Taylor Swift’s Latest: “The Tortured Poets Department” Deconstructed

After winning Album of the Year at The Grammy’s, Taylor Swift announced her new album, The Tortured Poets Department, will be released on April 19, 2024. Fans immediately expected the tracks to detail her split from Joe Alwyn, whom she was in a relationship with for six years. 

Caption: The Tortured Poets Department: The Manuscript edition. 

The first variant of the album included the song “The Manuscriptwhich she announced at The Grammy’s. At her Era’s Tour Show in Melbourne, Australia on February 16, 2024, Swift announced the second variant of TTPD, which included the song “The Bolter.” On February 23, 2024, in Sydney, Australia, she announced the third variant, which added the song “The Albatross.” Finally, the last variant was revealed in Singapore on March 3, 2024, known as “The Black Dog” edition. 

CD, vinyl, and cassette variants were sold on Taylor Swift’s website for only 72 hours after they were announced. Each variant came with an exclusive patch, magnet, and four unseen pictures of Taylor Swift. Her last album Midnights has the background color of white. The color of each variant progressively changes, starting with a light beige color for “The Manuscript” to black for “The Black Dog.” Fans speculated that each variant represents each of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

Caption: The Tortured Poets Department: The Bolter edition

Soon after, Swift released the track names of all the songs on the album. On Apple Music, she organized her entire discography into playlists named after each of the five stages of grief. This made fans reevaluate old songs like “Lover,” about a relationship Swift never wishes to end, which was placed in the playlist of denial and delusion. 

While making her speech at The Grammy’s, Swift held up two fingers, which was speculated to be an easter egg for the album. After the album’s initial release at midnight on April 19, 2024, Swift dropped another album by surprise at 2 am called The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, which included an additional fifteen songs.  

Caption: The Tortured Poets Department: The Albatross edition

After fans listened to the entire album, they recognized that most of it was about her relationship with The 1975’s Matty Healy. Swift’s last album, Midnights, was written about thirteen sleepless nights. The first track on TTPD is called Fortnight, which means a span of two weeks; This hints that TTPD is about the fourteenth midnight; a continuation of the story told in Midnights. 

The Tortured Poets Department: The Black Dog edition 

Moreover, Swift released a TTPD cardigan, similar to what she has done for previous albums, like Speak Now, Folklore, 1989, and Red. Swifties were split on their opinions on the cardigan, some thought it was too simple for the price; others thought simplicity was the new trend. Most panic-bought the cardigan for fear of being unable to get it before it sold out, like the previous cardigan releases.  

The tracks on the album detail her experience with heartache, friendships, going on tour, finding herself, and falling in love again. With thirty-one brand-new songs, fans find themselves resonating with deeply personal feelings Swift has also felt. In the song The Manuscript, Swift explains that through music she is able to accept what she has gone through in order to move on. 

“Lookin’ backwards might be the only way to move forward…Now and then, I reread the manuscript. But the story isn’t mine anymore,” Swift said. 

Samantha Marasigan

Hi, My name is Samantha Marasigan and in my free time I like listening to Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers. I love watching scary movies, baking, and reading. My favorite book is The Inheritance Games by Jenn Lynn Barnes and my favorite genre is young adult. I look forward to writing updates and news articles in the Arts & Entertainment section of The Edison Light!