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The Tortured Poets Department

The+Tortured+Poets+Department

What’s believed to be her most vulnerable album yet, Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department released at midnight last night. Being an exciting 2 AM surprise, The Tortured Poets Department is a secret DOUBLE album. Taylor explained that she had written so much tortured poetry in the past 2 years that she wanted to share it all with everyone, so she released the second installment of TTPD: The Anthology. With 15 extra songs, she tells listeners that the story now belongs to all of her listeners.

TTPD Rundown

Fortnight (feat. Post Malone) – The song describes a short-lived and forbidden affair that has dramatic effects: “I love you and it’s ruining my life.” This line was already teased in an Apple Music playlist, signaling its importance.

The Tortured Poets Department – As the title song of the album, fans expected a strong song. Taylor Swift did not disappoint with her beautiful song.

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My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys – The lyrics revolve around the theme of a tumultuous relationship that is akin to playing with toys. Through the lyrics, the singer shows how she feels like she’s just another possession to her partner, who treats her with indifference and, of course, ends up breaking her heart. There’s a sense of nostalgia and longing for the connection they once shared.

Down Bad – The song’s story is a metaphor for an abrupt breakup — specifically, the end of a relationship that leaves you feeling whiplashed and alienated. Some lines sound like a specific callback to some of her older songs, so it’s possible that she’s using the analogy of “alien romance” to process an old breakup.

So Long, London – Famously, Taylor’s track fives are the most personal and vulnerable tracks on each album. This track definitely carries on that theme. Not only does Taylor say goodbye to England’s capital, but she also describes trying to keep a relationship together even as she watched it fall apart. 

But Daddy I Love Him – The lyrics appear to be an allegory about rejecting the need for approval, defying public expectation, and following your heart. Her words could easily be read as a pointed takedown of fan culture and media scrutiny.

Fresh Out The Slammer – Taylor Swift explains what led her to rekindle her fling with Matty Healy shortly after she and Joe Alwyn ended their six-year relationship. Swift explores what drew her to Healy and her feelings after her breakup with Alwyn. She references a partner who doesn’t understand her and the decline of their relationship in the song.

Florida!!! (feat. Florence + The Machine) – Fans think the song could be about Swift and Joe Alwyn’s breakup, which happened while she was touring in Florida on the Eras Tour. This song has the makings of a new unofficial Sunshine State anthem.

Guilty As Sin – This song seems to have Healy’s name written all over it. The song even begins with a reference to the singer. Swift sings about the ’80s Scottish band The Blue Nile. Healy is a known fan. Swift also seems to reference how she went from her six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn into her summer fling with Healy.

Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me? –  In this song, she alludes to her fame and being in the public eye. She takes a more defiant stance against her critics throughout the song.

I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can) – The song, seemingly directed as much at Swift herself as her rakish ex, contains clear references to signature qualities of Healy. Swift isn’t one to often admit she’s wrong. But by the end of her song, she seems to realize the scope of the lie she’s told herself. Reluctantly but definitively, she admits that she was wrong as the track stops. Her relationship with Healy in 2023 might have only lasted a few weeks, but it’s clear the emotional damage went beyond a casual fling.

loml – Like many of the other songs on her new album, this is a song of heartbreak. Rather than love of my life, the title means loss of my life.

I Can Do It With a Broken Heart – The singer opens up about how she’s felt while playing during her tour. In the first verse, Swift alludes to the version of herself she presents onstage and imagines what the audience thinks of her. She gives insight into how she shields her emotions to go into “performance mode”.

The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived – The title is noteworthy as being about Healy simply because his stature is an object of debate. But the real giveaway of the song’s subject matter is in the first verse.

The Alchemy – This is one of the only pure love songs on an album that skews melancholy. Alchemy refers to the quest in Medieval times to find a philosopher’s stone. 

Clara Bow – Bow was a real person. She was the first true “It Girl.” She was one of the first Hollywood sex symbols and received 35,000 letters per month at one point.

TTPD: The Anthology Rundown

The Black Dog – The phrase is a common metaphor for depression. In English folklore, the phrase also represents a death omen. Considering the death of her long-term relationship, the title feels like a direct nod to her breakup as well.

imgonnagetyouback – The comparison is notable due to the apparent falling out between Swift and Rodrigo after the release of “Sour.” Many say the song could be a nod to Olivia and Taylor’s falling out.

The Albatross – Albatross can mean a source of frustration and guilt. If a person is called an albatross, it typically means that said individual is a “psychological burden.”

Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus – Well, this one is lyrically dense and seems to be Swift tortured by the “what ifs” of a past romance and the ghost of that person haunting her. Another part of the song has Swift singing about a person battling addiction, while she shapes herself into the person they want her to be.

How Did It End? – The song could be about the death of a relationship. She implies the issues in the relationship overruled any existing love. She then dives into how her heartbreak can turn into a public spectacle.

So High School – This song explains the giggly, adolescent kind of romance, transporting you back to feeling like you’re 16 again.

I Hate It Here – Swift’s version of the 1830s might involve palaces but people are pointing out what else it involved. The whole song seems to rebuke society through different eras. She also seems to address backlash in the song.

thanK you alMee – Swift and Kardashian have had a long-running feud, and fans noticed as soon as they saw the capitalized letters in Swift’s new track, which spell “KIM.” The lyrics appear to be about a mean girl at school.

I Look In People’s Windows – Swift dove into themes of loneliness, curiosity, and the universal search for connection. The song offers listeners a glimpse into the private moments and unseen lives of others, reflecting the singer’s observations and thoughts.

The Prophecy – The lyrics convey a sense of longing, frustration, and vulnerability. Swift expresses a desire to break free from her destiny and find genuine companionship. She shows a clear refusal to give up hope entirely.

Cassandra – Taylor is likely referencing when people turned on her in 2016 amid her feud with Kim Kardashian. Taylor even alludes to people filling her Instagram comments with snake emojis.

Peter – In this song, she references the famous character Peter Pan, a boy who never grew up. The song seems to be about someone she met when she was young who said he’d grow up and find her so they could be together.

The Bolter – Bolter is given as a “nickname” to a girl who runs away from relationships. People believe the song is about her bolting from relationships with British men like Joe Alwyn, Harry Styles, and Matty Healy.

Robin – Swift could be taking a mental snapshot of a child, wishing that child can hold on to the freeness of their youth before it gets tainted by adulthood. 

The Manuscript – This song made some people think of Swift’s relationships with Jake Gyllenhaal or John Mayer. Many believe she may be processing a painful experience through art.

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About the Contributor
Chloe Brooking, Opinion Editor
Chloe Brooking is a sophomore at Soddy Daisy High School. She has a passion for writing, especially opinion pieces, and is the Opinion Editor for our school newspaper. She hopes to become a journalist due to her long-lasting passion for writing.
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