Everything We Know About Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

The singer’s 11th album arrives April 19

Taylor Swift wears Schiaparelli to the 2024 Grammys
Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammys (Getty Images)

It looks like Taylor Swift will be taking us to “The Lakes” after all when she releases her next new album, “The Tortured Poets Department” in April 2024. Announced at the 2024 Grammys, the 11th album in Swift’s discography had been kept under wraps for two years, according to the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter.

Since she unveiled her next era, one more seemingly sepia-toned than the punchy colors of “Midnights,” Swift has taken moments in the international leg of her “Eras” tour to pull back the curtain even further on “The Tortured Poets Department.”

At her second show in Tokyo, Japan, Swift revealed that she planned to make the album announcement at that concert if she hadn’t won any Grammys. She ended up taking home two — winning her 13th award for Best Pop Vocal Album. “Midnights” also took the coveted Album of the Year Grammy, and Swift set a record for the only artist to win four Album of the Year Grammys — for “Fearless,” “1989,” “folklore” and her latest, “Midnights.”

“I’ve been working on ‘Tortured Poets since right after I turned in ‘Midnights,’” Swift shared at Tokyo Dome, adding, “You turn in albums months in advance so that you can make vinyls, which are the best. I’ve been working on it for about two years,” she continued. “I kept working on it throughout the U.S. tour, and when it was perfect — in my opinion when it’s good enough for you — I finished it and I am so, so excited that soon you’ll get to hear it. Soon we’ll get to experience that together.” 

Swift has churned out a tremendous amount of music since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Even before that, she had announced that she would begin re-recording all of the albums she put out before “Lover” since the rights had been sold by Scooter Braun, and she wanted to own all of her work.

First she dropped two surprise albums, “folklore” and “evermore” in July and December of 2020, respectively, before launching “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” as the first re-recorded album, followed by “Red (Taylor’s Version),” surprise brand-new album “Midnights,” and then two more re-recorded albums — “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” and “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” before revealing “TTPD,” as Swifties have come to call it.

“I’m over the moon about the fact that you guys care about my music, it still blows my mind,” she said after sharing her backup plan to announce the new album. “Everyone’s like, ‘Why do you make so many albums?’ I’m like, ‘Man, because I love it. I love it so much.’ I’m having fun, leave me alone.” 

While “over the moon,” Swift also harnessed the power of the sun to tease lyrics from the album. Ahead of April 8’s solar eclipse, she posted the video of a typewriter writing the words “Crowd goes wild at her fingertips. Half moonshine, full eclipse.”

Here’s everything we know about Taylor Swift’s next album, “The Tortured Poets’ Department”:

Joe Alwyn is thought to be the subject of many of the songs

Joe Alwyn arrives at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2023 at The Royal Opera House on November 15, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Joe Alwyn at the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2023 (Getty Images)

Alwyn and Swift dated for over six years. Their breakup became official around Easter of 2023. As of April 8, 2024 it has been a year since the breakup was announced.

Entertainment Tonight reported that the couple had gone their separate ways, and first the narrative involved mutual feelings that “the relationship had run its course.” One Swiftie pointed out that April 19 marked the night Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds unfollowed Joe Alwyn on Instagram. The next day, Swift got some of her closest girl group friends together — the Haim sisters, Lively and Gigi Hadid — for dinner, and the Haim sisters and Hadid joined Lively and Reynolds in unfollowing the actor.

The name of the album is also not-so-coincidentally similar to the name of a group chat that included Joe Alwyn, Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott: “The Tortured Man Club.” Mescal revealed that this WhatsApp chat existed between the three actors, all of whom have played roles like the one described, with Mescal starring as Connel in the Hulu series “Normal People” based on Sally Rooney’s book and Alwyn starring in the Hulu adaptation of Rooney’s “Conversations with Friends.”

Swift has hinted at the “Eras” shows that the album is focused on a specific period of her life.

“I needed to make it. It was really a lifeline for me,” Swift, said during her Friday, Feb. 16, concert in Melbourne, Australia. “It sort of reminded me of why songwriting is something that actually gets me through life and I’ve never had an album where I’ve needed songwriting more than I needed it on ‘Tortured Poets.”

The tracklist for ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ includes 16 songs and features Post Malone and Florence + the Machine

Swift dropped the track list for the surprise album the day after she announced it at the Grammys. The only featured artists, so far, include Post Malone on the first track “Fortnight” and Florence + the Machine on the eighth song “Florida!!!.” “So Long, London” is the name of the fifth track, and Swift’s Track 5s are known to be devastating.

The 16 songs included on any iteration of the album include:

  1. “Fortnight” (feat. Post Malone)
  2. “The Tortured Poets Department”
  3. “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”
  4. “Down Bad”
  5. “So Long, London”
  6. “But Daddy I Love Him”
  7. “Fresh Out the Slammer”
  8. “Florida!!!”
  9. “Guilty as Sin?”
  10. “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”
  11. “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)
  12. “loml”
  13. “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart”
  14. “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived
  15. “The Acemy”
  16. “Clara Bow”

Exclusive Bonus Songs:

  • “The Manuscript”
  • “The Bolter”
  • “The Albatross”
  • “The Black Dog”

There are three ‘Tortured Poets Department’ variant vinyls:

When Swift announced the album, the first iteration was marketed with the bonus track “The Manuscript,” and in Melbourne, she announced an alternate cover that comes with a bonus track called “The Bolter.”

“This is called ‘The Bolter Edition.’ Look at that cover, it’s so tortured [and] so poetic. I wanted to show that to you here in Melbourne because you’ve just been the best that you could possibly be.”

On the first version of “The Tortured Poets Department,” the tracklist, the tagline reads, “I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life.” On “The Bolter” variation, the phrase reads “You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad.” The third alternate version, “The Albatross” reads “Am I Allowed To Cry?”

The third and final variant of Swift’s eleventh album is called “The Black Dog,” and the tagline reads “Old Habits Die Screaming.”

This whole era and album could arguably be traced back to Jack Antonoff’s reveal that “You’re Losing Me,” a “Midnights” vault track Swift released after the breakup, first began to take shape in 2021. Plus, Swift played “You’re Losing Me” as the bonus piano song after unveiling “The Bolter” in Melbourne.

Taylor Swift

There will be a ‘Fortnight’ music video:

Swift announced this at 2 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday, April 18, launching sales of a CD featuring a photo of her and featured artist Post Malone on the cover. there is also a music video for “Fortnight,” which launches Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET.

The aesthetics alone in the multiple shots have all kinds of new meaning.

Here come the embedded lyric clues:

In the week leading up to the album’s release, Swift began revealing hidden one-word clues in the lyrics of one song on each of the five playlists. Three have been discovered by Swifties so far by piecing together randomly capitalized letters into the words. Three clues have been discovered so far, with an unveiling of the full message promised by April 18:

  • “Glitch”: ‘Hereby’ (on “Denial” Playlist)
  • “Peace”: ‘Conduct’ (on “Bargaining”)
  • “Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version)”: ‘This’ (on “Anger” Playlist)
  • “Clean (Taylor’s Version)” : “Post”
  • “Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)”: “Mortem” (on “Acceptance” Playlist)

Other lyric teased by Swift with the pre-order link include

  • “I wish I could un-recall how we almost had it all.”
  • “Lost the game of chance, what are the chances?”
  • “One less temptress one less dagger to sharpen”
  • “As she was leaving, it felt like breathing”
  • “Even statues crumble if they’re made to wait”
  • “Cime one, come all, it’s happening again.

Swift also scattered QR codes around the world to spell out the message: “For a Fortnight,” which has Swifties thinking something might come out May 3 in the double album theory.

Find the full playlists below.

Taylor Swift curated 5 ‘Stages of Heartbreak’ playlists:

Corresponding to each of the five stages of heartbreak, Swift curated playlists of her entire discography (though not each and every song finds a place in the new lineups) that include songs she feel corresponds to the evolution of grief and each phase. Four of the playlist titles match the taglines of each vinyl version of ‘The Tortured Poets Department.” The fifth corresponds to track 13 on the album (because of course it does). The lists and their corresponding emotions or actions are as follows:

Denial – “I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life”:

  • “Lavender Haze”
  • “Snow On The Beach (feat. More Lana Del Ray)”
  • “Sweet Nothing”
  • “Glitch”
  • “betty”
  • “willow”
  • “Cruel Summer”
  • “Lover”
  • “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince”
  • “False God”
  • “Style (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Untouchable (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “That’s When (feat. Keith Urban) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “Ours (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Superman (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Bejeweled”

Bargaining – “Am I Allowed to Cry?”:

  • “The Great War”
  • “this is my trying”
  • “peace”
  • “The Archer”
  • “Cornelia Street”
  • “Death By a Thousand Cuts”
  • “Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. The Chicks)”
  • “Afterglow”
  • “I Wish You Would (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Say Don’t Go (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “Come Back…Be Here (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Better Man (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “The Story of Us (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Haunted (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Come In With The Rain (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “The Other Side of The Door (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “If This Was A Movie (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Renegade (feat. Taylor Swift)” by Big Red Machine

Anger – “You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad Songs”:

  • “Vigilante Shit”
  • “High Infedelity”
  • “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”
  • “exile (feat. Bon Iver)”
  • “illicit affairs”
  • “mad woman”
  • “tolerate it”
  • “Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody) (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “The Moment I Knew (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Babe (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “I Bet You Tink About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “Dear John (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Tell Me Why (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “You’re Not Sorry (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Forever & Always (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”

Depression – “Old Habits Die Screaming”:

  • “Bigger Than The Whole Sky”
  • “Dear Reader”
  • “Maroon”
  • “You’re Losing Me (From the Vault)”
  • “my tears ricochet”
  • “epiphany”
  • “hoax”
  • “champagne problems”
  • “coney island (feat. The National)
  • “right where you left me”
  • “Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Forever Winter (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “We Were Happy (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “Last Kiss (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Castles Crumbling (feat. Haley Williams) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “Carolina” From “Where the Crawdads Sing
  • “White Horse ((Taylor’s Version)”

Acceptance – “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart”:

  • “You’re On Your Own, Kid”
  • “Midnight Rain”
  • “Labyrinth”
  • “the 1”
  • “august”
  • “invisible string”
  • “happiness”
  • “long story short”
  • “closure”
  • “evermore (feat. Bon Iver)”
  • “it’s time to go”
  • “I Forgot That You Existed”
  • “Daylight”
  • “This Love (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Clean (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
  • “Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Innocent (Taylor’s Version)”
  • “Breathe (feat. Colbie Caillat) (Taylor’s Version)”


One response to “Everything We Know About Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’”

  1. Santino Harris Avatar

    This piece really resonates with me, well expressed.

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