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“The Tortured Poets Department” Review

Prepare yourself for emotional slaughter. Taylor Swift’s latest album is a rage-filled epiphany of self-worth.

“The Tortured Poets Department” is a rage-infused second coming of “Folklore”. The album was released at midnight on April 19 and “The Anthology,” containing another 15 tracks, was released at 2:00 am.

“Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)”
“I love you, it’s ruining my life,” Swift sings. Her featured artist, Post Malone, compliments Swift’s vocals effortlessly. He adds depth to an upbeat song that will get stuck in your head for days.

“The Tortured Poets Department”
“You left your typewriter at my apartment, straight from the tortured poets department. I think some things I never say, like, who uses typewriters anyway?” Swift sings. This is one of the more lighthearted tracks on the album, very suitable for the title song.

“My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”
Joe Alwyn broke his favorite toy: Swift. Indirectly referring to herself as his toy adds immense depth to the song. The lyrics paint each note with melancholy, yet joyful emotion.

“Down Bad”
“Now I’m down bad, cryin’ at the gym. Everything comes out, teenage petulance.” “Fuck it if I can’t have him”, “I might just die, it would make no difference,” Swift sings. Along with this song, “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart” references Swift’s mental health after her split with Alwyn. It is powerful for such an artist to speak about mental health, with the stigma and her caliber being inherently at odds.

“So Long, London”
This is the somber sister song to “London Boy” where Swift sings about her prior British lover, Joe Alwyn. This song is the farewell to the memories of her London boy.

“But Daddy I Love Him”
Swift breaks the fourth wall on this ground-breaking track, likely about Matty Healy. “I’m having his baby. No, I’m not, but you should see your faces. I’m telling him to floor it through the fences. No, I’m not coming to my senses. I know he’s crazy but he’s the one I want,” Swift sings.

“Fresh Out The Slammer”
In Swift’s imagined imprisonment, her first call upon release will be to her current lover. Her desperation to feel such a connection once again when they are apart is overpowering.

“Florida!!! (feat. Florence + The Machine)”
“People have these crimes that they commit; where do they immediately skip town and go to? They go to Florida,” Swift told Variety. “They try to reinvent themselves, have a new identity, blend in. I think when you go through a heartbreak, there’s a part of you that thinks, ‘I want a new name. I want a new life. I don’t want anyone to know where I’ve been or know me at all.’ And so that was the jumping off point. Where would you go to reinvent yourself and blend in? Florida!”

“Guilty as Sin?”
Matty Healy is torn apart in this deep-from-the-heart, soul-shredding song.

“Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me”
This song is the deranged cousin of “Anti-Hero”. Swift’s raw emotion stars and the scene playing in your head will be the golf club incident from the “Blank Space” music video.

“I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)”
“They shake their heads saying, “God help her” when I tell them he’s my man. But your good lord doesn’t need to lift a finger. I can fix him, no, really I can. And, only I can,” Swift sings. Swift faces loads of public criticism for who she dates and doesn’t appreciate their interest.

Many know this acronym to stand for “love of my life” but in this song, Swift turns it around from love of my life to the loss of my life. Desire to walk back into the flames of old love with Joe Alwyn, attempting to overcome the denial stage of grief. Swift wants to rekindle the love but ultimately accepts the pain of knowing she almost had it all. This is one of the most tear-jerking songs on the album. The minor key and a reminiscent tone of voice clearly express Swift’s deep-rooted grief of love. She will forever know him as “the loss of my life.”

“I Can Do It With a Broken Heart”
This song is clearly close to Swift’s heart. The thirteenth track on this album reveals Swift’s internal struggles during the start of “The Eras Tour” after breaking off a long-term relationship.

“The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”
Likely about ex-lover Matty Healy, this expresses contempt for his ghosting act after Swift received abundant negative criticism for dating him. The vibe is a moody blend of “Evermore” and “Reputation”.

“The Alchemy”
Swift sings about her current lover, Travis Kelce. “Touch down, call the amateurs and cut ‘em from the team…ditch the clown, get the crown, baby, I’m the one to beat.” This refers to Kelce’s football career, and how he is the real trophy for him. Swift exudes feelings of passion, accepting the alchemy and allowing herself to become intertwined in vines of passionate love once more.

“Clara Bow”
“I used to sit in record labels trying to get a record deal when I was a little kid. And they’d say, ‘you know, you remind us of’ and then they’d name an artist, and then they’d kind of say something disparaging about her, ‘but you’re this, you’re so much better in this way or that way.’ And that’s how we teach women to see themselves, as like you could be the new replacement for this woman who’s done something great before you,” Swift told Variety. “I picked women who have done great things in the past and have been these archetypes of greatness in the entertainment industry. Clara Bow was the first ‘it girl.’ Stevie Nicks is an icon and an incredible example for anyone who wants to write songs and make music.”

“The Black Dog”
The first song in “The Anthology.” This track is a reference to a pub in London. Joe Alwyn frequents this restaurant on Vauxhall Walk and they have seen an explosion of interest after the release of “The Black Dog”.\“imgonnagetyouback”
“Whether I’m gonna be your wife or gonna smash up your bike, I haven’t decided yet but I’m gonna get you back,” Swift sings. This song has similarities to Olivia Rodrigo’s “get him back!” such as the play on what it can mean to get someone back.

“The Albatross”
“She’s the albatross. She is here to destroy you,” Swift sings. This song speaks for itself.

“Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus”
Every day is a good day when you get name-dropped by Taylor Swift. “The Tortured Poets Department” made many people named Chloe, Sam, Sophia, Clara, Aimee, Robin, Cassandra, Peter, Lucy and Jack very happy.

“How Did It End?”
Confusion arises deep from Swift’s heart as she questions how something with so much love connected to it, could end.

“… So High School”
A reference to her older albums? Swift reminisces on high school love and compares it to her current love life. Also, a reference to “You Belong With Me”… Swift is finally dating the football player who makes her feel more loved than anyone.

“I Hate It Here”
Swift’s imagination runs wild with the idea of escapism in this track. “I hate it here so I will go to secret gardens in my mind people need a key to get to. The only one is mine. I read about it in a book when I was a precocious child,” Swift sings.

“thanK you aIMee”
A dig at Kim Kardashian? Swift doesn’t seem interested in dropping this feud anytime soon. “And one day, your kid comes home singin’ a song that only us two is gonna know is about you, ’cause all that time you were throwin’ punches, it was all for nothin’.”

This song is one of the two grammatically incorrect. The capitalized letters spell “Kim”…The other grammatically incorrect being “imgonnagetyouback.” Putting these two together gives us I’m gonna get you back, Kim.

“I Look in People’s Windows”
If the girl from “Right Where You Left Me” grew up and left the restaurant, she would look in people’s windows in search of her lost lover.

“The Prophecy”
“Please, I’ve been on my knees. Change the prophecy. Don’t want money, just someone who wants my company,” Swift sings. After being with Alwyn for six years, her desperation is understandable.

This track is rumored to be about Kim Kardashian. It ties into the “Reputation” snake theme and witch-burning ceremonies from “Folklore” and “Evermore”.

This track alludes to Peter Pan, a fantastical story where a boy chooses to never grow up. In reality, immature men disappoint high-achieving women.

“The Bolter”
“Then she runs like it’s a race. Behind her back, her best mates laughed and they nicknamed her “The Bolter”. Started with a kiss, “Oh, we must stop meeting like this”. But, it always ends up with a Town Car speeding,” Swift sings. Imagery of a car ties into “Getaway Car”, from “Reputation”. At that point Swift and Alwyn were still together, now she has escaped.

“You got the dragonflies above your bed. You have a favorite spot on the swing set,” Swift sings. The swing imagery ties back to “Seven” but the innocence from “Folklore” has been left behind.

“The Manuscript”
If you flip the numbers in 13, Swift’s favorite number, you get 31: the number of tracks on “The Tortured Poets Department”. “The Manuscript ties together the end of this album. This is Swift’s first breakup album since “Red.” She dives headfirst into her raw emotion, casting a trance on listeners. All 31 songs display pure poetry.

A major theme throughout the album is examining the pedestal that celebrity artists are placed on. “What do we do to our writers, and our artists, and our creatives?” Swift told Variety. “We put them through hell. We watch what they create, then we judge it. We love to watch artists in pain, often to the point where I think sometimes as a society we provoke that pain and we just watch what happens.”

“The Tortured Poets Department” is a work of creative wonder that will forever haunt the hearts of Swifties.

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Ivy Miller
Ivy Miller, Journalist
Ivy is a sophomore at CHS who is excited to be joining The Communicator. In her free time, she runs cross country and track for Skyline. Ivy loves walking her cat and her dog and spending time outdoors. She is passionate about wildlife conservation and growing as a writer.
Payton Sly
Payton Sly, Journalist
Payton is a sophomore at Community. This is her first semester on staff. She enjoys traveling to new places. China is one of her favorite destinations, where she loves experiencing the culture, language, and food. Payton has studied Mandarin Chinese since 4th grade. In her free time, Payton can be found reading and listening to music.

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