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Staley News

TTPD: ‘Excellent Display Of Swift’s Narrative Style Of Songwriting’

Taylor Swift’s 11th Album Released April 19

     On April 19, Taylor Swift released her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department.” Swift announced the album at the 2024 Grammy Awards Feb. 4 and the original soundtrack, consisting of 16 songs. 

     The album starts with “Fortnight,” featuring Post Malone, certainly a combination that I didn’t expect. Nevertheless, this immediately became a favorite of mine and really established the synth-pop genre for the rest of the album. Moving on, the title track ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ reveals a surprising twist: the muse of Swift’s new album. 

     Most fans of Swift assumed that the album would revolve around Joe Alwyn, whom she dated for seven years and recently broke up with, but to the surprise of many, the album seems to be about her relationship with Matty Healy, a short-lived romance from the summer of 2023. 

     The fifth song on the album, “So Long, London,” is clearly about Alwyn, who is British. This song is the beginning of the references to not getting married and having children, which fans speculate may be the reason that Swift and Alwyn’s relationship ended. Lyrics like, “You swore that you loved me, but where were the clues? I died on the altar waitin’ for the proof.” 

     Swift’s album continues on with themes of heartbreak, revenge, and bitterness. Songs like “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” and “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” hint at her feud with Kanye West or possibly Scott Burschetta. One of the album’s final tracks, “The Alchemy,” referencing “touchdowns” and “trophies”  is presumed to be about our very own Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. 

      After finishing these 16 songs, I was obsessed with the new album. I was immediately intrigued and even shocked by the details that Swift revealed: things I had speculated on for months, including her breakups with Alwyn and Healy. 

     However, Taylor Swift had yet another surprise in store. At 2 a.m., she released a surprise double album: ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology.” While the original album was heavily influenced and produced by Jack Antonoff, a famous producer for pop artists, “The Anthology” was mainly created with Aaron Dessner, known for his rock and alternative music.

      While listening to both albums together, it became easy for me to tell which songs were with either Antonoff or Dessner, and this really gives every listener the opportunity to find a song for them. The songs on “The Anthology” are more abstract and obscure, making it a little more difficult to decipher the possible meanings and inspirations behind the songs. However, Swift clearly references her feud with Kim Kardashian in both the songs, “Cassandra” and “thanK you aIMee,” pettily spelling out Kardashian’s name. 

     While the first half is more upbeat and synth-pop, the second half has more of a raw and acoustic sound, providing two sides to the story that I’ve been waiting for. Overall, I would rate the album five out of five stars. ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ is an excellent display of Swift’s narrative style of songwriting. Every song is distinct from the others, and comes together to tell the story of the last few years of her love life and career.


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