By now it’s likely you’ve heard the news that Taylor Swift will surprise release her new album folklore tonight at midnight. This is obviously big news in the pop music world but the real surprise and story was the way it also appealed to the indie music world.

This is because The National’s Aaron Dessner produced and co-wrote 11 out of the 16 songs. Not only that, but he was also joined by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver to write/sing on one song, and got his brother Bryce, The National’s drummer Bryan Devendorf, The National/Beirut’s Ben Lanz and Kyle Resnick, James McAlister and Josh Kaufman, as well as many others.

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I was excited and honored when Taylor approached me in late April about maybe writing some songs remotely together. I had been isolating with my family but writing a ton of music in the first months of quarantine which I shared. I thought it would take a while for song ideas to come and I had no expectations as far as what we could accomplish remotely. But a few hours after sharing music, my phone lit up with a voice memo from Taylor of a fully written version of a song — the momentum never really stopped. Over the next few months, we remotely finished 11 songs (She also recorded several others with the amazing @jackantonoff) 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. It wouldn't haven't been possible without so much help from first and foremost my engineer Jon Low (@heyjonlow). And my brother @brycedessner's beautiful orchestration on several songs from across the ocean. Justin (@blobtower) helped to write and sing a beautiful song and so many other friends from our community contributed brilliantly from their respective isolation — Ben Lanz (@lanzprojects), Bryan Devendorf (@postmoderndrummer), Bryce Dessner, @claricejensen, Dave Nelson (@dnelnelson), James McAlister (@900x), @jasontreuting, Josh Kaufman (@kaufyismynamo), JT Bates (@floortomjtbates), Kyle Resnick (@kresnick), Rob Moose (@mooserob), Thomas Bartlett (@tingalayo), and Yuki Numata Resnick (@kiyukiyukiyuki) — More on them later! I'm very proud of all these songs and profoundly grateful to @taylorswift for inviting me into and trusting me in her process. She is one of the most talented, hardworking and deeply caring artists I've ever encountered. There's a palpable humanity and warmth and raw emotion in these songs that I hope you'll love and take comfort in as much as I do. Album art by @bethgarrabrant.

A post shared by Aaron Dessner (@aarondessner) on

Obviously, this wasn’t something anyone saw coming and no one knows what to expect, although based on the album title, aesthetic of the art and photos shared, and the collaborators, it seems this may be a more folk-oriented and different album from Swift. Either way, we will find out in a few short hours.

What we’re most curious about is how each other’s fanbase will be indoctrinated to the other’s music. Will The National’s fans give her a chance? Will her fans throw themself into a world of sad dads? Either way, Dessner’s profile has been given a big boost today.

For now, find the tracklist below.

    folklore tracklist:

1. 1 “the 1″
2. “cardigan”
3. “the last great american dynasty”
4. “exile” (Feat. Bon Iver)
5. “my tears ricochet”
6. “mirrorball”
7. “seven”
8. “august”
9. “this is me trying”
10. “illicit affairs”
11. “invisible string”
12. “mad woman”
13. “epiphany”
14. “betty”
15. “peace”
16. “hoax”







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