Beth Garrabrant

Like so many in 2020, Taylor Swift had big plans. But the queen of perfectly strategized album releases has tossed out her handbook and unexpectedly released a new record called folkore, her eighth studio album.

The new album, her followup to last year's Lover, arrived Friday right at midnight, just hours after she announced the surprise project on Thursday morning. In a post on social media, she revealed that isolation and the ongoing pandemic prompted her imagination and led her to reach out to the likes of The National's Aaron Dessner, who remotely co-wrote 11 of the 16 new songs, along with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who appears on a song called "exile" and another called "peace." Frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff (who Swift calls "family") is also one of the producers of the new LP.

“Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the 'perfect time,'" she says. "But the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut 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."

The new album is out via Republic Records and includes new merchandise as well as CD, vinyl and cassette editions, which will include one bonus track.

In addition to the new record, Swift has released a video for the lead single "cardigan," co-written by Swift alongside Dessner. The quarantine-appropriate video was directed by Swift. 

Hear the new album below.