Taylor Swift has dropped her eighth studio album just hours after announcing she had recorded a whole new record while in isolation.
Folklore, which features a collaboration with Bon Iver and sees her reunite with producer Jack Antonoff, also contains a string of songs that have sparked fevered speculation among her passionate fans.
The three that have generated the most interest are tracks about doomed teen romances after Swift told fans in an Q&A: “There’s a collection of 3 songs I refer to as The Teenage Love Triangle.
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Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore. Surprise 🤗Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into. I wrote and recorded this music in isolation but got to collaborate with some musical heroes of mine; @aarondessner (who has co-written or produced 11 of the 16 songs), @boniver (who co-wrote and was kind enough to sing on one with me), William Bowery (who co-wrote two with me) and @jackantonoff (who is basically musical family at this point). Engineered by Laura Sisk and Jon Low, mixed by Serban Ghenea & Jon Low. The album photos were shot by the amazing @bethgarrabrant. Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut is 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. Love you guys so much ♥️
“These 3 songs explore a love triangle from all 3 people’s perspectives at different times in their lives.”
These appear to be the tracks Cardigan, August and Betty.
"The Teenage Love Triangle"— Pop Base (@repugodtion) July 24, 2020
"august" is Betty point of view, "betty" is James point of view and "Cardigan" telling how James cheated on Betty. IT IS ALL CONNECTED. SHE IS LITERALLY A LYRICAL GENIUS. #Folklore pic.twitter.com/krQSQEG0QG
Fans have also speculated that track The Last Great American Dynasty is about Rebekah Harkness, the former owner of The Holiday House, Swift’s home on Rhode Island.
guys rebekah harkness (aka rebekah from the last great american dynasty) was the owner of the holiday house, a mansion in rhode island that taylor swift currently owns. 🥺â¤ï¸ #folklore— 💌 (@imshyrene) July 24, 2020
ugh I STAN pic.twitter.com/qXgFXmm5nX
🔎 | Various fans and critics have discovered that âthe last great american dynastyâ is based on the love story between Rebekah Harkness and her husband William who were the previous owners of Taylor Swiftâs Rhode Island home.— Taylor Swift News (@TSwiftNZ) July 24, 2020
Rebekahâs nickname was also Betty. pic.twitter.com/IKlQkzakCO
taylor swift buying rhode island mansion to write the last great american dynasty, rebekah harkness is also known as betty harkness was the former owner of rhode island— 𝐃𝐀𝐍𝐈 | 𝑓𝑜𝑙𝑘𝑙𝑜𝑟𝑒 (@noitsbetty_) July 24, 2020
AGAIN, HER MIND! #Folklore pic.twitter.com/irkZtn7I2V
Fans have also speculated about the identity of William Bowery, who Swift has said co-wrote two songs on the album but who does not appear to be a registered songwriter or producer.
It has been mooted that Bowery could be a pseudonym for either her brother Austin or her boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
WILLIAM BOWERY theory— a folkWHORE (@taylowkey13) July 23, 2020
on oct 2016, taylor (w her squad) & alwyn were spotted in BOWERY hotel. (smth special mustve happened here, that's why she used d name "BOWERY" i guess?)
WILLIAM alwyn is literally joe alwyns great-grandpa. he was was composer, conductor, and music teacher pic.twitter.com/pDOaBieGgL
🔍 | Fans are speculating who "William Bowery" (co-wrote two songs on "folklore") is, as there are no registered or previously credited songwriters/producers under that name. "William Bowery" is also the only untagged co-write in Taylor's post. pic.twitter.com/CvClhjf3ZL— Taylor Swift News | TSwiftinAsia (@TSwiftinAsia) July 23, 2020
According to fans, Bowery could be a reference to the Bowery Hotel, where the couple reportedly had one of their first dates in 2016, while William could be a nod to Alywn’s great grandfather William Alwyn, who was a musical composer, conductor, and teacher.
Swift famously loves a pseudonym and used the name Nils Sjoberg as an alias on ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris’ hit, This Is What You Came For.