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It’s Not “Too Much Taylor,” It’s Too Much Discourse: Reflections on TTPD

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mt Holyoke chapter.

Picture this: It’s 10:00 p.m. on the night of Thursday, April 18th. Writers are mingling, Bananagrams are clattering on the table, and the atmosphere is alive with anticipation. It’s Taylor Swift release night, and everyone’s extremely excited. This is a new tradition in my college’s writing club; we throw a listening party for each new Taylor Swift release (and re-release). The Tortured Poet’s Department was a perfect album to listen to with a bunch of nerdy writers at a liberal arts college; who else would sit there quietly enough to hear every delicately crafted metaphor and simile?

11:00 p.m. One hour left. The carefully curated countdown playlist is cranked up, and people are up on their feet, dancing to Chappell Roan’s “HOT TO GO!” We exchange last-minute theories, knowing that this is the last hour before chaos breaks loose.

After we counted down the last 10 seconds until the album was out, my fingers were poised over the play button in Spotify, ready to immediately hit play. After the melancholic, synthy first notes of “Fortnight” hit, I knew that we were in for a treat. As the album played, people exchanged shocked, silent smiles and gasps at some of Swift’s nuttier, more unhinged lyrics. Some highlights include: 

“I wanna kill her” (Fortnight)

“I’m so depressed, I act like it’s my birthday!” (I Can Do It With A Broken Heart)

“You look like Taylor Swift” (Clara Bow)

Even as I listened the first time over, I knew that this wasn’t the album wasn’t for everyone (especially people just dipping their toes into the Swiftverse). This album also grew on me, and the more I listened to it and properly digested the lyrics, the more I loved it. 

When the articles criticizing the album were published (alarmingly quickly), some expressed that they were getting “tired” of Swift. I can’t help but wonder if they listened to the album and fully heard what she was saying. Swift seems to be expressing her frustration with her audience, screaming for them to see her wounds, and to see the double standards that the industry puts on women. After the record-breaking success of The Eras Tour, the message that Swift was getting from people was that they wanted more from her. After each re-release of her older albums, fans immediately speculate about which one will be next. Her extreme productivity was praised, and people seemed to admire her for it. 

However, after each bout of over-exposure of Swift, the pendulum swings the other way, toward hatred. She’s productive, but is she too productive? Is she too ambitious? Too smart? I truly would love for people to really think hard about what they say about her publicly. It must be frustrating to be the public’s darling in one second and their nuisance the next. I also don’t think that she should be expected to “outdo” herself with every album. That’s neither a realistic nor a sustainable model for producing art. My wish for Taylor is that she will be able to write what she wants, with who she wants, and about what she wants. 

Other articles focused more on the salacious “gossip” that the album seemingly provided. Swift has also expressed frustration in the past with people “paternity testing” her album instead of just enjoying the music (see: Reputation album prologue). People try so hard to figure out the narrative of Taylor’s personal life through vague hints and references in her songs, but I am of the opinion that we just have to be okay with never knowing. If Taylor wanted us to know every detail about her dating history, we would. 

All this to say, it’s okay to dislike the album. However, people seem to be confusing their personal criticisms of Taylor with her music. Celebrities are fascinating because of their hyper-visible yet mysterious presences, but the more and more the public projects their own narratives and agendas onto Taylor Swift (the human, not the brand) the more and more she will start to pull away from her fans.

Eva Hanson

Mt Holyoke '26

Eva is a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, double-majoring in English and Sociology with a Nexus in Journalism, Media, and Public Discourse. She grew up in Seattle, Washington and now lives in Massachusetts for most of the year. She mostly writes about music, books, TV shows, and feminism. You can often find her curled up with a book (and maybe a cat, too!)