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The Tortured Poets Department Follow-up

The Tortured Poets Department Follow-up

     On April 19th, Taylor Swift released The Tortured Poets Department album, as well as The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, which contained 15 unexpected additional songs. 

     In my previous story, I speculated about her new album. I predicted that the different versions of the album represented the five stages of grief. This theory was correct and was verified by Taylor. She also released a playlist categorizing her old songs into these stages, which opens up a lot of new interpretations of songs, especially the song “Lover,” which she put in the stage of denial. This song was believed to be about being absolutely in love, which the singer now dismisses. 

     Although many songs were about Joe Alwyn, as speculated, many of them are rumored to be about her short fling with The 1975 singer, Matty Healy. The title track, The Tortured Poets Department, features the lyrics, “You left your typewriter at my apartment, straight from the Tortured Poets Department.” These can be traced back to photos of Matty leaving Taylor’s apartment with a very large bag, that some say might contain a typewriter. 

      Previously, I speculated that this song would be about Joe, as he had a group chat titled, “The Tortured Man Club,” but my opinion is swayed given recent speculations. Other lyrics that suggest that this song is not about Joe are, “You smoked then ate seven bars of chocolate,” and, “Like a tattooed golden retriever.” In a GQ interview, Joe stated that he is, “Not really a smoker.” He also does not have any visible tattoos, which can be inferred that he doesn’t. 

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     Unexpectedly, she released two songs that appear to be about Travis Kelce. The song “So High School,” has football references throughout, such as, “You know how to ball, I know Aristotle.” The song “The Alchemy,” also has football references in it. Taylor has not dated any other athletes, which is why these songs are rumored to be about Kelce. 

     Swift’s songs about Joe did not disappoint. “So Long, London,” although not 9 minutes long, as previously anticipated, was very clearly about Joe. The song features lyrics about heartbreak and learning how to give up the relationship. Although there is not much evidence about the relation to Joe in the song, the title alone can support this idea. The song “London Boy” from the Lover album was written about Joe as well. The song “So Long, London” can be seen as a “spin-off” of “London Boy.” Another song that can be linked back to Joe is “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” In the song, Taylor says, “You don’t get to tell me about sad.” There is a video surfacing on TikTok of Joe and Taylor in a restaurant with an audio clip where you can hear the words, “Sad? You don’t get to tell me about sad.” Some people have been claiming that this video is fake, although there is no evidence to confirm or deny its authenticity. In this song, she says, “Is it a wonder I broke? Let’s hear one more joke,” except she waits an extended period of time before saying the “k,” making it sound like “Joe.” Whether this was intentional or not, it has raised some suspicions. 

     The genres of music on the album range from minimalistic synth-pop to folk-pop, with some selections with rock and country stylings. People on TikTok have expressed their dislike for the genre of the album. Lowellville junior Kenna Beeson shares a similar opinion stating, “I was a bit underwhelmed with the synth-pop sound.” However, after listening to the album again, she has grown to enjoy it. 

     Another common opinion about that album is that a lot of the songs sound the same/have a similar vibe. Junior Joslyn DelSignore shares, “When I first listened, I didn’t love it because I found the songs a bit repetitive, but the more I listened, the more I liked it.” 

     Both Kenna and Joslyn agree that it is not her best work, but not the worst either. They would have loved a bit more variation within the album. 

     There were some standout songs from the album that they mutually agreed on, including, “The Manuscript” and “So Long, London.” Kenna would have loved more songs that had a similar vibe to Swift’s previous albums Folklore and Evermore. Joslyn stated that the album was what she expected, however, some of the meanings behind the songs shocked her.

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