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Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” Is Out and I’m Raving

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 SJSU chapter.

Back in early 2015, I was just a fifth-grader when a friend introduced me to the musical genius of Taylor Swift. Little did I know that nearly eight years later, I would be eagerly anticipating her eleventh album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” which was set to release on Apple Music and Spotify last Friday at 12 AM EST. 

Based on the “five stages of grief” by psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Swift plays the storyteller and main character in her experiences with lost love, vulnerability, and healing. Many Swifties have rumored that this album is based on two subjects of previous romances: Joe Alwyn and Matty Healy. After a six-year-long romance, Taylor and Joe parted ways in April 2023, not long before the beginning of Taylor’s highly acclaimed Eras Tour. Shortly after, Taylor dated Matty Healy after reports that the two were holding hands in public. However, their relationship never lasted, as they broke up just a few months later. For this reason, speculation has circulated that TTPD, as fans and media refer to the album, is aimed at either or both Joe and Matty.

Having loved Taylor Swift, I came into this album with high expectations. I had previously been blown away by some of her big hits, such as “Anti-Hero,” “Lavender Haze,” and, of course, her re-recorded 1989 album. Here’s my honest take.

As I expected, Taylor amazed me again. The raw depth of storytelling through songwriting and music feels genuine, like we are sensing or going through her pain. Whether that’s the melancholic departure chorus of “So Long, London,” the irony and denial in “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can),” or the powerful vulnerability in “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.” The songs each went through different stages of grief, like we were reading a line that can be enjoyed in a novel, a poem, and other forms of expressive writing.

However, I did have two criticisms with the album and this is just my opinion. As a listener, the fact that this album is actually split into two separate albums already is an issue. According to records, the entire album runtime is one hour and five minutes with thirty one tracks if you count in the anthology; that already gives a lot of time to listen to. Another one I had was with the lack of novelty in Taylor’s songwriting. As a fan and listener, I was a bit deflated by the return to breakup albums. Some of Taylor’s previously acclaimed albums, like folklore, evermore, and even her one true breakup album, Red, were fresh and had been full of new and groundbreaking ideas, both musically and lyrically.

While TTPD is not nearly as head-bobbing as her previous album, Midnights, this newest tracklist’s relatability and emotional aspect are barely enough to compensate for its lengthier runtime and lack of novelty in the album itself. Overall, I would give this album a rating of 4 stars, which is great but definitely not my number one.
If you’ve listened to the new album, what are your thoughts? Let us know @HerCampusSJSU.

Hajimemashite! My name is Esther and I am a first year student at San Jose State University majoring in Linguistics. Before I applied for Her Campus in Fall 2023, I had a background in writing with Courageous Communications, a tutoring program for K-12 students that promotes writing and public speaking skills. Since then, I have become passionate about writing as a hobby and a creative art. In my free time, I love to journal, hang out with friends, buy boba, and learn languages. I am also an anime fan and love to tell about my opinions about my favorite shows and movies.