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Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammy Awards
Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammy Awards
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Culture > Entertainment

TikTok Thinks Taylor Swift Was Copying Lana Del Rey *Years* Before ‘TTPD’

Taylor Swift’s latest album The Tortured Poets Department is receiving mixed reviews, to say the least. Or should I say albums, because in true Swift fashion, a surprise second leg to TTPD entitled The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology was released a few hours after its former. Since its release, TTPD has also been compared to the discography of musical juggernaut Lana Del Rey, but this isn’t the first time Swift’s music has been weighed up to the “Summertime Sadness” singer. 

In all honesty, most of the tracks on TTPD sound like Swift’s diary entries that could’ve stayed in the book. Swift embodies an element of candidness that her fans appreciate because they want to know every aspect of her life. Swift knows her influence on music, pop culture, and the world. She knows that (almost) everyone is dying to learn more about her relationship with Travis Kelce, her breakup with Joe Alwyn, as well as her beef with Kim Kardashian

In TTPD, Swift gives fans exactly that, but on the coattails of an aesthetic coined by Del Rey in the past decade. Some have felt that the lyrical matter of TTPD is “Lana-coded” for referencing partying, drinking, and falling for the “bad boy,” and they’re not wrong. But TTPD is not the first time Swift has pulled from Del Rey’s influence in her work, and fans are calling it out on social media.  

TikTok creator @TooMeanToBean pointed out that Swift’s music video for “Wildest Dreams” encompasses that vintage Hollywood aesthetic that Del Rey is known for.


“Taylor always bites but she never eats” Quote credit to commenter @ThisSumBull #ttpd #torturedpoetsdepartment #swifttok #lanadelrey

♬ original sound – TooMeanToBean

Meanwhile, fellow TikTok creator @risingappalachia pointed out that the monologue in Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” music video undoubtedly pulls reference from Del Rey’s iconic “Ride” monologue

Del Rey’s “Ride” monologue is full of that grunge, vintage American aesthetic defined by men on motorcycles and Del Rey pouring her heart out while professing her love to a man who probably plays bass in a struggling band while working at a waffle house during the day.

Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” monologue is a weak dupe of this, where she also incorporates a rough around the edges American vibe. I don’t blame Swift for trying to recreate the magic that the “Ride” monologueis , but there are just too many parallels and coincidences between Swift’s work and Del Rey’s. 

That’s not to say that Del Rey is a 100% original artist that doesn’t pull influence from other musicians. She’s actually the opposite. Del Rey is notorious for sprinkling references and paying homage to artists who have built the music industry into what it is today. Take “Doin’ Time” from Del Rey’s sixth studio album Norman F***ing Rockwell! That track isn’t a Del Rey original, it was released by the rock band Sublime.

Del Rey’s album Norman F***ing Rockwell! is even a callback to the American painter Norman Rockwell who was known for his paintings that captured pivotal moments in the United States’ culture. 

@TooMeanToBean cited that TTPD was Swift’s first time adding cultural references to her music, citing lyrics on the album like “You’re not Dylan Thomas, I’m not Patti Smith / This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel, we’re modern idiots” and “And I hope it’s sh*tty in The Black Dog / When someone plays ‘The Starting Line.’” 

Swift and Del Rey are two of the music industry’s greatest talents. I’m more keen on the raw, nostalgic Americana music that Del Rey makes, but that doesn’t mean Swift’s not a great artist in my eyes. It’s just ironic that Swift has been critical of other artists (*cough cough* Olivia Rodrigo) who have mimicked her sound when she’s been doing it to Lana Del Rey all along. 

McKinley Franklin is a writer and recent college graduate from East Carolina University. She was Her Campus' fall 2022 entertainment and culture intern and is a current national writer. McKinley specializes in entertainment coverage, though her favorite niche of the industry is reality television.