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ReVIEWS: The Tortured Poets Department

ReVIEWS: The Tortured Poets Department

“And so I enter into evidence my tarnished coat of arms, my muses, acquired like bruises, my talismans and charms, the tick, tick, tick of love bombs, my veins of pitch black ink. All’s fair in love and poetry, sincerely, The Chairman of The Tortured Poets Department.”

This is what Taylor Swift, worldwide pop star and lyricist left with us on Feb. 4, 2024 after she won best pop vocal album at the GRAMMYs. After having teased the re-recording of her 2017 album, “reputation,” fans were shocked when during her acceptance speech she announced a brand new album titled, “The Tortured Poets Department” to be released April 19, 2024. The longest and most mysterious title of her albums thus far was sure to intrigue fans as to what would be told in this album. A few days prior to the announcement a track list was released showing some of the most shocking features I’ve seen. Post Malone and Florence + The Machine were making an appearance on the record and were sure to bring a new style and feel to the album.

After listening to the album several times and thoroughly enjoying every listen, I feel that my love and appreciation for the album has grown. This record is definitely one that takes a few listens and much attention placed on the lyrics, which is where I think the album most thrives. This record is very different from the sound and feel of “Midnights,” her latest record and it has to be judged by itself and not to her previous work.

Starting off strong with “Fortnight (feat. Post Malone).” This song is one of my top five of the record and I was completely surprised by the melancholic emotion running through the song. Having a record start off saying “I love you, it’s ruining my life.” Was a very direct idea of where this record was going and what it was supposed to accomplish.

The title track [“The Tortured Poets Department”] is another highlight on the album along with “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys” and “Down Bad.” These songs were hit after hit and made the start of the album very strong. Traveling in to “So Long, London.” This track is the fifth on the record, which for Swifties is code for a strong vulnerable track. In my opinion this song is the first true sad song. The song for me marks the end of relationship. When you’re rethinking every part of the end and the mistreatment you went through. Career highlight lyrics such as “I stopped CPR after all it’s no use. The spirit was gone we would never come to and I’m pissed off you; you left me give you all
that youth for free,” and “You swore that you loved me but where were the clues? I died on the alter waiting for the proof,” truly encapsulated a broken heart.

After such a sad moment we go into my favorite song on the record, “But Daddy I Love Him.” This song is the closest thing we have to tie old Swift since “Fearless.” The song is so fun and silly and gives “dancing in a storm in my best dress fearless,” and we should let it, that’s all.

Some hidden gems on the album are “Guilty as Sin?,” “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?,” “loml” and “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.” I felt like these songs really brought a different thing to the record and truly made them unique. I feel like when it comes to records about feeling sad there’s only so many ways for it to sound and these songs overcome that and I wish they were more popular.

Every album needs a powerful ballad and this is where “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” comes in and takes the crown. Though every lyric is a career highlight in this song one that stands true is, “You didn’t measure up in any measure of a man.” The way that Swift screams the bridge makes the song so powerful and directly shows just how dead Swift felt in this moment.

Ending the record with “Clara Bow” is such an amazing full circle moment and a great finish to an amazing record. Usually I’m able to be critical and show what I dislike about any record, I feel even after my, at least, thirty listens to this album, I can’t find one thing I dislike. The album is amazing and I think will be a longstanding essential in Swift’s discography.

5/5 Stars.

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About the Contributor
Ryland Most
Ryland Most, Chief of News
Hi there! My name is Ryland and this is my second year on staff. Last year I was a news editor and I’m so excited to be chief of the news section this year! You’ll mostly see me around with my partner in crime, Isabella Taki, but when I’m not with her I enjoy swimming, listening to music, and publicly showing my love of Taylor Swift. So excited to see what this year brings!