Swift stunned fans on Thursday by revealing that she would be dropping a surprise new album at midnight she'd written and recorded during quarantine.
As if a fresh new Taylor Swift album wasn't enough -- and it surely was for Swifties worldwide -- the multi-talented artist paired the surprise release of "folklore" with a whimsical music video for its first single, "Cardigan."
Taking in the spirit of the fairy tale imagery evoked by the album's title, Swift wrote and directed the music video to accompany the first single as a magical journey through her piano into magical realms more imbued with nature.
The song itself is a statement on the purity of young love. "The song is about a romance and why young love is often fixed so permanently within our memories," Taylor said in a livestream announcing the new release on Thursday.
Like something out of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Taylor's piano and its bench proved the doorways to take her to these magical other realms. One was filled with beautiful greens and moss with a waterfall pouring from her grand piano.
It was all peace and love and blissful joy. But when beckoned to take another step, Taylor found herself adrift in turmoil, amid tumultuous waves in the middle of an endless sea with only her piano to keep her afloat.
It evoked the extremes of emotions that young people can experience, and how strong those feelings can be at both ends of that spectrum in young love. It's a wild ride, at times beautiful and at other times terrifying.
But if you hang on through it, you will find your way through and back to your safe space, in this case represented by the rustic room Taylor's journey began. It was a simple video, though beautifully produced, both warm and coldly terrifying at times ... much like young love.
The single, much like the album it resides in, marks a departure from the more pop-driven sound that has steered Swift's career in recent years. Instead, it marks a shift toward a more indie-pop driven sound.
Swift collaborators on this album include Aaron Dessner of The National, who co-wrote or produced 11 of the album's 16 tracks, as well as additional members from his band, Bon Iver and more.
Perhaps unintentionally, or just ironically, Swift's album drop hits the same day Kanye West had announced he would be releasing new music. The pair become eternally entwined when Kanye interrupted Taylor's acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs -- "Imma let you finish" -- to say Beyonce should have won.
"folklore" was immediately trending at number one on Twitter upon its release with fans taking it in track by track. Meanwhile, Kanye's album "Donda" did not drop at midnight. It may yet release throughout the day, but it's just as possible it won't happen at all.
Kanye is reportedly in the midst of a serious bipolar episode, per TMZ, which has created turmoil from the Kardashian family to his late-bid presidential campaign. And it was in the midst of this that Kanye randomly announced his album's Friday release.
At least for now, Taylor is getting both the first and last word. You can stream "Cardigan" and the entire "folklore" album now.