If you were to make a list of your year’s accomplishment that didn’t include baking banana bread, finishing off the rest of Schitt’s Creek and simply getting through it all relatively unscathed, did you even 2020?
With the spring arrival of COVID-19, we all embraced the art of Hygge, got intimately familiar with Netflix’s slate of programming from our couches and discovered the various ways to disinfect groceries. And while we were putting together makeshift Tiger King costumes and debating if we could even bother with the sourdough craze, Taylor Swift was baking cinnamon rolls, drinking wine and musing about the fact that there was “Not a lot going on at the moment.”
Which, of course, meant that she was putting the finishing touches on her 8th studio album, folklore.
“Surprise,” she wrote in the Insta announcement. “Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into.”
And the unexpected 17-track July release wasn’t the only major project Swift has undertaken since she partied like it was 2019 (as in, outside of her home, with other people around) to celebrate her 30th birthday last December.
With contract restrictions lifted Nov. 1, the musician has been back in the studio busily re-recording her first five albums, the ones sold off in a $300 million deal that anyone reading this is presumably extremely well-versed in. Or, as Swift reiterated in a Nov. 22 post, “not a lot going on at the moment.”
We should have known then, really, that Dec. 10 would bring another Swift surprise, the 10-time Grammy winner releasing her ninth studio album, evermore, because, as she explained in her Insta reveal, “To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs.”
A “sister record” to folklore, she intended it as a birthday gift to fans, a way to celebrate turning 31, an inverse of her lucky 13.
Clearly the good juju has left the singer feeling extra generous. She’s been paying off GoFundMe balances, dropping charity donations like she’s Swiftie Claus and racking up an eye-popping six Grammy nods—all fairly standard Swift fare, TBH—all while using the voice she first reclaimed with her 2018 call to vote and her LGBTQ+ anthem, “You Need to Calm Down,” and then more recently in her refreshingly honest Miss Americana doc.
“I think when your public opinions on things are known, it makes me feel like my fans are able to know me more,” she explained to People last year of her ongoing work to highlight discrimination. “It feels like what I believe in and what people know I believe in are aligned.”
So as the pop sensation marks her Dec. 13 birthday, we’re celebrating her and all the joy she’s brought this year as we all tried to make our way out of the woods. Swifties, are you …ready for it?
This story was originally published on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 at 3 p.m. PT.