august

folklore (2020)

“august” describes an ill-fated summer romance. It is the second part of the “Teenage Love Triangle” on Taylor’s eighth album, “folklore” (2020), told from the point of view of Augustine, the girl James cheated on Betty with. The storyline is preceded by “cardigan” and followed by “betty.”

Fittingly the eighth track on “folklore”, according to Taylor “august” started out with a line from the bridge. She had written down the phrase ‘meet me behind the mall’ in her phone years ago, wanting to write it into a song. In the documentary/concert film “folklore: the long pond studio sessions“, Taylor explained the story that eventually formed around that part:

“In my head, I’ve been calling the girl from ‘august’ either Augusta or Augustine. What happened in my head was like: ‘cardigan’ is Betty’s perspective from 20 or 30 years later, looking back on this love that was this tumultuous thing. I think Betty and James ended up together. So in my head, she ends up with him but he really put her through it. But ‘august’ was obviously about the girl that James had this summer with. She seems like she’s a bad girl, but really she’s not. She’s a really sensitive person who really fell for him and she was trying to seem cool and like she didn’t care because that’s what girls have to do. And she was trying to let him think that she didn’t care but she really did and she thought they had something very real. And then he goes back to Betty. So the idea that there is some bad, villain girl in any type of situation who ‘takes your man’ is a total myth because that’s not usually the case at all. Everybody has feelings and wants to be seen and loved. And Augustine…that’s all she wanted.” — Taylor Swift

The track was co-produced by Taylor’s frequent collaborator and friend Jack Antonoff, who called the song one of his “favorite things [they’ve] done together.” “folklore” producer Aaron Dessner told Vulture:

“This is maybe the closest thing to a pop song. It gets loud. It has this shimmering summer haze to it. It’s kind of like coming out of ‘seven’ where you have this image of her in the swing and she’s seven years old, and then in ‘august’ I think it feels like fast-forwarding to now. That’s an interesting contrast. I think it’s just a breezy, sort of intoxicating feeling.” — Aaron Dessner

COMMERCIAL PERFORMANCE AND CRITICAL RECEPTION
“august” debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the chart week of August 8, 2020. The song was featured in an ad for Spotify in November, 2020.

Critics called “august” one of the highlights on “folklore” and several publications put the song on their year-end lists of the best songs of 2020, one them being from Rolling Stone.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Salt air, and the rust on your door
I never needed anything more
Whispers of “Are you sure?”
“Never have I ever before”

[Chorus]
But I can see us lost in the memory
August slipped away into a moment in time
‘Cause it was never mine
And I can see us twisted in bedsheets
August sipped away like a bottle of wine
‘Cause you were never mine

[Verse 2]
Your back beneath the sun
Wishin’ I could write my name on it
Will you call when you’re back at school?
I remember thinkin’ I had you

[Chorus]
But I can see us lost in the memory
August slipped away into a moment in time
‘Cause it was never mine
And I can see us twisted in bedsheets
August sipped away like a bottle of wine
‘Cause you were never mine

[Bridge]
Back when we were still changing for the better
Wanting was enough
For me, it was enough
To live for the hope of it all
Canceled plans just in case you’d call
And say, “Meet me behind the mall”
So much for summer love and saying “us”
‘Cause you weren’t mine to lose
You weren’t mine to lose, oh

[Chorus]
But I can see us lost in the memory
August slipped away into a moment in time
‘Cause it was never mine
And I can see us twisted in bedsheets
August sipped away like a bottle of wine
‘Cause you were never mine

[Outro]
‘Cause you were never mine
Never mine
But do you remember?
Remember when I pulled up and said “Get in the car”
And then canceled my plans just in case you’d call?
Back when I was livin’ for the hope of it all, for the hope of it all
“Meet me behind the mall”

(Remember when I pulled up and said “Get in the car”
And then canceled my plans just in case you’d call?
Back when I was livin’ for the hope of it all, for the hope of it all
“Meet me behind the mall”)

Remember when I pulled up and said “Get in the car”
And then canceled my plans just in case you’d call?
Back when I was livin’ for the hope of it all (for the hope of it all)

For the hope of it all, for the hope of it all
(For the hope of it all, for the hope of it all)

General Information
Albumfolklore
ReleasedJuly 24, 2020
Recorded2020
StudioKitty Committee Studio
(Los Angeles)
GenreFolk Pop
Length4:22
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducerJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
Single Certification
Spotify Wrapped Ad
Official Lyric Video
Official Audio
Official Live Audio