The news was revealed by The National’s own Aaron Dessner and Matt Berninger in a new interview yesterday (April 20). According to the members, the Taylor Swift songs ‘Willow’ and ‘Cardigan’ were handed over to the pop star after they struggled to make them come together.
“I’d taken a swing at [‘Cardigan’] and ‘Willow’ and a couple of others, and I wasn’t having a lot of luck, so Aaron sent them to Taylor,” Berninger recalled to The Telegraph.
He also explained that the opposite has happened in the past, where the band have released tracks that were initially intended for Swift. “I always have a lot of music to work on, and I am looking for something to connect emotionally,” he added. “The reverse has happened, too, where Aaron wrote something for Taylor, and I dove right in. It works both ways.”
The National are set to partner up with the ‘Anti-Hero’ singer for their upcoming album ‘First Two Pages of Frankenstein’, which is set for release on April 28.
Earlier this year, the band revealed that Swift will be featuring on the track ‘The Alcott’. This, however, won’t be the first time that the two have joined forces. Back in 2020, The National joined her on the track ‘Coney Island’.
“We’re all big fans of Taylor, and she’s been really generous with us, inviting us to be part of ‘Coney Island,’” Aaron’s brother Bryce Dessner said in an Apple Music interview at the time. “‘The Alcott’ is a song that she co-wrote with Matt [Berninger], where she co-wrote the lyrics. It’s really amazing to hear her, the way she was able to take what Matt had done and then reinvent the song, and it’s really a special song.”
Last week, Berninger also spoke to Uncut about his ongoing struggle with depression and writer’s block — a theme well-documented in the band’s upcoming LP.
“Why are songs such magical emotional pills? Doing therapy and antidepressants and getting totally sober, none of it was making any difference. But writing a song about nothing making any difference was the thing that made a difference,” he explained. “That was my medicine. Lexapro doesn’t work on me, but Aaron and Bryce’s [Dessner, guitarists] sketches do.”
He continued, adding that he has started to move into a better place now: “My relationship with the band and my relationship with my wife and everything is really healthy, and always has been made more healthy by writing about it falling apart.”