Taylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Department

I've listened to this non-stop since it dropped and I'm honestly so satisfied with the album. I love it so much. It's not exactly what I wanted or expected, but I love how sprawling and loose it is. I actually think, out of all of her albums, this makes the most sense to be a towering double album. It's a document of objectively the biggest pop star in the world going through two bizarre years of her toughest heartbreak, an old flame rekindling and spiralling out of control until she found a newfound love. I've never been one to care about who she writes music about - at the end of the day, in fifty years, that won't matter and the music will just speak for itself - but it's so intriguing to hear her be so autobiographical and explicit in her songwriting. It's no wonder the vinyl opens like a book with a massive lyric book in the gatefold - it's an album that requires that type of engagement to be fully immersed in. I get that some aren't into this style of her songwriting and prefer other styles from her catalogue (whether it'd be 1989's bulletproof pop songwriting or folklore's fantastical blurring of reality) but for me, this is just brilliant and I feel like it'll just keep getting better with more listens. It has hints of Speak Now's wit and unpinned songwriting paired with folklore and evermore's immersive imagery. I love the production here. I adore that she went away from Midnights' approach of doing everything in her catalogue and stuck with some of it while trying new things. It all works for me here. I know I must sound insane to some of you, but I don't think there's a single bad song on here. I cannot wait to spend more time with this, dissecting the lyrics and getting lost in the music.

Ahhh... I'm so happy that I love this as much as I do.


This is exactly where I’ve arrived at
I cannot handle 31 tracks of this, but its not nearly as bad as most are making this out to be.

Like midnights, I'm def going to get some
usage out of it! Ill probably skip any vinyls this time around though. I still hope she takes a break soon, it feels like time despite liking the vibe here though I can see why she needed to release it given its subject matter.
I'm beginning the work of figuring out how to condense this because this is a LOT and my initial reaction to what's now Disc One was somewhat tepid. I'm glad to have the second disc, I really like her work with Aaron and I think there's a real superb 12-tracker here (as long as I don't lose any emotional threads or necessary vibes). At this point I've come to think of Aaron as the guy she met and really sparked with but she already has a long-term boyfriend named Jack Antonoff. She loves him, but they go to the same restaurant every Friday and order the same meal every time.

This is not to say they’re no longer capable of doing great work together, and they do have some very good stuff on this album that I want on my own edit. But I’m just so weary of the Taylor-and-Jack echo chamber that's come to dominate her musical output in the last decade. It thrilled me on 1989 and reputation, got a little wearying on Lover, picked back up in 2020, but now it's like... I know what to expect.

It’s this like twinkly 1986 senior prom aesthetic and the theme is always some variation on “I wore my best dress to the party, but I didn’t know there would be monsters there, so I had a glass of wine. And then I saw you, with your hair styled like a promise that would wait forever to be kept, and now we’re committing the perfect crime because the lies we tell each other cut so deep yet leave no scars. Warm chorus where we realize something about you or me or us that can’t be unlearned, and now we have to power through it and get a little older and a little more broken, it’s clear yet ambiguous, now back to the verses, be careful because there are hunters afoot.” Or whatever.
There are some highlights, but overall I’m really struggling with this. I’ve realized my favorite mode she operates in is when lyric and melody work efficiently together—1989 and folklore do this best to outstanding effect—but this album seems to actively relish in rejecting that approach, which is fine. But you can’t convince me it’s not time for her to part ways with Antonoff and Dessner and disintegrated into dust for a few years.
"This period of the author's life is now over, the chapter closed and boarded up." better also refers to her collabs with both Jack and Aaron. I feel like I don't need to hear yet another song of them ever again unless they massively switch up their formula, which quite frankly I don't see either of them doing. I feel there might be some growers on here, but overall, the first listen was exhausting and doesn't exactly make me want to listen again. I'm certainly not a hater, but some of the comments in this thread about diminishing returns and recycling old melodies / sonic ideas have more than just a little truth to them. I get that this was written and recorded while on a massive tour and during a turbulent time in her personal life, so I wasn't expecting some kind of new magnum opus, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't expected something better than what we eventually got.