Aaron Dessner Cried When Taylor Swift Sent Him ‘Tolerate It’

On Dec. 11, 2020, Taylor Swift shocked the world when she released her album evermore, her second surprise album of the year. The singer-songwriter released evermore as a follow-up to her Grammy-nominated album folklore. Like its predecessor, evermore received critical acclaim.

Aaron Dessner of The National worked with Swift as a producer on folklore and evermore. Since working with Swift, Dessner has praised their professional chemistry and Swift’s songwriting skills. In fact, Dessner was so impressed with Swift’s lyrics to “Tolerate It” he cried after listening to it.

Taylor Swift Aaron Dessner
(L-R) Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift | Brian Rasic/WireImage; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Taylor Swift released ‘evermore’ after ‘folklore’

Taylor Swift released folklore as a surprise on July 24, 2020. With the album, Swift branched out into indie and alternative genres. While Swift is known for releasing autobiographical songs, she wrote songs from different points of view on folklore.

With evermore, Swift expanded on everything she experimented with on folklore. In doing so, evermore acts as a companion album to folklore and features connecting themes.

“To put it plainly, we just couldn’t stop writing songs. To try and put it more poetically, it feels like we were standing on the edge of the folklorian woods and had a choice: to turn and go back or to travel further into the forest of this music. We chose to wander deeper in,” Swift tweeted about evermore.

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Aaron Dessner cried after listening to ‘Tolerate It’

After evermore was released, Dessner was interviewed by Rolling Stone about the album-making process. Oftentimes, Swift places the most powerful tracks from an album as track No. 5. On evermore, the fifth track is titled “Tolerate It.”

“I remember when I wrote the piano track to ‘Tolerate It,’ right before I sent it to her, I thought, This song is intense. It’s in 10/8, which is an odd time signature. And I did think for a second, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t send it to her, she won’t be into it,'” Dessner said.

He continued, “But I sent it to her, and it conjured a scene in her mind, and she wrote this crushingly beautiful song to it and sent it back. I think I cried when I first heard it.”

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Taylor Swift wrote two songs on ‘evermore’ at the last minute

When it came to creating folklore and evermore, Swift was constantly writing songs up until the albums were released. For evermore, Dessner revealed that Swift completed two songs with only days to spare.

“There were two songs like that. One is a bonus track called ‘Right Where You Left Me,’ and the other one was ‘Happiness,’ which she wrote literally days before we were supposed to master,” he told Rolling Stone. “That is a little bit how she works — she writes a lot of songs, and then at the very end she sometimes writes one or two more, and they often are important ones.”