Breaking down everything we know about Taylor Swift's album 'Tortured Poets Department' (2024)


Breaking down everything we know about Taylor Swift's album 'Tortured Poets Department' (1)

Breaking down everything we know about Taylor Swift's album 'Tortured Poets Department' (2)

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Taylor Swift will release her 11th album on April 19, and here’s everything we know about “The Tortured Poets Department,” or "TTPD" for short.

There are 17 tracks on what appears to be a break-up album, 18 tracks if you order the special vinyl Swift preivewed in Melbourne, Australia. Post Malone and Florence and The Machine are two contributors. The titles are brutal. Fans speculate the album is about Swift’s six year relationship to English actor Joe Alwyn. Both stars kept the relationship out of the public eye. The back of the album reads, “I love you, it’s ruining me” which may serve as a dagger-to-the-chest harbinger.

Keep scrolling for an analysis of what the track titles may mean.

What tracks are on 'Tortured Poets Department'?

Side A:

  • "Fortnight" (ft. Post Malone)
  • "The Tortured Poets Department"
  • "My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys"
  • "Down Bad"

Side B:

  • "So Long, London"
  • "But Daddy I Love Him"
  • "Fresh Out the Slammer"
  • "Florida!!!" (ft. Florence + The Machine)

Side C:

  • "Guilty as Sin?"
  • "Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?"
  • "I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)"
  • "loml"

Side D:

  • "I Can Do It With a Broken Heart"
  • "The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived"
  • "The Alchemy"
  • "Clara Bow"


Why announce the new album at the Grammy’s?

Taylor Swift loves numerology, especially when it comes to the number 13. On Feb. 4, the singer won her 13th career Grammy for pop vocal album.

"I want to say thank you to the fans," Swift said in her acceptance speech, "by telling you a secret that I've been keeping from you for the past two years, which is that my brand-new album comes out April 19."

During night one of her concert in Tokyo, Swift said she intended to announce the album in Japan but switched to the Grammys.

"I had this plan in my head and I told my friends, I told Jack, but I hadn’t really told many other people," she said. "I thought, 'OK, so if I’m lucky enough to win one thing tonight, I’m just going to do it. I’m just going to announce my new album.'"

What is "The Bolter"?

During night one in Melbourne (Feb. 16), Swift spoke from the piano of her acoustic set, which she never does. (She usually finishes the guitar song and heads straight for the keys to play her second surprise song.)

"Tortured Poets is an album," she said to the packed stadium of 96,000 screaming fans, "I think more than any of my albums that I've ever made, I needed to make it. It was really a lifeline for me. Just the things I was going through, the things I was writing about. It kind of reminded me of why songwriting was something that actually gets me through my life."

Swift added a special vinyl would contain the 18th track.

What were the Easter eggs?

Hours before the Grammys, “crashed” showing an “Error 321 Backend fetch failed.” Error 321 is a communication error that would appear on a fax machine with a poor telephone line connection. Below, “hneriergrd:” appeared to be an unscrambled version of “red herring,” which is a clue or piece of information intended to be misleading or distracting. And underneath that was “DPT: 123.” DPT backwards is TPD, "Tortured Poets Department."

Swift loves to keep her fandom guessing. The clown emoji and term “clowning” is common in the community because fans will build a case pointing to a possible Swift announcement and be completely wrong. In the instance of "TTPD," Swift made it seem like she was going to announce the rerelease of “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” in Japan. Two weeks before opening night at the Tokyo Dome, Swift changed the subtitles of her music video “Look What You Made Me Do” to Japanese. At the end of the “Karma (Remix)” music video, she held a coffee cup. Her blue fingernail was positioned by the eight (blue signifying “1989” and eight meaning an August announcement) and a black nail by the two (black is the color of “Reputation” and two is February).

But this follows her pattern of two rereleases then a new project. In 2021, she announced “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version)” before announcing “Midnights” in 2022. In 2023, she surprised Eras Tour audiences with artwork from “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” and “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” during two acoustic sets.

If she continues the pattern, “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” and her debut album may not be announced until next year. Or maybe there will be a glitch and she’ll coordinate “New Year’s Day,” a song off of the sixth album, with ringing in 2025.

What is the aesthetic of 'TTPD'?

Every era has a different color associated with it. This looks like this will be the “white heart” era as Swift has shared the emoji as her Instagram story highlight for TTPD.

The motif of the album is like a scene from a black-and-white detective show from the early-to-mid 1900s. The faded photos and evidence folders seem to point to tracing evidence in the death of a relationship, which the titles echo.

Coders found that the backend of Swift’s site included several words that match the vibe: “chairman,” “bruises,” “veins,” “cadence,” “apple cake,” “talisman,” “love bombs,” “muse,” “ink,” “evidence” and “fake.”

What does this mean for the Eras Tour?

Swift has a break from the Eras Tour between March 9 (when she wraps a six-night stint in Singapore) and May 9 (when she begins again in Paris, France). The album will come out on April 19 which begs the question of how will it be incorporated into the three-plus-hour show?

Will she take the 17 songs and make them a part of her surprise songs? Will she add a new era? Will she open the show with "TTPD"? If that’s the case, will she cut from other eras or take this show to four hours? The Eras Tour continues to break records, boost local economies and evolve. Time won't fly, but it will tell the answers to these questions.

What could the track titles mean?

Nothing is confirmed or certain until the album comes out, but here are some possibilities of what Swift's 11th era may entail.

"Fortnight" (ft. Post Malone)

A fortnight is a two-week period or 14 days. Swift loves numerology, and her favorite number is 13.In an interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe (ahead of the Super Bowl), Post Malone said, "She's so sweet and so kind and talented and she hit me up and said, 'Let's do it.' And I was like, ‘Hell yeah.’”

He didn't discuss any other details but said he can't wait to hear it.

"The Tortured Poets Department"

Half of Swift’s albums have not had a title track including debut, “1989,” “Reputation,” “Folklore” and “Midnights." When Swift announced "TTPD," she tweeted out handwritten lyrics which may be on this track: “And so I enter into evidence / My tarnished coat of arms / My muses, acquired like bruises / My talismans and charms / Tick, tick, tick of love bombs / My veins of pitch black ink / All’s fair in love and poetry… Sincerely, The Chairman of The Tortured Poets Department.”

"My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys"

A title about self-sabotage.

"Down Bad"

Merriam-Webster defines this slang as “in a bad state or condition” such as being depressed or “marked with strong and usually unrequited feelings of attraction, desire or infatuation.”

"So Long, London"

Track five on each of Swift’s albums is usually the most heart-wrenching. “So Long, London” is intentionally placed and may be an open, but tragic love letter to England’s capital.

"But Daddy I Love Him"

This line is iconic in the “Little Mermaid” when King Triton finds out that Ariel loves Prince Eric and he forbids her from pursuing him. It’s trying to convince an authoritative figure (…maybe even yourself) that your emotions outweigh logic and a relationship that’s run its course may still work.

"Fresh Out the Slammer"

The slammer is slang for jail or prison, metaphorically speaking, it’s getting out of a relationship.

"Florida!!!" (ft. Florence + The Machine)

A week before her split with Alwyn, Swift switched the first song of her “Folklore” set from “Invisible String,” a song about two people being destined for one another, to “The 1,” a retrospective song about what might have been. Her first concert after news broke of the ended relationship was in Tampa, Florida.

"Guilty as Sin?"

Guilty as sin is a matter of fact statement that someone is, without a doubt, culpable in a crime. The question mark in this track title shows the turmoil of knowing a certainty but then having to second guess it. This was also the name of a 1993 movie in which a female lawyer represents a man accused of killing his wife. As she digs into his past, she reaches a moral dilemma and grapples with the possibility of betraying her client.

"Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?"

This title may be a nod to “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” The classic play, written in 1962 by Edward Albee, is a dark comedy about an older couple who invite young houseguests over for a dysfunctional and cruel night of fun of games.

"I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)"

Call a therapist because there’s a lot to unpack with this title. It may be about a toxic relationship in which one party perceives the other as the problem or having defective qualities. It’s an assertion of wanting to control a situation.


“loml” stands for “love of my life.” This could be a reflective track filled with fond memories, or it could be a sarcastic and jaded take. Swift sometimes songs in the complete opposite direction of their titles, like in one of her most melancholic songs, “Happiness.”

"I Can Do It With a Broken Heart"

Swift worked on the album for two years. She started writing it after “Midnights” in 2021. She wrote it during her massively successful Eras Tour. In 2022, Swift talked to Jimmy Fallon about “Midnights” and incessantly putting pen to paper. “I love writing songs, poems, stories, scripts,” she said. “In the last six or seven years, I’ve just been constantly making things. And the more things I make, the happier I am. So I’ve just continued to do it.” She can do what is expected of her and more, even with a shattered heart.

"The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived"

Calling someone a small man is to say they are ordinary without anything special: wealth, fame, power, etc. Adding the superlative “who ever lived” means there has never been anyone smaller… like ever.

"The Alchemy"

Alchemy is an ancient branch of chemical science and philosophy used to discover the possibility of a universal cure for diseases or a prolonged (maybe even indefinite) life.

"Clara Bow"

The American actress appeared in 46 silent films. Investors knew fans would fill the seats if her name was in the credits. The black-and-white motif of "The Tortured Poets Department" matches a movie Bow would have starred in during the Roaring '20s.

"The Manuscript" (Bonus Track)

Is this clever word play for “Man U Script” or is this is a song meant to be the exclamation point of TTPD? Another thought is could this be one of Swift’s explanatory or narration tracks? For “1989,” the singer ended the album with three tracks explaining how she wrote “Blank Space,” “I Know Places” and “I Wish You Would.” Either way, the manuscript was intentionally chosen to be a bonus track.

Follow Taylor Swift reporter Bryan West on Instagram,TikTokandX as @BryanWestTV.

Breaking down everything we know about Taylor Swift's album 'Tortured Poets Department' (2024)


What is the meaning of The Tortured Poets Department? ›

The Tortured Poets Department is the pop titan's 11th studio album and appears to have been inspired, in part, by the five stages of grief. Ahead of the release, Swift shared five new playlists that arrange her songs into those stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Why is Taylor's new album called The Tortured Poets Department? ›

"The Tortured Poets Department" is a conspicuously wordy phrase for Swift, who tends to prefer one or two-word album titles. However, the title may be a sly reference to Swift's ex-boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. The actor previously said he was in a group chat with Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott called "The Tortured Man Club."

How many variants of The Tortured Poets Department will there be? ›

According to Swift's website, the new album will feature 16 songs. She is also releasing four variants of the album which will each include one bonus track, including "The Manuscript," "The Bolter," “The Albatross” and "The Black Dog."

What are the bonus tracks on The Tortured Poets Department? ›

However, on February 16, Swift announced an extra bonus song titled “The Bolter.” She followed suit with “The Albatross” on February 23 and finally “The Black Dog” on March 3.

What is the central meaning or message of the poet? ›

Theme is the main or central idea in a literary work. It is the unifying element of a story.

What is the poets message? ›

Message is the thing that encourages poets to create poetry. The message can be found after knowing the meaning of poetry. Message or advice is captured by readers as the impression after reading the poem. How the reader to conclude message poetry is closely related to the point of view of the reader toward something.

Did tortured poets get leaked? ›

"The Tortured Poets Department" will be released April 19.

The 17 track album includes collaborations from Post Malone and Florence + the Machine. A TikTok user leaked the album title and tracklist a week before Swift announced it at the Grammys.

Is The Tortured Poets Department explicit? ›

Additionally, when the album became available to presave on Apple Music, it was revealed that seven tracks will be explicit. Those seven are "The Tortured Poets Department," "Down Bad," "But, Daddy, I Love Him," "Florida!!!," "loml," "I Can Do It With a Broken Heart," and "The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived."

Is Taylor Swift a billionaire? ›

Swift's inclusion comes after Forbes declared the singer a billionaire in October 2023 and reported her net worth at $1.1 billion. In a rare feat, Swift is the first musician to reach the milestone solely from songwriting and performing.

What are the 4 versions of tortured poets department? ›

Each edition of the album she's announced comes with different cover images, different lyrical teases, and a different bonus track, for which each variant is named: “The Black Dog” (lyric: “Old habits die screaming”), “The Albatross” (lyric: “Am I allowed to cry?”), and “The Bolter” (lyric: “You don't get to tell me ...

What is The Black Dog edition of the tortured poets? ›

Like the previous editions, “The Black Dog” variant features unique packaging and photos in addition to the bonus track, and like its predecessors, it's only available for a limited time: Fans can preorder “The Black Dog” edition now through March 6th at Swift's webstore.

How many songs are on The Tortured Poets Department? ›

The New Album Has 16 Songs.

What is the $10000 poetry prize? ›

Established in 2022, the Changes Book Prize awards $10,000 and publication for a first or second collection of poems. In addition to the cash prize, winners receive a fairer-than-standard publishing contract, national distribution, extensive advertising and publicity, 50 copies of their book, and a launch event in NYC.

What is tortured music? ›

Music can be used as a tool of psychological warfare. The term "music torture" is sometimes used to describe the practice. While it is acknowledged by United States interrogation experts to cause discomfort, it has also been characterized as having no "long-term effects". Music in psychological operations. Type.

What time will tortured poets department come out? ›

The Tortured Poets Department will be released on April 19, 2024.

Is tortured poets department about joe? ›

The track list has Swifties convinced 'Tortured Poets Department' is heavily influenced by Taylor's six-year relationship and split from Joe Alwyn, who she broke up with at the start of 2023 right before heading on The Eras Tour.

What is the message of The Trouble with Poetry? ›

In “The Trouble with Poetry”, and “Introduction to Poetry” Billy Collins focuses on the issue of forced inspiration, and the lack of appreciation readers, and aspiring poets have for the feel of poetry.

What is meant by the Churchyard School of poets? ›

The "Graveyard Poets", also termed "Churchyard Poets", were a number of pre-Romantic poets of the 18th century characterised by their gloomy meditations on mortality, "skulls and coffins, epitaphs and worms" elicited by the presence of the graveyard.

What is the main idea of The Trouble with Poetry? ›

Answer: "The Trouble with Poetry" by Billy Collins is a poem that reflects on the difficulties of writing and understanding poetry. The speaker laments that poetry is often seen as inaccessible and difficult for readers to comprehend.

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