Taylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Department

I'm completely with you in agreement, but she's a billionaire, the biggest celebrity on Earth, who has been rewarded in almost every conceivable way for sticking to this formula so... where's the incentive? Can art and commerce truly coexist in a beneficial way to the former..? Not without effort, intention and the right kind of drive. She's busy being the biggest touring act on earth, this is just another product, I'd wager.
Yeah, I guess it's one way to see it but also she has enough power to smash with anything so why not take a tiny risk? Other forum flop favs with 6 fans take more risks every era than the pop star that has enough brand power to shake things up a bit.

The risk she took with folklore and Aaron helped her become who she is now after Lover.
 

Mvnl

Staff member
If anything I'd think that once you basically hit the ceiling and there's hardly any way to go up the main incentive for new material would be expressing yourself and making whatever you really want to make. Like, if there ever were a time she could make any album she'd like to.. this would be it?
Might be oversimplifying and I also understand you might not want to risk losing everything you built up, but if anything I'd think the incentive to make another safe crowdpleasing album would be even lower.

(none of this is saying this album is one or the other, need more time with it, and even then I'd be the last person to judge that)
 
lana-del-rey-taylor-swift-jack-antonoff-grammys-2024-billboard-1548.jpg
Taylor and Lana’s obsession with Jack…

I finally figured out what this photo reminded me of.

death_becomes_her_-_h_-_1992.jpg
 

Subwaykid

Staff member
I'm still pretty gagged at just how openly she's exposed her feelings infatuation (borderline obsession???) with Matty. Even in the context of her past (Joe) and current "relationship" (Travis). It's sort of cracked several codes in past albums, wondering who the hell she was pining for while she was in her "happy" long-term relationship.
It's kinda sending me that all of the "big reputation you and me would be a big conversation, secret moments in a crowded room" forbidden love songs have been about Matty Healy this whole time. No wonder the Karlie Kloss rumors were preferable to her publicist.
 
I'm completely with you in agreement, but she's a billionaire, the biggest celebrity on Earth, who has been rewarded in almost every conceivable way for sticking to this formula so... where's the incentive? Can art and commerce truly coexist in a beneficial way to the former..? Not without effort, intention and the right kind of drive. She's busy being the biggest touring act on earth, this is just another product, I'd wager.

All of these are reasons for her not to be forumulaic.

She sold the album (likely breaking records) before anyone heard a thing, has drummed up a hysterical fanbase that would get behind anything she released, would probably buy ‘critical praise’ otherwise. Plus she’s inconceivably wealthy and that isn’t looking to change anytime soon.

I’d go so far as to say an artists has never been in such a fortunate position to experiment in the history of the music industry? Which makes the delivery of this album all the more a kick in the teeth.

Ultimately I think it comes down to Taylor having a limit to her songwriting wheelhouse and pretty elementary taste. She is very much Taylor Swift.
 
All of these are reasons for her not to be forumulaic.

She sold the album (likely breaking records) before anyone heard a thing, has drummed up a hysterical fanbase that would get behind anything she released, would probably buy ‘critical praise’ otherwise. Plus she’s inconceivably wealthy and that isn’t looking to change anytime soon.

I’d go so far as to say an artists has never been in such a fortunate position to experiment in the history of the music industry? Which makes the delivery of this album all the more a kick in the teeth.

Ultimately I think it comes down to Taylor having a limit to her songwriting wheelhouse and pretty elementary taste. She is very much Taylor Swift.

Exactly. She doesn’t care all that much!
 
I think she realized that the blander the music, the wider the appeal (hello Ed, hello Adele, etc). She has generally boring taste anyway and getting herself two yes-men with similar boring taste as collaborators was the recipe for... this. It worked fine for Folklore and some bits of Evermore but at this point it's just tired.
 
he/him
I do feel like she’s taking a page from Lana’s book and settling into a sound that she’ll maybe make subtle changes to, and maybe bring others into, but it might be at a point where everything from certain lyrical motifs, chord progressions, and production styles are now forming roots and the most important aspect to her is the songwriting. How successful she is in that is another story, but it does feel like that’s her aim.
 

rdp

he/him
The Black Dog is really one of the highlights on here but I could do without the fun.-esque build up on "old habits die screaming!!" honestly
 
I think she realized that the blander the music, the wider the appeal (hello Ed, hello Adele, etc). She has generally boring taste anyway and getting herself two yes-men with similar boring taste as collaborators was the recipe for... this. It worked fine for Folklore and some bits of Evermore but at this point it's just tired.

Somehow I don’t think she looked back on this 31 song project and thought “this is what the public and radio are clamouring for”. For better or worse this is her attempt at a Tusk.
 
To be fair, though, she has proven in the past that she is capable of evolving her sound. The gradual move from country into mainstream, capital P pop, the slightly darker, more bombastic sound of reputation after 1989 and then the post-Lover switch to folkmore... She obviously kept her songwriting DNA, but there most certainly was development and growth.

I don't know why with Midnights et al. things have become a bit more stale (at least that's how I perceive it); it might be for monetary reasons (quick and easy cash grab with a formula that works) or artistic ones (it's just the kind of music she enjoys and wants to put out), ultimately only she could answer that. But I firmly believe that she can and will switch it up if (when?) numbers and critical / fan acclaim will take a dip. At some point, even her most die hard fans will refuse to blindly buy a gazillion vinyl variants of an unheard album that they suspect might just be more of the same.
 
he/him
To be fair, though, she has proven in the past that she is capable of evolving her sound. The gradual move from country into mainstream, capital P pop, the slightly darker, more bombastic sound of reputation after 1989 and then the post-Lover switch to folkmore... She obviously kept her songwriting DNA, but there most certainly was development and growth.

I don't know why with Midnights et al. things have become a bit more stale (at least that's how I perceive it); it might be for monetary reasons (quick and easy cash grab with a formula that works) or artistic ones (it's just the kind of music she enjoys and wants to put out), ultimately only she could answer that. But I firmly believe that she can and will switch it up if (when?) numbers and critical / fan acclaim will take a dip. At some point, even her most die hard fans will refuse to blindly buy a gazillion vinyl variants of an unheard album that they suspect might just be more of the same.

I think this is the music she wants to make. She’s probably well aware that the numbers are going to dip, due to her getting older, which is why she’s sort of moving into this other space and just indulging herself–which I think is great! She just happens to be doing it in the middle of a massive imperial phase. But she’s also built up such a massive following that any “dip” she sees commercially is still going to be more successful than the majority.
 
Somehow I don’t think she looked back on this 31 song project and thought “this is what the public and radio are clamouring for”. For better or worse this is her attempt at a Tusk.
See I really don't believe that this is an artistic choice at all in her case. She probably saw how well the Midnights rollout played out and she replicated it at an even bigger scale. She found a way to maximise sales with the standard album and streaming with the "extra" album.

I agree it's a nice story to sell, how raw and unfiltered this 31 tracks opus is, especially to such a gullible fanbase, but the truth is that she's a money machine and everything is numbers.
 

Subwaykid

Staff member
There's a pretty straight line you can draw across her albums in terms of her sound and songwriting slowly shifting with each release, with the only real major pivots being 1989 and Folklore, which were themselves 6 years apart. You could argue Reputation too but that felt like more of a direct evolution from 1989 with contemporary pop clothing, versus being indicative of a hard pivot into a new direction. Midnights to Tortured Poets similarly feels like strengthening of one sound. It's probably too soon to tell if this will be the lane she sticks to or if there's another major switch coming up (if, let's say, it's every 6 years) but I think she hints at enough here to not necessarily completely rule it out, I just don't think it's going to happen as often as this forum is expecting.
 
Top