The National’s recently released album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, not only features a collection of their own new songs but also includes a collaboration with Taylor Swift called “The Alcott.” The band and Swift have collaborated previously, with the National’s Aaron Dessner producing her Folklore and Evermore albums and other members of the band contributing to various tracks.
In a recent interview, Bryce Dessner explained that “The Alcott” was co-written by Swift and the National’s Matt Berninger. He praised Swift’s ability to take what Berninger had written and reinvent the song with her own style, calling it “a really special song.” Berninger himself spoke of how he wrote the song from one perspective and sent it to Aaron Dessner, who then shared it with Swift. Swift quickly jumped into the other perspective and added her own viewpoint to the song, making it “so much more beautiful and so much more dimensional.”
First Two Pages of Frankenstein is the National’s first album since 2019’s I Am Easy to Find and includes singles such as “Tropic Morning News,” “New Order T-Shirt,” “Eucalyptus,” and “Your Mind Is Not Your Friend.” The album showcases the band’s signature sound, with introspective and emotive lyrics set against a backdrop of moody and atmospheric instrumentation. The addition of Swift’s unique voice to “The Alcott” adds yet another layer to this compelling and heartfelt album.
Speaking of Swift, In episode seven of season two of Power Book II, Cane Tejada drops Taylor Swift’s name when he is discussing Brayden Weston with Monet Tejada as they try to fix their Russian problem. During the discussion, Cane suggests that Brayden is not trustworthy and compares him to Taylor Swift, saying, Don’t look at Taylor Swift, he’s [Brayden Weston] isn’t the one to help out with the Russians. The reference to Taylor Swift seems to imply that Brayden doesn’t have it in him as of yet to handle what was asked. If he took out the Russian connect like Cane asked him too, It would have looked like a white guy took him out inside of him freezing up and Tariq had to pull the trigger.
This name drop shows the cultural influence of Taylor Swift, who is known for her success as a singer-songwriter and her ability to create catchy pop songs that resonate with a wide audience. The use of her name in this context suggests that she has become a cultural touchstone that can be used to convey a particular message or meaning. Additionally, the reference to Swift may also be seen as a way for the writers of Power Book II to connect with a younger audience that is familiar with her music and persona.