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The Verdict

For the Students

The Verdict

Taylors Swifts The Tortured Poets Department Album Review

Taylor’s Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department Album Review

The Tortured Poets Depart­ment, Taylor Swift’s heav­ily antic­i­pated 11th studio album finally arrived as of April 19th 2024, with 16 tracks and a double album release titled THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT: THE ANTHOLOGY.’ The double release featured 15 new songs, with a total of 31 tracks. The album was produced by Jack Antonoff, and Aaron Dess­ner. This synth-pop album handles themes such as anger, vulner­a­bil­ity, raw emotion, and self-aware­ness, with songs featur­ing rapper Post Malone in “Fort­night (feat. Post Malone),” and rock band Florence and The Machine in “Florida!!! (feat. Florence + The Machine).” The title track, “Fort­night,” was accom­pa­nied by the release of a music video on the same day as the album release. 

Swift announced the album during the 2024 Gram­mys while winning “Best Pop Vocal Album” for her 10th studio album titled, Midnights. Fans of Swift spec­u­lated prior to the Gram­mys that Swift would release Repu­ta­tion (Taylor’s Version), a rere­cord­ing of her 7th studio album released in 2017. In 2021, Swift began releas­ing rere­cord­ings of her old albums, like Fear­less, Red, Speak Now, and 1989. The news of a completely new album took many fans by surprise. Taylor Swift also teased the album by upload­ing the black and white album cover on her Insta­gram and song lyrics such as “I love you, it’s ruin­ing my life,” and “All’s fair in love and poetry. Sincerely, The Chair­man of The Tortured Poets Depart­ment.” Expec­ta­tions and excite­ment for this album release were high. 

The Guardian describes the album as repre­sen­ta­tive of “a manic phase in Swift’s life last year,” and “Wild-Eyed from what sounds disso­lu­tion of a six-year rela­tion­ship.” Many fans theo­rized that tracks like “loml” and “So Long, London” could be about Swift’s ex-boyfriend and British Actor Joe Awyln, whom she dated for 6 years until the pair broke it off in April of 2023. Addi­tion­ally, it’s rumored that The Tortured Poets Depart­ment has songs about Swift’s current boyfriend and Kansas City Chief Tight end Travis Kelce in “The Alchemy,” with lyrics stat­ing, “We been on that winning streak / He jokes that it’s heroin but this time with an “E” / Cause the sign on your heart said it’s still reserved for me.” 

Swift uses a lot of poetic lyri­cism as well as paral­lels in lots of lyrics and track albums. The Tortured Poets Depart­ment uses a lot of sarcas­tic humor and lots of hyper­boles in songs like “Fort­night”, “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”, and “Clara Bow.” The bonus track “The Manu­script,” feels like the more older and mature version of “Cardi­gan” off of Swift’s 8th studio album folk­lore.

The 13th track on the album, titled “I Can Do It with a Broken Heart,” uses an upbeat melody and tempo despite the objec­tively depress­ing lyrics, “Break­ing down I hit the floor / All the pieces of me shat­tered / As the crowd was chant­ing “MORE!”” Swift writes from personal expe­ri­ence, describ­ing the stress and pain she went through while on tour with lyrics like, “I’m a real tough kid / I can handle my sh** / they said baby you gotta fake it till you make it and I did.”   

Many fans spec­u­late that Swift’s 14th track titled “The Small­est Man Who Ever Lived,” was writ­ten about The 1975 band member, Matty Healy. The song conveys the whirl­wind of their short-term rela­tion­ship. The lyrics ques­tion their entire rela­tion­ship, even compar­ing the man to “a sleeper cell spy,” and ques­tion­ing, “Did you sleep with a gun under­neath our bed?” Distrust and betrayal radi­ate from the lyrics of tortured poetry. 

 Track 24 and Track 27 “thanK you aIMee” & “Cassan­dra” are allegedly diss tracks about Kim Kardashian, because the two had a feud back in 2016 when Kardashian’s then husband Kanye (Ye) West released the song “Famous” where lyrics “I made that b**** famous” were about Swift. In 2016, a 10 minute video leaked of a phone call between West and Swift which Kanye argued that Swift approved of the lyrics, which was later denied by Taylor herself that she approved of the lyrics and The video was said to be edited. In “thanK you aIMee” lyrics And One day your kid comes home singing a song, a song that two us only know is about you.” which refer­ences Kardashian’s daugh­ter North West post­ing a few of Taylor’s songs on there public tik tok account “kimand­north”.

The Tortured Poets Depart­ment has received posi­tive reviews from crit­ics from Rolling Stone, Vogue, ELLE, Page Six, and many other sites. The album has also broken Spotify records for break­ing one billion streams within one week and “Most-Streamed Artist in One day.” While other crit­ics didn’t neces­sar­ily like The Tortured Poets Depart­ment. Accord­ing to a critic from Paste Maga­zine, “Swift no longer feels chal­lenged to be good. The Tortured Poets Depart­ment is the mark of an artist now inter­ested in seeing how much their empire atone for the sins of medi­oc­rity.” One user on X (Formerly Twit­ter) believes that the album was way too long, and that almost all of the songs felt the same and believes that Swift should “Take a small break from making music and reassess what kind of music she’s making.” 

Even with good songs like “Clara Bow”,“Florida!!!,” and “Fort­night ft. Post Malone.” The Tortured Poets Depart­ment was an over­all decent album, With some decent produc­tion and genius lyricism. 

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About the Contributor
Rae Palma-Rivas, Staff Writer
Rae is a Junior staff writer for the Verdict. They joined the Verdict because they wanted to improve their writing skills and be more confident in them. In their free time they like to hang out with their friends, play softball, be a part of color guard, learn more about astronomy, and being a part of publicity for Theater. Rae's favorite artists Include Lana Del Rey,Taylor Swift,Joji,beabadoobee, and Tyler The Creator.

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