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‘The Tortured Poets Department’ is here: Happy release day for Swifties everywhere

Taylor Swift in concert in New York
(© Brian Friedman – Shutterstock.com)

At 2 a.m. ET, Taylor Swift announced The Tortured Poets Department is actually a double album, meaning 31 new songs are out today, under the title “TTPD: The Anthology.”

“The Tortured Poets Department” is Swift’s most vulnerable and personal album yet. She explores heartbreak and the pressures of fame as two of the main themes throughout the album. Songs like “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” and “Clara Bow” talk about how hard and draining the level of fame she has is. In “Clara Bow,” she sings about everyone she’s been compared to, and ends the song, and album, singing to a new generation of singers, and how, one day, they will be compared to her, and she’ll be old news.

In “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” Swift sings about how hard going onstage and performing every night was, but she did it anyway, and tricked her fans into thinking she was doing well post-breakup.

Swift has talked about how this album was necessary to write for her to deal with what was going on in her personal life, and you can hear it all over the album. “The Tortured Poets Department” feels as if Swift tore pages out of her diary and put them to music. It almost feels too personal to listen to at times.

Songs like “So Long London” and “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” are heartbreaking songs about relationships ending. Swift went through two breakups recently, and deals with the rough year she had through her songwriting, as she always has. She likens a bad relationship to mental health break in the written prologue included with the vinyl. Throughout the album, Swift sings about the pain of her breakups, how hurt she was after, and pleads insanity as an excuse for her rebound.

Many fans will try to decode this album and attach paternity tests to exes to each song, but it seems Swift is growing tired of this practice. As she sings about the price of fame and how it led her to insanity, it’s time fans move past tearing apart lyrics just for gossip and listen as she tells you how fame is impacting her life.

“The Tortured Poets Department” is sonically and thematically cohesive, which is a feat when you have 31 songs on an album. This is a really vulnerable and heartbreaking album as Swift processed the past two years. She’s dealt with her breakups and rebounds being public and her fame blowing up with the Eras Tour. This has clearly weighed on her, and she has written an album to work through this new height of fame.

As she ends the double album with “The Manuscript,” she reflects on her life, her relationships, and the death of the author.

As the last line of the album is “Now and then I reread the manuscript / but the story isn’t mine anymore,” she is releasing her work into the world, knowing it’s no longer her story and she can move on.

Larissa Goalder is on Substack at jam jars in the cellar of your heart.