Paste’s Review of Taylor Swift’s ‘Tortured Poets Department’ Publishes Without a Byline to Avoid ‘Threats of Violence’ From Fans

The scathing review from the magazine stands as one of the few harshly negative critiques of the breakup album

Noam Galai/Getty Images for MTV

Everybody has an opinion about Taylor Swift, but when it comes to one publication’s formal review of the singer-songwriter’s new album “The Tortured Poets Department,” the author of the scathing piece of criticism will remain anonymous.

Paste Magazine posted its negative review of Swift’s new album on Friday without a byline, and an editor’s note on the publication’s X account explained why.

“There is no byline on this review due to how, in 2019 when Paste reviewed ‘Lover,’ the writer was sent threats of violence from readers who disagreed with the work. We care more about the safety of our staff than a name attached to an article,” the post reads.

The review, titled “Taylor Swift Strikes Out Looking on ‘The Tortured Poets Department,’” is a relatively scathing takedown of the Grammy-winning artist’s double album (it opens with the line, “Sylvia Plath did not stick her head in an oven for this!”), so it’s not hard to see why Paste worried about the ire of Swifties the world over.

Paste’s review currently stands as the only “negative” review of “The Tortured Poets Department” on Metacritic, with a score of 36, although The New York Times review is a mixed 60 — that publication’s critic said the sharpest moments of this new album “would be even more piercing in the absence of excess, but instead the clutter lingers.”

These reviews stand in contrast to raves from Rolling Stone and Variety, while social media is already ablaze with memes inspired by the “breakup album” vibes of Swift’s 11th studio effort — along with explainers decoding which songs are about who and what.

The intensity of Swift’s fans fueled a truly monumental 2023 for the artist, who literally stimulated local economies due to demand for her Eras Tour, upended the traditional Hollywood distribution model with her self-funded concert film and boosted NFL ratings when showing up to support boyfriend Travis Kelce’s Kansas City Chiefs.

Fans also don’t think “The Tortured Poets Department” is the only piece of new Swift music we’ll hear in 2024 — speculation remains rampant that the next “Taylor’s Version” release will be her 2017 album “Reputation.” And that it’s coming soon.

Hold on to your butts.


4 responses to “Paste’s Review of Taylor Swift’s ‘Tortured Poets Department’ Publishes Without a Byline to Avoid ‘Threats of Violence’ From Fans”

  1. Amy Avatar

    Who ever wrote that will not be able to not tell their friends how clever they are with that opening line – which manages to demean two talented people with one sophomoric take.

  2. Phoebe Hermiston Avatar

    Your post is an indispensable resource on this subject, thanks!

  3. Evie Beahan Avatar

    This was not only informative but also incredibly motivating.

  4. pQTmrgASwjx Avatar


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