The album was conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aaron Dessner of The National was isolating and quarantining with his family, when Swift had approached him in late April to write some songs remotely together. 11 songs were written with Dessner over the next few months, while the others were written with Jack Antonoff, William Bowery and Bon Iver. “I thought it would take a while for song ideas to come and I had no expectations as far as what we could accomplish remotely,” Dessner wrote in his tweet, “But a few hours after sharing music, my phone lit up with a voice memo from Taylor of a fully written song — the momentum never really stopped.”
The album’s release was announced by Swift on her social media accounts hours before its midnight, July 24, 2020, launch. It follows her seventh studio albumLover, released almost a year prior. The album has eight deluxe CDs and vinyls that are only available for a week for the physical copies, all of which have different covers and photos.
An accompanying music videofor the lead single “Cardigan” will be released along with the album.