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I Took a Trip to ‘The Tortured Poets Department’: Here Are My Thoughts

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 Pace chapter.

Feb. 4, 2024 at the annual Grammy awards, Taylor Swift announced her upcoming album, The Tortured Poets Department. The album was finally released on April 19. Swift’s latest work provokes an emotional connection through poetry in what she describes, in an Instagram post, as “An anthology of new works that reflect events, opinions, and sentiments from a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time.” It contains 16 songs with features from Post Malone and Florence + The Machine; although, Swift never does anything small and didn’t stop there. Just two hours after the original release, she proceeded to release an extended album, entitled The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, which contains an additional 15 songs. 

While various opinions circulate on Swift’s new release, I found the work to be a powerful reflection of her lyrical talent. Swift’s new album is no disappointment, it’s a beautiful collection of poetic melodies. For me, many of the songs have been on repeat since the release. First and foremost, I do prefer the original over the extended version. While there were songs in the anthology that I appreciated, I found that most of my favorite songs were straight from the original drop. That being said, my top five songs out of all thirty-one are as follows: “Fortnight” (feat. Post Malone), “Down Bad,” “But Daddy I Love Him,” “The Black Dog,” “The Alchemy.” I’ve heard many complain of her songs in this collection being too “wordy,” I thought it added a much deeper connection to each song. 

Additionally, as it’s an attempt to meld poetry and songwriting, I thought this aspect of the album was perfect and fitting to Swift’s sound. This album resonated with a prior album of Swift’s released in 2020, folklore, as both possessed strong storytelling elements. Also similar to folklore, the new release contains a wide variety of different names and character-centered songs, which is a classic of Swift’s that I find adds a lot of substance and relatability in her writing. While similar elements play through Swift’s songwriting and music through time, she continues to experiment with sounds and genres, and The Tortured Poets Department reflects a combination of pop and folk sounds. Something musically challenging that Swift does impeccably is writing songs with lots of lyrics and extensive language that are still easy to sing along to. While I wouldn’t consider this to be her best album yet, I’ve found it to be catchy, relatable, and overall very entertaining.

I enjoyed The Tortured Poets Department and found that it was a great reflection of Swift’s talent. I, along with all Swifties, appreciate her effort to continue producing new material while also surprising us here and there. This album will provoke laughs, cries, and smiles, as Swift connects to her fanbase and tells a variety of stories. Taylor Swift never fails to expand and try new sounds, which continues to keep fans interested and excited for the next drop.

Brynn Theurer is a sophomore at Pace University, with this also being her second year in the Her Campus chapter. She enjoys contributing to the club by writing articles about different topics, ranging from activities to do around the city to entertainment, including new music and books. Aside from publishing articles for Her Campus, Brynn is currently a sophomore majoring in English, Language, and Literature with a minor in Journalism and Digital Storytelling. She enjoys contributing to HerCampus as it helps prepare her for her desired career of journalism. In her free time, Brynn enjoys surrounding herself with friends and family, going to the gym, and reading new books. She is a music fanatic and is almost always watching “Friends” when given the chance. She also enjoys the occasional shopping spree, and of course she enjoys writing whenever able. A fun fact about Brynn is that she currently has seventeen tattoos and twelve piercings, and plans to get more throughout her life.