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The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Torturously Good: Taylor Swift’s Eleventh Album Surpasses Expectations

Katie Ring
Taylor Swift’s eleventh studio album, ‘The Tortured Poet’s Department’, was released in the middle of April. The album encompassed heartbreak and burnout, and was met with much excitement from fans.

Taylor Swift has mastered the art of music. Dabbling in genres ranging from country to pop to synth, she’s broken records and topped the charts for years. When she announced the release of her eleventh studio album The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD) at the 2024 Grammys, fans immediately started making merch and guessing what the songs would be about. Swift built excitement by announcing bonus tracks and leaving mysterious hints, but TTPD was sadder than anyone anticipated.

On April 19, at midnight, the album was released to much excitement. Swifties had previously guessed that TTPD would be a breakup album based on her romance of six years with British actor Joe Alwyn, but as the album was further listened to, fans were blown away. Not only was the album more lyrically focused than expected, it also included songs about Matty Healy, a whirlwind love of Swift’s for only two weeks, and Travis Kelce, Swift’s current boyfriend and professional football player. In addition to the romantically inclined tracks, Swift includes songs about the pressures of being in the spotlight.

As Swifties listened through the album, they got a view into Swift’s life and mentality through her tales of heartbreak and exhaustion. Her lyrics mention failed relationships, and talk of rings and cradles but eventually being forced to run away from commitment.

Although the majority of the songs in TTPD are slow and melancholic, there are also some fast-paced songs like But Daddy I Love Him and The Alchemy. Both songs are rumored to be about Swift’s current beau, Travis Kelce. She also included what might be her saddest song yet, I Can Do It With A Broken Heart. Although the song itself is upbeat and fun, the lyrics tell a tale of being forced to put on a show through heartbreak. Many Swifties were able to relate, leading to the song’s quick rise to the top of the charts.

While fans were processing the album after its release, they noticed a mysterious countdown on Swift’s Instagram set to go off at 2 a.m. Once the countdown ran out, Swift dropped The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, an additional 15 songs that Swift had kept secret for months. Swifties were quick to point out the differences between the two albums, with The Anthology being much sadder and more lyrical. The Anthology tells more fictional tales and, references classic stories like Peter Pan and the myth of Cassandra and Apollo.

Swift is known for her impressive musicality, but this album lacks that element. The majority of the songs have a slower, sadder feel to them, which can greatly impact the listening experience. Many fans enjoy Swift’s faster songs like Cruel Summer and Hits Different, and while slow songs are appreciated, there’s rarely an album full of them. When there is, it’s often not accepted as well. Swift’s sister albums Folklore and Evermore both have a softer feel to them, but they’re much shorter and have slow songs with hopeful lyrics. TTPD’s two-hour playtime makes it hard to enjoy for long durations without becoming sad. However, what the album lacks in musicality it makes up for in lyricism, painting beautiful images of sorrow and tragedy.

Swift ends the album with a soft song called The Manuscript, in which Swift looks back at her past relationships and realizes that the pain she endured during those relationships had put her where she is today. She accepts the pain and gives the story to her fans, coming to terms with the fact that it isn’t solely hers anymore. Swift has gone through so much in her life, from growing up in Pennsylvania to becoming one of the best-known musicians in the world, she released 11 albums all while going through break-ups and relationships. She’s given everything she has to her fans, and TTPD is her accepting that her pain doesn’t have to be something she deals with alone.

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About the Contributor
Katie Ring
Katie Ring, Reporter
Class of 2026 Hi! I'm super excited to be on Student Press this year, and I look forward to working with everyone. In my free time, I like reading, listening to music, hiking, theatre, and being with my friends.

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    Emmanuelle VolfsonMay 20, 2024 at 9:42 am

    This is a somewhat unnecessary article about Taylor Swift’s newest album and people could have researched this on their own. So it’s a bit unnecessary but it was still written in a nice and neat way.