Taylor Swift surprise announced her eighth studio album, Folklore, which she released on Thursday at midnight.
In a post on social media, Swift said that the album came about after many of her plans for 2020 — including several shows in support of her 2019 album, Lover — had to be scrapped due to COVID-19. With her free time, however, she came up with the collection of new songs that will comprise Folklore. Swift wrote and recorded all the songs on the album in the past four months while in quarantine, collaborating with Aaron Dessner of the National, Bon Iver, William Bowery, and Jack Antonoff.
Surprise 🤗 Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my 8th studio album, folklore; an entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into. Pre-order at https://t.co/zSHpnhUlLb pic.twitter.com/4ZVGy4l23b
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 23, 2020
Hours before releasing the album, Swift will release the music video for album track “Cardigan” on Thursday, July 23rd. She wrote and directed the clip, and said the shoot was “overseen by a medical inspector, everyone wore masks, stayed away from each other, and I even did my own hair, makeup, and styling.”
Swift described Folklore as an “entire brand-new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into.… Before this year, I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect time,’ but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world. That’s the side of uncertainty I can get on board with.”
Of the collaborators, Swift said Dessner co-wrote or produced 11 of the 16 songs, while Bon Iver co-wrote some songs and sang on the record as well. Bowery (who doesn’t seem to have any kind of internet presence and could be an alias) co-wrote two songs. As for Antonoff, Swift’s most frequent collaborator these days, she didn’t lay out any specific contributions, but simply described him as “basically musical family at this point.”
On Twitter, Dessner shared a statement of his own about working on the record, saying Swift approached him in late April about working on songs remotely together. He said he sent over some of the music he’d been working on himself while in quarantine with his family, but admitted that working remotely would make the songwriting process long and difficult.
“But a few hours after sharing my music, my phone lit up with a voice memo from Taylor of a fully written version of a song — the momentum never really stopped,” he said. “Over the next few months, we remotely finished 11 songs (she also recorded several others with the amazing Jack Antonoff) of her magical new album Folklore. I’ve rarely been so inspired by someone, and it’s still hard to believe this even happened — these songs came together in such a challenging time.”
Folklore was engineered by Laura Sisk and Jon Low, while Low mixed the album with Serban Ghenea. The album photos were shot by Beth Garrabrant.
1. “The 1”
3. “The Last Great American Dynasty”
4. “Exile” (feat. Bon Iver)
5. “My Tears Ricochet”
9. “This Is Me Trying”
10. “Illicit Affairs”
11. “Invisible String”
12. “Mad Woman”