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The Ultimate Swiftie Review of All Tracks of 'The Tortured Poets Department'

Opinion

Thu, May 09

As you may have heard, Singer-Songwriter Taylor Swift released her latest album “The Tortured Poets Department” a few weeks ago. After intense anticipation and arranging a listening party for the ages, my friend and I sat down and pressed play. On first listen, I wasn’t a fan, which was a big shock to say the least. But after countless replays and singing sessions, I am here to present you with my opinion on all the songs, including the 15 bonus tracks from “The Anthology”.

“The Anthology” was released at 2 am as a surprise double album. (I’ve never been so thankful for time zones) As I said, this is an opinion, each to their own.

Track 1: Fortnight (feat. Post Malone) 6/10

The album’s first single and music video. A chill bop, more of a head-bop or foot-tap song than a hip-hop routine, but still a good wake-up song. It also has some beautiful harmonization at the end between Post and Taylor. A great opening track.

Track 2: The Tortured Poets Department 5/10

One of the most upbeat songs on the album. In this title track, she talks about being the only one left for him when he gets into “self-sabotage mode”. A good head-bop or even a hip-twist track.

Track 3: My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys 4/10

A more ominous song about being his “favorite toy” until she’s broken, and he doesn't want her anymore. The line “I felt more when we played pretend than with all the Kens ‘cause he took me out of my box” shows the theme so prominently. The instrumental gives vibes from her 6th studio album “Reputation”.

Track 4: Down Bad 6/10

A fan favorite so far. She talks about having “cosmic love” until he leaves, and then says since she can't have him, she “might just not get up” and she is “down bad crying at the gym”. Another lyric says, “How dare you say that it’s -” in a heartbreakingly dispirited tone, she noticeably ends on a dash because of her refusal to say that it’s over.

Track 5: So long, London 9/10

We have arrived at Taylor’s infamous track 5, all her 5th tracks are known for being the saddest on the album. I think it’s fair to say this one has hit its mark. In this heart-shattering track, she talks about how one-sided her relationship was, and how he accused her of giving up when he had done so many times before. “....you say I abandoned the ship, but I was going down with it, my white knuckle dying grip, holding tight to your quiet resentment” One of the saddest and most raw on the album. With a beautiful melody that perfectly suits the mood of the song.

Track 6: But Daddy, I Love Him 7/10

This one is about forbidden love as if being with this crazy guy will tarnish her reputation and her name. “I don’t cater to all these vipers dressed in empath’s clothing”. She’s essentially saying this is my life so leave us alone. People will judge you no matter what so you might as well do what you want. (within reason!).

Track 7: Fresh Out The Slammer 5/10

This one is so different, not in a bad way, but I’ve never heard a song like it. The start sounds like it’s straight out of a Western movie. It gets more upbeat and then gets uncomfortably slow at the end.

I’m not a fan of the transition, but the rest of the song I love. It’s about getting out of “the slammer” or in other words: a bad relationship, and going straight back to “him” which fans speculate is Matty Healy, lead singer of “The 1975”.

Track 8: Florida!!! (feat. Florence + The Machine) 4/10

This is the ultimate summer song. With the forceful chorus beats and the enchanted voice that is Florence Welsh, this song deserves a genre of its own. Taylor said in an interview with iHeart radio “What happens when …. [The] choices you’ve made catch up to you and you’re surrounded by these harsh consequences and judgment…. Is there a place you could go?”

Track 9: Guilty as Sin? 7/10

The story behind this one is Taylor is dreaming or fanaticizing about “him”. She repeats “Without ever touching his skin, how can I be guilty as sin? ”. Love it or hate it, it’s a good dance song.

Track 10: Who’s Afraid Of Little Old Me? 6/10

In this eerie track, she talks about how society raises artists just to tear them down. With lyrics like “I want to snarl and show you just how disturbed this has made me”. It is an amazing portrayal of the frustration when society treats you a certain way and you can’t do anything about it. This one honestly slightly scared me.

Track 11: I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can) 6/10

This one has the same sort of Western feel as “Fresh Out The Slammer” and the same theme as “But Daddy, I Love Him” which is about forbidden love, that he’s too “bad” for her. She says “Trust me, I can handle me a dangerous man”. However, in the last line, she says “WOAH – maybe I can’t”.

Track 12: loml 9/10

This one is just straight-up heartbreaking. She talks about losing the love of her life (loml). “What we thought was for all time, was momentary” until the last line, where she switches and says “You’re the loss of my life”. From the opening piano to this line, the heartbreak is seeping through the speaker.

Track 13: I Can Do It With A Broken Heart 7/10

This one is just as sad but in a completely different way. Taylor talks about continuing regardless of her heart breaking. “All the pieces of me shattered as the crowd was chanting “more!”. However, you get to the strangely upbeat chorus and outro with upsetting lyrics. It is a hurricane of emotion

Track 14: The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived 6/10

Matty Healy’s supposed “diss track” is a brutal stab with lyrics such as “you didn’t measure up in any measure of a man”. It’s a beautiful song with a cold melody. Suits the lyrics and mood perfectly.

Track 15: The Alchemy 7/10

This one is clearly for her current player Travis Kelce. It has a lot of football references such as “greatest in the league”. Alchemy is a type of medieval practice that aims to change base metals into gold.

Or, in this context, we can consider they are changing what they had into love. “Honestly, who are we to fight alchemy”. One of the only love songs on the album. So sweet and memorable with a lovely melody.

Track 16: Clara Bow 7/10

Clara Bow is about how the new upcoming “it girl” is always compared to her predecessor. Taylor goes from “You Look Like Clara Bow” to “Stevie Nicks” to finally “Taylor Swift”. It is a lovely dedication to the next era and how she will too be remembered in such esteem.

Track 17: The Black Dog 9/10

In this heartbreaking one, she talks about how “old habits die screaming” or that you won’t easily forget about the small moments, they will haunt you. The bridge is just as heartbreaking as the rest of the song. One of my favorites.

Track 18: imgonnagetyouback 5/10

This one is about her deciding whether she wants to get back at him for what he did or to get back into a relationship with him. One of the standout lyrics is “pick your poison babe, I'm poison either way”, she basically says it will end badly either way so he can decide which. This one sticks in your head. It’s a good one.

Track 19: The Albatross 5/10

An Albatross is a continuous problem that makes it hard to achieve something. In this song, she shows that fame is her albatross. It prevents her from having a normal life. She talks about when the subject is persona non grata, she will “swoop in at the rescue”.

Track 20: Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus 9/10

Heartbreaker, we think Taylor is talking about changing herself to keep his love (supposedly Matty or Joe). He sees her “change(ed) into goddesses, villains, and fools” but he just watches it happen. He then says “If you want to break my…. heart just say “I loved you the way that you were””. A fragmented vulnerable and poetic song.

Track 21: How Did It End 10/10

My favorite track, it has a beautiful melody and shows so much real and vulnerable emotion. Give it a listen yourself, I don't want to influence your opinion. It is too good for that.

Track 22: So High School 8/10

The only real love song on the album. Fans think it’s about her current man Travis Kelce because of mentions of “practice” and the line “You know how to ball, I know Aristotle”. It is a cute teenage love song which is a nice change of pace from the running theme of agony throughout the album.

Track 23: I Hate It Here 9/10

A song for all the people who escape the world in some form or another. With lyrics like “People need a key to get to, the only one is mine”. She shows we all have our own little escape, this isn’t all there is.

Track 24: thanK you aIMee 7/10

This is apparently a diss track for Kim Kardashian, with whom Taylor has had drama with. I honestly think it is a really nice way to go about it because she starts off negative but ends on a more positive note.

Track 25: I Look In People’s Windows 5/10

A song about looking for him everywhere. With lyrics like “I'm addicted to the “if only””. It shows the emotions that remain after a breakup. The lovely sweet and melancholy melody is enchanting.

Track 26: The Prophecy 9/10

One of my favorites. It is about the feeling when you are so lonely you begin to beg and plead with anyone to change the future or “prophecy”. Hoping it isn’t already written in the stars.

Hoping you won’t be left alone. A raw and delicate song for the wounded.

Track 27: Cassandra 5/10

Cassandra, in Greek myth, is cursed by the god Apollo so no one believes her prophecies and she is seen as a liar. Another part of her myth says snakes would whisper in her ears, allowing her to tell the future. (if you know you know)

Track 28: Peter 7/10

This one is about Peter saying he would grow up and come find her, but he never did. “Promises, oceans deep, but never to keep”. Seems to be based on J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan. With beautiful piano and lyrics, this is an underrated fan favorite.

Track 29: The Bolter 8/10

This one is about a girl who gets the nickname “The Bolter” from running from relationships at the first sign of trouble. It’s a lovely little jolly song. This one makes me want to skip into a field of flowers.

Track 30: Robin 7/10

The album's penultimate song is a sweet track about childhood naivety. We aren't sure who Robin is but it is presumably for a child. With lyrics like “You’ll learn to bounce back just like your trampoline”. It shows what it's like to just be full of childlike wonder, with no fears or regrets.

Track 31: The Manuscript 9/10

On the album's final song, Taylor talks about “The Manuscript”. By which we think she means her discography. She talks about dating boys older than her before she turned 30, and all the heartbreak she went through, to finally finish the album “Now and then I re-read the manuscript, but the story isn’t mine anymore”.

In closing, this album is a whirlwind of emotion, of love, of sorrow, and of pain. It is a vulnerable album. It shows the ups and downs of life and Taylor shows it through a beautiful display of lyricism and instrumental talent.

She captured the emotions and difficulties of the time most delicately and majestically. It brings the instrumental style of “Midnights” and the emotional lyrics of “Folklore” and “Evermore” to another astonishing level. Overall a beautifully written album with something for everyone.

Aine MacSweeney
1,000+ pageviews

Writer since Apr, 2024 · 4 published articles

Áine is a Transition Year student from Ireland who is obsessed with tea, reading, and music. She wants to study Psychology or Journalism and loves Taylor Swift’s lyricism

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