Big Red Machine announce new album, featuring two Taylor Swift cameos

More big-name guests will appear too, including Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold and Sharon Van Etten

Big Red Machine have announced details of their second album, ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’, which will arrive this summer.

The project from The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon will share the new record on August 27, via their own label 37d03d.

‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’ was recorded at Dessner’s Long Pond studio in upstate New York and will feature 15 songs. The pair have shared a preview of the record today (June 29) in ‘Latter Days’, which features Anaïs Mitchell on vocals.


“It was clear to Anaïs that the early sketch Justin and I made of ‘Latter Days’ was about childhood, or loss of innocence and nostalgia for a time before you’ve grown into adulthood — before you’ve hurt people or lost people and made mistakes,” Dessner explained in a press release. “She defined the whole record when she sang that, as these same themes kept appearing again and again.”

He continued: “This is all music I initially generated and feel emotionally connected to, but it has been very interesting to hear how different people relate to it and how different voices collide with it. That’s what makes it special. With everyone that’s on this record, there’s an openness, a creative generosity and an emotional quality that connects it all together.”

‘Latter Days’ was previously debuted by Vernon during a Visit With Vernon live session, in which voters who were undecided about the 2020 US election sat down with the musician to talk about politics.

Other collaborators due to appear on the album as either guest vocalists or writing collaborators include Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, Ben Howard, This Is The Kit, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, Isley, La Force and Naeem. My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova will also appear on the track ‘Hutch’, which was inspired by the late Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, a close friend of Dessner’s.


Taylor Swift, who worked with both Dessner and Vernon on her 2020 albums ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’, is also set to feature on ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’. She will appear on the songs ‘Birch’ and ‘Renegade’.

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that the release of the second Big Red Machine record: "How Long Do You Think It’s…

Posted by Aaron Dessner on Tuesday, June 29, 2021

In a Facebook post, Dessner said he had been working on the songs on the album with Vernon and their collaborators for “a large part of the last three years”.

“The process of making this music & struggling to find and finish these ideas has inspired and forced me to grow in ways I didn’t know I was capable of,” he said. “These songs are connected by emotional threads, especially nostalgia for the innocence of childhood before mistakes have been made and relationships have faltered and the feeling of investigating the past in search of a remedy.”

He described Vernon as “the best wingman & friend I could ever wish for”, while saying Swift had “taught me so much in the wildly creative year we had & has been so supportive in encouraging me to finish this record”. Read his message in full above.

Big Red Machine began teasing their return yesterday (June 28), sparking speculation online that Swift would be involved. Fans were quick to spot that the teaser features handwriting that they believed to be the pop star’s.

In April, Vernon shared a snippet of what appeared to be a Big Red Machine track that featured Swift. “That’s the awesome Taylor one. I think this should be the single,” he said during an Instagram Live session.

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