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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

After receiving her thirteenth Grammy, Taylor Swift shook the world by announcing the upcoming release of her eleventh studio-album titled, “The Tortured Poets Department.” In an Instagram post following the reveal, she wrote: “All’s fair in love and poetry.” Many Swifties, including yours truly, are absolutely buzzing from this news. If you’re on social media, I’m sure you’ve run into a handful of conspiracy theories held together by “invisible string.” As we wait for April 19th to arrive, let’s take a look back at some songwriting highlights from the pen of “The Chairman” herself:

1. ivy

“I wish to know

The fatal flaw that makes you long to be

Magnificently cursed.”

“ivy” is the crown jewel of Swift’s ninth album, “evermore.” It weaves a story of a married woman having an affair and becoming hopelessly intertwined with a forbidden lover. The imagery and transcendent sound of this song transports the listener to a misty, moss-covered forest. The lyrics create a fascinating narrative that unfolds right before your eyes, while its tone emanates a sense of vulnerability and wistfulness. To me, “ivy” perhaps stands as the pinnacle of Swift’s songwriting prowess.

2. hoax

“Stood on the cliffside screaming, “Give me a reason”

Your faithless love’s the only hoax I believe in.”

As the last track of “folklore,” “hoax” delivers a devastating final blow to the listener. If this was a list of Swift’s saddest songs, “hoax” would certainly sit at the very top. “hoax” unveils a scene laden with despair and anguish. It’s centered around a destructive relationship that Swift can’t quite seem to untangle herself from. The bridge of “hoax” delves further into the inflicted wound, as Swift sings: “You know I left a part of me back in New York / You knew the hero died so what’s the movie for? / You knew it still hurts underneath my scars / From when they pulled me apart.” “hoax” is, without a doubt, my go-to Taylor Swift song when I need a quick cry. The brilliant imagery and lyricism of this song sets it as a gold-standard of Swift’s songwriting ability.

3. All Too Well (10-Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)

“And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue?

Just between us, did the love affair maim you too?”

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” captured the hearts of fans immediately upon its release in November 2021. It has become the go-to example of Swift’s lyrical genius. What’s so fascinating about this song is that it sustains an eloquent, thought-provoking narrative throughout the entirety of its duration. Swift takes the listener on a rollercoaster of emotions as she recounts a painful relationship. The lyricism of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” contributes to its overall intensity. This song has consistently left me in a trance of passionate awe whenever I put it on. You can feel Swift’s heartache as if it were your own.

4. happiness

When did all our lessons start to look like weapons

Pointed at my deepest hurt?

I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool

Who takes my spot next to you”

With a reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s renowned novel “The Great Gatsby,” “happiness” is a masterwork that radiates literary quality. This is certainly one of Swift’s more underrated tracks, but that doesn’t deter from its lyrical genius. In all of its glorious irony, the song’s title could not be further from its actual tone. Through Swift’s skillful imagery, “happiness” laments a torn relationship that has ultimately run its course. She reflects on the pain of reducing a once-meaningful relationship to material goods that they are dividing. Under its depressing surface, though, “happiness” does emanate a sense of hope for the future.

5. Death By A Thousand Cuts

“Our songs, our films, united we stand

Our country, guess it was a lawless land

Quiet my fears with the touch of your hand

Paper cut stings from our paper-thin plans”

“Death By A Thousand Cuts” is a hidden delight within Swift’s seventh album, “Lover.” I’ve screamed this song in the shower more times than I can count. I’m utterly mesmerized by the bridge of “Death By A Thousand Cuts” every. Single. Time. As soon as I hear, “My heart, my hips, my body, my love,” it’s as though I’m possessed by Swift herself. Her clever lyricism depicts the painful state of reminiscence one finds themselves in after a hefty breakup. The strength of Taylor’s imagery here lies in its ability to communicate how meaningful this relationship was and why that makes its absence sting even more. (Author’s Note: “Death By A Thousand Cuts” might very well be my favorite TS track ever.)

6. State Of Grace (Taylor’s Version)

“And I’ll never (So you were never a saint)

(And I’ve loved in shades of wrong)

Be the same (We learn to live with the pain)

(Mosaic broken hearts)”

“State Of Grace (Taylor’s Version)” serves as the spirited opener of Swift’s phenomenal fourth studio album, “Red.” It perfectly encapsulates the excitement and tumultuous nature of one’s youth. “State Of Grace (Taylor’s Version)” is the perfect coming-of-age story. It showcases how love can simultaneously be daunting and electrifying. The lyrics flow like poetry, leaving the listener totally enraptured in Swift’s vision of a relationship’s rousing promise.

7. seven

“Your braids like a pattern

Love you to the moon and to Saturn

Passed down like folk songs

The love lasts so long”

“seven” is a triumph in storytelling. This track from “folklore” utilizes its grand imagery to paint a stunning portrait of youthful innocence. With a nostalgic lyricism, Swift recounts the purity of a childhood friendship. The pair’s love for one another allows her old friend to metaphorically “escape” from a poor home situation. What’s so beautiful about “seven” is that it captures the longevity of human connection through memory as well as the importance of “love.” Swift’s delicate voice combined with the song’s incredible narrative has made this track a fan-favorite.

8. coney island (ft. The National)

“And do you miss the rogue

Who coaxed you into paradise and left you there?”

“coney island” is utter poetry from start to beginning. Swift’s voice pairs beautifully with The National to create one of her most devastating songs yet. “coney island” captures the pain of a past relationship as it filters through painful memories. Its mention of nostalgic imagery such as “the mall before the internet” and “arcade ring” evokes a melancholic reminiscence within the listener. “coney island” serves as a point of finality for Swift’s oft-utilized “New York” metaphor. It’s a stark contrast from the 1989-track, “Welcome To New York,” where she sings: “The lights are so bright, but they never blind me.” The hope and excitement of that song is a stark contrast to the grim parallel that “coney island” alludes to: “The fast times, the bright lights, the merry go… / Over and over / Lost again with no surprises / Disappointments, close your eyes.”

9. my tears ricochet

“I didn’t have it in myself to go with grace

‘Cause when I’d fight, you used to tell me I was brave”

In Swift’s own words, this song is about an “embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of obsession.” A line can also be drawn between the song’s narrative and Swift’s master debacle. “my tears ricochet” is a soul-stirring track that delivers some of Swift’s most painful lyrics yet. Her penmanship allows the listener to become wholly immersed in a tale of greed and betrayal. The intensity of Swift’s emotions is so palpable that it’s impossible not to be moved by this track. For years to come, I am positive that people will discuss the brilliance of “my tears ricochet.”

10. evermore (ft. Bon Iver)

“I replay my footsteps on each stepping stone

Trying to find the one where I went wrong.”

“evermore (ft. Bon Iver)” serves as one of Swift’s most poignant closing tracks yet. In terms of songwriting, the lyrics within this song evoke such a harrowing sense of regret and loss. It’s a flawless summation of the themes within Swift’s ninth album, “evermore.” Bon Iver’s voice pairs perfectly with the song’s sullen tone. “evermore (ft. Bon Iver)” is a narrative masterpiece as well. Though the listener begins with a sense of dejection and despair, Swift concludes with a powerful sentiment: “And I couldn’t be sure / I had a feeling so peculiar / This pain wouldn’t be for / Evermore.”

Taylor Swift’s phenomenal songwriting ability is where the heart of her appeal lies. The way in which she channels her deepest vulnerabilities and crafts them into superb narratives is absolutely bewitching. I have no doubt that songs from “The Tortured Poets Department” will soon occupy this list as well.

Aytek is a freshman journalism major at the University of Florida. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in newsmagazine writing. When she isn't penning articles, Aytek could talk your ear off about her favorite television shows, movies, albums, and books. She has an interest in analyzing media and providing cultural commentary. Aytek also enjoys visiting book stores, art museums, record stores, and coffee shops.