Taylor Swift’s “‘Tis the Damn Season’ tells the tale of someone returning to their hometown and embarking on a fleeting but intimate relationship with someone from their past. It’s an emotional gut-punch, full of charming gusto that helps Evermore match so much of the fraught nostalgia from its sister record Folklore.
“Season” is full of those Swiftian lyrical flourishes: an invitation to call her “babe” for just the weekend, muddy truck tires, untrustworthy friends back in L.A., and even a Robert Frost reference. The song wears like old flannel on a cold day, much like the lover who re-enters her life. The chill exists in the exchanges, too: She’s avoiding holiday traditions that brought her home and really doesn’t care to get too attached (“If I wanted to know who you were hanging with/While I was gone, I would have asked you,” she sings at the onset of the song). Swift is a noted Sally Rooney fan, and the tale’s tone is reminiscent of Normal People, a book about an ongoing on-and-off relationship between a pair of high school lovers who find themselves reconnecting repeatedly over the years.
“‘Tis the Damn Season” isn’t technically a holiday song, but could we perhaps count it? The track celebrates a much less celebrated tradition that occurs during this time of year, those Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving bar nights back in the small town you left years ago, running into old flames and forgotten crushes and sinking into those unshakably awkward, overwhelming teenage feelings. As Swift has done on both Folklore and Evermore this year, this song tautly captures the eerily specific nostalgia and the familiarly messy unraveling that is bound to accompany it.