Fans Draw Comparisons To Other Taylor Swift Songs After Hearing Her Duet With The National “The Alcott”

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Taylor Swift, Aaron Dessner, The National, Duet, Song

Taylor Swift has a new song out, “The Alcott” with indie rock band The National, and fans of the artists’ previous collaborations on Swift’s “Folklore” and “Evermore” albums are loving every second of it. The collaboration came as a surprise, briefly after one of Swift’s collaborators Aaron Dessner (The National’s guitarist) appeared onstage at “The Eras Tour” in Tampa, Florida to perform Swift’s “Mad Woman” and The Great War.” The band additionally released the accompanying lyric video for the track.

Dessner’s folk-rock influences notably impacted the production of Swift’s pandemic-era sister albums, which the music multi-hyphenate produced alongside Jack Antonoff. Dessner and Swift’s collaborations with The National continue to receive praise from critics and listeners alike for their ability to capture strong emotions through intricate details.

Taylor Swift, Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, Grammy
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 14: (L-R) Laura Sisk, Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift, Aaron Dessner, and Jonathan Low, winners of the Album of the Year award for ‘Folklore,’ pose in the media room during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy )


Given Swift’s penchant for dropping easter eggs about her life and career throughout her songs, fans were quick to turn to “The Alcott” for clues. The track was co-written by The National’s lead singer Matt Berninger, guitarist Aaron Dessner, and Swift. While the lyrics could allude to the happenings in any of the three’s personal lives, listeners felt that many of the themes present connected strongly to tracks from Swift’s “Folklore” and “Midnights.” The latter offered an intricate look at Swift’s life in the spotlight and the impact it has had on her.

The Theories

A popular theory circulating on Twitter connects the melancholy track to the plucky “Invisible String.” The song appeared on “Folklore”, and allegedly referenced Swift’s relationship with then boyfriend actor Joe Alwyn. Sources and social media recently point to a split between the pair after six years together. The track initially referenced a Chinese folk tale about strings that tie soulmates together long before they have met. “The Alcott” opens with Berninger singing “I get myself twisted in threads/to meet you at the Alcott.” The string reference has many believing that Swift is referencing the end of her relationship with Alwyn.


In addition to the “Invisible String” theory, some point to the definition of “The Alcott” in old English. Berninger has spoken about the song’s call-and-response nature at a secluded hotel bar, and one fan pointed out that an Alcott was once widely considered a remote cottage. Alwyn and Swift allegedly began their relationship when Swift left the public eye to craft her “Reputation” album, and continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  In a lengthy thread, a user named My Tweets Ricochet (@mytweetsricochet) proceeded to analyze the song lyric for lyric.

The Reactions

Multiple theories aside, fans are loving Swift’s return to the indie folk side of her songwriting. Many listeners are also sharing reaction memes about the lyrics they painfully relate to the most.


Berninger confirmed in a recent appearance on “The Zane Lowe Show” that he began writing the track for his wife, film producer Carin Besser. Swift’s co-write is what has listeners wondering if her portion references her own life. The National’s full-length album, “First Two Pages of Frankenstein”, which additionally features indie rock singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, is available on streaming platforms now.

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