Updated on Jul 29, 2020. Posted on Jul 29, 2020

    This Text Screenshot From Taylor Swift Gives Insight Into How She Works On New Music And I'm In Awe

    "An idea!" —Taylor Swift at 2:23am

    I'm sure you'll know by now that on Friday, Taylor Swift released her eighth album, Folklore, after making a surprise announcement to fans on social media only 16 hours earlier.

    In a statement on Twitter, Taylor revealed that the album had been written over the last three months while she, like the rest of us, was in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Beth Garrabrant

    While Taylor herself has remained characteristically quiet in terms of interviews, her collaborator Aaron Dessner — who cowrote and produced 11 of the album's 16 tracks — has revealed some tidbits of information about its creation.

    Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

    First of all, Dessner revealed in an interview with Pitchfork that nobody — including Taylor's label, Republic Records — knew about the album until "hours before it was launched".

    He also said they worked on a lot of the songs together by means of voice memos recorded on Taylor's phone, which dedicated Swifties will know has been Taylor's method of working for years now. In fact, she included three of those voice memos on the deluxe edition of 1989, illustrating that her songwriting process "happens differently every time".

    On Tuesday, Dessner posted a screenshot of a text from Taylor on Twitter where they were discussing the album's lead single, "Cardigan" — and, listen, I have been a Taylor Swift fan for almost half of my life and am therefore probably disproportionately fascinated by this, but I immediately had to analyse it.

    Looking back at @taylorswift13 's text with her original voice memo of Cardigan...still surreal...a special edition of the song with the voice memo (which has alternate lyrics) is available thru Thurs. 7/30 only on her web site and iTunes

    First of all, I'm just baffled by the concept of Taylor Swift doing anything as mundane as texting someone. I know she's a human being who owns a phone, but she just seems above that to me. I guess stars really are just like us!

    ABC / giphy.com

    Also, imagine having Taylor Swift's number in your phone? What a concept.

    Second, we can see that Taylor received a folder of music Dessner had composed and apparently sent to her at around 9pm, and at 2:23am, she responded with...basically a full song.

    Twitter: @aaron_dessner

    "I sent [the file] at 9pm, and around 2am or something, there was 'Cardigan', fully written," Dessner told Vulture. "That’s when I realised something crazy was happening. She just dialled directly into the heart of the music and wrote an incredible song and fully conceived of it and then kept going."

    Thirdly, we can see these lyrics Taylor wrote at 2am — which is very on brand for her — are literally exactly the same as the lyrics that ended up on the album. She did that in five hours. I just think that's cool!!!

    I also think it's very important that we acknowledge this screenshot seems to suggest Taylor Swift has 813 voice memos on her phone. There must be so many unreleased masterpieces in there, it actually hurts me to think about it.

    Twitter: @aaron_dessner

    (Also, 13, lol.)

    But "Cardigan" isn't the only song Taylor wrote so quickly — in fact, in an interview with Vulture, Dessner revealed she wrote "The Last Great American Dynasty" in the time it took for him to go for a run, and "The 1" and "Hoax" were both written in one night.

    And of course, this is Taylor Swift, so while she was doing all this incredible songwriting in secret, she was also teasing us with Instagram posts claiming she had ~not a lot going on at the moment~.

    Just writing her next masterpiece. NBD.

    ABC / giphy.com

    You can read Aaron Dessner's full interview with Vulture here, and listen to the masterpiece that is Folklore in full here.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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