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Trojan Tribune

The student news site of Alisal High School

Trojan Tribune

The student news site of Alisal High School

Trojan Tribune

Album Review: The Tortured Poets Department

Taylor Swift’s newest album doesn’t deliever
Album+Review%3A+The+Tortured+Poets+Department

Taylor Swift has had a successful year with completing her first half of the Eras Tour as well as being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Along with this success, she won a Grammy for her album “MIdnights” where she announced her new album “The Tortured Poets Department.” 

With the release of TTPD, she revealed a double album, releasing “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology” a few hours after, which had an additional 15 songs making it a 31 track album. Out of the 31 songs, only 9 made it to my playlists. 

As a longtime fan of Taylor Swift, I knew to expect songs filled with heartbreaking and catchy lyrics. I heavily anticipated this new album because I enjoyed her previous album “Midnights” which was a mix of upbeat pop songs like “Bejeweled” and “Karma”, as well as melancholic  songs like “Bigger Than The Whole Sky.” So with this in mind, my expectations were pretty high.

Upon the first listen, the album seemed like it would lean more towards the sad aspects of her life, which makes sense given the album’s name. It was very hit or miss with some songs sticking while others not so much. Some songs were filled with awkward lyrics that didn’t appeal to me. A common theme I noticed in the lyrics was that most of the songs mentioned the fact she didn’t get to the marriage part in her relationship, which made the album pretty depressing. While I’ve been able to relate to most of her songs, this album didn’t have the same feeling of connection. TTPD is more of her adulthood experiences, rather than that of the usual teenage romance/heartbreak. Which is understandable since she is no longer a teen.

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The title track song “The Tortured Poets Department” starts off with a catchy instrumental. The song is rumored to be about Taylor’s ex-situationship with The 1975’s lead vocalist, Matty Healy. I was enjoying the song up until the line “We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist.” It just felt awkwardly placed. This song plays on the marriage theme, as further into the song she sings, “At dinner you take my ring off my middle finger and put it on the one people put wedding rings on/And that’s the closest I’ve come to my heart exploding.” The line shows Swift’s high hopes of marriage and how much she feels about it.

Swift fans know that the 5th tracks of her albums are some of her most gut wrenching songs. From “Tolerate it” to “Dear John”, her 5th tracks are usually very sentimental. “So Long, London” lives up to that, as during my first listen I shed some tears. It is no secret that this song is about Swift’s ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn, with whom she had a 6 year relationship. This album has a lot of parallels and references to her past albums. I quickly noticed this with the line, “I stopped cpr after all it’s no use,” referring to “You’re Losing Me” where she sings “I can’t find a pulse/My heart won’t start anymore For you ‘Cause you’re losing me.” The last part of the song was the most sorrowful part as she sang, ”You swore that you loved me but where were the clues? I died on the altar waiting for the proof You sacrificed us to the gods of your bluest days.” From this song fans have sort of an idea of why her relationship ended (Alwyn not being ready for marriage, but Swift was). This song is one of my favorites from the album.

Following “So Long, London” is “But Daddy I Love him.” I was skeptical of this song because of its cringey name. This song basically shuts down all the judgmental people that talk about her relationships. In it she sings, “I’d rather burn my whole life down/Than to listen to one more second of all this bitching and moaning.” A line that caught me by surprise was, “I’m having his baby/No I’m not! But you should see your faces.” I admit she got me there because when I first heard the line I was shocked however it was more of in a weird way. It’s not a line I would be freely singing. Towards the end of the song she sings, “No, you can’t come to the wedding I know he’s crazy but he’s the one I want,” again tying into the marriage theme.

“I Can Do It With A Broken Heart” is probably her most vulnerable song from the album as it’s about her dealing with her long term relationship ending in the midst of her starting the Eras Tour. I loved how throughout the song you can hear her stage cues. It really gave the effect of what she is feeling while she is performing. Taylor Swift signals that she isn’t doing well yet fans expect more from her. This is apparent when she sings, “Lights, camera, bitch smile Even when you want to die.” and then, “All the pieces of me shattered as the crowd was chanting “MORE “.” She then ends the song with, “Cause I’m MISERABLE! And nobody even knows!” I liked the song and I do see myself listening to it from time to time. It also brought a whole new perspective as she openly admits to faking being happy for her fans.

Track 21 is my favorite song (tied with So Long, London) from the album. “How Did It End?” secretly counts as a 5th track as it is the 5th additional song from “TTPD: The Anthology.” And like all track 5s this song was equally as heartbreaking. The song digs into the reason her relationship with Alwyn didn’t work out. She starts off the song with, “We hereby conduct this post mortem/He was a hothouse flower to my outdoorsman.” She uses “hothouse flower” and “outdoorsman” as a metaphor for Alwyn being an introvert and her an extrovert and them being too different to work out. She then sings, “Didn’t you hear they called it all off? One gasp, and then How did it end?” This is told from an outside perspective of how when people find out about her breakup they want to know how it ended rather than how she is doing. I specifically like the part of the song where she sings, “My beloved ghost and me, sitting in a tree D-Y-I-N-G.” This is a reference to the famous nursery rhyme which is originally: “(name) and (name) sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G First comes love/Then comes marriage/Then comes a baby in a baby carriage!” However, since she does not get to the marriage, she ends it swiftly by replacing it with dying. At the end of the song instead of people asking the question, it is Taylor herself, “But I still don’t know How did it end?” This shows that she herself doesn’t understand how her relationship came to an end.

Overall, I give this album a 6.5/10, which was surprising to me as I have loved all of her previous work. The album wasn’t as intriguing as I expected it to be and I only really liked 9 out of the 31 in the album. Despite only liking 9 songs, I’ve listened to them on repeat ever since it came out. I admit the album is very emotional and showcases her vulnerability, however the awkward lyrics and repetitive tunes kinda turned me away. I am still a fan of her work, but this album doesn’t make it to the top of the list.

 

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