I’ve never written a review for a concert film, it felt derivative in a way. Packed out stadiums and very little context does not a movie make. However The Long Pond Studio Sessions playthrough of Swift’s first album of 2020 Folklore feels different to the conventional tour movie, a mixture of how the album came about, fresh takes on the material and a discussion of a pandemic through a well intentioned voice. Shot in isolation at a secluded recording studio with fellow collaborators Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner (of The National fame), finally performing an album made separately across the country. As the film goes through each individual song, the inspirations behind it and how this unique writing experience brought about each song, The Long Pond Studio Sessions gains an intimacy that not only benefits an album that many have already named their album of the year, but also proves a door into Swift’s distinct writing style. While January’s Miss Americana might be a look into the singer’s voice, this is a journey into her mind.
Swift’s affinity for long form storytelling through songs like ‘Betty’ ‘August’ and ‘Cardigan’ helps bind the film together and songs like ‘Peace’, ‘My Tears Ricochet’ and ‘This is Me Trying’ speak to the melancholy flowing through each musicians mindset during the logistically challenging recording. While some of the interviews, framed as discussions of each songs hidden meaning between the main writers with Swift either individually sitting down with Dessner or Antonoff or together for a group chat, occasionally drift off into existential territory, psychobabble not in keeping with Swift’s honest tone and well meaning hard work, the music more than makes up for it and by the end a great record turns into something unique and of the time and thats exactly what The Long Pond Studio Sessions sets out to do.