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A Look Into Taylor Swift’s Poetic Mastermind

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A Look Into Taylor Swift’s Poetic Mastermind


The Tortured Poets Department (Megaphone Version)

The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD)—you’ve probably heard it everywhere by now…Instagram reels, Tik Tok, your Swiftie suitemate singing it in the shared bathroom

What is all the fuss about? As your local, Megaphone-designated Swiftie, I will take you on a deep dive into Taylor Swift’s new album. Oh right, double album. That’s right, she decided to drop fifteen more songs at 2am after stunning us with the original sixteen (the double album is formally titled The Tortured Poets Department: the Anthology). 

In her surprise Instagram post, she said, “I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past two years and wanted to share it all with you.” During her record-breaking Eras Tour, Swift took it upon herself to keep doing what she loves the most: turning her storytelling into music. 

Taylor Swift is prolific

Let me put this into perspective for you: her tenth studio album titled Midnights was released October 21 2022, and the Eras Tour began only five months later, on March 15 2023. While on tour, she re-recorded and released Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) on July 7, 2023 AND 1989 (Taylor’s Version) on October 27, 2023. TTPD was released on April 19, 2024, not even two years after Midnights. That turnaround, along with performing her tour every weekend of the majority of 2023, is a massive feat in the music industry. Swift’s new album has even taken over the Billboard Top 100, with all top 10 songs being off of Swift’s new album at one point in time.

Swift’s collaborators

There are two legendary artists featured on the album: Post Malone and Florence and the Machine. The hit single features Post Malone, in the first track titled “Fortnight.” Florence and the Machine is featured in track eight titled “Florida!!!” Other than that, her only other collaborators on the album are Jack Antanoff and Aaron Dessner. Antanoff has produced with Swift since 1989, and Dessner joined their musical artistry in 2020 with the writing of COVID’s hit album folklore. On folklore, evermore, and Midnights, a third musical collaborator was involved, under the pseudonym of “William Bowery.” This mystery person is actually Joe Alwyn, Swift’s boyfriend at the time of writing those three albums. Bowery (Alwyn) is not featured in TTPD, as they broke up around the start of the Eras Tour. Therefore, all thirty-one songs are purely written by Swift, with the help of Antanoff and Dessner.

Megaphonians Ash Delias (left) and Zoe Hein (right) pose as tortured poets (journalists), photo and edit by Carolyn Bray

The theme of The Tortured Poets Department takes listeners on a journey through heartbreak and loss

 In an Instagram post, she called it “An anthology of new works that reflect events, opinions and sentiments from a fleeting moment in time – one that was both sensational and sorrowful in equal measure.” Her well-thought out words leave fans wondering about every detail and story behind each song, but she reminds us that “There is nothing to avenge, no scores to settle once wounds have healed.” Whether fortunate or unfortunate, many have taken to deciphering the meaning of and muses behind the album. 

Most speculate that the breakup songs are about Swift’s six year long relationship with Joe Alwyn or her ‘situationship’ with Matty Healy, the lead singer of the 1975. Amidst the sad breakup songs, there are two songs on the album about her current boyfriend, Travis Kelce, titled “The Alchemy” and “So High School.” Both have a playful tune and lighten the mood of the album, while still keeping the reflective theme. 

Given the common misconception about all of her songs revolving around exes and heartbreak, Swift proves these stereotypes wrong with a solid handful of songs being about other topics. Poetic masterpieces such as “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?,” “Clara Bow,” “I Hate It Here,” “thanK you aIMee,” “Peter,” and “Robin,” exist in between the retelling of heartbreak. 

“Clara Bow” is an important song for the future of the music industry—Swift apparently wrote this about pitting women against each other in the music industry. She describes the popular, early actress Clara Bow and the legendary singer Stevie Nicks, and how she has constantly been compared to them. The end of the song states: “You look like Taylor Swift / In this light we’re loving it / You’ve got edge she never did / The future’s bright, dazzling.” The release of this song calls out the unhealthy comparison between successful women, and actively puts an end to it.

Ash Delias (left) and Zoe Hein (right) try to do the “Anthology” cover pose, photo by Carolyn Bray

As previously mentioned, “Fortnight” is the lead single. This led to the filming of a music video, almost completely in black and white similar to the color scheme of the album. Many compared the album’s title to the title of the movie Dead Poets Society, so Swift hired Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles, actors that were in the 1989 (some sort of easter egg?) film to participate in a scene. 

The Tortured Poets Department is full of stories, poetry, and easter eggs—it is a journey for Swifties and non-Swifties alike. She told us, “All’s fair in love and poetry,” and wrote an entire album about it. However, Taylor Swift is nowhere near done. On May 9th, she picked up the Eras Tour again in Paris. She changed the setlist and outfits, but made sure to keep all of her glamor to make way for TTPD. She added seven songs from the album to the show, giving Paris a jaw dropping performance in a white dress that resembles that of the “Fortnight” music video. 

Make sure to stream the synth pop, two hour and two minute long album as we continue to fangirl over Taylor Swift, the Chairman of the Tortured Poets Department. (And enjoy the Megaphonians recreating TTPD’s album photos!)

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