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Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

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Archives

‘The Tortured Poets Department’ may be the album of the year

The+Tortured+Poets+Department+may+be+the+album+of+the+year

Taylor Swift needs no introduction. The popstar recently released her eleventh studio album – The Tortured Poets Department – which features 31 unique, heart wrenching songs. The double album takes the listener on a variety of immersive experiences throughout the love and loss of Swift’s life. The Tortured Poets Department broke the record for global album streams on release day, with over 300 million listeners tuning in to hear Swift’s next articulate and vulnerable collection of songs. 

This album just seems to get better the more I listen to it. After each additional listen, I seem to pick up on new nuances I never heard previously. The album can be most accurately described as a seamless mixture between the pop-synth sound of Midnights and the melancholy-folk of evermore

As previously mentioned, this album features two distinct portions that create The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology. The ladder portion was a surprise release to fans, as Swift originally only released a tracklist of 16 titles. 

The halves are defined yet connected. The beginning portion features tracks like “Fortnight” and “Florida!!!” that make you want to get up and dance despite the bittersweet lyrics. Closer to the end of the album Swift dives back into the folk sound listeners became familiar with in folklore. “I Hate It Here” is whimsical, with a strong acoustic guitar backing and out-of-the-box lyrics. 

Swift is known for singing about her romantic relationships and although her music is not limited to this topic The Tortured Poets Department has its fair share of romance (or heartbreak) music. The global superstar explores not only her recent breakups but also her newfound love. The album features two different breakups in Swift’s life and her raw retelling of emotion and memories. 

Swift and long term boyfriend Joe Alwyn broke up in April 2023 and the album uncovers how this split affected Swift throughout the year. The most notable song about Alwyn has to be “So Long, London” a heartbreaking, gut wrenching break up song that feels grim and reflective. Throughout their relationship the singer spent a fair amount of time in the United Kingdom and even wrote upbeat songs like “London Boy” about her UK beau. Avid Taylor Swift fans know that Swift notoriously makes her most personal songs track five on albums. Alwyn takes the track five spot not only for the first portion of tracks but the second as well. Songs about Joe aren’t angry or vengeful – they’re just simply sad. “How Did It End?” is the second track five and isn’t happier. The agonizing portrayal of loss and falling apart is truly breathtaking. 

Additionally, Swift discusses another breakup in her album: this breakup being with The 1975 singer Matty Healy. Swift and Healy from the public eye only had a brief affair, but The Tortured Poets Department reveals that their fling had really been a 10 year off and on situation. While Alwyn gets solemn and tame songs, Taylor Swift does not spare Matty Healy the same courtesy. “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” is just crazy, with a bridge that rivals some of her career bests and certainly

In this busy era between albums Swift also found new love in Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce. The songs about Kelce are light and fresh, a strong change from the sad, reflective music of other tracks. Taylor Swift deserves some happiness after everything she went through on The Tortured Poets Department – and Kelce brings some relief from the sorrow. “So High School” is fun in a way that listeners haven’t truly seen since Lover. So long London and hello Kansas City. 

It may be too early to claim that The Tortured Poets Department is a cult classic, but Swift perfectly articulates the complex feelings of love, loss, and growth throughout her album.

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About the Contributor
Katherine Dale
Katherine Dale, Editor
Katherine Dale is a junior and she is thrilled to be Sports Editor on the Voice. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with family, and listening to music. On campus, Katherine is involved in Choir and UIL Academics. She has two black cats, Betty and Bonnie, that she loves dearly.

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