Taylor Swift releases new album, 'Folklore,' and video for 'Cardigan'

This is the superstar's eighth studio album.

The 10-time Grammy winner dropped her eighth studio album at the stroke of midnight on Friday, after announcing it just hours earlier.

"Folklore" is an emotionally raw album that showcases Swift exploring a new soft rock/folk sound, which is heard her new single "Cardigan."

Swift also released the self-directed music video for "Cardigan" on Friday that was shot in observance of COVID-19 safety guidelines and features a portion where the singer appears to be stranded in the middle of the ocean.

True to Swift's signature style, the music video for "Cardigan" is a magical story rife with symbolism -- this time about growing up, finding love, breaking up and finding each other again.

The music video opens in a sepia tint as Swift, dressed in a long flowing white nightgown, plays at her piano next to the roaring fire as the melancholy lyrics speak of being brushed off because "when you are young they assume you know nothing."

She's then transported via a luminous gold light to two different locations. One area is a lush colored forest covered in moss with a dazzling waterfall, symbolizing a new love -- and then the breakup happens, tossing her into stormy waters with only a piano to cling to.

The music video ends with the golden light bringing Swift back at home, where she sits next to a warm cardigan and sings, "And when I felt like I was an old cardigan/ Under someone's bed/ You put me on and said I was your favorite."

Swift, 30, wrote on Instagram Thursday that she wrote and recorded "Folklore" "in isolation," and added that she "poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings" into the songs. She added that she worked on the album, which includes 16 songs and a bonus track on the deluxe edition, with some of her "musical heroes," including Jack Antonoff, Bon Iver, and Aaron Dessner of the indie rock band The National. There will also be eight deluxe CD editions and eight vinyl editions available for one week to honor the fact that "Folklore" is Swift's eighth studio album.

While "Folklore" contains a style of music popular with alternative radio, Swift uses her slowed down music to really dig into her metaphorical and poetic lyrics. One example is the standout "Invisible String," which includes the chorus "Time, mystical time/ Cutting me open, then healing me fine/Were there clues I didn't see?/ And isn't it just so pretty to think/ All along there was some invisible string/ Tying you to me." But, the song also serves as a story of growth for Swift, as she admits, "Cold was the steel of my ax to grind/ For the boys who broke my heart/ Now I send their babies presents."

Swift released her seventh album, "Lover," last August, which included hits such as "Lover," "ME!" and "You Need to Calm Down." It was an especially poignant milestone for the superstar, as "Lover" was the first album that she owned the rights to.

"Something that's very special to me about this album is it's the first one that I will own," Swift told "Good Morning America" at the time.

Here's the complete tracklist of "Folklore," which is available everywhere now:

  • "the 1"
  • "cardigan"
  • "the last great american dynasty"
  • "exile" (featuring bon iver)
  • "my tears ricochet"
  • "mirrorball"
  • "seven"
  • "august"
  • "this is me trying"
  • "illicit affairs"
  • "invisible strings"
  • "mad woman"
  • "epiphany"
  • "betty"
  • "peace"
  • "hoax"
  • (bonus track) "the lakes"