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  • Post published:27/08/2021
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NewsMusic NewsListen to Big Red Machine and Taylor Swift team up on heady new track ‘Birch’

Driven by radiant grand piano, airy strings and brisk, electronic percussion

By Matt Doria

big red machine taylor swift
Big Red Machine and Taylor Swift. CREDIT: Graham Tolbert/Press, TAS Rights Management/Getty Images

Big Red Machine – comprised of Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon and The National‘s Aaron Dessner – have officially released their second album, ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’, making a new collaboration with Taylor Swift available to stream.

  • READ MORE: Big Red Machine – ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’: Taylor Swift-assisted melancholy

The heady and cerebral ‘Birch’ appears as track number four on the album, immediately preceding its other Swift collab, ‘Renegade’. That track was released as a single early last month, and wields a much more lively, pop-leaning energy. It also saw Swift take the reins on vocal duties, with Vernon providing occasional backup vocals.

‘Birch’, on the other hand, has Swift and Vernon sharing the spotlight equally, with radiant grand piano, airy strings and brisk, electronic percussion filling the soundscape. Though more relaxed and lowkey in its pacing, the track is emphatically emotive and poignant.

Take a listen to ‘Birch’ below, ahead of a music video premiering later today:

Swift, Vernon and Dessner have been working together frequently over the past year, with the latter two contributing writing and production for both of Swift’s 2020 albums, ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’. The former would go on to win Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

“While we were making ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’ last year, Taylor and I sometimes talked about experimenting and writing songs together some day for Big Red Machine,” Dessner said of ‘Renegade’ in a press statement.

“Making music with your friends just to make it – that’s how Big Red Machine started and has grown – and that’s how ‘Renegade’ came about too. This song was something we wrote after we finished ‘Evermore’ and it dawned on us that this was a BRM song. Taylor’s words hit me so hard when I heard her first voice memo and still do, every time.”

‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’ features a smorgasbord of other collaborators and vocalists, including Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, Ben Howard, Sharon Van Etten and more. The album landed earlier today (August 27) via Jagjaguwar, and also features singles ‘The Ghost Of Cincinnati’ and ‘Phoenix’.







In a four star review of the album, NME writer Elizabeth Aubrey said: “The epitome of the figurative “beating heart” that formed Big Red Machine, this is an autumnal album, one that lays the duo bare emotionally, and one that frequently calls for reflection.”

As for Swift, she announced back in June that the next album from her catalog she’ll be re-releasing is 2012’s ‘Red’, set to include all 30 songs that were meant to feature on the original release.

  • Related Topics
  • Aaron Dessner
  • Big Red Machine
  • Bon Iver
  • Taylor Swift
  • The National

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