The first music video off folklore, Taylor Swift’s quarantine album proving stars are not like us because they are being productive in isolation, has arrived. Released Friday at the stroke of midnight, Swift answered some questions over on YouTube about “cardigan” and the new album, while fans waited for the big reveal. “The song is about a lost romance and why young love is often fixed so permanently within our memories,” she wrote about “cardigan.” “Why it leaves such an indelible mark.” This answer launched a thousand DMs in group chats everywhere with participants buzzing about what specific young love and lost romance Swift might be referring to. And even more DMs in groups chats full of Swift conspiracy theorists, who were already feasting on a number of would-be Easters eggs provided by one Karlie Kloss. (This analysis is purely anecdotal and based on … my own group chats.)
The video sees Swift climb inside a magical glowing piano, play a piano grown out of moss, nearly drown, and then climb back out of said magical piano to don a, of course, cardigan sweater. It’s a subdued sound, simple piano and a little synth and drums, with lyrics about feeling an “old cardigan under someone’s bed” and how “when you are young they assume you know nothing.” It’s anti-Lover, and it’s delightful.
In addition to writing and directing the video, Swift did her own styling and makeup for the shoot, she explained in a caption on Instagram on Thursday. Because, you know, there’s still a global pandemic going on and Swift is doing her part to help flatten the curve, as well as keep us all entertained. Everybody on set wore masks and a medical overseer was on site to keep things as safe as possible. Unclear if that same can be said for Swift’s “illicit affairs.” (Track 11.)