All we can say right now is that we’re absolutely quaking over the amount of content Taylor Swift and her team produced during lockdown.
After the album dropped, Taylor released a prologue explaining her writing process. But really, Taylor spent iso writing a new album that has already received stellar reviews from the likes of Billboard and The Guardian.
“I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t,” she wrote.
“An exiled man walking the bluffs of a land that isn’t his own, wondering how it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. An embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of obsession. A seventeen-year-old on a porch, learning to apologise. Lovestruck kids wandering up and down the evergreen High Line. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. A misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out.”
In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve. Now it’s up to you to pass them down. folklore is out now: https://t.co/xdcEDfithq
????: Beth Garrabrant pic.twitter.com/vSDo9Se0fp
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 24, 2020
While we wait for the Swifties to dissect everything about the album, let’s chat about who William Bowery is.
When Taylor announced the album on Thursday night, she thanked a number of people for their valued work and contribution.
Let’s zero in on the particular section of her announcement, shall we?
“I wrote and recorded this music in isolation but got to collaborate with some musical heroes of mine; @aarondessner (who has co-written or produced 11 of the 16 songs), @boniver (who co-wrote was kind enough to sing on one with me), William Bowery (who co-wrote two with me), and @jackantonoff (who is basically musical family at this point.”
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Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore. Surprise ????Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into. I wrote and recorded this music in isolation but got to collaborate with some musical heroes of mine; @aarondessner (who has co-written or produced 11 of the 16 songs), @boniver (who co-wrote and was kind enough to sing on one with me), William Bowery (who co-wrote two with me) and @jackantonoff (who is basically musical family at this point). Engineered by Laura Sisk and Jon Low, mixed by Serban Ghenea & Jon Low. The album photos were shot by the amazing @bethgarrabrant. Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world. That’s the side of uncertainty I can get on board with. Love you guys so much ♥️
Bowery’s name stuck out like a sore thumb for a number of reasons. Firstly, he doesn’t have an Instagram account (let’s be real, who doesn’t have an IG account in 2020?). And secondly, as fans immediately noticed, Bowery appears to be an identity-evading ghost.
???? | Fans are speculating who "William Bowery" (co-wrote two songs on "folklore") is, as there are no registered or previously credited songwriters/producers under that name. "William Bowery" is also the only untagged co-write in Taylor's post. pic.twitter.com/CvClhjf3ZL
— Taylor Swift News | TSwiftinAsia (@TSwiftinAsia) July 23, 2020
As expected, the Nancy Drews of the web have already initiated an immaculate deep-dive into who this elusive William Bowery could be. Is it a ghost? A pseudonym? Let’s chat theories…
Theory #1: Joe Alwyn
The leading theory is that Taylor’s partner, Joe Alwyn, is William Bowery.
Joe’s great-grandfather, William Alwyn, was an English composer, conductor, and music teacher.
Taylor and Joe were also spotted at the Bowery Hotel in New York City, once, so that’s a thing.
WILLIAM BOWERY theory
on oct 2016, taylor (w her squad) & alwyn were spotted in BOWERY hotel. (smth special mustve happened here, that's why she used d name "BOWERY" i guess?)
WILLIAM alwyn is literally joe alwyns great-grandpa. he was was composer, conductor, and music teacher pic.twitter.com/pDOaBieGgL
— a folkWHORE (@taylowkey13) July 23, 2020
Theory #2: Joni Mitchell
Stans also made some meticulous connections with the legendary Canadian singer-songwriter, such as the fact that Mitchell has a known painting titled Bowery Bum, and that her dad’s name is William.
someone said WILLIAM BOWERY might actually be JONI MITCHEL'S pseudonym??? there were speculations that taylor's song the lucky one is about her. she's a famous
FOLK singer & songwriter. she has a painting called BOWERY bum. her father's name is WILLIAM anderson — pic.twitter.com/JmdtJTl92m
— a folkWHORE (@taylowkey13) July 23, 2020
Theory #3: Austin Swift
Some other punters are also hypothesising that William Bowery is the pseudonym of Taylor’s brother, Austin Swift, after he allegedly recorded a cover of Reputation‘s lead track “Look What You Made Me Do” for Killing Eve‘s soundtrack earlier this year under another pseudonym, alongside Jack Antonoff.
he did the cover of LWYMMD under a pseudonym, which was produced by Antonoff and engineered by Laura Sisk, who have done the same on folklore
— Suz (@gottenbread) July 23, 2020
For now, the mystery will remain just that – a mystery – until Taylor reveals all (which we hope will happen very, very soon).
Above all else, you have to admire the Twittersphere’s remarkable efforts to solve this mystery. God bless the internet.
Now, time to stream folklore for clear skin and a plethora of emotions in lockdown.Image: Netflix / Miss Americana