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The Alcott

First Two Pages of Frankenstein (The National Album) | 2023

“The Alcott” is an upcoming collaboration between Taylor and The National on the band’s ninth studio album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein. The song will be released on April 28, 2023. Set to a sparse backdrop of piano and strings, the song finds Matt Berninger and Taylor inhabiting the roles of a couple attempting to resurrect a troubled relationship.

Background and Recording

“The Alcott” marks the second collaboration between Taylor and The National. The band was previously featured on “coney island” from Taylor’s ninth studio album, evermore (2020). Multiple members of the band notably have also worked on her other pandemic album, folklore (2020). In addition, Aaron Dessner has become one of Taylor’s most trusted producers in recent years. When the song was announced on January 18,  Taylor shared on Instagram:

«Ahhhhhh, new National album, let's gooooo! And Sufjan and Phoebe! Catch me crying on April 28. Extra big hug to folklorian king Aaron Dessner!»

Aaron Dessner responded, “Meet you at the Alcott…can’t frickin wait…so honored and humbled as always to make music with you ❤️”

First Two Pages of Frankenstein came after a period when lead singer Matt Berninger was in “a very dark spot where I couldn’t come up with lyrics or melodies at all. Even though we’d always been anxious whenever we were working on a record, this was the first time it ever felt like maybe things really had come to an end.” Bryce Dessner noted that eventually, the band “managed to come back together and approach everything from a different angle, and because of that we arrived at what feels like a new era for the band.” Aaron Dessner added, “To me, the power of this record has to do with the intentionality and structure of the music meeting with a lot of accidental magic.”

Lyrical Theme

“The Alcott” takes the form of a pensive yet luminous duet between Matt Berninger and Taylor. It is one of the most cinematic and narratively driven moments on the First Two Pages of Frankenstein album. Aaron Dessner told Alt 104.5:

«Matt wrote the main part of the song to some music I had written which Taylor had heard and I knew liked, so I thought it might be something she would really click with. I sent it to her, and was a little nervous as I didn't hear back for 20 minutes or so. By the time she responded, Taylor had written all her parts and recorded a voice memo with the lyrics she’d added in a dialogue with Matt, and everyone fell immediately in love with it. It felt meant to be.»

Set to a gorgeously sparse backdrop of piano and strings, “The Alcott” finds Berninger and Taylor inhabiting the roles of a couple attempting to resurrect a troubled relationship, forging a finely drawn story nearly novelistic in scope. “It’s about two people with a long history returning to a place and trying to relive a certain moment in time,” Matt Berninger said. “It’s got the feeling of a last-ditch effort to hold onto the relationship, but there’s a hint of something positive where you can see the beginnings of a reconnection.”

Lyrics

Coming soon…
General Information
AlbumFirst Two Pages of Frankenstein
FeatureTaylor Swift
ReleasedApril 28, 2023
Recorded2020-2022
StudioLong Pond (Hudson Valley, NY)
GenreAlternative
Length4:27
Label4AD
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Matt Berninger
Aaron Dessner
ProducerAaron Dessner
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