Announced on social media only the morning before, the album was released at midnight on December 11, 2020, fewer than five months after the similarly unexpected folklore.
Swift described it as a "sister record" to folklore, an assertion borne out by the sonic and thematic similarity between the two which contrasts sharply with Swift's usual sound and image reinventions between projects. Like its predecessor, evermore features intricate lyrics, an emphasis on emotional storytelling, Alternative Indie production elements, and contributions from Bon Iver and The National (joined on this record by Haim).
Preceded by folklore.
- "willow" (3:34)
- "champagne problems" (4:04)
- "gold rush" (3:05)
- "'tis the damn season" (3:49)
- "tolerate it" (4:05)
- "no body, no crime" (featuring Haim) (3:35)
- "happiness" (5:15)
- "dorothea" (3:45)
- "coney island" (featuring The National) (3:45)
- "ivy" (4:20)
- "cowboy like me" (4:35)
- "long story short" (3:35)
- "marjorie" (4:17)
- "closure" (3:00)
- "evermore" (featuring Bon Iver) (5:04)
- "right where you left me" (Bonus Track) (4:05)
- "its time to go" (Bonus Track) (4:15)
Not to be confused with the Australian pop rock band Evermore.
This album provides examples of:
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Inverted. "ivy" in the Clean Version replace "Oh, goddamn" with "Oh, I can't", making the singer less conflicting about the relationship and is just in denial.
- Age-Gap Romance: In "tolerate it," the narrator mentions that her boyfriend is much older than her. Much like "Dear John" before it, this is deconstructed, as it's one of many parts of the relationship that's unhealthy.
- Album Title Drop: Peculiarly, "gold rush" title-drops not evermore, but folklore, which none of the previous album's songs had done:My mind turns your life into folklore
I can't dare to dream about you anymore
- all lowercase letters: The album title and all of its songs are stylized this way.
- All Take and No Give: "tolerate it" is from the perspective of a Giver who is in this type of relationship.
- Anti-Love Song: "ivy" opens with the narrator exclaiming and praising her lover... until the rest of the song revealed that she is very conflicting about this relationship affecting her current one with her husband (which mean either this is an affair or the lover she is exclaiming is dead and she still can't get over them) and compare their love to ivy that will destroy her.
- Arc Words: "Evermore." It recurs on "evermore", obviously, but it also reappears in "long story short".
- "Back to Camera" Pose: The album cover art is a photograph of Swift's head and shoulders from the back while she's looking straight ahead into a forest. It fits the meditative, folksy sound of the album.
- Bittersweet Ending:
- Cross with "Ray of Hope" Ending. The album ends with "evermore", a song that discusses depression and hopelessness in times of extreme duress, but ends with the hope that the pain won't be forever and that the narrator will get better one day.
- The album bonus track closer "it's time to go" is about someone who is leaving a toxic relationship with her head held high because she knew there is better future lie ahead of her. The song is a not-so-subtle diss against Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta as well as a friend of Taylor who betrayed her (widely speculated to be Karlie Kloss).
- Black Widow: Implied at the end of "no body, no crime", where the townspeople assume that the mistress of Este's husband is this because she takes his money after Este's friend (the narrator) kills him.Good thing his mistress took out a big life insurance policy
They think she did it but they just can't prove it
- Bookends: "tolerate it" begins and ends with the same line, "I sit and watch you," implying that, even though the narrator contemplates leaving her partner who doesn't appreciate her, she doesn't go through with it.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The lyrical imagery in "gold rush":I don't like slow motion double vision in a rose blush
I don't like that falling feels like flying 'til the bone crush
- Break-Up Song:
- "champagne problems" is from the perspective of a woman who turns down her partner's marriage proposal, breaking his heart.
- "happiness" is about the fallout of a breakup that's especially painful because the narrator knows her ex-boyfriend isn't fully to blame, nor is he a bad person, and even if it's over, the relationship brought them both love and joy for a long time. She's trying to be cordial about it and wish him well, but she's in too much pain at the moment to manage it.No one teaches you what to do
When a good man hurts you
And you know you hurt him, too
- "closure" is the narrator telling a former flame to get out of her life, she's not interested in staying friends and she just wants to move on.
- Changing Chorus: In "No Body, No Crime" the first two choruses are identical, three repetitions of "I think he did it but I just can't prove it", followed by "But I ain't letting up until the day I die". (Although who "I" is and what the person thinks was done changes). The third chorus changes this to two repetitions of "They think she did it but they just can't prove it", meaning the police suspect the mistress of murdering the man involved. The third line is "She thinks I did it but she just can't prove it", meaning the mistress suspects Taylor of his murder. Finally, the song ends with "I wasn't letting up until the day he died."
- Dark and Troubled Past: "evermore" implied that both the narrator (sung by Taylor) and her love interest (sung by Bon Iver) have incredibly turbulent past separately and together.(Taylor) I rewind thе tape, but all it does is pause
On thе very moment all was lost
(Bon Iver) Can't not think of all the cost
And the things that will be lost
Oh, can we just get a pause?
To be certain, we'll be tall again
Whether weather be the frost
Or the violence of the dog days
I'm on waves, out being tossed
Is there a line that I could just go cross?
- A Deadly Affair: In "no body, no crime", Este is implied to have been killed by her husband after she discovered his affair.
- The Diss Track: The bonus track "it's time to go" is an extremely not-so-subtle dig at her former label manager Scott Borchetta and a former female friend of Taylor who betrayed her (widely speculated to be Karlie Kloss):When the words of a sister come back in whispers
That prove she was not in fact what she seemed
Not a twin from your dreams
She's a crook who was caught
Fifteen years, fifteen million tears
Begging 'til my knees bled
I gave it my all, he gave me nothing at all
Then wondered why I left
Now he sits on his throne in his palace of bones
Praying to his greed
He's got my past frozen behind glass
But I've got me
- Double-Meaning Title: "champagne problems" is an expression meaning First World Problems, but it also refers to the fact that the narrator's ex and their family bought champagne in anticipation of an engagement that ended up not happening.
- Face on the Cover: Played with. The album cover frames Swift portrait-style, but she is facing away from the camera.
- First World Problems: Subverted by "champagne problems." The phrase is used to described this trope, and the song certainly started out with a heartbreaking but relatively minor problem: the girl rejected her boyfriend's proposal, but the song later heavily alludes to the societal judgment of the girl for not wanting marriage, with people saying she is "fucked in the head".
- Genre Shift: In an album of mostly moody and atmospheric alternative-folk, "long story short" is an upbeat indie-pop song with a drum machine.
- Girl Next Door Turned Superstar: "dorothea" is told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator whose high school sweetheart, the titular Dorothea, left their hometown and moved to L.A. in search of fame and success. Its companion song "tis the damn season" tells the story from Dorothea's perspective as she visits home for the holidays and contemplates whether leaving town was really the right decision.
- Grief Song: "marjorie" is about mourning a lost loved one, named after Taylor's grandmother, who died when she was fourteen.What died didn't stay dead
What died didn't stay dead
You're alive, you're alive in my head
What died didn't stay dead
What died didn't stay dead
You're alive, so alive
- Hero of Another Story: "marjorie" heavily deconstructed this trope. The song has Taylor expresses guilt and regret of not asking her grandmother more about the latter's life before she passed away because Taylor was too young and now she will never fully know what a wonderful person her grandmother was.
- Ill Girl: One interpretation of the female narrator in "evermore" is that the pain she sings about is physical, that the illness she has involve respiratory problems and that she is feeling pessimistic about her illness:And I was catching my breath
Staring out an open window
Catching my death
- Imagine Spot: The narrator of "gold rush" keeps catching herself imagining a future with the person she totally doesn't like, much to her annoyance.
- Ironic Echo: The chorus of "no body, no crime."
- First time, it's Este voicing her suspicions: she thinks her husband is cheating on her, but she can't prove it - "No body, no crime / But I ain't letting up until the day I die".
- Next verse says Este disappeared, and her husband's mistress took her place. Apparently, she let up because she did die, but "No body, no crime." The narrator figures this out but can't prove it, so she wows, "But I ain't letting up until the day I die."
- Next verse has the narrator killing Este's husband and disposing of the body, and the chorus goes, "No body, no crime" again: his mistress thinks the narrator did it, but she just can't prove it. The narrator gloats, "I wasn't letting up until the day he / Died."
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
- Implied in "champagne problems," after the narrator turns down her boyfriend's marriage proposal, and then reflects that he'll probably settle down with a perfectly nice girl eventually.But you'll find the real thing instead
She'll patch up your tapestry that I shred
And hold your hand while dancing
- The narrator of "happiness" spitefully suggests a "beautiful fool" will take her place as her ex's girlfriend, but then admits, "I didn't mean that," and admits she's not being fair, and that "there'll be happiness after me." She's hurt and angry, but she doesn't want her ex to hurt.
- Implied in "champagne problems," after the narrator turns down her boyfriend's marriage proposal, and then reflects that he'll probably settle down with a perfectly nice girl eventually.
- Lipstick Mark: In "no body, no crime," Este lists "ain't my merlot on his mouth" as one of the signs of her husband's infidelity. "Merlot" is a popular lipstick color.
- Love Martyr: "tolerate it" is narrated by a woman who's in a relationship with a man who merely tolerates her affection for him and treats her very poorly. She knows she deserves better, but can't bring herself to leave.
- Love Nostalgia Song: "dorothea" is told from the perspective of Dorothea's high school sweetheart, who now only sees her on TV and in magazines, but still carries a torch for her and hopes she's doing well.
- The Mistress:
- A small but pivotal character in "no body, no crime," as Este's husband murders her to move in with his side piece instead.
- "ivy" is more sympathetic, as the narrator is engaged or married to a man she doesn't love, and embarks on an affair she knows can't last—her love interest is this archetype (though their gender, and whether they're married themselves, is unclear)
- Murder Ballad: "no body, no crime" tells the tale of a woman whose best friend goes missing after accusing her husband of cheating, and the narrator's quest to avenge her.I know he did it, but I just can't prove it
No, no body, no crime
But I ain't lettin' up 'til the day I die
- Murder the Hypotenuse: A variant in "no body, no crime." Este suspects her husband is cheating, and he is... but his mistress doesn't kill her, he does. Whether or not the mistress was involved in the murder at all is left unclear.
- New Sound Album: Notably averted. Whereas every one of Swift's other albums at least since Red had featured a distinct genre shift, evermore sounds like an extension of its preceding sister album.
- The One Who Made It Out: The titular "dorothea" left the small town in which she and the narrator grew up to become a famous celebrity. The narrator seems happy where they are, but does wish she'd come back.You got shiny friends since you left town
A tiny screen's the only place I see you now
- One-Woman Song:
- "dorothea," where the object of affection's name is both the title and the entirety of the hook.
- "marjorie," about Swift's grandmother.
- Both songs may also be referencing Marjorie and Dorothea West. Marjorie was a little girl who went missing in 1938 and was never found, Dorothea was her sister and the last person to see her alive.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Also notably averted. Like its sister album, the album is composed of stories that are not about her, but stories of characters that she created. Taylor has gone on the record to say that evermore has even more character stories to tell than folklore.
- Rejected Marriage Proposal: "champagne problems" is from the perspective of the woman doing the rejecting. She never says why she turns him down, and hates hurting him, but doesn't doubt her decision.Sometimes you just don't know the answer
'Til someone's on their knees and asks you
"She would've made such a lovely bride
What a shame she's fucked in the head," they said
- Revenge Ballad: "no body, no crime" becomes this after the first verse, when the narrator realizes Este's husband killed her, and there isn't enough evidence to arrest him. She takes an alternative route to getting justice.
- Sampling: The ending of "marjorie" uses audio of Taylor's grandmother, Marjorie Findlay, from her career as an opera singer, to truly stunning effect.
- Sequel Song:
- "dorothea" is particularly similar to folklore's "betty," being a relatively jaunty One-Woman Song sung to a temporarily lost beloved. Taylor has also said that while the stories aren't connected, she imagines Dorothea went to the same high school as Betty, James, Inez, and "August" from folklore.
- The thirteenth track on folklore, "epiphany," was inspired partially by the experiences of Taylor's grandfather, Dean. The thirteenth track on evermore is about and named for her grandmother, Marjorie.
- Sex for Solace: Given a PG mention in "long story short."Pushed from the precipice
Clung to the nearest lips
Long story short, it was the wrong guy
- Sex with the Ex: "'tis the damn season" is about hooking up with an old flame while home for the holidays.
- Silly Love Songs:
- "willow" is about falling in love with someone unexpectedly, but loving them all the more for it.Wreck my plans
That's my man
- "ivy" plays with this; it's undoubtedly a love song, but has the added twist of it involving an extramarital affair, which means it isn't all sunshine and rainbows.Oh, I can't stop you putting roots in my dreamland
- "long story short" is about making it through a rough patch in your life and eventually finding love with the right person at the right time.When I dropped my sword
I threw it in the bushes and knocked on your door
And we live in peace
But if someone comes at us, this time, I'm ready
- "willow" is about falling in love with someone unexpectedly, but loving them all the more for it.
- Small Town Boredom: In "dorothea," the narrator mentions that Dorothea never liked how quiet and monotonous their hometown is.
- Stupid Evil: Este's husband from "no body, no crime" is so absurdly bad at covering his tracks, you almost have to wonder if he wanted to get caught. Yes, pal, move in with your side piece before your missing wife's even been legally declared dead. Surely that won't raise suspicion at all! (For that matter, buying jewelry for his mistress on an account he shared with his wife was also an incredibly dumb thing to do).
- The Mourning After: The bonus track "right where you left me" is about a girl who is unable to move on from a break up and her life is stuck in that moment even when her ex has moved on.
- Title Track: The final song shares its name with the album.
- Trial Balloon Question: In "tolerate it," the Love Martyr narrator asks her partner, "But what would you do if I / Break free and leave us in ruins?"
- The narrator of "gold rush" really, really doesn't want to like the song's subject, but she clearly does—and she's pissed off.I don't like that anyone would die to feel your touch
Everybody wants you
Everybody wonders what it would be like to love you
- The narrator of "tis the damn season" clearly still has feeling for her ex both as a friend and a lover despite her insistence to them that she doesn't.If I wanted to know who you were hanging with
While I was gone, I would've asked you
There's an ache in you, put there by the ache in me
But if it's all the same to you
It's the same to me
Now I'm missing your smile, hear me out
We could just ride around
And the road not taken looks real good now
And it always leads to you and my hometown
Sleep in half the day just for old times' sake
I won't ask you to wait if you don't ask me to stay
And wonder about the only soul
Who can tell which smiles I'm fakin'
And the heart I know I'm breakin' is my own
To leave the warmest bed I've ever known
We could call it even
- The narrator of "gold rush" really, really doesn't want to like the song's subject, but she clearly does—and she's pissed off.
- What Beautiful Eyes!:
- "gold rush" has these lines:Gleaming
Eyes like sinking ships
On waters so inviting
I almost jump in
- In "ivy," the narrator says about her lover, "Your opal eyes are all I wish to see."
- "gold rush" has these lines:
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: "closure" has Swift slips into a strange accent in the chorus in what can be described as a mix between a Minnesota and stereotypical British accent.