listening to this song since it came out. My emotions in relation to it are too complex to explain. It makes me feel like I am thirty years old, single, and successful financially, but so lonely. So lonely. I associate this song with crying in the parking lot, too sad to join the car line. I’ve never cried in the parking lot; I’m too emotionally stable, and that would be embarrassing to me. That being said, if I were to cry in the parking lot, yeah. This would do it.

Track 5 – tolerate it

I thought this was a love song at first. It isn’t. It’s about a possessive relationship that you can’t quite escape because you feel like you’re overreacting. It’s heart wrenching, it makes me want to cry, and even talking about it makes my gut turn over and my throat feel lumpy. I associate it with the creepy senior that only dates freshmen because everyone else knows he’s a creep. No further elaboration needed.

Track 6 – no body no crime

This is such a good country song. My friends know that I love country music. I was raised on Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood and, occasionally, No Shoes Radio. So when I heard the beginning of this song, the country twang mixed with low harmonies in the background, and the murder plot throughout it, I was so thrilled. The song did not disappoint; it’s a beautiful tale about a woman who murders her friend’s husband after the husband murders her friend. It’s great. I love it. I associate it with the stairs in the back of the D Hall language wing, because if someone was to get murdered in Shawnee, it would be those stairs. Also, those are my favorite stairs, and this is my favorite song.

Track 6 – happiness

This is a beautiful song, and I have no idea what it’s about. I am okay with this. I like the lines relating to growth – Taylor spends this song explaining that she is satisfied with the person she was while knowing that it is not the person she currently is. It’s beautiful. I associate it with visiting a teacher that you had freshman year that no longer recognizes you. Bonus points if you loved their class. If this doesn’t apply to you, visit your elementary school. 

Track 7 – dorothea

This is the “betty” of evermore. It’s fun, something to sing to your friends, something to do a little dance to, etcetera. It makes me want to wiggle. Strum a guitar. Learn french. Do fun new things in Los Angeles. It makes me feel the opposite of how “‘tis the damn season” made me feel which is a good thing. It makes me think of waiting for your ride home after a football game. Maybe one day, you will be something. Not tonight. Tonight you are a teenager, and what a wonderful thing that is.

Track 8 – coney island

I heard this song and immediately thought “Yeah.” It was an emotion I was certain I would internalize. It’s a duet between The National and Taylor Swift, which is very nice to listen to because their voices are very complementary. It reminds me of being in the courtyard for lunch, especially when you are in a big group of people but you still feel like you’re alone in the world. Loneliness is a big theme in this album. 

Track 9 – ivy

Referring back to “tis the damn season”, this song reminds me of the high school sweetheart from that song. In this daydream, I am a businesswoman with a big job in the big city, but I come back to my hometown, and in the middle of the football field on a cold December night, we meet again. The metal of my engagement ring is cold, but something in me, something in both of us knows that the love between us has always been fiery hot. This song reminds me of the football field, but it’s abandoned, and you’re meeting on the 50. 

Track 10 – cowboy like me

This song is a tribute to the hit single off her debut, “Tim McGraw”. At least in part – it matches the guitar tab and southern twang of the song even though Taylor is from Pennsyltucky at the least. It also reminds me of “Getaway Car” off the 2017 album, reputation. It is, needless to say, so good. It makes me think of that last day before a break when the teachers aren’t really teaching, so you get to spend a class period talking to friends, and sometimes, you end up playing cards or some other game. And it’s nice. It’s, like, really nice. 

Track 11 – long story short

Taylor has been giving us a lot of real bummers. This has been a total bummer album, and quite frankly, I was sick of it. Thankfully, Taylor has decided to give us a break. “long story short” is upbeat, simplistic, and such a good way to snap back from “cowboy like me”. I love it. It reminds me of the B hall or the F hall. It’s easy, it’s fun, and though it might not be necessary, it’s still nice.

Track 12 – marjorie

“marjorie” is Taylor’s tribute to her grandmother, who was a singer in Cuba, and whose spanish was reportedly so bad that they entertained her audiences more than her singing. Taylor cites her as an inspiration, but in a grander sense, the song is about the people who came before you, and how they have shaped who you have become. This song reminds me of the Shawnee alumni that you sometimes run into – your teachers, your boss, the grocery store employee that recognized your sweatshirt. There were people in these halls for 50+ years before you, and when you think about that for too long, it’s crazy.

Track 13 – closure

This is a weird song that definitely has to grow on you. The beat behind it is odd at first, but it makes me want to suffer a very intense break up via handwritten letter. In terms of Shawnee locations, this song represents being in the locker room with someone that you don’t exactly speak to anymore. It’s awkward, it’s angry, and it makes me want to punch someone in the face. Or, like, get into someone else’s dream school when they got denied.

Track 14 – evermore

The final song on the album is another duet with Bon Iver, similar to “exile” off folklore. I would like to take this moment to inform you that every time Taylor has started a song with piano on this album it has hurt me. The beginning of this song scared me so much. I was right to be afraid! I think a really universal feeling is when you experience sadness and you cannot see an end in sight, and Taylor really captures this. I associate this song with, if it counts, staring out the window of the bus longingly, wondering when sixteen gets easier, but knowing that it might not. My mom told me once that things never get easier, you just learn how to manage them better. Maybe this pain will be forevermore, but thankfully, you will understand how to make sense of it all. Not tomorrow, not soon, but one day.

Taylor Swift’s ninth album is her only one to be recorded in the same era as a different album, and yet, it maintains the energy of the eighth. It’s beautiful, to say the least, and an emotional experience for me personally. I can’t wait to spend the rest of the year processing these emotions and associating these songs with people that will inevitably break my heart.