the lakes

Bonus Track | folklore (2020)

“the lakes” is the only bonus track from Taylor’s eighth studio album, “folklore” (2020). It is an indie ballad, set to acoustic guitar and strings, with themes of introspection and escapism, reflecting on Taylor’s fantasy of retiring in the Lake District, England.

In a conversation with producer Jack Antonoff, Taylor told him about a trip she and her partner, Joe Alwyn, took some years ago, which inspired her to wrote the song during quarantine:

“I think ‘the lakes’ sounds like a testament of what I wanted to escape from and where I saw myself escaping. We’d gone to the Lake District in England a couple years ago. In the 19th century you had a lot of poets like William Wordsworth and John Keats who’d spend a lot of time there. And there was a poet district, these artists that moved there. They were heckled for it and made fun of for being these eccentrics and kind of odd artists who decided that they just wanted to live there. I remember when we went, thinking, ‘I could see this.’ You live in a cottage and you got wisteria growing up the outside of it…of course they escaped like that, of course they would do that. And they had their own community of other artists who’d done the same thing. I’ve always, in my career since I was probably about twenty, written about this cottage backup plan that I have. I have been writing about that forever. So ‘the lakes’ is really talking a lot about relating to people who, hundreds of years ago, had the same exit plan and did it. I went to William Wordsworth’s grave and just sat there and I was like, ‘Wow. He went and did it.’ He just went away. And you kept writing but you didn’t subscribe to the things that were killing you. And that’s really the overarching thing that I felt when I was writing ‘folklore’: I may not be able to go to the lakes right now – or to go anywhere – but I’m going there in my head. The escape plan is working. I thought it would be the perfect way to slot the last puzzle piece in. Right when people were least expecting it. Because ‘hoax’ is the ending song for the record which I thought was interesting for a couple of weeks but then I actually wanted to come in with the real last song of the record, which is ‘the lakes’. It shows you the overarching theme of the whole album of trying to escape, having something you wanna protect, trying to protect your own sanity and saying ‘Look, they did this hundreds of years ago. I’m not the first person who’s felt this way. They did this.’ ” — Taylor Swift

“folklore” producer Aaron Dessner, when asked about the song in an interview with Vulture, said the following:  “That’s a Jack song. It’s a beautiful kind of garden, or like you’re lost in a beautiful garden. There’s a kind of Greek poetry to it. Tragic poetry, I guess.”

CRITICAL RECEPTION
The song received widespread acclaim from music critics, who complimented the poetic lyricism and mellow instrumentals, with many naming it a highlight on “folklore” and one of the best songs Taylor has ever penned.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Is it romantic how all my elegies eulogize me?
I’m not cut out for all these cynical clones
These hunters with cell phones

[Chorus]
Take me to the Lakes where all the poets went to die
I don’t belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I’m setting off, but not without my muse

[Verse 2]
What should be over burrowed under my skin
In heart-stopping waves of hurt
I’ve come too far to watch some namedropping sleaze
Tell me what are my words worth

[Chorus]
Take me to the Lakes where all the poets went to die
I don’t belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I’m setting off, but not without my muse

[Bridge]
I want auroras and sad prose
I want to watch wisteria grow right over my bare feet
‘Cause I haven’t moved in years
And I want you right here
A red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground
With no one around to tweet it
While I bathe in cliffside pools
With my calamitous love and insurmountable grief

[Chorus]
Take me to the Lakes where all the poets went to die
I don’t belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I’m setting off, but not without my muse
No, not without you

General Information
Albumfolklore
ReleasedAugust 7, 2020
Recorded2020
StudioKitty Committee Studio
(Los Angeles)
GenreIndie Folk
Length3:31
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducerJack Antonoff
Official Lyric Video
Official Audio
Official Live Audio