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The Torch

The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

A Review of “The Tortured Poets Department”

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The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD) is Taylor Swift’s eleventh studio album. It has been in the works shortly after her 2022 album, Midnights, was released. Swift’s usual co-writers, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, are also featured on this album. Originally 16 songs were slated to be on the album, but an additional version called The Anthology was released, adding 15 songs.

This album is different from most albums, since it is classified as “synth-pop,” a music genre in which instrumentals are played with synthesizers. These songs are also known for their upbeat and cheery moods.

I, personally, am a huge fan of Taylor Swift. I love her work and writing style, although this album slightly disappointed me.  As a lover of all musical genres, I tend to pay attention to instrumentals. As I listened to the album, I felt lost between the songs. It was difficult to determine when one song ended and a new one began. Swift took a different approach when using synth-pop, and I don’t think it went well for her. Most of the songs sounded the same or very similar to her other tracks. Olympic Heights student, Adyson Schwalb, agrees: “This album just didn’t feel like Taylor to me.”

Considering this album contains the word “poets” in its title, I eagerly anticipated Swift’s typical lyrical style. I was expecting an album like Folklore, which is lyrically acclaimed. While some lyrics impressed me, such as “Your home’s really only a town you’re just a guest in” (“Florida!!!”) and “I was tame, I was gentle ‘til the circus life made me mean” (“Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”), others were more mediocre. 

Swift’s repeating pattern of adjectives has become tired and worn out. Also, there’s simplicity within the album’s lyrics that give it a sloppy feeling. An example of this is, “So when I touch down, call the amateurs and cut ‘em from the team.” If you couldn’t already tell, this song is about her boyfriend and NFL player Travis Kelce. The internet compared it to the AI parody of her relationship, which was made prior to the album’s release. The AI parody sings, “So happy that my Travvy made it to the big game.” 

On another note, these lyrics feel as if they were ripped from a page of Swift’s personal diary. It gives this album a more youthful, almost “teenager-y” feel. For instance, when Swift sings, “Truth, dare, spin, bottle” (“So High School”), this definitely gives off high school vibes. Her songs take listeners on a journey of her life.  The emotions vary from anger to happiness to celebratory to solemn to yearning and so much more. Her new songs even address some public situations she has been in since her last album. TTPD is “emotional and relatable,” Kacper Babinski, Olympic Heights sophomore, adds.  “It really shows Taylor’s vulnerable side and how she’s not afraid to speak on what has hurt her in the past.”

Even though the album isn’t my favorite, I want to mention a few songs that are exactly what I had envisioned for this album.  My personal favorite songs are “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” “But Daddy I Love Him,” “So Long, London,” “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” and “Florida!!!” These songs have not only caught my attention but all of Swift’s listeners.  Another favorite, “So Long, London” is a breakup song and even a “part-two” to the song “London Boy” about her ex-boyfriend of 7 years, Joe Alwyn. This song is about the red flags she overlooked while dating her ex-boyfriend. My favorite lyric out of this song is “and I’m pissed off you let me give all of that youth for free.” This perfectly encompasses her mix of irritation and sorrow about that relationship.

To wrap it up, I have extremely mixed feelings about this album. I wouldn’t say I hate it, but it’s not one of my favorites. I wish Swift would stray away from synth-pop and focus more on pop and indie-folk for her future albums. 

Of course, Swifties will always support Tay.  “Taylor made the lyrics on the album very relatable in her songs,” expresses Rio Klein, sophomore at Olympic Heights.  “She also made them poetic while still sticking to the pop-genre.”

Have you listened to Swift's new album?

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  • J

    Julia Andrade XavierMay 23, 2024 at 11:21 am

    I’m not a fan of Taylor Swift, but this is a great article!

    Reply
  • E

    Ethan TainesMay 23, 2024 at 11:17 am

    Well I’m not a huge fan of Taylor swift but the article was nicely written so it was really good overall

    Reply
  • M

    Madison klaperMay 22, 2024 at 7:25 pm

    Very cool and interesting!

    Reply
  • M

    Marlene LipinerMay 22, 2024 at 7:20 pm

    Great commentary!!!

    Reply
  • J

    Jacob YaciukMay 22, 2024 at 1:05 pm

    Very interesting story, I like it!

    Reply
  • A

    alexaMay 22, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    Very informational article! Love to hear this

    Reply
  • R

    RioMay 22, 2024 at 12:32 pm

    this is such an amazing article! the writer should write all the articles!!! loved this!!

    Reply
  • S

    SantiagoMay 22, 2024 at 11:32 am

    Very interesting article, very good

    Reply
  • A

    angelinaMay 22, 2024 at 11:29 am

    Love this article, really good.

    Reply
  • T

    Tori ScaglioneMay 22, 2024 at 11:27 am

    Good for her, Great article!

    Reply
  • S

    SophiaMay 22, 2024 at 11:21 am

    This is a really great article.

    Reply
  • A

    AriMay 22, 2024 at 11:19 am

    Good for her, she definitely knows how to make catchy songs.

    Reply
  • E

    Elite IsraeliMay 22, 2024 at 11:18 am

    love the story as always so interesting

    Reply
  • H

    HayleyMay 22, 2024 at 11:17 am

    I liked most of these songs.

    Reply