folklore Cements Itself as 2020’s Top Selling Album

Seven days ago, Taylor Swift surprised fans with the unexpected release of her critically-acclaimed 5 star album, folklore. Since its release, folklore has cemented itself as the top selling album of 2020.

folklore stands out as the #1 album in the world with global sales over 2 million worldwide and over half a billion total streams on audio and video in just one week. It has reached #1 on iTunes in more than 85 countries. The album marks the biggest UK debut for a female artist in 2020 and becomes her most streamed album in it’s first week in the UK.

The stunning lead single from the album, “cardigan,” debuted #1 on the Global Spotify chart, claiming the most daily Spotify streams in 2020. It also reaches #1 on iTunes song chart and was the most added song at Top 40 and Hot AC radio airplay charts nationwide. The song was also added straight to the A list on BBC Radio 1 in the UK.

Taylor Swift is the only female artist to have seven albums each sell at least 500,000 copies in a single week (Fearless, Speak Now, RED, 1989, reputation, Lover and folklore). She is the first and only female artist in the 21st century to score five #1 studio albums in the UK. folklore marks the biggest first week album streams by a female artist in the UK in 2020 and biggest first week album streams of Taylor Swift’s career in the UK.

These latest achievements follow a series of records set by folklore. Last week, it shattered the global record for first day album streams on Spotify by a female artist with 80.6 million streams and delivered the most-streamed pop album on Apple Music in 24 hours with 35.47M streams. Additionally, folklore set the U.S. and Worldwide Amazon Music Indie/Alternative Streaming Record.

folklore is the ten-time GRAMMY® Award-winning, record-breaking superstar’s eighth album. In addition to all the incredible success of folklore this week, Taylor received five 2020 MTV Video Music Award nominations. “The Man” received nominations in top categories including “Video Of The Year” and “Best Direction” – which marks Taylor’s first award nomination in a directing role. Taylor also received nominations in categories including “Best Pop,” “Best Art Direction,” and “Video For Good.”

Here are what critics are saying about folklore:

“5 Stars” – The Guardian, Laura Snapes

“Folklore proves that she can thrive away from the noise: if you interpret “classmates” as pop peers, Swift is no longer competing.” – The Guardian, Laura Snapes

“Taylor Swift’s surprise album ‘Folklore’ is her best yet.” – USA Today, Patrick Ryan

“A Rating” – Entertainment Weekly, Maura Johnston

“…a content smile of an album on which one of the world’s biggest pop stars, charts be damned, forges her own path and dares listeners to come along for the ride…” – Entertainment Weekly, Maura Johnston

“5 Stars” – The Daily Telegraph, Neil McCormick

“These are beautifully turned songs filled with empathy for downtrodden characters battered by life but always ready to fight back, bridging social distance with langorous melodies and deep emotion. The lockdown may have been a terrible moment for music and musicians, but it has resulted in Taylor’s Swift’s most powerful and mature album to date.” – The Daily Telegraph, Neil McCormick

“Thank you, Taylor, for this masterpiece of an album.” – Buzzfeed, Ryan Schocket

“The mainstream deity wears well the role of a solemn storyteller, who’s more comfortable than ever weaving her tales without happy endings (and whose goth-inspired album cover looks like an Opeth throwback). Such an approach reminds of the darker tones found in Bruce Springsteen’s The River, the double-album that first saw the Boss wholly embrace the idea of telling other folks’ tales in the first-person — a formula that would guide him for decades. Swift may not be far behind on Highway 9.” – Spin, Bobby Oliver

“One musing bleeds into the next; sonic themes maintain a brilliantly downcast cohesion, like smooth obsidian glass. It’s a record born of necessity, a testament to her deep need to make music, even when it makes no sense to do so.” – Spin, Bobby Oliver

“5 Stars” – i Newspaper, Sarah Carson

“A dazzling, timeless surprise album.” – i Newspaper, Sarah Carson

“In years to come, when we look back at the timeless Folklore, Swift’s words will once again prove astoundingly, simply, true.” – i Newspaper, Sarah Carson

“Some of us have spent years dreaming Taylor would do a whole album like this—but nobody really dreamed it would turn out this great. Her greatest album—so far.” – Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield

“4.5 Stars” – Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield

“The album is ruminative and dreamy, the work of an artist, who, cut off from the everyday world, turned inward, following the rushing rapids of her imagination and scooping up songs as they flowed past.” – Los Angeles Times, Jody Rosen

“A- Rating” – Consequence of Sound, Katie Moulton

“On folklore, Swift has come of age, emotionally and sonically, and proven herself — not that she needed to — as not only an exceptionally autonomous auteur but a nimble collaborator with an ever-broadening palate.” – Consequence of Sound, Katie Moulton

“Taylor Swift has leveled the hell up” – Paste Magazine, Ellen Johnson

“…one of her best, most perfectly-produced projects ever.” – Paste Magazine, Ellen Johnson

“It’s hard to remember any contemporary pop superstar that has indulged in a more serious, or successful, act of sonic palette cleansing than Swift has with her eighth album, a highly subdued but rich affair written and recorded in quarantine conditions.” – Variety, Chris Willman

“Folklore’: There’s Nothing Quiet About This Songwriting Tour De Force.” – Billboard, Jason Lipshutz

“For the girl who likes big production, earworm anacondas, shiny, gleaming instruments and the over-the-top approach, what she did with her summer vacation is counterintuitive. Yet somehow ,listening to the entire song cycle, it feels like she’s made her way home and taken us with her.” – Hits Magazine, Holly Gleason

“Though Ms. Swift’s mastery of pop mechanics means you can hum just about all these songs after a couple of listens, “Folklore” is a deliberately serious record, and it’s not hard to imagine those drawn primarily to her more effervescent work finding it a bit chilly and dour. It’s a record for those less invested in her celebrity past, and it’s a major success on its own terms.” – WSJ, Mark Richardson

“Indisputably songs to cherish on vinyl and clutch to your heart to ease the horror of dark days, of which, sadly, there have been too many lately. Thanks to Taylor Swift, at least today will be brighter.” – Music Week, Mark Sutherland

“There is less too, of Swift’s confessional lyrical style, as she turns to observing other lives as expertly as she dissects her own. She does it superbly too casually dropping gems such as, ‘They told me all my cages were mental/So I get wasted, like all my potential’.” – Music Week, Mark Sutherland

“Swift is no ordinary pop star. And certainly no ordinary songwriter. Her craft has always been revered by the songwriting cognoscenti as well as the pop fandom.” – Music Week, Mark Sutherland

“4.5 Stars” – Metro, Emma Kelly

“Folklore puts the focus back on pure Swift songwriting magic, with the star shining lyrically more than she has in years.” – Metro, Emma Kelly

“4 Stars” – NME, Hanah Mylrea

“‘Folklore’ feels fresh, forward-thinking and, most of all, honest. The glossy production she’s lent on for the past half-decade is cast aside for simpler, softer melodies and wistful instrumentation. It’s the sound of an artist who’s bored of calculated releases and wanted to try something different. Swift disappeared into the metaphorical woods while writing ‘Folklore’, and she’s emerged stronger than ever.” – NME, Hanah Mylrea

“Taylor Swift Drops Stripped Down, Indie-esque Masterpiece, ‘Folklore’” – American Songwriter, Madeline Crone

“Taylor Swift Is At Her Most Emotionally Raw On Surprise New Album ‘Folklore’” – British Vogue, Ilana Kaplan

“On Folklore she establishes that, more than any genre or approach, her core identity is really just a well-written song and a desire to keep changing.” – Vanity Fair, Erin Vanderhoof

“Swift’s surprise album captures a romanticised rural feeling without peddling a solitary genius narrative.” – The Face, Emma Madden

“Part of the album’s genius is how it makes us fantasise about isolation while in isolation. Taylor wants us to imagine a generative and meaningful solitude – unhampered by fear and uncertainty – where we’re free to ruminate on failed affairs, and luxuriate in the graved sting of nostalgia.” – The Face, Emma Madden

“With folk-revivalist pastiche, Taylor has created an atmosphere of intimacy which makes us feel closer to her than ever before – and she didn’t even have to flee into the wilderness to achieve this. Folklore makes it seem, to speak in memeable terms, as though Thoreau walked so that Taylor Swift could fly.” – The Face, Emma Madden

“It’s both a surprise and confirms what we already knew: that Taylor can master any form of music…” – Vogue, Taylor Antrim

“…it’s an incredible feminist masterpiece without you even realising it.” – Glamour UK, Josh Smith

“Taylor said the album was filled with her, ‘whims, dreams, fears, and musings,’ but as always as the storyteller of her generation she has created an album that accurately muses on OUR lives.” – Glamour UK, Josh Smith

“Barbara Walters once said, ‘Taylor Swift IS the music industry,’ and Folklore is firmly testament to that. Taylor we don’t just stan, we worship at your altar of brilliance.” – Glamour UK, Josh Smith

“9/10” – Attitude, Thomas Stichbury

“Quarantine appears to have brought out the best in Taylor Swift as she produces, quite possibly, her finest work to date.Shaking off stadium-sized pop for introspective folk, the superstar is at the peak of her song-writing powers on her surprise eighth studio album.” – Attitude, Thomas Stichbury

“4 Stars” – The Financial Times, Michael Hann

“The 17 songs here have the requisite beautiful moods but they also have clear, memorable melodies and structures. Don’t doubt Swift’s influence on that: Miss Americana made it quite clear that her songs are very much her songs.” – The Financial Times, Michael Hann

“4 Stars” – The Independent, Roisin O’Connor

“Folklore: New album is exquisite, piano-based poetry.” – The Independent, Roisin O’Connor

“This is an unconventional record – at least for the world’s biggest pop star. It’s also brilliant.” – The Independent, Roisin O’Connor

“4 Stars” – The Evening Standard, David Smyth

“A delicately exquisite indie transformation.” – The Evening Standard, David Smyth

“She still can’t write a song that isn’t immediately catchy, but the delicate textures in the music are something new and highly attractive. Folklore is definitely one for that snobby ex to add to his collection.” – The Evening Standard, David Smyth

“9/10” – The Line Of Best Fit, Eloise Bulmer

“This is an album of Swift at her most knowing, pushing away the tabloid fodder that has often surrounded her artistry and magnifying the talent she’s been honing her entire life. The melodies are full of warmth and round-edges, moving and twinkling on her whim as she indulges in one of the most most human and timeless past-times we have.” – The Line Of Best Fit, Eloise Bulmer

“4 Stars” – The Times, Will Hodgkinson

“The pop megastar has turned to sweet folk and it suits her.” – The Times, Will Hodgkinson

“The music here is threadbare and nuanced, following her thoughts to these lonely corners and adding new depth.” – Pitchfork, Sam Sodomsky

“In releasing Folklore as a surprise and alluding to fiction in its title, Swift has distanced herself from the forensic analysis that tends to dog her releases, and, from the album’s earliest moments, she makes the most of this new freedom.” – The Fader, Shaad D’Souza

“The 16 tracks weave into each other nicely, blending to make this folk-pop-country-Americana-guitar rock-singer-songwriter album work. Whatever the genre, “folklore” is first-class.” – Associated Press, Mesfin Fekadu

“5 Stars” – The Sun, Simon Boyle

“She has pivoted entirely to make music which will be so soothing to millions of people as the world struggles with the lockdown in which it was written.” – The Sun, Simon Boyle

“On Folklore, Taylor has never sounded so sublime.” – The Sun, Simon Boyle

“Her self-knowledge has always been her most remarkable asset as a songwriter.” – The New Yorker, Amanda Petrusich

“4 Stars” – Us Weekly, Nicholas Hautman

“The quality of Folklore indicates that Swift is thriving in isolation, something not everyone can say. At one point, the album was a sunken treasure chest, filled with gems but closely guarded within the walls of the artist’s home. But now, it has floated to shore, and, boy, is it a saving grace for 2020.” – Us Weekly, Nicholas Hautman

“It’s extraordinarily raw, especially when combined with Swift’s often uncanny ability to make a downbeat song feel like one of the most uplifting things you’ve heard.”
“Surely the first great album of the lockdown era.” – Hot Press, Ed Power

“5 Stars” – The Irish Independent, John Maegher

“With a little help from the National’s Aaron Dessner, Taylor Swift may have just released the best album of 2020.” – The Irish Independent, John Maegher

“She’s not just one of the greatest pop stars of her generation, she’s one of the finest tunesmiths too.” – The Irish Independent, John Maegher

“At 30, and with a substantial body of work already behind her, Folklore is Swift telling the world in no uncertain terms that she will be around for a long time to come. And good on her.” – The Irish Independent, John Maegher

“Even in the case it lives on as a one-off, it will still remain one of the best things Swift has ever done.” – Rolling Stone Italy, Claudio Todesco

“It’s as if Swift has decided to press pause on the high-charting hits, and give more space to nuance when it comes to her voice, which has a wonderful presence here, and present some songs deserving of a standing ovation.” – Rolling Stone Italy, Claudio Todesco

“folklore re-establishes her as a pop maverick who does what she wants. She doesn’t need to present albums as mammoth projects accompanied by long, rowdy and over the top promotional campaigns. It’s just a nice record, from start to finish.” – Rolling Stone Italy, Claudio Todesco

“This brooding-storyteller album tells us that Taylor Swift is still miles ahead of her classmates and to see her like that, wearing make-up and wearing an old cardigan, she seems better than ever.” – Rolling Stone Italy, Claudio Todesco

“9.5/10” – The Indiependent, Timothy Goode

“Taylor Swift may have just gone back to the woods and created not only one of her best albums to date but possibly the best album of the last five years.” – The Indiependent, Timothy Goode

“4.5 Stars” – The Forty-Five, Rhian Daly

“…a poignant, breathtaking reclamation of her crown as pop’s best songwriter.” – The Forty-Five, Rhian Daly

“As those tales show, no matter how gorgeous the music that courses through it, ’Folklore’’s biggest asset is its lyrics, Swift casually dropping dramatic, romantic and poetic lines at regular intervals.” – The Forty-Five, Rhian Daly

“4.5 Stars” – Slant Magazine, Jonathan Keefe

“It isn’t the weight of the subject matter alone that makes the album feel so vital—it’s the exemplary caliber of her writing. She may sing of wasted potential, but Folklore finds Swift living up to all of the praise she earned for her songwriting earlier in career.” – Slant Magazine, Jonathan Keefe

“9/10” – Clash Magazine, Valerie Magan

“A serene, wintery album released smack in the middle of summer, folklore is ‘Red’ but gentler, reputation but more insightful, Speak Now but more lyrically complex. It reverberates with the energy of a former pop-star finally navigating production without grasping for a hit, and forces us to slow down and take stock of where we are now in love and life.” – Clash Magazine, Valerie Magan

“Taylor Swift has made the first great pandemic art” – The Week, Jeva Lange

“10/10” – Gigwise, Jessie Atkinson

“Taylor’s lyrics have always been exceptional, but her truest genius reveals itself in her melody writing. Few people can so consistently serve their musings on the sparkling platter of irresistible pop composition – again and again and again.” – Gigwise, Jessie Atkinson

“In this record – in large part a remote collaboration between Taylor and The National’s Aaron Dessner – Taylor is contemplative, authorial, clear and simply exceptional.” – Gigwise, Jessie Atkinson

“If you were letting all of the crap stand in the way of seeing the truth, maybe now you’ll admit it: Taylor Swift is one of America’s greatest living songwriters.” – Gigwise, Jessie Atkinson

“What Folklore does best proves that Taylor Swift manages to reinvent herself with every new album she releases, while somehow managing to stay true to her core and heart every time — and she’s one of the only artists who can do so successfully. Folklore may not be a fan favorite for the traditional pop crowd but it showcases yet another change in sound from Taylor Swift and she makes it entirely her own, yet again.” – United By Pop, Palak Fayswal

“Everything about this album is haunting, in the way traditional folklore often is…  It’s a visual album too, in a way, coaxing listeners into the storybook land Taylor has created — from lust forests twinkling in broad daylight to the inside of a desolate, abandoned cabin in the woods, every song captures a feeling or place or story in a perfect way.” – United By Pop, Palak Fayswal

“5 Stars” – Music OMH, Chloe Johnson

“This is Swift at her most experimental, nostalgic, and creative; the stories of masquerade revellers, love-struck teenagers and the month of August being sipped away like a bottle of wine almost demand to be played, and preferably on vinyl.” – Music OMH, Chloe Johnson

“What Folklore ultimately achieves in its narrative of escapism is reinforcing the notion that Swift isn’t one of the greatest 21st century artists because her work is autobiographical, or because she leaves cleverly crafted clues leading up to her albums (although these are all interesting elements) but rather because she is, first and foremost, a storyteller. Folklore is sad, beautiful, somewhat tragic, a little bit off the wall, but most of all it feels free.” – Music OMH, Chloe Johnson