In this week’s Billboard digital cover story, Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote and co-produced “The Lakes” with Swift, first revealed that “The Lakes” originally existed in a “big orchestral version,” before Swift decided to strip the song down. In the days following the publishing of the interview, Swift fans on social media asked to hear the original version of the track.
“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 says in the digital cover story. “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 s–t, this is so perfect.’”
Released on July 24, 2020, Folklore represented a surprise pivot towards indie-folk that proved a critical and commercial blockbuster for Swift, earning the album of the year Grammy and topping the Billboard 200 albums chart for eight nonconsecutive weeks last year. “The Lakes” was initially featured as an exclusive bonus track on the physical deluxe editions of Folklore, and was placed on streaming services in August 2020.
Listen to “The Lakes (Original Version)” above, and the originally released version below: