Romantics will want to play this song on repeat. In celebration of the one-year anniversary of her hit album Folklore, Taylor Swift gave Swifties the original version of the bonus track, “The Lakes.” The songstress announced the release of the OG version on Twitter on Saturday, July 24, and it’s very different from the track the ended up on the album. If you have yet to hear it, here’s the scoop on Taylor Swift’s original version of “The Lakes.”
Swift tweeted about Folklore’s anniversary on Twitter, unveiling her original version for “The Lakes” in such an on-brand way. “It’s been 1 year since we escaped the real world together and imagined ourselves someplace simpler. With tall trees & salt air. Where you can wear lace nightgowns that make you look like a Victorian ghost & no one will side-eye you cause no one is around,” wrote Swift before sharing the link to the previously unreleased version of the track. She continued, writing, “To say thank you for all you have done to make this album what it was, I wanted to give you the original version of The Lakes.” She ended the message with a sweet shoutout to all the fictional characters she sang about in Folklore: “Happy 1 year anniversary to Rebekah, Betty, Inez, James, Augustine, and the stories we all created around them. Happy Anniversary, folklore.”
The bonus track version of “The Lakes” on the released album featured a more studio-smooth background track that offers a juxtaposition of a modern melody and instrumentals with a heart-felt lyric that focuses less on being catchy and more on being honest. However, the original version takes this old-fashioned feel a step further with a full orchestra behind Swift’s voice, complementing the movement of the melody.
Although the lyrics and the melody lines don’t differ much from the recorded version you knew, the orchestral track behind the singing makes the song even more romantic.
You can listen to the full OG version below:
Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote and co-produced the song, teased the bonus track’s original version a couple days ahead of the anniversary. He told Billboard that the original track was a “big orchestral version” at first, but Swift eventually decided to pare down the song for the album release. “On one of my favorite songs on [Swift’s] Folklore, ‘The Lakes,’ there was this big orchestral version, and Taylor was like, ‘Eh, make it small,’” Antonoff said. “I had gotten lost in the string arrangements and all this stuff, and I took everything out. I was just like, ‘Oh, my God!’ We were not together because that record was made [remotely], but I remember being in the studio alone like, ‘Holy sh*t, this is so perfect,’” Antonoff continued.
Fans of the singer were certainly thrilled to hear the OG version of the track:
Of course, being such a romantic track, there’s been speculation in the past that “The Lakes” is about Joe Alwyn because of several nods to his native England, mainly the Lake District of England, a mention of English poet William Wordsworth, and Windermere lake. However, Swift also references the modern day, including tweets, and seems to separate that from her desired life.
Whatever the track is truly about, Taylor Swift’s original version of “The Lakes” is so romantic, you might want a box of tissues as you listen.