Exploring Taylor Swift’s Complex Tortured Poets Department

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by Emma Wadley

 

Taylor Swift has once again broken records and my heart with her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department. Swift loves to surprise fans, and I wasn’t surprised when she dropped a second album at 2:00 am on Friday, April 19, calling it The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, releasing 17 more tracks than what was expected.

She put aspects of her past discography into this album, but in a new way. The synth sounds are similar to 1989 (Taylor’s Version), but the storytelling imitates Folklore and Evermore. This album reminds me of reading Shakespeare in school and having no idea what it actually means. It doesn’t mean that the lyrics aren’t catchy or the beat isn’t good; it’s just not typical for a pop album to be so complex lyrically. Some of the lyrics contain themes of depression, suicide, infidelity, and murder.

One of the best things about this record is that there’s something for every stage of love you may face in your life. There are the shy beginnings, the stagnation, the heartbreaking breakups and loss, rebounds, and the moment where you try again. She has the ability to make you feel like you’ve been through exactly what she’s been through. From happy love songs like “The Alchemy” and “So High School,” to traumatic depressing tracks like “loml” and “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” this record has it all.

Florence + The Machine and Post Malone were perfect collaborators for this album. Post Malone’s ability to combine genres into a unique sound is something he has in common with Taylor. “Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)” is the epitome of a good synth track. It’s a true collaboration because the pacing reminds me of Post Malone, but the lyrics are very Swift.

I was honestly surprised when I saw Florence + The Machine as a feature on this album. “Florida!!!” is probably the most alternative track on this record, bringing a mysterious vibe while also certainly reminding you of the state Florida. Florence’s voice works wonderfully with Taylor’s higher harmonies.

Overall, this is undeniably a good record. Swift has somehow managed to maintain longevity in an industry that likes shiny new things. She still impresses fans with her cryptic hints and Easter eggs before dropping. The record is darker, mysterious, and more somber than anything else she’s put out before while still having fun and catchy tunes.

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