Bonus Review! Taylor Swift – evermore

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Here at Fairly KickAss, we like to go out with a bang – and what better way to cap off 2020 than with one more fire review? It’s our Senior Weizen Correspondent, Jada, hitting you with that good-good just under the bell. Taylor Swift’s first 2020 release, folklore, was a winner… but will evermore leave the same impression? Keep reading to find out!

Also watch out for more bonus content from Jada in our final post of the year, coming next week.


Taylor Swift – evermore (Republic Records)

I think she did it but I just…can’t…prove it…By she I mean Taylor Swift, and by “it” I mean drop the two best albums of 2020 less than 5 months apart. Yes, this is a quote from “no body, no crime”; but evermore is just so damn quotable! 

Since I defined the term folklore in my review for Taylor Swift’s last surprise album just 5 months ago, it’s only fair that I define evermore now. It means always, forever, or for a very long time. Well, that is exactly how long I will be listening to this album.

Jack Antonoff (Bleachers) and Aaron Dessner (The National) both return to write the songs on evermore (along with Swift), and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) co-wrote and duets w T. on the title track, which also happens to be my favorite song on the album. Back in July you couldn’t have told me that another album would give folklore a run for its money for my album of the year, let alone that it would be from the same artist. This album is haunting, painful, personal, yet somehow feels like it was written for me and about me. Take “‘tis the damn season” for example. Who doesn’t have that first love from their hometown? It doesn’t matter how far away you get or how long you’ve been gone. That person always seems to be right there waiting when you get back. 

“marjorie” is an absolutely beautiful ode to Swift’s grandmother (who was aptly named Marjorie), opera singer and inspiration for Taylor’s pursuit of a music career. evermore (f. Bon Iver) feels like a sequel to folklore’s exile. In exile, Swift and Vernon are just figuring out how to coexist, while in evermore they are trying to figure out how to live with the loss…forever. “willow” is another one of the notorious who is this about? songs. “The more that you say, the less I know. Wherever you stray, I follow. Begging for you to take my hand, wreck my plans, that’s my man”. You know who you are, Sir. The last song I will mention (since by now you should all know that every song on this album is my favorite song on the album) is “coney island” (f. The National). I would never have thought to pair these two up, but now I want every song forever to have the two of them singing them! 

Other songs to note: “tolerate it”, “long story short”, “dorothea”

FFO: Bon Iver, The National, Phoebe Bridges

  • Jada

Podcast the Sixteenth: November 2020 In Review

A bit of a rewind here, but we stay true-to-form. Get you some!

Zack’s Top 3 Albums of the Month:

3. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over
2. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – K.G.
1. Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide

Jeremy’s Top 3 Albums of the Month:

3. Yukon Blonde – Vindicator
2. Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide (not a typo)
1. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – K.G. (also not a typo, Jeremy and Zack are the Borg)

Dan’s Top 3 Hit Songs of the Month:

3. Billie Eilish – Therefore I Am
2. Harry Styles – Golden
1. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

December 4, 2020

Soilwork – A Whisp of the Atlantic (Nuclear Blast)

While Sweden has an incredibly active metal scene, Soilwork stands out (at least to me) because of their unique take on melody. They typically have just as much in common with American groove metal, like Pantera, as they do with Scandinavian death metal. 

Metalcore synth elements are more prevalent on this EP, as well as deep thought and reflective moments, brought out by piano interludes. There is even a trumpet solo at the 8 minute(ish) mark of the title track, as well as the outro starting at the 15 minute mark. 

Oh, right! I forgot to mention that the opening song and album namesake, “A Whisp of the Atlantic”, is a 16 minute opus that fully encapsulates what this band is capable of. Almost an homage to Dream Theater, it moves through a range of emotions and styles. It tells a story of ending the “lies of sanity” to “feel eternity’s breath” and leave the world behind. Soaring, operatic vocals punctuated with guttural growls dominate the track and usher in musical shifts from death metal to metalcore, but all with a progressive metal flare. 

The rest of the EP follows closely the example set at the start, but dotted with the elements that were used to seeing from Soilwork. “Feverish” in particular represents the best of what they offer here, packaged in a bite-sized 6 minutes and filled with blast beats, catchy chorus melodies, and progressive guitar work. “Desperado” is equally satisfying, and is the only track that doesn’t end with a pensive instrumental outro. The closing track, “Death Diviner”, has my favorite guitar riff on the release, repeated throughout its verses. 

I found this album to be their most impressive and listenable recording since Figure Number Five in 2002. 

FFO: Dream Theater, In Flames, Nevermore


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The Hit Songs of November 2020

Well this was a much calmer month, thankfully. It feels like the pop charts slowed down a bit for the holidays. Just a quick note for this list next month: the only Christmas songs that will hit this list next month will be brand new ones. So I’m not reviewing All I Want For Christmas Is You. Unless we do some list or pod about Christmas songs. Then all bets are off. Whelp, here we go, crap first then scroll down for the good stuff.

13 – Morgan Wallen – More Than My Hometown
There’s an example of country done right towards the top of the list. This is country done… well, I’d say wrong but this is just what the genre is now. The production’s the easy part. It’s a cookie cutter country track. There’s a steel guitar in there, there’s a Telecaster set to maximum twang and an even, if not boring drum track. Now let’s get to the worst part: lyrics. I can’t roll my eyes harder at the thesis of this song: oh, I love you more than all of these great big things in this great big world, but I can’t love you more than this one stoplight holler in the backwoods of bumfuck, wherever. So enjoy life, girl, where people drive electric cars and fancy apps deliver you food and you don’t have to walk to the back of the property to take a shit. Songs like this are the reason the genre has picked up the reputation it has over the last two decades.

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