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Taylor Swift Name-Dropped Charlie Puth In ‘TTPD’ & You Totally Missed It

I have a confession to make: I accidentally saw a snippet of leaked lyrics from The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD) on X (formerly known as Twitter) a day before the album came out. But they were so random, so outrageous, and so meta that I figured they had to be fake. Now that TTPD has been released and everyone’s basking in its glory, I can confirm that those lyrics are very much real — and the famous singer they name-drop is gonna wake up to a whole lot of internet “attention.”

Fans speculate that track 2 on the album, titled “The Tortured Poets Department,” is a look into Taylor Swift’s short-lived relationship with The 1975’s frontman Matty Healy. Fans had a lot to say about Swift’s choice to rebound from her six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn with Healy. Many wondered what they could possibly have talked about with each other (they’ve got pretty different vibes). Apparently, the answer is Charlie Puth. 

In the second verse, Swift sings, “We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist.” I’m not gonna lie, I had to pause the song and laugh. No shade to Charlie Puth — I only laughed because the shoutout jolted me out of The Tortured Poets Department and back into the real world. Maybe it’s just my personal preference, but any time Swift makes a reference that’s a bit too modern (like her “I come back stronger than a ‘90s trend” lyric in evermore’s “willow”), I cringe a little. 

I actually agree with Taylor and Matty about Puth’s stardom. It’s about time he rises in the ranks. He’s responsible for some of the biggest bangers of the late 2010s (“One Call Away” ruled the radio in 2015). His music is pretty formulaic, but every once in a while, he’ll unleash his creative genius. Who else would write a song that includes a literal light switch sound?

Also, his ability to identify individual music notes at any given time is seriously impressive. If Swift and Healy, two of the biggest singers in the world, say that Puth should be a bigger artist, then he should be a bigger artist.

Although the lyric feels random within the context of “The Tortured Poets Department,” shouting out Puth specifically isn’t that random. But it is confusing. In 2018, Puth confirmed to Billboard that he had a fling with Swift’s bestie, Selena Gomez. The two singers collaborated on the 2016 duet “We Don’t Talk Anymore” (which is probably true given their history). Puth’s song “Attention,” which was released after their breakup, is speculated to be about Gomez.

In an interview with Genius, Puth explained that the song was about an ex who would invite him to sleep over but never actually slept with him, “which is totally fine. But after like the fifth time of that happening, I knew what she was doing.”

Does Swift know what went down between Puth and Gomez? Probably. The fact that she references him means that there’s no bad blood behind the scenes. It also means that she’s dead serious about Puth being a bigger artist.

Her shoutout has already spiked Google searches of his name, according to Google Trends. He’s also trending on X, where fans instantly made memes about the lyric.

Puth has yet to comment on the lyric, but I’m guessing that Taylor’s only “one call away.”

Fabiana Beuses is a senior at Florida State University double majoring in Media/Communication Studies and English (Editing, Writing, and Media). She is the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at FSU. She previously served as Her Campus' Summer 2023 Entertainment & Culture Intern and is currently a National Culture Writer, where she profiles celebrities and professionally fangirls over pop culture phenomena. When she's not polishing her latest article, you can find her browsing bookstore aisles, taste testing vanilla lattes around town, or rewatching the Harry Potter series for the millionth time.