Written by: Hannah Field | News Editor

Taylor Swift’s newest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” was finally released April 19. During the announcement speech at the Grammy Awards show Feb. 4, Swift held up two fingers in a peace sign — alluding to her double album drop — when announcing her eleventh studio album. Fast forward to meeting Swift at midnight, fans listening to the 16 tracks of “The Tortured Poets Department” were surprised at 2 a.m. when Swift dropped an extra 15 songs.

The production of the album rested in the hands of Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff of the band Bleachers, longtime friends and collaborators of Swift who heavily utilized synths, keyboard tunes and distortion techniques. Track one, “Fortnight,” is sung alongside Austin Post, also known as Post Malone, while Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine is featured on track eight, “Florida!!!”

The album itself appears to be the lovechild of Swift’s last original album release “Midnights” and the pandemic-created sister albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” While officially being a pop genre album, much of the album is backed by a soft piano and utilizes strong lyricism as Swift sings about various tragic topics, such as heartbreak, abandonment and the nuance of fame.

The 31 songs have topped the charts, being the first album on Spotify to reach one billion streams within a week as well as being the platform’s most-streamed album within one day at 300 million. Despite breaking records, the album has been surveyed heavily in the media — with many fans turned anti-Swiftie and strangers criticizing what they consider to be odd lines, off-beat tunes and a lack of true poeticism, rather antithetical to the tortured poet of “The Tortured Poets Department.”

However, most critically condemned is Swift’s apparent past relationship with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy, with multiple songs dedicated to their previous interloping. Although nobody knows definitively which songs are about Healy, many fans presume at least “Fresh Out The Slammer,” “But Daddy I Love Him” and “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” to be in regards to Healy — with the latter being a direct descriptor of Healy’s behavior during and after their time together.

“The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology,” the second installment of the album, contains the song “thanK you aIMee,” which, in all capital letters, spells out KIM — which fans presume to be about Kim Kardashian and their nearly decade-long feud.

Overall, the album explores the themes of unrest, misunderstanding, dying romance and Swift’s complex relationship with fame. Very few songs, if any, are considered joyful pop hits, and the most upbeat song of all, “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart,” is likely one of the most “miserable.” It’s an album for the tortured poets of the world reeling from personal loss in one way or another — and, according to the Swifties, more is coming May 3. Although, in typical Swift fashion, she’s likely got more tricks up her sleeve to keep the guesses coming and the songs streaming.


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