Thank you, Taylor Swift, for making 2020 just a little bit better for us all!
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 30-year-old singer surprised fans with the release of her eighth studio album, Folklore, on Friday. As everyone's been staying at home to prevent further spread of COVID-19, Swift was secretly putting together an amazing 16-track album for her fans. (Honestly, though, would you expect anything less from her?)
"In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result," the singer shared on social media. "I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve. Now it’s up to you to pass them down."
Swift took to YouTube ahead of the album's release to answer some questions from fans and explain her ideas behind the theme of the album. "Folklore is wistful and full of escapism," she explained. "Sad, beautiful, tragic. Like a photo album full of imagery, and all the stories behind that imagery."
"One thing I did purposely on this album was put the Easter eggs in the lyrics, more than just the videos," she shared. "I created character arcs and recurring themes that map out who is singing about who."
Track No. 2 is comfortably titled "Cardigan," and Swift told fans the song is about "a lost romance and why young love is often fixed so permanently within our memories. Why it leaves such an indelible mark."
"I knew you, playin' hide and seek and giving me your weekends," she croons on the track. "And when I felt like I was an old cardigan under someone's bed / You pulled me on and said I was your favorite."
The fifth track, "My Tears Ricochet," which Swift says she wrote solo, was the first song penned for the album, with others including "Exile" featuring Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, "This Is Me Trying" and "Mad Woman." Swift told fans she wrote "a few things before quarantine, but most of it has been created completely in lockdown. I started in April."
Folklore follows 2019's Lover, which included hits like "Me!" featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, "I Forgot That You Existed," "The Man" and "You Need to Calm Down." Swift made a surprise announcement via Twitter on Thursday that she'd be releasing the new album to fans at midnight Friday.
"[It's] an entire brand new album of songs I've poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into," she teased.
Swift's tweet was also accompanied with a longer statement, in which she admitted that most of the things she had planned this summer "didn't end up happening."
"But there is something I hadn't planned on that DID happen ... surprise!" she exclaimed. "I wrote and recorded this music in isolation but got to collaborate with some musical heroes of mine; Aaron Dessner (who has co-written or produced 11 of the 16 songs), Bon Iver (who co-wrote and was kind enough to sing one with me), William Bowery (who co-wrote two with me) and Jack Antonoff (who is basically musical family at this point). Engineered by Laura Sisk and Jon Low, mixed by Serban Ghenea & Jon Low. The album photos were shot by the amazing Beth Garrabrant."
"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," she continued. "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."