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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post
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Taylor Swift shares poetic poignancy in “The Tortured Poet’s Department”

After+focusing+much+of+her+career+on+creating+chart-topping+pop+singles%2C+Swift+now+embraces+synth-pop+styles.+It%E2%80%99s+difficult+to+pigeonhole+TTPD+into+a+singular+category%2C+and+Swift%2C+who+has+tackled+almost+every+genre+throughout+her+career%2C+would+probably+uphold+that+sense+of+ambiguity.
Tiffany Zhu
After focusing much of her career on creating chart-topping pop singles, Swift now embraces synth-pop styles. It’s difficult to pigeonhole TTPD into a singular category, and Swift, who has tackled almost every genre throughout her career, would probably uphold that sense of ambiguity.

31 tracks, two hours — the longest album singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has ever released. Swift dropped “The Tortured Poet’s Department” on April 19, breaking the record for most streams in 24 hours with over 300 million listens. Just two hours after this release, Swift released The Tortured Poet’s Department: The Anthology as a surprise extended version. 

In TTPD, Swift transcends the boundaries of conventional musical genres, blending elements from her previous three albums — “Midnights,” “evermore” and “folklore” — into a captivating mix of pop, indie folk and alt-rock. Swift claimed the “tortured poet”  label for herself, influencing the album’s name. 

Thought by fans to be inspired by the end of Swift’s six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn and her brief romance with The 1975’s lead singer Matty Healy, TTPD explores the ups and downs of both long and short-term heartbreaks. Swift conveys heartfelt emotions, whether that be love, revenge or defeat, through her poetic lyrics.

However, some listeners criticized the album for its monotonous feel. Most songs on TTPD have similar beats and lack shifts in rhythm, making it difficult to distinguish between tracks — even avid Swifties felt that the album was too long.

Select mediocre tracks that lack in production variety diminish the overall quality, even amongst other catchy songs. Fans criticized Swift’s producer, Jack Antonoff, for creating a less engaging listening experience. 

TTPD nevertheless boasts many emotionally resonant hits. The album’s lead single and opener, “Fortnight,” was released alongside a music video on April 20 and surpassed 200 million streams on Spotify since its debut. The music video pictured Swift and featured singer Post Malone in an asylum for tortured poets.

Taking on a carefree mindset, Swift sings “I don’t cater to all these vipers dressed in empath’s clothing” in “But Daddy I Love Him.” After all the backlash Swift received throughout her career, especially regarding her dating life, she emphasized that she is unswayed by the opinions of her fanbase about her personal relationships.

Florida!!!,” featuring rock band Florence + The Machine, is a fan favorite that reached over 85 million streams on Spotify. Swift’s and the band’s voices come together with perfect harmony and convey the message of escaping judgment from the public with its heartfelt lyrics.

In “Down Bad,” Swift writes of her ongoing battle with sadness and defeat. Her authentic lyrics, like “Now I’m down bad, crying at the gym / Everything comes out teen-age petulance,” resonate with those who relate to feelings of loss post-heartbreak. 

The closing song of the non-extended TTPD album, “Clara Bow,” reflects the notion of making it out of a small town just to be replaced by the next big artist. The last verse starts with, “You look like Taylor Swift / In this light / We’re loving it.” Fans were surprised that Swift used her own name in reference to her feelings of being superseded by up-and-coming pop stars.

TTPD is Swift’s most raw and gut-wrenching album so far, as she explores the boundaries of various musical styles. Although she increased her use of explicit language in TTPD, with 57 references in total, 26 more than in Midnights, Swift adopted more free-form and authentic lyrics.

After focusing much of her career on creating chart-topping pop singles, Swift now embraces synth-pop styles, experimenting with different forms of songwriting. It’s difficult to pigeonhole TTPD into a singular category, and Swift, who has tackled almost every genre throughout her career, would probably uphold that sense of ambiguity.

Ashley’s rating: 4/5

  • Favorite songs: “But Daddy I Love Him,”  “Florida!!!,” “Down Bad”

Tiffany’s rating: 4.5/5

  • Favorite songs: “Florida!!!,” “Clara Bow,” “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” 

Kairui’s rating: 3.5/5

  • Favorite songs: “So Long, London,” “Peter,” “loml”
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About the Contributors
Ashley Mo
Ashley Mo, Reporter
Ashley Mo (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Ashley hopes to write about stories both within and outside of the Harker community, form friendships on the journalism team and learn more about global news events. In her free time, she enjoys playing golf and listening to music.
Tiffany Zhu
Tiffany Zhu, Reporter
Tiffany Zhu (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Tiffany hopes to meet more members of the Harker and journalism community and share topics she's passionate about with them. In her free time, she enjoys baking and watching all genres of movies.
Kairui Sun
Kairui Sun, Reporter
Kairui Sun (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is his second year on staff. This year, Kairui wishes to understand the Harker community better by writing a variety of articles. In his free time, he likes to play piano and volleyball.

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