Taylor Swift has dropped her unexpected new album, evermore, and a music video for one of its songs, ‘Willow’.

She really does spoil her subjects, does Taylor. Less than five months after the release of her spectacular and shocking eight album folklore, she’s released its follow-up. It also happens to be her 31st birthday this weekend, so that’s nice timing. Spanning 15 tracks, evermore is a companion piece, a “sister” release to the summer’s folklore.

Her ninth studio album sees her again collaborating with Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Dessner’s bandmates from The National also appear on a track (‘Coney Island’), as do her besties HAIM (‘No Body, No Crime’).

In a statement announcing the album, she confirmed that these songs came out of the folklore writing sessions, which felt different than previous studio efforts. “To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs,” she explained. “To try and put it more poetically, it feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of this music.

We chose to wander deeper in.I’ve never done this before. In the past I’ve always treated albums as one-off eras and moved onto planning the next one after an album was released. There was something different with folklore. In making it, I felt less like I was departing and more like I was returning.”

Is this the future for pop music now? Releasing albums with no fanfare, essentially overnight? Swift certainly possesses the star power to influence others to follow suit. It also didn’t stop folklore from being a monumental critical and commercial success.

‘Willow’ is the lead single and the opening song on the record. Swift released a video for it alongside the new album today, December 11th.

Despite only premiering on YouTube less than 15 minutes ago, at the time of writing, it’s been viewed almost half a million times. Those are just crazy numbers.

Directed by Swift herself, it also just so happens to have Rodrigo Prieto as its Director of Photography: he’s been nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, as you do.

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The video continues the cute woodsy cootagecores atmosphere that she carefully honed on folklore (she’s always had a good understanding of trends).

Swift follows an elusive slivering golden thread through houses and forests and spooky gatherings, which eventually leads her to her dashing lover. The video ends with the pair holding hands and walking into the distance together.

The lovelorn lyrics will only fuel the speculation that Swift and her partner Joe Alwyn have tied the knot. “I’m begging for you to take my hand / Wreck my plans, that’s my man,” is one of the lines. As always, fans will be analysing her words for weeks to come.

Check out ‘Willow’ by Taylor Swift:

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