Taylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Department

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.

Yeah, I do wish Jack gave us something different on the first few tracks and I do hope she does something different next musically (because I think she has the potential to give us another magnum opus if she pushes herself sonically/creatively), but I don't think every album needs to have that change for the sake of change behind it.

I think almost every one of her albums has had some sort of angle or new "assignment" behind it...sometimes it's a change in sound, sometimes it's finding a new overarching concept to write about, but that just wasn't the M.O. here. This is an album she needed to get out of her system and write to get through whatever she was going through. To have a stream of consciousness and be unfiltered about a messy, manic period in her life, (and I feel like this is one of the first times maybe ever that she's had such a specific period like this). And I definitely understand why it's not for everyone, but some of the claims about it are a biT dramatic.
I do wish Taylor would put a little more focus on melodies in the future. She definitely cares about the lyrics more (and first), so she often gives us this repeated note patter verse that doesn’t have a ton of melodic variety and makes many of her songs sound samey. I think it’s more evident in an album like this where everything is pretty mid tempo. I know she has it in her to switch it up (folklore and evermore exist!!)
I Can Do It With A Broken Heart... it's giving the vaguest whiff of Green Light (Lorde) mixed with the man from Empty (Janet) shouting 1 2 3 4. Way worse than either of these but I'm still bopping I guess.
I'm a two albums truther now. It Just Makes Sense. What else explains her cryptic tweet shortly after the leak? And all this talk of a surprise? We're listening to some AI-generated mess.

Midnights opened up to me eventually and differentiated itself from the rest of her discography after initially thinking it was more of the same originally too, so I’m sure this will as well, considering the back half already feels different enough.

On the other hand, a lot of it sounds like Now That We Don’t Talk and the other 1989 vault tracks, so who knows.
I really need to give this a listen today, 1989 had my favorite vault tracks.

I'm also a fan of Midnights, mostly.
I get the critiques for the album, and I agree that it will be very polarizing (aside from immediate sales), but I do appreciate how genuinely unhinged and unpolished she comes across lyrically here. I was expecting an album much more poetic and sophisticated than what we received.

She puts herself in a pretty unflattering light here: within the first few lines of the album, she’s calling herself a “functioning alcoholic” before shifting into a chorus about wanting to kill someone’s wife. Someone’s threatening suicide within the word salad of track 2. Down Bad sounds like the “single” but she drops the f-bomb at least 20 times. She drags her own fans for being concerned about the character of a man she’s seeing. She compares her 6 year relationship to being “in the slammer”. Florence shows up for a song about killing people and burying bodies in the worst state of America. And I’ve only touched the first 8 songs here.

I get that this doesn’t automatically make the album *good* in itself - there are less hooks overall, and sonically I wish she took a few more risks, but it does make for a fascinating album from the biggest pop star in the world. Break it all down, and she just made an album about how pissed off she is for losing her mind lusting over rockstar dick during what most perceive to be the most successful, sparkling year of her life. It’s embarrassing and funny and sad, and it’s willing to explore feelings I didn’t think she would touch while in her “untouchable era”. The biggest bop on the album is basically her singing to fans how much she wants to die while performing for them, dd.

It’s just kind of a scream, really. This is the same woman who made Love Story and Shake It Off.
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Re-read the last few pages, it’s there maybe worded differently.
I personally just said I think she's good rather than truly great and other people are just saying that the lyrics on this particular album are an instance of her off her game. Everybody knows she can write.
I honestly thought The Black Dog was gonna be a very slow ballad and I got disappointed, when that beat kicked in, whew, the piano at the end, I teared up.