The collaboration between Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of The National– known as Big Red Machine just released a music video for their song “Renegade” with Taylor Swift. Swift is featured on the song. She’s been a frequent collaborator of both Iver and Dessner in the past year, including an Album of the Year win at the Grammy’s for Swift’s folklore. Both Dessner and Vernon worked on folklore.
The song starts quietly, with an ambient synth and an up-tempo but muted drum track. Swift begins singing and the instrumental layers slowly begin to filter in: an acoustic guitar lick here, a few different percussive sounds there. Vernon begins to sing in harmony with Swift as the song picks up into the chorus. The song is about the difficult balance between needing more from an uncaring partner who is unwilling. Swift sings, “You wouldn’t be the first renegade to need somebody/Is it insensitive for me to say “Get your shit together so I can love you?”/Is it really your anxiety that stops you from giving me everything?/Or do you just not want to?”
The song is a single from Big Red Machine’s upcoming album How Long Do You Think It’s Going to Last? The album is due out Aug. 27 2021, via Vernon and Dessner’s 37do3d label. They’ve released two songs from the album already, “Latter Days (feat. Anaïs Mitchell)” and “The Ghost of Cincinnati.” Swift is reportedly featured on another song from the album “Birch.”
Bon Iver just renewed their recording contract with music label Secretly. They were also recently featured on Jagjagwar’s 25th anniversary album, Dilate Your Heart. Justin Vernon appeared on a live John Prine album from a 2017 performance called John Prine and Friends.
The National’s Bryce Dessner released a cover in collaboration with artist ANOHNI of Antony and The Johnson’s song, “Another World (String Arrangement).” That release came shortly after his announcement that he’d be working on a classical music album with the Australian String Quartet. That project, Impermanence/Disintegration, was released April 2, 2021.
Taylor Swift has kept herself busy in 2021– in addition to winning Album of the Year, she released a rerecorded version of her second studio album, Fearless and announced she would release a rerecorded version of her fourth studio album, Red in November 2021.