Taylor Swift was so bummed that all her big summer plans didn’t pan out that she went into the studio to work out her emotions. And, as it turns out, she recorded a whole new album, Folklore, which will drop at midnight tonight (July 23).
“Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen,” she wrote on Instagram, announcing the surprise release with a series of images of a fog-enshrouded forest. “And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore. Surprise Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into. I wrote and recorded this music in isolation but got to collaborate with some musical heroes of mine.”
Among the people Taylor worked with are producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner of The National, who co-wrote or produced 11 of the 16 songs on the album, as well as Bon Iver, who co-wrote and sings on one of the tracks, and, of course, Swift’s frequent collaborator producer/songwriter/singer Jack Antonoff, who she said “is basically musical family at this point.” There is also someone named William Bowery credited with co-writing two songs, though the name does not match that of any previous Swift collaborator — or any searchable musician/songwriter that Billboard was able to find — and is possibly a pseudonym that will lead to one of Swift’s famous Easter eggs; a spokesperson for the singer had not returned a request for comment at press time when asked to identify Bowery.
“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,” Swift said. “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. Love you guys so much.”
In addition to the 16 songs that will appear on the standard edition, the physical deluxe editions will include a bonus track, “the lakes.” Swift said in a follow-up post that, “Because this is my 8th studio album, I made 8 deluxe CD editions and 8 deluxe vinyl editions that are available for one week Each deluxe edition has unique covers, photos, and artwork. Available exclusively at taylorswift.com.”
Also at midnight, Swift will release the video for “cardigan,” which she wrote and directed.
The track list for Folklore:
1) “the 1”
3) “the last great american dynasty”
4) “exile” (featuring Bon Iver)
5) “my tears ricochet”
9) “this is me trying”
10) “illicit affairs”
11) “invisible string”
12) “mad woman”
Folklore is the follow-up to last year’s Lover.