Back in July, Taylor Swift sent the world into a tailspin by surprise-releasing her eighth album, Folklore.
The release went against just about every promotional tradition she'd ever followed up until that point — there were no radio-friendly singles, no monthslong Easter egg trails, and no interviews. She simply dropped the album along with a prologue explaining the concept.
"In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result," she wrote. "I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I've never met."
And during a YouTube Q&A with fans on the night of the album's release, Taylor also revealed that three of the songs on the album told the story of a "teenage love triangle," with each track written from the perspective of a different person involved.
So of course, fans immediately set about identifying these three songs, which were later confirmed by Taylor herself to be "Cardigan," "August," and "Betty."
"Cardigan" details the story of a woman reflecting on the love of her life cheating on her for a summer when they were teenagers.
"August" is told from the perspective of the girl he cheated with.
And "Betty" is an apology from the 17-year-old boy involved in the triangle.
And while each song is a masterpiece in its own right, Taylor has now opened up about the creative process of writing each track and tying them together narratively.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Taylor explained that she'd decided to write from the perspective of other people after being inspired by movies she watched during lockdown.
And Taylor then interestingly revealed that the first song she wrote from the trilogy was actually "August" — the track from the perspective of ~the other woman.~
"That was actually the first song that I wrote of the triangle," Taylor said. "It would be safe to assume that 'Cardigan' would be first, but it wasn't."
"It kind of explores the idea of the undefined relationship," she went on. "As humans, we're all encouraged to just be cool and just let it happen, and don't ask what the relationship is — 'Are we exclusive?'"
"But if you are chill about it ... you learn the very hard lesson that if you don't define something, oftentimes they can gaslight you into thinking it was nothing at all, and that it never happened," Taylor continued.
Taylor also revealed that she decided to tackle "Betty" — the song written from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy — after being inspired by "one of [her] favourite songs of all time".
"That was huge for me," she said of writing the song from a perspective of a man. "I thought, 'I could have a male perspective.'"
The comments come just two weeks after Taylor revealed that the male cowriter she worked with on "Betty" was actually her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn.
After confirming that William Bowery was indeed Joe, she went on to explain that their collaboration on "Betty" came about after she heard him singing the "fully formed chorus" from another room.
"I just heard Joe singing the entire fully formed chorus of 'Betty' from another room," she said. "And I was just like, 'hello.' It was a step that we would never have taken, because why would we have ever written a song together?"
"I thought it sounded really good from a masculine perspective," she added. "And I really liked that it seemed to be an apology. I've written so many songs from a female's perspective of wanting a male apology that we decided to make it from a teenage boy's perspective, apologising after he loses the love of his life because he's been foolish."