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The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School

Clarion

The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School

Clarion

“But Daddy, I love TTPD!” A Review

Taylor Swifts 11th album cover, THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT: THE ANTHOLOGY.
Clarion photo Photo from Spotify
Taylor Swift’s 11th album cover, “THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT: THE ANTHOLOGY.”

On Friday, April 19, Taylor Swift released her 11th studio album, “THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT,” which was followed two hours later by “THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT: THE ANTHOLOGY.” Swift announced the album at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 4. While many fans were anticipating another re-recording of one of her previously released albums, particularly “Reputation” (Taylor’s Version), she shocked many by announcing the release of an entirely new album.

“THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT” was written while Swift was on The Eras Tour. It was branded as her “lifeline” album, a culmination of her imperative songwriting and poetic lyricism, hence the name. The album falls into the synth and folk-pop genres, a result of her collaboration with producers Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff. Swift’s eighth and ninth studio albums, “Folklore and Evermore” were heavily influenced by Dessner’s production style, and fell more into the “folk-country” genre, while Antonoff has helped produce Swift’s more “pop” genre albums, such as “Reputation,” “Lover,” and “Midnights.” Fans anticipated THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT to be closer to the Folklore/Evermore genre because it was predicted to be heavily based on Swift’s complex and imaginative lyricism. We were given an album that combined Swift’s folk and pop sides while presenting us with intimate lyrics that speak to many fans.

The double release of TTPD and TTPD: The Anthology was yet another shock to fans, however not out of character for Swift, as she has a reputation for her surprises. The album featured two artists whom Swift had never worked with before, Post Malone and Florence + The Machine. While these collaborations seemed unexpected to many fans, Swift has yet again proved her versatility as both songs, (“Fortnight” and “Florida!!!”), have been some of the fan favorites. In terms of our favorites, we have loved “The Black Dog,” “loml,” “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” “So Long, London,” “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” “Guilty As Sin?,” and “imgonnagetyouback.” These songs have highlighted Swift’s reliably descriptive and incomparable lyrics, combined with newer musical aspects.

The Tortured Poets Department has an overall good mix of happy and sad endings as well. “So High School,” “The Alchemy,” and “But Daddy I Love Him” all reflect Swift’s feelings about her current relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce. These songs have a very “young love” feel and are reflective of Swift’s relationship status. However, per usual, there are a plethora of very sad and reflective songs on this album. “So Long London,” “loml,” “The Manuscript,” and “How Did It End” are only a few of the real tearjerkers on this album. Fans speculate that these songs reflect Swift’s feelings about her breakup with boyfriend of six years, Joe Alwyn. These songs all include lyrics that speak to those in the throes of a breakup and are perfect if you’re looking for a good cry. Lyrics like “my friends said it isn’t right to be scared / every day of a love affair / every breath feels like rarest air / when you’re not sure if he wants to be there,” showcase Swift’s intense and heartbreaking lyricism. “So Long, London” is said to be an ode to Alwyn, since he is from the United Kingdom and the couple spent a lot of time in the city.
Although TTPD had many highlights, there were some aspects that left fans asking questions. The double release, in particular, was a topic of debate. Thirty one songs is very long for an entire album, and many fans feel that the album felt messy and rushed. We agree that some songs could have been cut and the album could have been made slightly easier to digest. Some of our “cuts” are “Clara Bow,” “Fresh Out The Slammer,” “I Look In People’s Windows,” “Cassandra,” “thanK you aIMee,” and “Robin.” We believe that these songs don’t add much to the album in terms of the story that Swift is trying to convey.

Lyrics such as “You smoked then ate seven bars of chocolate / We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist” left fans confused, and lyrics like this felt forced. Fans had the same problem with some of Swift’s lyrics on “Midnights.” Swift’s fanbase is primarily Gen-Z and these kinds of lyrics rub fans the wrong way because they find them “cringe” and “millennial.” In addition to this, several of the songs on the album are allegedly about Swift’s fling with the 1975 singer, Matty Healy. Healy is known for making various questionable comments, and fans already felt controversial about the relationship. Because of this, these songs felt difficult for listeners to digest.

The album also lacks relatability. Swift is trapped in narratives she has about herself. For example, in “thanK you aIMee” she sings about her experiences with Kim Kardashian surrounding her scandal with rapper, Kanye West. The capital letters in the song even spell out “KIM.” The lyric “And one day, your kid comes home singing a song that only us two is gonna know is about you,” is very unrelatable to fans. It feels like Swift continues to reinvent herself as a victim and the people are tired of it. Another example of this is Track 10 (“Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”), a song that is reminiscent of “Midnights’” track “Anti-Hero.” On this track, Swift sings, “Don’t you worry folks, We took out all her teeth, Who’s afraid of little old me?!” In all honesty, no one is afraid of Taylor Swift except for environmental activists.

THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT was a rollercoaster of emotions for both Swift and fans. Overall, the album stays true to Swift’s signature artistic style and gives fans another collection of songs that tell the same poignant and heart-wrenching stories of love, loss, and making peace with yourself. Swift has always encouraged fans to be reflective through her music, as many of her songs are so applicable to fans’ lives. THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT served fans the sad and sorrowful music that they wanted along with some upbeat and dance-worthy bangers, proving yet again that Taylor Swift is the most versatile artist of our generation.

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About the Contributors
Lily Bunga-Stevens
Lily Bunga-Stevens, News Reporter
My name is Lily Bunga-Stevens and I’m a junior at Cleveland. This is my first year on the Clarion as a news reporter. I enjoy playing guitar, reading, and spending time with family and friends when I’m not writing content for the Clarion!
Kaya Otto, Student Life Reporter
My name is Kaya, and I'm a Junior at Cleveland. This is my first year on the Clarion, but my second year in journalism. I'm a reporter for the Student Life section.
Lloy Bartolotti
Lloy Bartolotti, Student Life Reporter
Hi! I am Lloy Bartolotti and I am Junior at Cleveland. This is my second year writing for the Clarion. My favorite sport is soccer and I enjoy hiking.

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