The Lakes (song)

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

"The Lakes"
The Lakes (Original Version) - Taylor Swift.png
Promotional single by Taylor Swift
ReleasedJuly 24, 2021 (2021-07-24)
Recorded2020
Studio
Genre
Length3:47
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Jack Antonoff
  • Taylor Swift
Visualizer
"The Lakes" on YouTube

"The Lakes" (stylized in all lowercase) is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, taken from the deluxe edition of her eighth studio album, Folklore (2020), released on August 7, 2020, through Republic Records. An orchestral version of "The Lakes", which is the original demo, was released as a promotional single on July 24, 2021, to commemorate the first anniversary of Folklore.

Written and produced by Swift and Jack Antonoff, "The Lakes" is a midtempo indie ballad, set to acoustic guitar and strings, with themes of introspection and escapism that reflect on Swift's semi-retirement in Windermere, the largest natural lake in England. Upon release, "The Lakes" received universal acclaim from music critics, with compliments on its sophisticated, poetic lyrics, and melancholic instrumentals; many named it a highlight on Folklore and one of the best songs Swift has ever written. The song debuted in the top 10 of the Canadian Digital Song Sales and US Digital Song Sales charts, and reached number 21 in Scotland and the UK Singles Downloads Chart, and number 28 in Hungary.

Release and background[edit]

An aerial view of Windermere, one of "the lakes" Swift sings about in the song

On July 23, 2020, American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift announced, via her social media accounts, that her eighth studio album, Folklore, would come out at midnight that same day, and revealed its track listing, where the lone bonus track on the deluxe edition, was titled "The Lakes".[1] All tracks of Folklore were conceived by Swift as imageries and visuals, a result of her imagination "running wild" while isolating herself during the COVID-19 pandemic.[2]

On one of my favorite songs on Folklore, "The Lakes," there was this big orchestral version, and Taylor was like, "Eh, make it small." I had gotten lost in the string arrangements and all this stuff, and I took everything out. I was just like, "Oh, my God!" We were not together because that record was made [remotely], but I remember being in the studio alone like, "Holy shit, this is so perfect."

— Jack Antonoff on the demo version of "The Lakes", Billboard[3]

Initially exclusive to the deluxe editions of Folklore, which were issued on August 7, 2020, "The Lakes" was made available on digital and streaming platforms on August 18, 2020, along with a lyric video published to Swift's YouTube channel.[4][5] The producer of "The Lakes", Jack Antonoff, said the song was a "big orchestral version" before Swift told him to make it smaller.[3] This version was released to all music platforms on July 24, 2021, the first anniversary of Folklore. It is a few seconds longer than the album version of "The Lakes";[6] Swift tweeted: "It's been 1 year since we escaped the real world together and imagined ourselves someplace simpler. With tall trees & salt air. Where you can wear lace nightgowns that make you look like a Victorian ghost & no one will side eye you cause no one is around. To say thank you for all you have done to make this album what it was, I wanted to give you the original version of "The Lakes". Happy 1 year anniversary to Rebekah,[a] Betty, Inez, James, Augustine[b] and the stories we all created around them. Happy Anniversary, Folklore."[11]

Composition[edit]

William Wordsworth, the 19th-century English poet known for his Romantic works, is referenced in the lyric "tell me what are my words worth"—a pun on his name.

"The Lakes" is a melodramatic, midtempo indie ballad driven by acoustic guitar, with lush orchestration heavily laden with strings and a "euphoric" crescendo of violins.[12][13] Swift's vocal range in the song spans between D3 to F4.[14] The song is written in the key of D major and has a moderate tempo of 90 beats per minute.[15]

The poetic lyrics see Swift introspecting on her semi-retirement in Windermere, the largest lake in England, located in its Lake District. Swift fantasizes about a red rose growing out of tundra "with no one around to tweet it", indicating her idea of a utopia free of social media, feuds and urban settings,[4][16][17][18] getting away from the society, her critics and detractors, and finding solace with her lover in the wilderness, like the Lake Poets.[12][19] The songwriting exudes a depressive tone coupled with escapism, with references to Wisteria, a genus of aquatic flowering plants, and William Wordsworth, the 19th-century English poet who is recognized for his Romantic works.[20] Aaron Dessner, Swift's collaborator on Folklore, stated the song uses hints of tragic Greek poetry, and feels like getting "lost in a beautiful garden".[21] Mainstream media has surmised the song's subject, whom Swift refers to as "muse" and "beloved", to be her boyfriend and British actor Joe Alwyn. The lyric "I've come too far to watch some namedropping sleaze" is interpreted as a subtle hint at her publicized disputes with Kanye West and Scooter Braun.[22]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received widespread critical acclaim. NME critic Hannah Mylrea opined that "The Lakes" is more poetic and romantic than any song on the standard edition of Folklore, and praised the song as "allusive".[23] Rolling Stone's Brittany Spanos wrote that the song channels Romantic-era poetry, by depicting unconditional love "within a controversial life and painful experiences".[24] In agreement, Wren Graves, writing for Consequence of Sound, also found the song to be Romantic, inspired by "one of the great periods in English literature".[25] Sammy Andrews of Redbrick stated that the song demonstrates "exceptional" lyrical sophistication and maturity, attesting to Swift's "talent and craftsmanship as a songwriter".[12] Tom Breihan, writing for Stereogum, called it a "soft, small-scale" love song about avoiding the public eye and "finding escape in some secluded enclave".[26]

Billboard writer Gil Kaufman found "The Lakes" delightful, and complimented the sparse instrumentals,[4] while Josiah Hughes of Exclaim! commended its "lush and elaborately produced" indie sound.[13] Sarah Carson, reviewing for i, lauded Swift's "smart" wordplay and "dazzlingly novel" vocals, which she described as "soft, distinct, imperfect, and never so assured".[27] Idolator's Mike Wass labelled it a "dreamy anthem".[28] Complimenting Swift's vulnerability and honesty, Sputnikmusic praised "The Lakes" as "an ideal product of its time", naming it one of the best songs Swift has ever written, and asserted it as the perfect closing track to Folklore.[29] Gary Dinges of USA Today deemed the song a "serenade", mimicking a bittersweet version of Swift's 2017 song "Call It What You Want".[30] Also comparing to "Call It What You Want", Glamour commentator Emily Tannenbaum defined the song as a melancholic love letter, and highlighted its macabre.[22]

Commercial performance[edit]

After three days of tracking, the song debuted at number five on the Billboard Digital Song Sales chart, and at number 18 on Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart.[31][32] It also reached the top-20 on New Zealand Top 40 Singles[33] and Canadian Digital Song Sales charts,[34] and the top-30 on Hungarian Singles,[35] Scottish Singles[36] and the UK Singles Downloads Chart charts.[37]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[38]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Jack Antonoff – producer, songwriter, recording engineer, live drums, live percussion, drum programming, electric guitar, keyboards, piano, background vocals
  • Evan Smith – saxophone, clarinet, flute, keyboards, bass
  • Bobby Hawk – strings
  • Mike Williams – recording engineer
  • John Gautier – recording engineer
  • Jonathan Low – mixing engineer
  • Laura Sisk – vocal engineer
  • Randy Merrill – mastering engineer

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Australia Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[39] 7
Canadian Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[34] 9
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[33] 13
Hungary (Single Top 40)[35] 28
Scotland (OCC)[36] 21
UK Download (OCC)[37] 21
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[40] 18
US Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[41] 5

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "The Lakes"
Region Date Format(s) Version Label Ref.
Various August 7, 2020 CD (Folklore deluxe edition) Official[note 1] Republic
August 18, 2020
July 24, 2021 Original[note 1] [42]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b The official version of "The Lakes" is a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Folklore, which was released to digital music platforms on August 18, 2020. A demo version of "The Lakes", dubbed the "original version", which is longer and highly emphasized on its orchestral elements, was released on July 24, 2021, to commemorate the first anniversary of Folklore.
  1. ^ American philanthropist Rebekah Harkness is the subject of the third track on Folklore, "The Last Great American Dynasty".[7]
  2. ^ Betty, Inez, James, and Augustine are the fictional characters described in the love triangle storyline narrated in the Folklore tracks "Cardigan", "August", and "Betty";[8] the first three characters are named after the daughters of American actress Blake Lively and Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds.[9] Augustine is the narrator of "August". Her name is not mentioned in the song or anywhere in the album, but Swift stated she began to call her so.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'It Started With Imagery': Read Taylor Swift's Primer For 'Folklore'". Billboard. July 24, 2020. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  2. ^ Blistein, Jon (July 24, 2020). "How Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift Stripped Down Her Sound on 'Folklore'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (July 20, 2021). "Jack Antonoff on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Producers". Billboard. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Kaufman, Gil (August 18, 2020). "Listen to a Delightful Bonus Song From the Deluxe Edition of Taylor Swift's 'Folklore'". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 19, 2020. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  5. ^ Romano, Nick (August 18, 2020). "Taylor Swift releases tearjerking 'Folklore' bonus track 'The Lakes' on streaming". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 21, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  6. ^ Kreps, Daniel (July 24, 2021). "Taylor Swift Shares Orchestral Version of 'The Lakes' on 'Folklore' Anniversary". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  7. ^ Mamo, Heran (July 27, 2020). "6 Things to Know About Rebekah Harkness, the Muse Behind Taylor Swift's 'The Last Great American Dynasty'". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 30, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  8. ^ Jones, Nate (August 4, 2020). "Untangling Taylor Swift's 'Teenage Love Triangle' Trilogy". Vulture. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  9. ^ Hearon, Sarah (August 6, 2020). "Taylor Swift Confirms Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds' Daughter Is Named Betty". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Sheffield, Rob (November 25, 2020). "The Thanksgiving Miracle of Taylor Swift's Acoustic 'Folklore' Session". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 17, 2021. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  11. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (July 24, 2021). "Taylor Swift Releases 'The Lakes (Original Version)' on 'Folklore' One-Year Anniversary: Listen Now". Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Andrews, Sammy (August 29, 2020). "Single Review: Taylor Swift – the lakes". Redbrick. Archived from the original on September 28, 2020. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Hughes, Josiah (August 18, 2020). "Taylor Swift Shares Lyric Video for 'folklore' Bonus Track "the lakes"". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on August 23, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  14. ^ "Taylor Swift "the lakes" Sheet Music in D major". Musicnotes.com. July 24, 2020. Archived from the original on January 2, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  15. ^ "Key & BPM for the lakes by Taylor Swift". TuneBat. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  16. ^ Sheffield, Rob (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift Leaves Her Comfort Zones Behind on the Head-Spinning, Heartbreaking 'Folklore'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  17. ^ Willman, Chris (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's 'Folklore': Album Review". Variety. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  18. ^ Ahlgrim, Callie (July 30, 2020). "Every detail and Easter egg you may have missed on Taylor Swift's new album 'Folklore'". Insider Inc. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  19. ^ Jones, Nate (August 18, 2020). "Taylor Swift Releases Another Song Reminding You How Much She Likes England". Vulture. Archived from the original on August 18, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  20. ^ Willman, Chris (August 8, 2020). "Taylor Swift, Prince, Bon Iver and More in Fri 5, the Best Songs of the Week". Variety. Archived from the original on August 8, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  21. ^ Gerber, Brady (July 27, 2020). "The Story Behind Every Song on Taylor Swift's folklore". Vulture. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Tannenbaum, Emily. "All The Ways 'The Lakes' Is Taylor Swift's Love Letter to Joe Alwyn". Glamour. Archived from the original on August 29, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  23. ^ Mylrea, Hannah (August 6, 2020). "Taylor Swift – 'The Lakes': the 'Folklore' bonus song decoded". NME. Archived from the original on September 8, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  24. ^ Spanos, Brittany (August 8, 2020). "Taylor Swift Channels Romantic-Era Poetry With 'The Lakes'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 28, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  25. ^ Graves, Wren (August 7, 2020). "Taylor Swift releases folklore bonus track "the lakes"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "Taylor Swift's Bonus Track "The Lakes" Is Out". Stereogum. August 7, 2020. Archived from the original on August 21, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  27. ^ Carson, Sarah (July 24, 2020). "Taylor Swift's Folklore is a dazzling, timeless surprise album, her most sophisticated yet". I News. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  28. ^ Wass, Mike (August 8, 2018). "Taylor Swift's 'folklore' Bonus Track 'the lakes' Reaches #1 On iTunes". Idolator. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  29. ^ "Sputnikmusic – Taylor Swift: "The Lakes"". Sputnikmusic. August 19, 2020. Archived from the original on April 24, 2021. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  30. ^ Dinges, Gary (August 18, 2020). "Surprise! Taylor Swift releases 'Folklore' bonus track, uncovers 'Cardigan' video Easter eggs". USA TODAY. Archived from the original on August 25, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  31. ^ "Taylor Swift – Billboard Digital Song Sales Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 2, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  32. ^ "Taylor Swift – Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 2, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  33. ^ a b "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. August 24, 2020. Archived from the original on August 23, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  34. ^ a b "Canadian Digital Song Sales (week 29/08/2020)". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  35. ^ a b "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  36. ^ a b "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  37. ^ a b "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  38. ^ Folklore (booklet). Taylor Swift. United States: Republic Records. 2020. B003271102.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  39. ^ "Australia Digital Song Sales Chart: Week of August 29, 2020". Billboard. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  40. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  41. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  42. ^ Swift, Taylor (July 24, 2021). "the lakes (original version) – Single". Apple Music (US). Archived from the original on July 25, 2021. Retrieved July 24, 2021.