'Folklore': Taylor Swift announces surprise new album releasing imminently

The album will be Swift's eighth, and comes less than a year after 'Lover' was released

FILE PHOTO: Taylor Swift performs at the iHeartRadio Wango Tango concert in Carson, California, U.S., June 1, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
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The pandemic may have scrapped much of her scheduled tour dates for 2020, but Swifties won't go completely without a dose of new Taylor Swift this year.

The artist announced the surprise release of her eighth studio album on Twitter early on Thursday morning (US time), entitled Folklore.

My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world

In a tweet, Swift announced the new release, saying it was "an entire brand new album of songs I've poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into". The release comes less than a year after her last album, Lover, was released, in August 2019. Folklore was recorded in isolation and will be released on Thursday, July 23, at midnight.

In a lengthier statement, she announced a lengthy list of distinguished collaborators for the album – which definitely sounds as though it will be taking on a different sound to the catchy pop singles we've become accustomed to.

Aaron Dessner, the famed songwriter and producer from New York, perhaps best-known as a member of rock band The National, was listed as one collaborator, and who Swift said co-wrote or produced 11 of the album's 16 songs.

There will also be a song co-written and featuring Bon Iver that fans were particularly pleased about, and Iver immediately began trending on Twitter.

Regular Swift collaborator Jack Antonoff, who she described as "musical family" also helped out on the album, as well as several others.

Swift revealed that the new release was a surprise even to her, saying: "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", which is the creation of the album.

She has tweeted a track list for the album and revealed the first single that will be released from it. Song names include The 1, The Last Great American Dynasty, August, This is Me Trying, Illicit Affairs and Peace. The song Exile, the third on the album, features Iver and Cardigan will be the first single.

Swift also announced that the music video for Cardigan will premiere tonight. She wrote and directed the video in collaboration with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, producer Jil Hardin, executive producer Rebecca Skinner and assistant director Joe "Oz" Osbourne.

"The entire shoot was overseen by a medical inspector, everyone wore masks, stayed away from each other, and I even did my own hair, make-up and styling," Swift explained.

It's otherwise been a year of unfortunate cancellations for the artist.

In April, the singer cancelled all her tour dates for the remainder of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The affected shows were to support Swift's 2019 album Lover, and included the US and Brazil leg of her tour, as well as her much-touted two-day "Lover Fests".

Swift had already called off a number of international appearances, including a headline slot at Glastonbury, the British Summer Time's concert in Hyde Park, and nine other European festival dates.

"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," Swift's statement continued.

"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."