Taylor Swift has celebrated one year passed since the release of her Grammy-winning “Folklore” album by giving fans an anniversary gift: an alternate, “original” version of bonus track “The Lakes” that has a more elaborate arrangement by co-writer/co-producer than the previous recording did.
“It’s been one year since we escaped the real world together and imagined ourselves someplace simpler,” Swift wrote on her social media accounts. “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.”
The existence of an alternative version had recently been brought to light in an interview with Antonoff in which he said that Swift had nixed his original production of the song. In a cover story in Billboard, he said, “On one of my favorite songs on ‘Folklore,’ ‘The Lakes,’ there was this big orchestral version, and Taylor was like, ‘Eh, make it small.’ 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–t, this is so perfect.'”
While July 24 marks the first anniversary of “Folklore,” it’s not actually the first anniversary of “The Lakes” being heard. It was a bonus track that was held back for the first physical editions, i.e., a CD version, being released on August 7, 2021.
“The Lakes” is seen as one of the more overtly autobiographical songs from the “Folklore” project, set in England’s Lake district, and a love song as well as a fantasy about getting away from it all in a land seemingly free of celebrity snoopers.
The Instagram and Twitter posts also included a bit of additional information about the “Folklore” album that confirmed some of its actual folklore. In saying that “Augustine” was the name of a character on the album, Swift finally acknowledged the proper identity of the third party in the fictional teen love triangle written about in the songs “Cardigan, “Betty” and “August.” The singer had revealed the name in the special “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions,” but fans were still unsure whether she was saying Augustine or Augusta. (Poor Augusta got the short end of the stick regardless, as Swift also has said that Betty and James get back together in the time-tripping scenario.)