O Captain, my captain. I’m writing to you to welcome in the new member of the Dead Poets Society. A certain Ms. Taylor Swift released her latest album to the masses who long for the feelings art and literature make us feel. Written from a perspective of love, loss, ache, and more, The Tortured Poets Department explores the mind, mania and complexity of one who’s been in the spotlight for more than 20 years. With elements that might remind avid listeners of folklore, evermore, and Red (Taylor’s Version), TTPD is an album that leaves you thinking and finding connections in your life. It’s not the easiest to grasp at first, but the rawness and messiness of it is what makes it the gem that it is.  

When Swift first announced this album, I knew it was going to be one that would resonate with me for a while. Although I am a fan of her country and pop work, this latest album, along with evermore and folklore, reminds me that music is subjective and that it should be used to share your experiences in life.  Music is a way of not only escapism, but a way to find the words when the words can’t find you.  

The Tortured Poets Department: 

Swift released TTPD, one of her biggest streamed albums on April 19, 2024. The album debuted with 16 new tracks for Swifties and curious listeners to check out. There are songs off this album I have enjoyed so much. Let’s delve into some of them.  

Guilty as Sin” is one that has been on constant repeat for me. It has limerence written all over it. This song is for girls who make up fake scenarios in their head. It’s for the ones who like to connect fictional characters to songs that they’ve heard. (Shout out to the girls that make TikTok edits of Neil from the Dead Poets Society to this album!) Maybe even the ones that like to associate songs with their celebrity crushes as well. You get my point, it’s a song about pining and yearning about someone that you want. It’s a fun song that you’ll be singing to yourself all day. It’s one of the best songs from this album. 

When I first saw the track list, I knew “Down Bad” was going to be a certified bop. As soon as I heard the chorus, I was hooked. Produced by Swift and Jack Antonoff, the song has a total vibe to it. The lyrics “Now I’m down bad, cryin’ at the gym. Everything comes out teenage petulance. F**k it if I can’t have him.” lowkey scream “I’m just a girl”. (Taylor, I too, have cried at the gym.) I love the idea that the song centers around being dramatic about someone that you like, but you don’t know if you can’t have them. Swift makes this specific idea work so well in this song, and it really showcases through her lyrics. Another aspect of this song that I love is the extraterrestrial allegories/metaphors that she uses. To me it gives me the impression that this feeling that she has is foreign to her, like how foreign aliens and space are too many.  

You can’t have a Taylor album without an upbeat song that has sad lyrics. “I Can do it With a Broken Heart” is the song that encapsulates this specific feeling. I don’t know whether to cry or dance when I listen to it. It perpetuates the idea of even when everything is going wrong and you feel upset, you’re still able to get things done. The line that ties the song all together for me is “I cry a lot, but I am so productive. It’s an art”.  As soon as I heard that song, I was like that’s me. I felt called out then, but it’s true. Although the song is quite sad, it’s a bop to listen to.  

Other songs that I recommend you listen to include: “Clara Bow”, “Florida!!! (feat. Florence Welch)”, “Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)”, “The Tortured Poets Department”, and “So Long London”.  

The Anthology: 

Just as we thought we were going to indulge in the new 16 tracks, Swift announced at 2am EST, that there is a second part of the album. This part called The Anthology features 15 brand new songs. Most of these songs were worked on with Aaron Dessner, who is one of my favorite collaborators that Swift has worked with.  

The Prophecy” is easily the saddest song in this new section of the album.  Lyrics like “I I’m afraid I sealed my fate, no sign of soulmates. I’ve been on my knees, change the prophecy don’t want money, just someone who wants my company.” cut deep like a knife. Swift adds on to this painful emotion by singing “I got cursed like Eve got bitten. Oh, was it punishment?”.  With these lyrics, the song describes the yearning of wanting to be loved by someone who truly appreciates them. This song is so good that it hurts to listen to.  

Another song that I have been listening to is “So High School”. This has been a certified jam playing in my Airpods. Something about the line “You know how to ball, I know Aristotle.” scratches something in my brain. It’s a clear and obvious line to Swift’s relationship with Travis Kelce, but it’s such a satisfying line to listen to. The production of this song is so easy on the ears. Especially, when Swift sings “I’m watching American Pie with you on a Saturday night.” The entire song is just fun to listen to.  

imgonnagetyouback” is not just catchy; it’s a hidden gem in the world of music. Its infectious melody and irresistible rhythm make it impossible to resist tapping your foot or humming along. The way the lyrics weave a story of determination and longing adds another layer of depth to its charm. Despite being underrated, it has all the elements of a timeless hit, waiting to be discovered by more listeners who will undoubtedly find themselves hitting the replay button again and again. To add on top of that, Swift’s vocals in this song make me feel like that meme of Bart Simpson listening to music.  

As a fan of Peter Pan, I really love the song “Peter”. It’s an emotional ballad that helps add balance to the different songs that are included in this anthology part. The repetition of the line “You said you were gonna grow up, then you were gonna come find me.” Tying into the idea of Peter Pan not wanting to grow up, is such a smart parallel to compare it to the Peter in the song. The piano and the pain in Swift’s voice elevates the broken beauty of this song.  

My fellow poets and seekers of melodic resonance, 

Within the labyrinth of musical artistry, behold: The Tortured Poets Department, a masterpiece untold. Swift, with deft strokes of pen and strums of chord, crafts a sonnet of anguish, both piercing and adored.  

In this opus, the soul’s depths are laid bare, a symphony of torment, a solace found in despair. Each verse a brushstroke, painting anguish’s hue, a tableau of emotions, vivid, raw, and true. 

Swift’s lyricism, a poetic pilgrimage, through realms of agony, where hearts languish. Yet amidst the shadows, a flicker of light, a cathartic journey, from darkness to sight. 

Oh, how this ode resonates, whispers and screams, echoes of yearning, lost dreams, shattered beams. So let us, in reverence, heed this sonic art, for in The Tortured Poets Department, Swift’s genius sparks. 

It stands, not just a song, but a testament profound, to the power of music, in its depths unbound. So let us, fellow poets, listeners, in unity, partake, in this symphony of sorrow, this masterpiece awake. 


A Tortured Poet Herself 

Photo Credits From: Republic Records