The National have shared a lyric video for their new song with Taylor Swift, ‘The Alcott’.
READ MORE: The National on pulling back from the brink: “It’s felt fragile before, but this time was different”
The single is taken from their newly-debuted album, ‘First Two Pages Of Frankenstein’, which was released today (April 28), and sees the indie five-piece team up with pop icon Taylor Swift.
Now, the band have shared an official lyric video for the emotional track, which also features in-studio footage of the band and Swift. Check it out below.
Ahead of the release of their ninth studio album, The National spoke to NME about the inspiration behind the LP, and their long-running relationship with the ‘Anti-Hero’ singer — which first formed over a decade ago.
According to the members, Aaron Dessner sent Swift the song shortly after it was written, and she responded within half an hour, making it into the track it is today. “She has this work ethic and wonder at the creative process,” he told NME. “She’s just so she loves making stuff. And she’s not cynical in any way, she’s as DIY as anyone.”
This isn’t the first time that The National and Taylor Swift have joined forces. Back in 2020, The National joined her on the track ‘Coney Island’ and, more recently, the band admitted that two of the pop star’s songs — ‘Willow’ and ‘Cardigan’ — were initially meant to be released by them.
“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,” Matt Berninger recalled to The Telegraph. “The reverse has happened, too, where Aaron wrote something for Taylor, and I dove right in. It works both ways.”
Earlier this month, Dessner also joined Swift onstage in Tampa, Florida during her ongoing ‘Eras’ tour. Here, the pair duetted on two songs: ‘The Great War’ (a track he produced for the ‘3am Edition’ of ‘Midnights’) and ‘Mad Woman’ from her ‘Folklore’ album.
Discussing his time onstage with Swift, Dessner told NME that the gig was “the greatest show I’ve ever seen”. “It’s just insane. The scale of the tour. And the music, the visual design, the choreography and her musicianship, it’s on a level that I’ve never seen anything like,” he said.
“To me, it’s something to aspire to: to be that ambitious with her music. I think sometimes people ask me questions about working with pop stars like it’s not an honour, but it’s a total honour. I learned way more from her than she’s learned with us.”
‘The Alcott’ is the eighth song on the new 11-track album. In a five-star review of the LP, NME praised the band for creating their “best record in a decade”.
“‘This is the closest we’ve ever been,’ sings Berninger… While he’s certainly singing of his family and bandmates, it feels the same of The National and the listener … The band are only now at their most emotionally direct,” it read.
“‘First Two Pages…’ is testament to what makes this band so popular two decades down the line. This is The National back from their brink and at their absolute best.”