What Really Inspired Taylor Swift To Write Folklore

Taylor Swift is synonymous with superstardom. She boasts 10 Grammys, as per Billboard, a multimillion-dollar property empire, according to Architectural Digest, and in 2020 she was the second most-streamed female artist after Billie Eilish, per Spotify. She might be the undisputed queen of pop, but Swift began her career as a humble country music singer. Country music is about telling stories, and that's an ideal from which Swift has never truly diverged.

Swift's talent lies in her ability to write songs that are at once universal and deeply personal. So much so that Swift has been known to hide secret messages in her lyrics in the hopes that her fans discover which famous ex the song is about.

Swift's most recent album, though, the surprise quarantine drop, Folklore, heavily deviated from that path. Of course, there were a few songs that were personal to Swift ("Invisible String," for example) — much of Folklore seemed to be pure fantasy. Even the most devoted fans were left scratching their heads.

After months of speculation, Swift finally opened up about her writing process and what really inspired her latest album.

Taylor Swift tried something new with Folklore

"Stars: they're just like us." And like us, Taylor Swift also spent much of 2020 bored out of her mind in quarantine. Swift used the extra time to write, produce, and release her eighth studio album, Folklore. Okay, maybe she isn't just like us.

Folklore stands in stark contrast to the rest of Swift's musical catalog. It is neither country nor pop, and for the most part, its subject matter is entirely made up. Usually, Swifties eagerly await her new albums to begin dissecting the lyrics and conclusively prove which songs are about whom and what. When Folklore came out, though, no one had any idea what it was about.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in December 2020, Swift clarified what inspired her to write Folklore. "Early in quarantine, I started watching lots of films," she told the outlet. "Consuming other people's storytelling opened this portal in my imagination and made me feel like, Why have I never created characters and intersecting storylines?" So she sat down and wrote songs like "Cardigan," "Betty," "August," and "Exile" based on scenarios she dreamed up in her head.

"It was really, really freeing to be able to just be inspired by worlds created by the films you watch or books you've read or places you've dreamed of or people that you've wondered about, not just being inspired by your own experience," she added. Fair enough, but we still stan a John Mayer diss track.