Swift is accompanied for the first time by "folklore" collaborators Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff in this casual streaming premiere.
Taylor Swift's documentary "Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions" was released just in time for Thanksgiving on Disney + with the same secrecy as in her album of the same name. While this long version of the recording session is hardly as revealing as the Netflix movie "Miss Americana," which revolves around the pop queen, which debuted earlier this year, Disney + Doc Swift fans will love and offer a glimpse into the introspective songwriting, that became an outlet for sadness.
The film brings Taylor Swift together for the first time with Aaron Dessner from The National and Jack Antonoff from Bleachers in a maroon farmhouse in New York state, cozy like an old cardigan. They all had previously recorded the elements of "folklore" separately, so it is delightful to see them in the same room – and in a simulacrum of what their process might have been like in a non-pandemic world.
Throughout the film, Swift speaks less than specifically about the stories and secrets that make up each of the 17 songs on "Folkore". For one, Swift reveals that one of the album co-writers is actually her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. In her most human form, Swift is concerned about Bon Ivers' Justin Vernon coming on board for the track "Exile". But the question wasn't a yeoman effort, since the indie icon (who made it her mission to hide in a booth to unpack her soul in 2007 "For Emma, Forever Ago") wasn't cringed to team up with Swift. As fans know, Vernon supports one of the most poignant moments on the album and, it turns out, even wrote the bridge himself. (A face-masked Vernon appears as a guest in a remote-controlled duet on the track.)
Swift is comfortably in her element with “folklore” and, unsurprisingly, also in quarantine, far from the bright lights of the tabloid world that typically consumes her existence. "Folklore" the album, she emphasizes, is a rejection of this universe. She does not name names for the inspirations and Irish behind the album's most desolate moments of betrayal and anger, but the material undoubtedly came from a personal location.
Antonoff and Dessner adore companions and provide guitar and piano, but also a soundboard for Swift's reflections on art, music and life. They have a simple relationship that almost makes you forget they are in front of the camera.
"Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions" won't blow you away, but it's a nice addition to one of the most popular albums of the year and a rare chance to see all of the songs "live". Tracks like the searching single "Cardigan" benefit from the pared-down approach, and inward ballads like "Mirrorball" and "This Is Me Trying" strike harder live.
This is a sweet and comforting throwback to an otherwise lonely and isolating holiday season for many out there.
"Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions" is now streamed on Disney +.