With a similar aesthetic to folklore, and coming in less than half a year since its release, evermore was expected to be pretty similar to Taylor Swift’s eighth album. Plus, it had a lot of the same collaborators coming back. But, upon listening to the album, it is really distinct, even though in a similar vein. Swift put a lot more of a country spin to her ninth album and “Cowboy Like Me” is a great example of this.
It’s a slower one, and the eleventh track on the album. It also had a little bit of mystery for a hot second. In the YouTube chat for “Willow” before it premiered, Swift wrote, “there’s a really beautiful background vocal on ‘Cowboy Like Me’ sung by someone I’m a big fan of.”
Fans automatically started wondering who it could be. There are parts that are clearly a lower, male voice and others where it could be another female voice, or just Swift’s voice duplicated. Here are a couple of guesses, and one that was definitely confirmed.
After Swift revealed that Alwyn was William Bowery in her Disney+ film Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, things kind of blew wide open. Throughout that film, it became even more evident how musical Alwyn is and how much he helped. Not only did “Bowery” have writing credits on “Betty” and “Exile,” but he actually wrote the first piano part of “Exile.”
On evermore, Alwyn was back as Bowery on “Champagne Problems,” “Coney Island,” and “Evermore.” While he doesn’t have any credits on “Cowboy Like Me,” as soon as fans heard that there was a special vocalist on this track, someone she was a “fan of,” they kind of hoped it was the actor, as PopBuzz reported.
Phoebe Bridgers is a bit of a stretch here, just because there is a man’s voice on the song. But around the bridge area, at the 2:55 mark, there is a more feminine voice behind Swift’s. If it’s not, then it’s just higher and lighter. It could just be another vocalist or Swift singing backup on herself, but considering there are some sprinkling of clues that Swift is a fan of Bridgers — and vice versa — it’s not wild to think that Swift would bring the Punisher singer on for a surprise track.
Bridgers likes to play around with Swift’s recent titles of folklore and evermore, recently tweeting out “Punishmore,” but if you’re a fan of Bridgers’ second album, then folklore might have felt like a sister album or natural companion to Punisher. They’re different, and have their own style, but the sad girl, soft emo-ness Bridgers’ album has, was felt a bit in Swift’s. And fans of one can easily appreciate the other’s way of writing lyrics as well.
Both also have a love for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, but who doesn’t. So is that just a coincidence? Probably, but who knows. There’s also a lyric in “Cowboy Like Me” about skeletons, and that’s kind of Bridgers’ thing. Plus, they’ve now worked with very similar people (like Matt Berninger of The National).
Again, their music is still different. But, close enough that Punisher and folklore nearly touch on a musical plane, in a way. Regardless, it feels like collaboration isn’t out of the question or out of either of their realm of possibilities. In fact, it could happen any day now, with the way Swift is dropping albums, right? But, odds are it will be more than just having Bridgers’ backing on a song.
Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons
And lastly is Marcus Mumford, the lead singer of the band Mumford & Sons. This was a guess, partly because Swift gave an interview with Good Morning America in what looked like Mumford’s house and recording studio, as reported by PopBuzz. But the main clue here isn’t a clue; it’s the confirmation that it is Mumford.
After the album dropped, and after Swift gave that cryptic blurb, the official lyric video for “Cowboy Like Me” credits Mumford as background vocals on the song. And then Mumford posted a photo to Instagram.
It’s a photo of a piece of paper with the line, “You’re a bandit like me, eyes full of stars.” It looks like it’s then signed, “Taylor,” and dated Nov. 2020. He just captioned it “link in bio,” which links to the YouTube lyric video.
So, the cat’s out of the bag. But it’s only a matter of time. The people want what they want, and it seems like Swift would work well in a duet or bigger collaborations with Bridgers and Mumford. And possibly a duet with Alwyn, if he sings.
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