Taylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Department

First listen, and honestly, I'm not sure what to make of it. It's kind of a big mess, isn't it? (semi-complimentary) 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.

Super random post but I love when you review albums through the forum, especially when you score the songs individually because I agree with everything 90% of the time ddd. Xoxo
Just finished my first listen, there's a lot to like here but it's way too soon for me to make any sweeping statements about where this ranks in her discography or what my fave songs are. I'll need more time to really listen and absorb the lyrics, for a start. There's shades of Red, Midnights and Evermore for sure, with some totally new stuff too. It's more pop/rock than I was expecting.

It's definitely her purest break-up album...even Red had a few happy and positive songs on it, but almost every song on this is depressing af dd. I agree with @HairBodyFace that some of the songs seem like a cathartic stream-of-consciousness where she's just venting and getting her emotions out - which to be fair, is basically what she said herself about the album.

Midnights had several single-ready bops ready but this album is quite different...I Can Do It With A Broken Heart or Fortnight might work?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to spending more time this and picking my faves.
So upon first listen - definitely a mixed bag here. It's not strictly a Midnights retread, although the first five tracks would really have anyone fooled. It took several days for Midnights to reveal its best parts for me, and I know right off the bat that'll be the same routine this time around. Initial standouts are Down Bad, But Daddy I Love Him, Guilty As Sin?, I Can Do It With a Broken Heart, and The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived.

I do wonder what streaming will latch onto. There isn't really an in-your-face radio hit on here, at least on initial pass.
“You look like Taylor Swift in this light”

Great lyric in Clara Bow - I don’t think she’s name checked herself before.

Really beautiful melodies.
This is a better album than Midnights. I don't know if any song on here is better than the highs on Midnights, if that makes sense, but this is absolutely a better package. I'm eager to sink into it and that's not something I could say about the previous album.

100% agree with this. Midnights felt like a "new Pop album to lead a tour with", a various collection of songs (some of which are better than anything here) but this feels like more of a cohesive overall package. I can't say it's going to be one of my favorites, but it's a welcome addition to her catalogue and I'm overall happy with it.
It was obvious it wasn't gonna be an album with sure fire hits, the moment she decided to not release any single. I think this is better than Midnights too, it sounds like a grower.
Taylor recording I Can Do It With a Broken Heart

Knowing Taylor, I Can Do This With… is going to be the first single.

It has that meme/ TikTok potential.
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I'm really disappointed. Many of these will be growers, I'm sure, but so much of the album feels inessential. Lover and Midnights have been divisive and written off in their own ways in discussions about her discography, but both had higher highs and presented some genuinely exciting avenues she could have pursued further.

Most of this album on the other hand is so safe. Familiar, too clunky by a half and at its worst it feels half-baked. Florida!! is probably the best thing Jack has cooked up on here, and it is truly great, Aaron has all the other highlights on here especially So Long, London and Clara Bow (Clara Bow by the way is a career best).
There's no obvious single here, but I feel like Down Bad, But Daddy I Love Him, and I Can Do It With a Broken Heart are the biggest contenders.
The production on My Boy... bothers me. It's too clunky and loud that I can't focus on the melody/lyrics.

I agree with people saying it isn't Midnights 2.0 in the sense that she's aiming for quick radio hits (thank God, I'm still sick of Karma, Anti-Hero, etc). I actually think a large chunk of her fanbase will be colder on this album as a whole because it's so wordy and scattered (there isn't anything on here as simple as The 1 or Cornelia Street, for example), but her numbers will be stratospheric just because of where she's at in her career, so I doubt it will be obvious.
“What if I roll the stone away
They’re gonna crucify me anyway
What if the way you hold me…”

Beautiful layering of vocals in the bridge of Guilty as Sin. There’s interesting country production going on too. A new fave has revealed itself.
There's so much to unpack here, but for me it's a better listen than the standard version of Midnights. Can't help but hope she has some more to elevate it further a la 3am tracks but that's a bit greedy!