The album that made Aaron Dessner realize that Taylor Swift is “a rare unicorn”

The National‘s Aaron Dessner has now worked with Taylor Swift on several albums — folklore, evermore and Midnights — as well as various “From the Vault” tracks, and he’s convinced that not only is she “an absolute genius” and “wonderful human being,” she’s “a rare unicorn.”

Speaking to People for its new cover story on Taylor, Aaron says the album that really got him interested in Taylor’s music was 1989. “I think 1989 is a perfect pop record and I used to have so much fun blasting in,” he recalls.

“I was drawn in by hearing ‘Blank Space’ on the radio and just feeling like it was an impossibly perfect pop song,” he adds. “Once I heard the entire record, I remember just sensing that Taylor was some kind of incredibly rare unicorn of a singer and songwriter.”

Aaron also raves that Taylor is “one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” sharing that she wrote their hit “Willow” in “less than 10 minutes.”

“Taylor is the hardest working artist I’ve ever encountered,” he continues. “She is involved in every aspect of writing and producing her songs and has an incredible attention span and focus on detail. And she never really stops writing songs.”

“The world has seen her play 44 songs a night on tour now, performing for over three hours,” Aaron notes. “She makes it look easy but it’s really a feat of incredible endurance. It’s hard to think of an example of someone who matches that kind of output, except maybe Bruce Springsteen, but he doesn’t have to cover as much ground as Taylor does up there.”

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