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Taylor Swift Drops Emotional Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

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The Tortured Poets Department has arrived! 

After months of anticipation, Taylor Swift dropped her 11th studio album on Friday at midnight on the East Coast. The full-length album marks Swift’s first new material since she released the GRAMMY-winning Midnights in 2022.

Swift announced the new album’s release with a philosophical and contemplative post to X (formerly Twitter) that addressed the themes of the album — including breakups, self-reflection and healing.

The Tortured Poets Department. An anthology of new works that reflect events, opinions and sentiments from a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time — one that was both sensational and sorrowful in equal measure,” Swift wrote. “This period of the author’s life is now over, the chapter closed and boarded up. There is nothing to avenge, no scores to settle once wounds have healed. And upon further reflection, a good number of them turned out to be self-inflicted.”

“This writer is of the firm belief that our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page. Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it,” she continued. “And then all that’s left behind is the tortured poetry.”

Within minutes of the release, fans began to realize just how emotional the new album truly is. The tracks deal with the nuances and pain of heartbreak, failed romances, the pain of seeing your dreams for the future radically change, and eventually healing and mending emotional and psychological wounds.

See some of the most heartbreaking lyrics below, from tracks including “So Long, London,” “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” “loml,’ “Down Bad” and “But Daddy I Love Him.”

Swift first announced the news of Tortured Poets onstage at the GRAMMYs while accepting her 13th trophy from the Recording Academy in February. At the time, Swift teased that the project had been in the works for two years. Then, during an Eras Tour stop in Tokyo, Japan, Swift further elaborated on the timeline.

“I’ve been working on Tortured Poets since right after I turned in Midnights,” she told the audience, clarifying that albums are submitted “months in advance” so they can be finalized. 

Midnights was released in October 2022. Since then, the star has also also notably released two rerecorded albumsSpeak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

“I’ve been working on it for about two years,” she confirmed of Tortured Poets. “I kept working on it throughout the U.S. tour and when it was perfect, in my opinion, when it was good enough for you, I finished it.” 

Taylor Swift attends the 2024 GRAMMY Awards. – Getty/Neilson Barbard

In an unconventional move, Swift opted not to put out any singles ahead of Tortured Poets‘ official release. She did, however, share the full track list, bonus track titles, and multiple album covers ahead of time. 

As for the subject matter, Tortured Poets was widely anticipated to be a breakup album about Swift’s split from her longtime love, Joe Alwyn. It was in April 2023 that ET broke the news that Swift and her boyfriend of six years had called it quits. At the time, a source said the split was amicable and “was not dramatic.” ET was also told “the relationship had just run its course.”

Then, in November, Swift’s close collaborator Jack Antonoff let slip a messy new detail. Offering a digital breadcrumb for sleuthing Swifties, the producer revealed that he and Swift had written and recorded her song about a dying relationship, “You’re Losing Me,” on Dec. 5, 2021. 

Though Swift herself rarely confirms who her songs are about, her album title appears to be a reference to an interview Alwyn gave an interview to Variety in late 2022 when he revealed that he was in a group chat called “the Tortured Man Club.”  The track “So Long, London” also caught many eyes, with Swifties wondering if it might also be a reference to Alwyn, who is English.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce attend Coachella. – Gilbert Flores/WWD via Getty Images

Today, Swift is in a relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Just last weekend, the couple put their love on display while attending the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival. In social media videos posted from the event, Swift and Kelce were seen happily embracing, dancing and even making out while enjoying the festivities. 

“Taylor and Travis were so excited to go to Coachella together,” a source told ET this week. “They wanted to be there to support their friends and just have fun. They had the best time at the festival and were in their own world even though so many people were around them. They are very in love and in sync in so many aspects of their lives, and it’s very sweet to see.”

Another source added, “The two are continuing to explore their relationship by supporting each other’s endeavors and doing what every other couple does, and that’s go on dates. This is one of many adventures yet to come for the duo.”

For his part, Kelce is gearing up to host his second annual Kelce Jam, presented by Jim Beam. The festival goes down May 18 at Azura Amphitheater in Kansas City. Some of this year’s featured artists include like Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz and Diplo.

“It’s definitely been fun to experience her taste in music, for sure,” Kelce recently said of Swift in an interview with ET. “She’s so amazing at what she does. And to find that creativity to see where she likes to pull things from and just, really, how she listens to music is very eye-opening for me. It’s been fun to hear her take on it.”

The Tortured Poets Department is out now.

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