The National's Aaron Dessner Collaborates with Taylor Swift on Surprise New Album 'folklore'

Aaron co-wrote 11 of the 16 songs on Swift's surprise eighth studio album, which drops at midnight tonight. The National's Bryce Dessner also assisted with orchestrations.

click to enlarge The National with twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner (middle and seated, far right) - Photo: Graham MacIndoe
Photo: Graham MacIndoe
The National with twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner (middle and seated, far right)

There's nothing people love more than a surprise album from a Pop superstar (e.g. Beyoncé), so when Taylor Swift announced she would be releasing her eighth studio album folklore — "an entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into," according to her Twitter — people lost their shit. 

folklore comes out at midnight tonight and includes 16 tracks, one featuring Bon Iver, and 11 of which were co-written by Aaron Dessner of Cincinnati-bred Indie Rockers The National.

According to The National, Bryce Dessner also provided orchestrations for the album.

For his part, Aaron posted to his personal Instagram, "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."


View this post on Instagram

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 Jul 23, 2020 at 5:10am PDT

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