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Taylor Swift Releases Another Record-Breaking Album

The Tortured Poets Department surpasses one billion streams.

     Taylor Swift recently released her eleventh studio album entitled, The Tortured Poets Department. 

    The album broke the record for most streamed album within the first 24 hours, with a staggering one hundred million streams. The initial release included 16 tracks, followed two hours later by the surprise deluxe version, The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology with 15 additional songs.

     Producers, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, both of whom have worked closely with her on past albums, are featured as co-writers on most of the songs. The album is littered with references to literature, mythology, pop culture, and other notable figures. From an Aristotle shoutout in So High School,  to an ode to the famous Chelsea Hotel in the title track, The Tortured Poets Department. The song Clara Bow is named after the American actress who rose to stardom during the Roaring 20s era. Track 9, Guilty as Sin?, is full of religious imagery as Swift equates her love to an act of reverence, using the crucifixion as a metaphor for the public’s reception of the relationship. My personal favorite off the album is track 27, entitled Cassandra. This song is told from the perspective of Greek mythological figure, Cassandra, a Trojan princess who is granted the power of prophecy by Apollo, but when she rejects his hand he sabotages this power. With no one to believe her predictions anymore Cassandra is left with nothing. This song takes on themes of betrayal, isolation, and the struggle of speaking out. 

  This album was full of heartbreaking ballads like How Did It End?, loml, and So Long, London, all of which reflect upon the demise of a past relationship. Track 12, loml, subverts expectations by creating a melancholic atmosphere, the title upon first glance appears to be the popular acronym “love of my life”, though revealed to stand for “loss of my life,” in the song’s conclusion. Many of the songs are theorized to be about her past relationship with actor Joe Alwyn, as well as her time with controversial 1975 lead singer, Matty Healy. There are also songs such as, The Alchemy, which is reportedly about her current boyfriend, NFL Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce. 

    The album has received mixed reviews from the general public. Many listeners critiqued her excessive, even self-indulgent lyricism throughout the album. As an artist who caters to a predominately female audience, Swift capitalizes on the relatability factor for her fanbase. I found that this project lacked the appeal and overall charm of her past projects. Riddled with hyper-specific references, this album attracts a more select crowd, devoted fans who sought to decode the intricacies of Swift’s personal life and relationship history. However, a casual fan may be left disappointed. The excessive tracklist, 31 songs, leaves the impression of quantity over quality.

    While I enjoyed the majority of the songs, I wasn’t fond of the opening two tracks. One of them, Fortnight (feat. Post Malone), is ironically the album’s lead single with its own music video. Some of my top picks were Florida!!! feat. Florence & the Machine, a catchy tribute to our sunshine state, The Prophecy, which takes a lyrically introspective route and Fresh Out The Slammer, an upbeat, catchy tune.


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About the Contributor
Cricket Wainman
Cricket Wainman, Editor
Cricket is currently a sophomore at UHS and a Valencia Dual Enrollment student. This is her second year as a Staff Writer for The Torch and her first as an editor.  Some of her favorite hobbies are reading, playing video games, and watching her favorite shows. Cricket has four cats and loves hanging out with Ali.
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