Taylor Swift releases surprise new album Folklore — how to stream it

Taylor Swift new album folklore
(Image credit: David Hogan via ABC)
Taylor Swift new album release date

Folklore is streaming now, after dropping at midnight Friday, July 24, on major platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music

It's been a cruel summer (entire year, tbh), but the surprise announcement of Taylor Swift's new album Folklore shows that we really can have nice things sometimes — even in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic.

On the morning of July 23, Swift revealed the existence of the surprise album on Instagram. As usual, she began by posting cryptic Instagram photos with a new aesthetic to mark a new era. The black and white photos depict Swift in a forest (not out of the woods). Then, she followed those with posts announcing the release of eighth studio album, Folklore, at midnight ET Friday, July 24, as well as the track list of 16 songs that she "poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into."

At midnight, Swift also dropped a music video for track 2, "Cardigan," which she wrote and directed. She also did her own hair and makeup. Masks were worn, social distancing practiced and the proceedings were overseen by a health inspector.

(Easter Egg-hunting Swifties will know all too well that that the date 7/24 adds up to 13, Swift's lucky number.)

In the announcement, Swift 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!"

Those plans included Loverfest, an international tour featuring music from her latest album, Lover. Instead, like many other musicians, Swift was forced to postpone the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, Swift's City of Lover concert, which took place in September 2019 in Paris, was broadcast on ABC. Many Swifties figured that they'd have to wait until at least the fall (when the superstar usually releases new albums) for anything new. But, as Swift herself said: 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," she said.

"Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed," Swift wrote in her announcement "My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world. That’s the side of uncertainty I can get on board with. Love you guys so much."

Folklore track list

In her social media posts, Swift also revealed Folklore's track list and collaborators, including Bon Iver, The National guitarist Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff. She also credited engineers Laura Sisk and Jon Low and mixers Low and Serban Ghenea, as well as photographer Beth Garrabant.

There are 16 songs on the regular edition of Folklore, while the eight deluxe CDs and eight vinyl records will include the bonus track "the lakes."

Here's the full track list: 

  1. The 1
  2. Cardigan
  3. The Last Great American Dynasty
  4. Exile (ft. Bon Iver)
  5. My Tears Ricochet
  6. Mirrorball
  7. Seven
  8. August
  9. This Is Me Trying
  10. Illicit Affairs
  11. Invisible String
  12. Mad Woman
  13. Epiphany
  14. Betty Peace
  15. Hoax Bonus
  16. The Lakes (Deluxe edition bonus track)

How to listen to Taylor Swift's Folklore

The regular edition of TS8, Folklore, is available on all major platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music.

The deluxe edition CDs and vinyl records can be purchased at store.taylorswift.com.

Taylor Swift: Folklore reviews

So far, the Folklore reviews are very positive, with critics praising the album for Swift's storytelling, the stripped-down production and the different sound from Swift's previous music. Here's a roundup of reviews of Folklore.

NME: "Folklore feels fresh, forward-thinking and, most of all, honest. The glossy production she’s lent on for the past half-decade is cast aside for simpler, softer melodies and wistful instrumentation. It’s the sound of an artist who’s bored of calculated releases and wanted to try something different."

USA Today: "Every track on the decidedly un-radio-friendly album is a treasure trove of evocative metaphors and diary-like lyrics, managing to capture familiar feelings in ways you didn't know were possible."

Billboard: "Folklore is indeed a deviation from the top 40 trajectory that Swift set herself upon six years ago, but there is absolutely nothing quiet about it. Swift presents her new album as a songwriting tour de force, demonstrating the scope and depth of her artistic skill as she ruminates on the passage of time, grasps at fleeting memories and refuses to mince words or sugarcoat a sour reality, often while operating above intricate orchestral arrangements."

Variety: "The best comparison might be to take 'Clean,' the unrepresentative denouement of 1989, and… imagine a whole album of that. Really, it’s hard to remember any pop star in our lifetimes that has indulged in a more serious act of sonic palette cleansing."

The Guardian: "Swift’s most coherent record since her staunchly country days, it’s nonetheless her most experimental, developing on Lover’s stranger, more minimalist end. More than one song evokes the intimate celestial tenderness of Sufjan Stevens circa Carrie and Lowell."

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.