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Big Red Machine (Feat. Taylor Swift), 'Renegade'

Big Red Machine is a side project for both members — The National's Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon — but its next album makes deep use of the pair's formidable Rolodexes. How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last? drops Aug. 27, and its latest single features none other than frequent Dessner and Vernon collaborator Taylor Swift. This is no mere cameo, either: It could just easily function as a standout track on either of Swift's 2020 blockbusters (folklore and evermore), both of which were co-produced by Dessner.

Here, Swift — as she so often does — stares down a relationship that's become more toxic and labor-intensive than she'd been led to expect. "Is it insensitive for me to say, 'Get your s*** together so I can love you'?" Lyrically and in structure, "Renegade" sounds considerably more like Taylor Swift (feat. Big Red Machine) than Big Red Machine (feat. Taylor Swift), not that fans of any of the artists involved are likely to complain.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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