It’s been one year since Taylor Swift released her Grammy-winning album "Folklore." As a thank you to her fans, the pop star released an alternative, “original” version of the bonus track “The Lakes.”
Swift announced the release on social media and included a carousel of photos on Instagram.
“It’s been one year since we escaped the real world together and imagined ourselves someplace simpler,” she wrote in the caption. “With tall tall trees and salt air. Where you’re allowed to wear lace nightgowns that make you look like a Victorian ghost every day & no one will side eye you cause no one is around. It’s just you and your imaginary cabin and the stories you make up to pass the time.
“To say thank you for all you have done to make this album what it was, I wanted to give you the original version of The Lakes. Happy 1 year anniversary to Rebekah, Betty, Inez, James, Augustine, and the lives we all created around them. Happy Anniversary, folklore. 🌿”
Reaction to the new song quickly poured in from fans and followers.
"the lakes became my favorite from the moment i watch the lpss and you done this serve on camera. i just knew what it meant to you right then. you’re amazing tay, i love you so much 🤍 happy folklore day!" tweeted one.
"I love you for giving us all these magical stories, imaginative lives that helped us cope through such a scary time. These Folklore stories will live in us all forevermore," another added.
Swift fans learned about the existence of an alternative version of the song when Billboard published an interview with producer and frequent Swift collaborator Jack Antonoff this week.
“On one of my favorite songs on ‘Folklore,’ ‘The Lakes,’ there was this big orchestral version, and Taylor was like, ‘Eh, make it small,’” Antonoff said. “I had gotten lost in the string arrangements and all this stuff, and I took everything out. I was just like, ‘Oh, my God!’ We were not together because that record was made (remotely), but I remember being in the studio alone like, ‘Holy s---, this is so perfect.'”
An unexpected release on July 24, 2020, "Folklore" represented a surprise change in musical direction for the “Shake It Off” singer, from a mainstream pop sound to a softer indie-folk vibe, a shift that paid off. The album topped the Billboard 200 albums chart for eight consecutive weeks and earned Swift a Grammy Award for album of the year, making her the first woman to win the honor three times.
Ahead of the release of "Folklore," the Nashville resident said she was inspired to be spontaneous with the album’s release by uncertain times, likely alluding to the coronavirus pandemic.
"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," she wrote on Instagram last July. "My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world.”