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The Tortured Poets Department - A Review

Taylor Swift released her eleventh studio album, The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD), on 19th April this year. It was also accompanied by a surprise album subtitled The Anthology. The Anthology is like part two of The Tortured Poets Department. Both albums in question were written and directed by Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner. 

Swift made it public at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards after she won Best Pop Vocal Album for her tenth album called Midnights which was released in 2022. Swift conceived of the The Tortured Poets Department after she finished writing her Midnights album and kept on developing the former during the Eras tour spanning 2023 into 2024 (her sixth worldwide concert tour). 

The album is about her six year relationship with Joe Alwyn that came to an end in April of last year. Joe Matthew Alwyn is a British actor, who helped Swift write ten songs from 2020 to 2022. The Tortured Poets Department is long, clocking in at a whopping 31 songs. It features two famous guest appearances - American rapper Post Malone singing in Fortnight and lead singer Florence Welch from the band Florence and the Machines. Longtime collaborators Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner helped Swift write and produce the majority of the album; Welch and Malone also contributed to the writing of their individual songs with Swift.

The album itself is an exploration of her feelings and relationships. Critics say it shows how love can be unpredictable and goes against what society expects. In it Swift  highlights how silly it is to base our lives on temporary emotions. 

The album has sparked fierce debate of a non-musical nature. Social media has been abuzz about whether the title "The Tortured Poets Department" needs an apostrophe, saying Swift used "Tortured Poets" as a description, not a possession. A fan theory suggests it might refer to a group chat called "The Tortured Man Club" shared by Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, and Joe Alwyn.The album cover, taken by photographer Beth Garrabrant, shows Swift in black lingerie on a bed. It led to jokes and memes, with some saying it looks like dark academia.

The songs themselves are slightly more down beat and depressive than other previous Swift albums. My favourite song is But Daddy I Love Him because it is a bit more up beat then the other songs but oddly still quite calming. My favourite part is the part before the chorus which has beautiful and meaningful lyrics:


“Too high a horse

For a simple girl to rise above it

They slammed the door on my whole world

The one thing I wanted”. 

For people who are not Swifties, connecting to the album may be difficult, but for Swifites they must be very excited that the album came out and love it a lot.

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