Taylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Department

I really feel like this album deserves a warmer reception than Midnights, I’m not going to make any bold statements about where this falls in her discography after less than 24 hours but it undeniably has more variety than it’s predecessor (well the standard version at least) and even the more Midnights-esque tracks that are here have a slightly fuller production.
 

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Well describe the sound for us!! What’s happening after the first four midnight 2.0 cast-offs?
I started to try and describe it, but I think @Euphoria described it best.
The first 4 songs could have been pulled directly from Midnights, then she goes on an escapist, hint-of-country altpop journey in tracks 6-9, and then the album just goes haywire stylistically from tracks 10-16.
 
Who's Afraid of Little Old Me? is the only track where I actively thought "Hmm, probably don't ever need to hear this again". The title track is also pretty rough, but otherwise, it ranges from good to great. It's certainly not a bad album, just not one of her best.
 
Wooooow okay. Listened to the album last night, am currently on my third listen. And my thoughts are...
This is a much more satisfying and exciting listen than the standard edition of Midnights. Yes, the first few songs are a familiar sound from her but even they feel meatier, and more satisfying to hear, at least to me. The sonic exploration from But Daddy I Love Him on is sooooo exciting to hear. I don't understand any of the comments about the whole album being a Midnights retread or being samey or anything, because most of those songs don't sound like anything else on the album. Honestly, I was consistently overwhelmed throughout my first listen and it was just really nice to hear. I personally don't think there's a bad song on here, and since it's the biggest target, the title track as a whole is great. I agree with @boom bazooka joe about  that lyric being more endearing than anything, and I think if she used a different name, people wouldn't be nearly as upset about it. Overall, I think the writing on the album is a strong as it always is on her albums. Yeah, there are a couple lyrics that are clunky, but nothing as bad as her worst (ME! continues to be her worst song and any revisionism otherwise is CRAZY to me) and that doesn't mean she isn't still extremely talented at what she does. There's a lot to digest here and I'm excited to consume and learn it all. But overall I genuinely think this is a really great album.

I get the sense that she's at a point where a lot of people won't ever really be satisfied with what she does musically. The practical begging for her to "branch out, do something different!!!" when...she did that already. folklore and evermore were her branching out and doing something different musically and it obviously paid off considering how deservedly loved those albums are, but my God she doesn't need to do something different with every single album. And those weren't even the first time she did something different! 1989 and reputation were both very different for her musically, and Red explored sounds she hadn't touched on before too. And Midnights (which overall I agree is a very safe and standard pop album) and this (i.e., the two actually new albums she's released since evermore) do have songs that are different for her musically. Nothing in her discography really sounds like You're On Your Own, Kid, Midnight Rain, The Great War or Glitch and But Daddy I Love Him, Guilty As Sin?, Who's Afraid... and I Can Do It For example are all new for her too. They might have similarities to previous sounds, but they expand on them and feel fresh.
And that's not even taking the Vault Songs into account! While most largely fit the soundscape of their respective albums, I Can See You, Forever Winter and the Taylor's Version of Girl At Home sound like nothing else in her vast discography.
So it's just frustrating that there's always this conversation about "Oh she needs to change things up, she needs to work with different people, etc.", when she did that pretty consistently from Red through folklore, with Lover being the exception to that but even that had production work from people that she hadn't worked with before. Newsflash, but women in music don't need to change their sound with every release and reinvent the wheel. It just feels like that's where the motivation comes from and it drives me nuts. And the "reusing melodies" criticism is...okay? I love her melodies so maybe I just don't get it, but there still seems to be a combination of new and familiar ones across this album which works really well.
Overall, I'm extremely happy with the album and it was such a wonderful experience hearing a new Taylor Swift album again because I truly can't imagine loving an artist as much as I love her. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that I've been a fan for 18 years now, and to see her still making music that's exciting and engaging, that I love as a listener is just really great. The conversation around her is as exhausting as it always is, but it comes with the territory of being a fan of one of the biggest stars on the planet.
 
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