folklore is the eighth studio album by Taylor Swift. It was released as a surprise album through Republic Records on July 24, 2020, eleven months after Swift's last album, Lover (2019). As an indie folk, alternative rock, electro-folk, and chamber-pop album, folklore marks a departure from the upbeat pop sound of Swift's preceding studio albums to stripped-down tunes driven by piano and guitar, featuring production from Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff. Written and recorded in isolation during the COVID-19 epidemic, Swift called the album "a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness" rising out of her imagination, manifesting vivid storytelling from largely third-person perspectives that detail introspection and escapism. Swift adopted a rustic, cottagecore aesthetic for the album.
Upon release, folklore received widespread critical acclaim, with emphasis on its sonic coherence, relaxed atmosphere, and poetic lyricism. It broke numerous records on streaming services, including the Guinness World Record for the biggest opening day for an album by a female artist on Spotify. The album sold two million copies in its first week globally, 1.3 million of which were sold on its first day. folklore reached number one in Australia, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and several other territories.