ROYAL RECORDS | folklore – Taylor Swift

Hey everyone!

So I had planned to continue my Lady Gaga albums reaction with Born This Way today, but in a fantastic turn of events, Miss Taylor Swift just decided to drop her eighth studio album on us with less than 24 hours notice. I am sure you are just as shocked as I am. And since I adore that woman and every piece of music she creates, the decision to react to folklore and share all my thoughts was a pretty easy & obvious one.

I am so excited to hear this sound. Let’s dive in, shall we?

folklore


Track By Track

the 1

A great opening to the album. I absolutely loved how we went into this album without hearing a single song, without even hearing a snippet. I had no idea what to expect and I have to admit I was a bit nervous because I thought there would be a very heavy folk sound to this one – but the 1 sets up a fantastic tone to the album.

cardigan

Oh my god. Oh my god. This song is an instant fave. Genuinely, this might be one of my favourite Taylor songs ever. Period. It’s so damn good. Not only does it instantly make me think of the couple in my current WIP, but she manages to weave such a beautiful story in this 4 minute track. Outstanding.

the last great american dynasty

How does she do it?? I got shivers listening to this one. I love how so far with this album she’s making clear narratives for each song. This one is about the current home she now owns on Rhode Island, but it’s steeped in such vivid history and splendour that she perfectly captures in this song.

exile (feat. Bon Iver)

I have to admit, I wasn’t mad about this on the first listen but since listening to it more a few times, I’ve fallen in love with it. The vocals from Bon Iver complement Taylor’s so bloody well – it’s like a duet made in heaven. I love how fantastical this song feels, much like the rest of the album so far. The concept of all these stories being passed down by word of mouth, or in this case, song, is so interesting to me.

my tears ricochet

Another one of my instant favourites. I think whenever Taylor works on a song with Jack Antonoff, what we get is complete gold and this one is no different. Also it’s so great that this is Track 5.

mirrorball

Similar to exile, this wasn’t an instant favourite when I first listened but it has completely grown on me. I love the meaning behind the song and the lyrics make for such vivid imagery, of a lonely disco ball hanging from the ceiling while its heart/glass is breaking.

seven

This is so beautiful. I can’t believe I was ever hesitant of this sound, because it suits Taylor’s voice so much. This song reminds me of something that Sufjan Stevens would release. It is divine.

august

Another stunning song. I love how it links in with a love triangle of characters with cardigan and then betty at the end of the album. I love the bridge so much. Her talent is unbelievable and I love so much how she’s writing these songs about fictional characters. Have you ever wondered about writing a YA novel, Miss Tay Tay??

this is me trying

God, I knew I would love this song before I even started. It’s so beautiful. Despite whoever it is about, whether it’s Taylor or someone else, I love the vulnerability on this track and the realisation that, oh you know what, I fucked up and I want to apology. Instead of putting the blame on someone or something else, Taylor knows that it is up to her alone to fix the mistake she made.

illicit affairs

This song conjures such a vivid image in my head of two people in love, but have to keep it secret. I love the title – I also saw a post on Twitter that it reminded someone of Alex and Henry from Red White & Royal Blue – and I couldn’t agree more! The lyrics are so romantic and gentle and I love the minimal production on this track. It suits it so well.

invisible string

Come on!! This song is so beautiful. I feel like I keep saying, “this is one of my favourites” but I can’t help it! Eek, this album is so good. I love the simple instrumentation on this track and I think the lyrics are really beautiful.

mad woman

I can’t get over how well Taylor is turning all these songs into stories. I feel like through listening, we get a full beginning, middle and end. This isn’t a stand out track for me, but that’s not to take away from the beauty and harmony of it. I also think it proves that folklore contains some of Taylor’s best lyrics and vocals yet.

epiphany

Wow, this song is just divine. The build up at the beginning is exceptional. I love how soft and slow it is, and then suddenly Taylor’s gentle voice comes in like it’s a voice from heaven. This is just stunning. One of my favourites off the album, without a doubt.

betty

Ughhh, her mind. Seriously. I love this song so much, but what I love most is how it links back to cardigan and august. I feel like I keep saying “oh this is stunning/wonderful/insert good adjective here” but I’m honestly lost for words.

peace

I really like the style of this song. I’ve said it already but I’ll say it again, Taylor’s vocals have come on leaps and bounds (and I didn’t even think that was possible). This totally reminds me of a Lana Del Rey track.

hoax

And just like that we reach the end of the album. I think this was a great track to end an already melancholic and kind of dark album. Taylor, or her character, is caught up in this toxic relationship and she’s struggling to say goodbye to it, even though she knows it’s doomed. Almost as if she’s struggling to say goodbye to the album…?


Current Top Three Tracks

  1. cardigan
  2. my tears ricochet
  3. epiphany

Overall Thoughts

So I seriously cannot believe that Taylor Swift gave us her next album already. I know Lover was almost a year ago, but I didn’t think we would get TS8 until at least 2021. But just like the sound & style of folklore, she took me by complete surprise. I am such a huge fan of this body of work. I think it sounds like such beautiful poetry and I love how stripped back and piano focused this is. It’s definitely one that I’m going to fall in love with more the more I listen to it, but for already, this is nothing short of a masterpiece. We are so lucky and privileged to be alive in a time of Taylor Alison Swift.


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ROYAL RECORDS | Joanne – Lady Gaga

Hey everyone!

Today’s post is another instalment of my new blog series, Royal Records! I’m continuing my reaction to Lady Gaga’s back catalogue today with her fifth studio album. If you ever want to see me react/review an album you love, let me know in the comments!

Now, onto JOANNE!

joanne


Track By Track

Diamond Heart

This was not a great start to the album for me. I just don’t vibe with the song. The opening of an album should always draw you in, but this made me want to not listen to the rest of the album.

A-YO

Okay, now we are talking. The lyrics are so bloody clever, it’s so catchy and it leaves a good sound in your head after you finish listening. It’s fun and for me, I enjoyed it a lot more than Diamond Heart!

Joanne

If I thought I loved A-YO, then I couldn’t have predicted this. Joanne is such a beautiful song and I don’t think it could be more of a perfect title for the album. My favourite version is the piano version Gaga did – it literally gives me goosebumps every time. Highly recommend.

John Wayne

This was kind of meh for me. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. It just sat in the middle for me. I wouldn’t necessarily skip it if it came on, but nor would I actively play it you know?

Dancin’ in Circles

This is a fun song. Not a stand out track for me as such, but I do appreciate it. The production is so heavy and has a really sick beat. Definitely one of the better songs off Joanne, the chorus is so great.

Perfect Illusion

This song is classic Gaga and I adore it. It almost feels like we crawl into the song as it starts. Great lyrics, super catchy – just a really solid dance bop from Gaga. HOWEVER, saying that, as much as I love it I don’t think it belongs on an album like Joanne. I think it’s definitely more Chromatica or ARTPOP vibes, but maybe that’s just me?

Million Reasons

Ohhhh myyyyy Godddd. I mean, this ballad from Gaga is one of my favourite things in the world. It’s just stunning, and there’s so much emotion in Gaga’s voice that it’s nearly impossible not to just tear up. Piano ballads are just the way into my heart and this song especially is one of them.

Sinner’s Prayer

I’m not quite into this track. The sound isn’t really my thing and every time it comes on I highkey skip it. Not a fan of this.

Come To Mama

This song makes me weep. The message is so goddamn POWERFUL. Gaga’s vocals mixed with this rampant production is a match made in heaven. I love the lyrics and this song always makes me feel better every time I listen.

Favourite Lyric:

So why do we gotta tell each other how to live, the only prisons that exist are the ones we put each other in.

Hey Girl (feat. Florence Welch)

Okay, when you put my QUEEN Florence Welch on a track it’s almost a guarantee I’m gonna like it. And Hey Girl was no different. The synth is SO PERFECT ON THIS TRACK. It feels so vibey, so soulful, kind of 80s too. I think Gaga and Florence’s vocals go together so bloody well. Also yes to the message of this song – FEMALE EMPOWERMENT.

Angel Down

Oh dear, the closing track of the standard edition is surely one to tug on your heart strings. Written in response to the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, Angel Down is a beautiful song with an equally beautiful melody. Gaga’s vocals are so raw on this track and it suits it wonderfully. Truly impressive.

Grigio Girls

I love this song so much. Maybe possibly my favourite track on the album and I swear it’s not just because the Spice Girls get a cheeky reference. Such an emotional song with so much heart, you can tell Gaga has so much love for the person she’s writing about. I love all the little anecdotes weaved into the song too; they really make it as good as it is.

Just Another Day

And finally, this song I have been told is “old school Gaga” in the days when she was first starting out, and I am obssessed with it. It’s soooo good. The guitar riffs, the British eccentrics of this track are great. It literally sounds like a Bowie-meets-The Beatles kind of song. I love it and the message is great too.


Current Top Three Tracks

  1. Hey Girl
  2. Grigio Girls
  3. Come To Mama

Overall Thoughts

So, Joanne was a really good album. I absolutely adored Chromatica, so this didn’t quite compare – only because it has several songs I didn’t actually like. But the songs I liked in the majority were absolutely wonderful. I was always scared of listening to this because Joanne is such a departure from Gaga’s usual persona/genre – but I genuinely believe that some of these tracks are Gaga at her very, very best.


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ROYAL RECORDS | Chromatica – Lady Gaga

Hello!!

I’ve been thinking over the past while over what the Royal Bookshelf really means to me. Now that I’ve fallen head over heels back in love with blogging, I want to be able to take this blog more seriously and dedicate more time to it. I had been thinking about slightly expanding it for a while. Of course it will always be a book blog first and foremost because nothing could deter my love of books and writing, but another passion of mine is music. I don’t know how often I listen to it but I imagine it would be a shocking amount.

I always love watching album reaction videos on Youtube and though I don’t have the confidence nor effort required to be a Booktuber, I decided I’d take this to my blog. I’ve seen fellow bloggers react/review albums before such as my good pal Amy, so I thought I’d give it a go myself and make it a regular feature on my blog.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to a brand new seriesROYAL RECORDS! I am so excited!! Each week I will be reacting to a new album/sharing my opinion track-by-track. I have recently fallen in love with Chromatica so I decided it would be fun to start off by making my way through Gaga’s discography.

So first up, let’s hear my thoughts on the world of CHROMATICA.

chromatica


Track By Track

Chromatica I

A gorgeous opening to what’s already an interesting concept album. I love the orchestral vibes from it and I think it’s a simple yet perfect way to ease us into the album.

Alice

Okay first of all, we need to appreciate that the first track FLOWS STRAIGHT into Alice. Originally I just liked it – didn’t think it was anything special – but now it has completely grown on me. Such a dance bop, I love the production how it feels like you’re constantly rocking back and forth and such clever lyrics on a classic story of Alice in Wonderland we all know so well. I was actually reading Juno Dawson’s Wonderland when this dropped so it was truly perfect timing, haha.

Stupid Love

Oh come on!! What a belter of a single. When this was released way back when, I knew that Chromatica was going to be good. So catchy, so fun and I think it was a perfect lead single for the album. Also the music video was stunning, really great first introduction to the world of Chromatica.

Rain on Me (feat. Ariana Grande)

I mean, holy SHIT. I knew to expect something good with an Ariana Grande feature but I couldn’t have imagined this. Their voices harmonise and go so well together. I don’t think I could ever get tired of this song. Such a good message and the music video is ICONIC. My favourite part is the breakdown before the chorus when Gaga is like: “RAIN. ON. ME.” I can’t wait for clubs to reopen so I can bop my ass to this incredible song.

Free Woman

And as if Rain on Me wasn’t enough, Gaga takes us STRAIGHT THERE with Free Woman. One of the best songs on the album without a doubt, I absolutely love it. The message, the lyrics are so damn powerful. Gaga’s vocals on this are really impressive too – I’d love to see this live. The minimal production at the beginning works really well before it transitions to a loud, stomping explosion for the chorus.

Fav lyric:

I’m not nothing without a steady hand,

I’m not nothing unless I know I can,

I’m still something if I don’t got a man,

I’m a free woman.

Fun Tonight

This was another good track. Not a stand out for me on the album, but I think it was right to strip back the production on this one after the last few bangers. It’s got a nice melody and really tugs on your heart strings. I love the little nods to her older stuff too, like Paparazzi and the Fame.

Chromatica II

Another perfect instrumental interlude. For some reason this really reminds me of Danny Elfman’s music. Who knows why? Also, have y’all seen this transitioning into “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” by Kylie Minogue? It’s glorious.

911

I mean the way this jumps straight into action tells me that this song is already a bop. I absolutely adore this track. There’s so much going on and so many different sounds and I think it works wonderfully for the theme of this song.

Plastic Doll

This song definitely had to grow on me. I wasn’t sure of it at first, I thought it would have been a skip for me. I love the message behind it and the eclectic melody. It wouldn’t be my favourite song off the album but I do appreciate it.

Sour Candy (feat. BLACKPINK)

This is a tricky one for me. As much as I enjoy Gaga’s verse, it sounds more like a BLACKPINK song featuring Gaga instead of the other way around. I do bop to it when it comes on but wouldn’t be a fave for me.

Enigma

I feel like this is the point in an album where you usually get some filler tracks, but with Chromatica, this does not happen. Enigma is so fun. I find it so rebellious; it’s about Gaga not fitting into any box anyone tries to push her into. It’s such a good, catchy song.

Replay

I love love love this song. I get such disco vibes from it and if you can’t tell from my graphics, disco is definitely my thing. The lyrics are dangerously sharp and the production is sick. It’s literally a perfect blend of the expected and unexpected. Definitely one of my fave tracks to dance to.

Chromatica III

Another cute instrumental. I like the way Gaga uses these to break up the album into Three Acts almost, very clever.

Sine from Above (feat. Elton John)

This song is just not it. I think if I could get rid of it off the album, I would. Elton John is iconic, don’t get me wrong, but he just sounds so weird on this song, as if he’s in pain. I think I excepted more from this, or at least something different. Hard pass for me.

1000 Doves

At first this kind of disappointed me because it was one of the tracks I looked forwards to most, but it has definitely grown on me. I especially love and highly recommend the piano demo version from the deluxe CD. A beautiful melody with beautiful lyrics. This to me makes me think of the friends I have around me and how they lift me up.

Babylon

The BEST way to close the damn album and honestly my favourite track by far. It is just incredible. I get serious Vogue vibes off it and I literally could not myself dancing to this if it came on. The lyrics are just so clever and only Lady Gaga could pull off “serve it Ancient City style.” I adore this track. It’s my favourite song of the album, period.


Current Top Three Tracks

  1. Babylon
  2. Free Woman
  3. Rain on Me

Overall Thoughts

Chromatica was an entire serve. Enough said. I’ve always loved Gaga’s singles because I’m not completely uncultured, but I truly feel like she’s knocked it out of the park with this record. A perfect fusion of joyful dance beats with powerful messages about love, pain, strength and what it means to get back on your feet after you’ve been knocked down and keep dancing no matter what.

I hope you all enjoyed the first instalment of ROYAL RECORDS and I can assure you there is a lot more to come! I will be working my way through Gaga’s discography for the next few weeks and I have some more ideas after that but comment below if you have any albums you’d like to see me react to/review!

Thanks for reading and see you soon!


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