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Emotionally Distressing Favorites: The Tortured Poets Department Album Review

“All’s fair in love and poetry.”

“The Grammy goes to…….Taylor Swift for Midnights.” 

Moments after winning her 13th Grammy, Swift reveals that she has been keeping a secret from her fans for the last 2 years. “My brand new album comes out April 19th. It’s called The Tortured Poets Department,” said Swift. 

Let’s dive into a review of Taylor Swift’s new album, where she sprung on 16 more songs to keep us on our toes or in our beds…

With that being said,  let’s get into some of my personal favorites from TTPD!


The Tortured Poets Department 


All my mornings are Mondays stuck in an endless February. I took the miracle move-on drug, the effects were temporary” 

— ‘Fortnight’ (Ft. Post Malone) - Track 1


The opening song, in which this song is allegedly written about Swift’s ex, Joe Awlyn. As a Swiftie myself, I don’t necessarily get deep into who her songs are about. I read into the lyrics, not the personal life. With all that being said, this song, along with the music video, was painted with the emotions of denial, grief, jealousy, and without a doubt female rage. 


Now I’m down bad crying at the gym. Everything comes out teenage petulance. “What if I can’t have him””I might just die, it would make no difference.”

— ‘Down Bad’ -Track 4


Crushing lyrics with an upbeat song that makes you want to dance. This song definitely led Swifties confused, not knowing if they should dance or cry. Hands down this song was dedicated for all girls who have fell victim to love bombing. That in itself is a heavy pill to swallow.


I stoppеd CPR, after all, it’s no use The spirit was gonе, we would never come to And I’m pissed off you let me give you all that youth for free”

— ‘So Long, London’ - Track 5


This is one of the songs that I had to listen to a few times before hearing the deeper meaning, and this song is one of the most emotional songs on the entire album. Swift portrays the emotions that come along with being the “glue” that’s keeping everything in tact. Regardless, Taylor Swift knows how to use metaphors and expressions like no other.


Now I’m runnin’ with my dress unbuttoned, Scrеamin’, “But, Daddy, I love him, I’m havin’ his baby”, No, I’m not, but you should see your faces”

— ‘But Daddy I Love Him’ - Track 6


This has got to be one of the funniest things that Taylor has done while writing a song! While sharing their reactions through videos on TikTok, this line has definitely gotten a kick out of many Swifties. With that being said, the song itself has been rumored to be references to The Little Mermaid or The Notebook. However, the lyrics of this song screams the feelings of outside judgment trying to get in the way of personal happiness. “If all you want is grey for me, then its just white noise, then its just my choice.”


Who’s afraid of little old me?” I was tame, I was gentle ’til the circus life made me mean “Don’t you worry, folks, we took out all her teeth”Who’s afraid of little old me?”

— ‘Who’s Afraid Of Little Old Me?’ - Track 10


Swift fans find that the lyrics from this song is meant to portray how the the media treated her and have made her change throughout the years. This song perfectly interprets the feeling of breaking out of the habit of living to please others. Now being viewed as “acting different” when they have sudden outbursts of emotions that were bottled up. 


I haven’t come around in so long But I’m making a comeback to where I belong”

— ‘The Alchemy’ - Track 15


YES YES YES. The Chemistry reference is everything to me. In older Swift songs like, “Tied Together with a Smile”, “Lover”, “Dancing with our hands tied”, and many others, Swift compares love to being golden. (Yes like the gold that is on the periodic table!) Many Swifties have connected this song to being about Swift’s current boyfriend, Travis Kelce, through the obvious and constant football terms.


The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology 


“And I don’t miss what we had, but could someone give. A message to the smallest man who ever lived?”

— ‘The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived’ - Track 14


This song is the second part of the movie for the girls who have the ‘All To Well 10 minute version’ Memorized. Disappointment seems to be the strongest message that Swift is communicating through this track, simply just expecting more out of someone who just proceeds to be destructive. 


I move through the world with a heart broken My longing state unspoken And I may never open up thе way I did for you”

— The Black Dog - Track 17


Leading up to the release of TTPD, Swifts fans made a connection between the track title and a pub in London. In which they have responded by making the joke, “POV: you work at The Black Dog, the pub Taylor name-dropped.” In complete honesty, this song has got to be one of my top favorites from this entire album! “The Black Dog” being a metaphor for depression adds such depth to the lyrics, and ending the song with “Old habits die screaming” leaves a lasting impact.


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”

— 'Imgonnagetyouback' - Track 18


Lately, many Swifties have been comparing “Imgonnagetyouback”, to Olivia Rodrigo’s Single, “Get Him Back!” from her album “GUTS”,  and both of the songs do have a lot of similarities. Emphasizing that she doesn’t really know what she wants, but knowing she doesn’t want to have to let go. Nonetheless, this song was definitely made for the Reputation girls. Wanting to have the comfort of being loved but also just wanting to be reckless and just live a YOLO lifestyle.  


Please I’ve been on my knees. Change the prophecy. Don’t want money,Just someone who wants my company.

— 'The Prophecy' - Track 26


This song will definitely have you reaching for the tissue box and phone to call up your Mom. Throughout the song, Swift has a desire for change and pleads for it, but eventually comes to accept the circumstances as fate. She uses metaphors such as, “I got cursed like Eve got bitten” to convey the feeling of caring for the wrong people who don’t reciprocate the love they give out.


Ended with the slam of a door But she’s got the best stories You can be sure That as she was leaving It felt like freedom”

— ‘The Bolter’ - Track 29


This song stood out to me, but not the way it did until I listened to the lyrics a few more times. “Bolting” is a easily interpreted term, and in this song Swift depicts a girl who has never second guessed mistreatment and would rather leave a situation than get caught in a cycle of repeatedly getting hurt, and prioritizes well-being. 


So, they killed Cassandra first ’cause she feared the worst And tried to tell the town So they filled my cell with snakes, I regret to say Do you believe me now?

— ‘Cassandra’ - Track 27


Despite controversial rumors circling around “Cassandra” and “thanK you aIMee” being about Kim Kardashian, some fans believe that the meaning stems from greek mythology in which a priestess’ accurate prophecies were rejected. However, I personally think this song was made for the “Mad Woman” fans!! (And no you can’t convince me otherwise.) 

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Kelsy Esmoil
Kelsy Esmoil, Writer
MHS / 2026'
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