After her last two albums were largely overlooked by the awards show, the Recording Academy has made it clear that there’s no bad blood with the singer-songwriter by anointing her surprise quarantine record “Folklore” as Album of the Year.
Nominated for six awards heading into the 63rd annual ceremony on Sunday night, including Song of the Year (“Cardigan”), Pop Solo Performance (“Cardigan”), Pop Duo/Group Performance (“Exile”), Pop Vocal Album (“Folklore”) and Album of the Year (“Folklore”), Swift was poised to make a major comeback at the show after a five-year absence from the Grammys stage.
Shaking off her past snubs, as she is wont to do, Swift went trophy-less throughout the ceremony before picking up the night’s top prize. She now stands as the only female artist to win Album of the Year three times, previously taking home trophies in the category for her breakout 2008 record “Fearless” and 2014’s “1989,” which cemented her as a bona fide pop star.
Accepting the award onstage with co-writers Aaron Dessner of The National and Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff, who performed with Swift on stage earlier in the evening, Swift first thanked her collaborators before giving a sweet shoutout to her longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
“I wanna thank... Joe, the first person I play every single song that I write. I had the best time writing songs with you in quarantine,” she said.
Swift then went on to make special mention of friends Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively by way of referencing the couple’s three children, whom she named several characters in her album after.
”I want to thank James, Inez and Betty, who are the second and third people that I play every new song that I write,” Swift added before giving major thanks to her legion of fans.
“You guys met us in this imaginary world that we created, and we can’t tell you how honored we are forever by this” she concluded.
The Album of the Year win puts Swift in the well-decorated company of Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Paul Simon, who’ve also won the award three times. Meanwhile, Adele is the only other female performer who’s come close to Swift, tying her previous record with wins for her albums “21” and “25.”
Swift couldn’t ask for a better re-entry into the Grammy’s good graces than with her universally acclaimed eighth studio album, “Folkore.” The record, which stripped away the singer’s upbeat pop sensibilities to reveal her most adult and emotionally raw lyricism to date, was crafted almost entirely in isolation during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Folklore” went on to become the biggest and bestselling album of the year and Swift’s seventh consecutive record to reach the top spot on the Billboard charts, where it remained for eight weeks.
(And, in case you’re wondering: No, Swift’s follow-up album “Evermore,” which she released less than five months after “Folkore” isn’t eligible for this year’s ceremony, so expect to see her pick up a few more trophies next year.)
In addition to her “Folklore” nods, Swift also scored a nomination for Best Song Written for Visual Media for her “Cats” collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Beautiful Ghosts,” but she lost the award to Billie Eilish’s James Bond theme “No Time To Die.”
Throughout her career, the singer has earned a total of 41 Grammy nominations and 11 wins and she clearly has no intent on slowing down anytime soon.
Swift is now in the process of re-recording her first six albums amid her ongoing fight to control her musical legacy and reclaim ownership of her masters. An expanded version of her first No. 1 album, “Fearless,” is due out in April and will include six never-before-released tracks.