Like many others, Taylor Swift is getting through quarantine by reminiscing about vacations she took in the long-lost golden age of 2019. The singer has released the Jack Antonoff co-produced folklore bonus track “the lakes,” available as of August 7 (or a few days earlier, if you were sneaky) as a treat for those who purchased physical copies of the album. And, as fans predicted, the lakes of the title are indeed those of England’s scenic Lake District, a national park famed for getaways both romantic and Romantic. (Numerous 19th-century poets hung out there; it’s also where this author’s parents met.) Swift and boyfriend Joe Alwyn apparently visited the area last year for what the album’s best track, “invisible string,” says was a third-anniversary trip. This, of course, means the Lake District has officially joined New York City and Tennessee’s Hendersonville High School as locations that have inspired multiple Taylor Swift songs. Take that, London!
But back to the new song. Thematically, it’s pretty Reputation: Swift is escaping a legion of haters and losers by retreating into the untamed wilderness, as generations of writers before her once did (though I suspect they did not have to contend with “these hunters with cell phones”). Lyrically, it’s appropriately melodramatic. “Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die,” she sings. “Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry.” She also can’t resist a shameless pun: “I’ve come too far to watch some name-dropping sleaze / Tell me what are my words worth.” It seems the Big Machine–Scooter Braun drama left its mark.
Update, August 18: The deluxe version is now out on streaming. Enjoy “the lakes” legally!