On Big Red Machine’s “Renegade,” Taylor Swift reunites with collaborators Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon

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The song was recorded the same week she won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Taylor Swift collaborated extensively with Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver on her 2020 albums, folklore and evermore, and the trio reconnected for “Renegade” today.

The song is from Dessner and Vernon’s Big Red Machine, a collaborative artistic project they started in 2018. They’re gearing up for their next project, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, in August after releasing a self-titled album in 2018. Although Vernon offers background vocals and Dessner handles production and instrumentals, “Renegade” is mostly a Swift showcase. Swift sings about baggage standing in the way of a romance in the song:

Are you really gonna talk about timing in times like these?
And let all your damage damage me
And carry your baggage up my street
And make me your future history, it’s time
You’ve come a long way, open the blinds, let me see your face
You wouldn’t be the first renegade to need somebody
Is it insensitive for me to say “Get your sh-t together so I can love you?”

The song was recorded at Los Angeles’ Kitty Committee studio in March 2021, the same week Swift won the Grammy for Album of the Year for folklore, according to a press statement.

“Taylor and I have discussed experimenting and writing songs together for Big Red Machine in the past,” Dessner stated. “Making music with your friends just for the sake of making it—how that’s Big Red Machine began and has developed, and that’s also how ‘Renegade’ came to be.

We wrote this song after finishing Evermore, and it occurred to us that it was a BRM song. When I first heard Taylor’s voice memo, it impacted me like a ton of bricks, and it still does… I’m grateful to Taylor for continuing to share her amazing gift with me and for discovering new ways to collaborate on music.”

How long do you believe it will last? The film will be released on Friday, August 27.

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