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The Tortured Poets Department By Taylor Swift: A Review of her Newest Album

Background

As some of you know, or probably most, Taylor Swifts' newest album– The Tortured Poets Department– was released on the 19th. All of Swifts' albums seem to be very long-awaited, at least to me. However, none of us were expecting this album. For the past few years, Swift has been re-making her old albums in order to gain back the rights to her music from her previous toxic record labels. All of the new albums are re-recorded but remain very similar and they also contain vault songs that essentially didn’t make the cut for the previously

recorded versions of the album. These re-recorded versions of the albums are titled the same but have “(Taylors Version)” next to them and contain completely new album covers.

Swift fans were all expecting her to release another re-recorded version of her album, this time it would be Reputation; however, during the 2024 Grammys, she surprised us all with a brand-new album and announced The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD).

Were still waiting on Taylors Version of Reputation obviously, but also Debut, her first-ever album. Which we have heard absolutely nothing of. Hopefully, one of them will come soon.


Things “London Boy” and “So Long, London” Have in Common. . . Joe Alwyn

The songs listed on the album and the timing of its release raised some speculation about which boyfriend this album was about. When Taylor announced the album after winning her 4th Grammy for album of the year, she said she had kept this album a secret for two years, very similar to her six-year hidden relationship with Joe Alwyn. Of course, the Swift fans figured that one out real quick. However, the title and the featured artists on the albums make it seem like this album is simply just about the hatred artists in the music industry receive, but have any of Swifts' albums not been about a break up. . . no.


After listening to many of the songs it’s very obvious that most of them are about Joe Alwyn, the couple broke up in the Spring of 2023 and even had numerous engagement rumors circulating shortly before the separation.


The first song that is very obviously about Alwyn is “So Long, London”. In a previous album, Lover, released in 2019, Swift also wrote a song called “London Boy” which we’ve mostly accepted to be about Alwyn as well, since he is from London and Swift spent most of her time with him there. Taylor references a house by the Heath in the song, which many fans believe is a reference to the house the couple lived in near Hampstead Heath in West London. In the song, Taylor is saying goodbye to London and him, despite how much she loved the city. She also says, “[t]wo graves, one gun / I'll find someone. . . / And you say I abandoned the ship / But I was going down with it” referencing the idea that she had to leave him for her own health and that the relationship was ruining her as well. This album overall gave us more insight into their relationship and their shocking breakup.


However, some songs are harder to tie to Joe Alwyn and likely are about her rumored relationship with Matty Healy who she was seen with on numerous occasions after her breakup with Alwyn. Numerous songs also appear to be about her blooming relationship with Travis Kelsey, all good things so far, but in the extended version of the album, in her final song, “Manuscript,” we hear some references to her relationship with John Mayer. Mayer was 32 when he dated Swift at 19, and the song writes: “In the age of him, she wished she was thirty / And made coffee every morning in a French press / Afterwards she only ate kids’ cereal / And couldn’t sleep unless it was in her mother’s bed.”


Unlike most albums, with TTPD, the conclusion seems to be that this album surrounds numerous relationships of Swifts, probably why this album was in the works for two years in the first place.


We Knew There Were Two Albums All Along . . . Kind Of

On release night at 2 am, Swift announced that TTPD was secretly a double album.

I'd written so much tortured poetry in the past two years and wanted to share it so here’s the second installment of TTPD: The Anthology. 15 extra songs. And now the story isn’t mine anymore . . . it’s all yours. -- Taylor Swift

Swift has always hinted at things in her albums, songs, and music videos. This isn't a new thing. In an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in 2022, Swift discusses her subliminal messaging in her work, and how she continues to further it. She mentions how her fans actually enjoy it, it’s part of the fandom, and they are good at figuring her hints out . . . sort of.


Swift Holding up a Number Two During Her Acceptance Speech in The 2024 Grammys

The two-album release theory started when fans began noticing how a lot of Swifts' social media posts, tour moments, and her Grammys announcement involved the number two. She held up a two after accepting her Grammy and announcing TTPD. She also made numerous announcements for other things she was working on on night two of her tours, as opposed to night one. However, none of us expected TTPD to be a double album. Of course, we all were anticipating Rep TV. We were wrong again.


My Personal Opinion on TTPD

Folklore and TTPD Photoshoot Images

The first album contains 17 tracks total, with an extra 15 in the double release. Making TTPD all together a 32-track album(s). TTPD is an absolute masterpiece. Each song is unique within itself and like always, her lyrics are amazing. TTPD reminds a lot of fans of her album Folklore, released in July of 2020 and I agree. Folklore is my favorite album and TTPD is definitely her sister album.


Some of my favorite songs so far from the albums include, “imgonnagetyouback”, “But Daddy I Love Him”, “Florida!!!”, “So Long, London”, “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”, and “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”. Overall, this album seems to be very cohesive; TTPD has a common theme in all of its songs. The featured artists were perfect for this album and the vibe of it, including Post Malone in “Fortnight” and Florence + the Machine in “Florida!!!”, both of which have never worked with Swift before.


Taylor broke numerous records with the album and was a huge success all around. Before even reaching the Billboard charts it was doing astonishing numbers in sales selling 1.4 million copies in the first day. The Billboard article on TTPD explains, "[b]efore Tortured Poets was even released, its countdown page on Spotify broke the streaming service’s record for most pre-saves in history" and continues on by mentioning that "[n]ot only did Tortured Poets become Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day in history in less than 12 hours after its release, it also became the first album on the platform to amass more than 300 million streams in a single day ever." Swift and Post Malone's song, the first song on the album, "Fortnight", became the most streamed song on Spotify in a single day and she's continuing to break records with this album each day. Overall it was a huge success for Taylor, her team, and her fans. . . I can understand why.


Slight Diss? Honorable Mention for The Song: “thanK you aIMee”

One of the best moments in this whole listening party I had at 2 am by myself was when I got to the song “thanK you aIMee”. As previously mentioned, Swift loves to hide little things in her songs. In the interview with Fallon, she specifically mentions how having all lowercase letters and only capitalizing some to spell out a different word was something she had done numerous times. I immediately noticed how weird the song looked on the album because of the random capital letters and I instantly realized this song is about Kim Kardashian.


If you are not up to date on the Taylor, Kanye, and Kim drama. . . here's a quick run-down: The drama all started in 2009 when Kanye West, a popular musician, interrupted Swifts' acceptance speech at The VMA’s. Here's the video, it's painful. Multiple interviews with both Swift and West came to light afterward ultimately feeding into the drama more. After her appearance on The View, Kanye called Swift personally and apologized and she said it was very heartfelt so she forgave him. However, this wasn't the end of the feud between the three. Years went on with little argument between Kanye and Taylor and there were numerous moments of friendship including talk of a collaboration, and in August of 2015, Swift presented West with an award at the VMA’s.


In February 2016 when everything is going well, West debuted a new track including the lyrics: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have [***] / Why? I made that [*****] famous." Shortly after the release of this song, Swift won her Grammy for album of the year for the album 1989. In her speech, she says, "[a]s the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there—there are going to be people along the way who are going to try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. . ." This is when Kim, Kanye's wife at the time, suddenly intervenes by saying Kanye's inappropriate lyrics about Swift were approved by her and goes on to say the conversation was recorded. However, the only lyric approved by Swift in this conversation was the part about making her famous. . . as a joke. The situation only gets worse after Kanye's music videos are released featuring more negative comments and images of Swift. The hate Swift received during this era, all spiraled from Kim and Kanyes' posts/drama and led to her falling off the face of the Earth-- it was depressing--until she came back with her revenge album, Reputation.


This all takes us to the new song "thanK you aIMee", where Swift includes the lyrics, “And one day, your kid comes home singin' / A song that only us two is gonna know is about you, 'cause / All that time you were throwin' punches, it was all for nothin'”. North West, Kim, and Kanye's daughter has posted numerous TikToks with Swifts' songs, which have since been deleted after the release of the song "thanK you aIMee", hence the lyrics. Over the years, numerous songs have been written about Kanye over the years of the drama, including a song in the Speak Now album, “Innocent” where Swift writes, "thirty-two and still growing up now", but never has there been a song about Kim, until now. Swift has received some hate for 'rehashing' the drama, but if you actually listen to the song, it's about how she's grateful for the drama because she has grown and learned so much from it which is basically why she is saying thank you to Kim.


If TTPD Wasn’t For You, here is What I Recommend:

TTPD may not have been your favorite album of Taylors and that's fine. Heck, you may not even have liked it at all. So here's an alternative… therapy.


Swift has a wide variety of vibes to her music. Each album is different. 1989 contains quite a few more upbeat songs like the album Midnights. However, Folklore and Evermore offers a much more melancholy tone and contain mostly sad songs, but in a good way, I promise. Red is a pretty universal album that you can 100% find something you like on and Debut is definitely the country album. Fearless and Speak Now contain a lot of the OG Taylor songs that pretty much everyone knows or has heard and Reputation is well… angry. Finally, Lover. Lover is an amazing album just like the rest in my opinion and doesn’t necessarily give breakup/sad-girl vibes all of the time. In return, here are some songs from each Swift album that I recommend to just about everyone, it was very hard to only pick two:


Debut- “Tim McGraw” and “Teardrops On My Guitar”

Fearless TV- “Breathe” and “The Way I Loved You”

Speak Now TV- “Timeless” and “Innocent”

Reputation- “Getaway Car” and “Dress”

Lover- “False God” and “Afterglow”

Midnights- “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” and “High Infidelity”

Folklore- “Illicit Affairs” and “My Tears Ricochet”

Evermore- “tolerate it” and “Marjorie”

1989 TV- “Clean” and “How You Get The Girl”

Red TV- “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” and “Starlight”


TTPD is now streaming on all streaming services and CDs or Vinyl can be bought exclusively at Target!

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