The opening lyrics of Led Zeppelin's 1971 folk song "The Battle of Evermore" introduce a "Queen of Light" who "took her bow / And then she turned to go." Taylor Swift, indisputably one of the queens of 2020 (in terms of album sales, acclaim, and adoration), is doing the opposite: At midnight in the US (December 11), 4pm in AEDT, she'll release her second album of the year, evermore, a "sister record" to her folklore release, which dropped in July.
"To put it plainly, we just couldn't stop writing songs," she wrote to announce the album on social media. "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," Swift continued. "There was something different with folklore. In making it, I felt less like I was departing and more like I was returning. I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales. I loved the ways you welcomed the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found into your lives. So I just kept writing them. And I loved creating these songs with Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, WB, and Justin Vernon."
WB, of course, refers to William Bowery, the pseudonym Swift's boyfriend Joe Alwyn used to help pen some of the tracks on folklore, including "Exile" (the Bon Iver collab), and "Betty".
In addition to Alwyn and her folklore crew, Swift also pointed out some additional collaborators for evermore. Her pals in Haim appear on a song called "No Body, No Crime," while Dessner's band The National is listed as a feature on "Coney Island". Bon Iver returns as well for an appearance on the title track, which is also the album's closer.
The arrival of evermore coincides with Swift's 31st birthday on Sunday, an event she addresses in her announcement. "Ever since I was 13, I've been excited about turning 31 because it's my lucky number backwards, which is why I wanted to surprise you with this now. You've all been so caring, supportive and thoughtful on my birthdays and so this time I thought I would give you something! I also know this holiday season will be a lonely one for most of us and if there are any of you out there who turn to music to cope with missing loved ones the way I do, this is for you."
evermore is available for pre-order now at Swift's online store.
Right when the album drops this arvo, Swift will also be premiering the self-directed new video for "Willow", which she teased with an image of her in a white dress and a flower crown. I've seen a few tweets suggesting this is actually a wedding dress, and that there's more to this announcement than meets the eye. I suppose we'll find out tonight!
folklore, Swift's eighth album, found her primarily returning to her acoustic roots while also partnering with Dessner and Antonoff for a warmer, earthier sound. It connected with fans and critics across the globe and was named the top album of 2020 by outlets like Billboard, Rolling Stone, and Uproxx.
News of a folklore "sister record" throwing everyone's year-end album lists into disarray? Let's call it The Battle of Evermore.
This article was written by Patrick Hosken, and originally appeared on MTV.com.