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Swiftie Alert: Everything You Need to Know About "The Tortured Poets Department"

Music & Podcasts

Sat, March 02

During this year’s Grammys, Taylor Swift announced the release of her eleventh studio album titled Tortured Poets Department. The exciting news was delivered during her acceptance speech for the Best Pop Vocal Award for her 2022 record Midnights, her 13th Grammy win. A secret she’s been keeping for two years, Swifties worldwide are awaiting its release on the 19th April with much excited anticipation.

Tortured Poet’s Department is currently available for pre-order via Taylor’s official website in three forms - cassette, CD and vinyl. Upon its release, the album will also be available on streaming sites such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, although Taylor is encouraging fans to buy a physical copy.

The album was first set to consist of a total 17 songs - one of which is a bonus track named “The Manuscript”. But the country music singer-songwriter surprised us with a welcomed addition called “The Bolter” on the 16th of February. Earlier this month, Taylor disclosed the entire track list, which includes collaborations with American rapper and singer Post Malone and English indie rock band, Florence and the Machine. The album has been divided into four sides…

Image Credit: Mark Rohan from Unsplash

Side A:

  • "Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)"
  • "The Tortured Poets Department"
  • "My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys"
  • “Down Bad”

Side B:

  • "So Long, London"
  • "But Daddy I Love Him"
  • "Fresh Out the Slammer"
  • "Florida!!!" (feat. Florence + The Machine)

Side C:

  • "Guilty as Sin?"
  • "Who's Afraid of Little Old Me?"
  • "I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)"
  • “loml”

Side D:

  • "I Can Do It With a Broken Heart"
  • "The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived"
  • "The Alchemy"
  • “Clara Bow”

Bonus Track: “The Manuscript”

Image Credit: Haley Powers from Unsplash

(Not) Ready for It:

An entirely new album was definitely a surprise, albeit a pleasant one, for Swifties, who seemed confident they had figured out the singer’s next release. Ahead of the Grammys, Taylor had updated her profile picture to a monochrome image which fans found a little too reminiscent of her Reputation Album colour scheme. With 1989(Taylor’s Version), having already been out a few months, many were convinced that Reputation would be next.

Numerous subtle clues, some of which Taylor had tactfully placed herself, continued to reinforce the suspicions. 2024 held the 66th Grammy awards, suggesting that the recurring number 6 could indicate an announcement for the re-recording of reputation which is her 6th album. In addition, several songs from this album such as Delicate(Taylor’s Version) and Look What You Made Me Do (Taylor’s Version) were featured in popular Prime Video shows including The Summer I Turned Pretty and Wilderness. Particularly perceptive fans also noticed that the letter S on the cover art for 1989(Taylor's Version) appeared to display a small snakehead - an animal strongly correlated with Reputation. Finally, Taylor had been gradually incorporating classic “Rep era” shades such as black, gold and silver into her outfits.

Image Credit: Rosa Rafael from Unsplash

Swiftie Speculation:

Despite having their first theory proven wrong, Swifties have already began speculating what Tortured Poet’s Department will be about. Taylor’s ex, British actor Joe Alwyn has so far been the main focus of the debate. Fans are expecting the album to provide greater insight into their six and a half year relationship and how it came to an end last March.

Their reasoning? An interview that took place in December 2022 between Alwyn and fellow actor Paul Mescal disclosed the name for their WhatsApp group chat; named “Tortured Man Club”, it is difficult to view this as a mere coincidence. In response to the amassed public attention, Alwyn has stated that he hopes the album will not divulge too many personal details regarding their relationship. There seems little reason for Alwyn to think Tortured Poets Department will speak negatively of him or of their time together. In any case, he seems committed not to get involved or further express his opinion in any way.

Telling Titles:

Fans have already began to decode possible meanings of the new songs through interpretation of their titles. In regard to her collab feat. Post Malone ‘Fortnight’, some have pointed out that this is a mostly British term, seldom used in America.

Could this be the first of several references to Alwyn? Others have focused on the context behind the second collaboration, with Florence + The Machine, named “Florida”. It was quickly recalled that Taylor's first performance following the public announcement of her break-up with Joe took place in this location. Fans suspect the song could centre around her contemplation and acceptance of the end of the relationship, during this courageous performance as though nothing were wrong.

Image Credit: Stephen Mease from Unsplash

Pop Poetry:

Some have remarked that Tortured Poet's Department is a highly fitting title for an artist with such an adept skill for writing poetic lyrics. It seems Taylor is not only renowned pop star, but an extremely skilled wordsmith too. Throughout her songs, she frequently uses language techniques and devices such as metaphors, similes and hyperbole to express her feelings in a distinctive and memorable way.

Albums Folklore and Evermore have been distinguished as most poetic of her work, with hard-hitting lyrics such as “ If my wishes came true, it would've been you” and “ You had a speech, you're speechless”. The title of her upcoming album, along with the handwritten poem recently posted on instagram, seems to suggest that she will further expand on her eloquent and creatively expressive style perhaps in an even more accentuated way. One thing's for certain, fans would much look forward to a new collection of songs with weighty yet obscure meanings to decipher - in true Swiftie fashion!

Min Hoezoo-Mahmut
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Writer since Dec, 2022 · 8 published articles

Min is a Year 11 student based in the UK whose passions include animals, cats in particular, and ballet. Outside of her academic life, she trains and competes regularly in tennis and is an accomplished pianist. Min especially enjoys writing lifestyle and well-being articles that she thinks will help others.