Review of Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions


Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Taylor Swift walks the red carpet at the Grammys 2021.

Mackenzie Olmstead, Print Editor-In-Chief

Taylor Swift, who just became the first female to win Album of the Year three times at the Grammys, has released 2 albums and a documentary-like studio session going track-by-track in the fiasco of 2020. Swift is also rerecording her first 5 albums, one of which, Fearless, will be out in April with 6 bonus songs. The new recording of her popular song Love Story, was recently released under the title Love Story (Taylor’s version) on February 12, 2021. It’s safe to say this has been a busy year for her.

Swift’s album documentary is called Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions and was released on Disney+ in late November of 2020.

As someone who considers herself to be a Swiftie, I was really looking forward to watching this film. The documentary is an hour and 46 minutes of pure happiness for a Taylor Swift fan. She dives into her album Folklore, dissecting each track with co-writers Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff of the band Bleachers.

She also talks about the mysterious name on her list of co-writers, William Bowery, who fans theorized to be made up considering Swift gets quite sneaky and creative with little things for her fans to talk about amongst each other. Swift reveals the identity of William Bowery to be none other than her boyfriend Joe Alwyn. In the film, Justin Vernon, best known as the vocalist for band Bon Iver, even joined her for a COVID-19 style collaboration, singing their song “exile” together from different locations.

The film starts with Swift sharing clips from quarantine, when she wrote the album, and explaining how strange it felt to be making an album this way. After Zoom writing sessions and many texts back and forth, and many days in quarantine with the cats, Taylor released her album.

The film features explanations in various locations with her co-writers of how the songs came about, the inspiration behind them, and the meanings behind some lyrics. After each explanation, there is Swift as well as Antonoff and Dessner, performing the tracks together for the first time in person. The three recently performed a couple of tracks off her recent two albums at the Grammys.

This album is an extremely enjoyable listen to those who enjoy songwriting and the art of a good poem. The general aesthetic of the album, including the album cover and the beautiful location of the film, is super cute. It’s a folk aesthetic that makes you picture everything from velvet bell bottoms, cabbie hats, and plaid patterns to bonfires, acoustic guitars and fields you inevitably will want to run through.

Folklore: Long Pond Studio Sessions is an ethereal film showing the art and the story behind a wonderful album and beautiful songs, and really makes you want to stay up until 5AM, writing an album of your own.