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Preview: The Tortured Poets Department

“The Tortured Poets Department” album cover. Photo by Beth Garrabant.


Fortnight (ft. Post Malone):

Track one with a feature: unheard of! This track is already breaking tradition, so what will happen when it is actually released? A rather unexpected collaboration, this track has obtained heavy speculation about its content. A snippet was even leaked, although it is still unclear if it was real or AI generated. Many have claimed the possibility that this “Fortnightwas a period of two weeks in which she and Joe Alwyn ended things, but we won’t know until April 19th.  


The Tortured Poets Department: 

Track two holds the title of the album, so we can assume that this track will sum up the mood and vibe that Taylor is striving for on her 2024 album. Track two will be a defining track of the album!


“My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”

Time for track three! This is not the first time Taylor has referenced breaking things in a song. In her 2017 track “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”, she sings, “because you break them, I had to take them away”. More profoundly, however, Swift is singing about the delicacy of her emotions and love, and how they have constantly been toyed with. In track three, she will confront this issue, and not let his favorite toys be broken anymore. 


Down Bad:

By its title, track four appears to be one of the only potential love songs on the album. Of course, it cannot be said for certain that this is a love song, but if it is, it has the potential to be about Swift’s new partner, Travis Kelce. However, without knowing anything else about the track other than its title, this song has significant potential to be another breakup song. Perhaps, the song explains Swift’s feelings towards her ex, Joe Alwyn, and her devotion to him, explaining the significance of the title being “Down Bad”. Regardless of who the inspiration of this song is, it appears Swift will be exposing her most personal feelings about the meaning of love. 


So Long, London:

Time for track five! Famous for being Swift’s most emotional track of the album, it looks like
“So Long, London” won’t stray from this tradition. We all remember her 2019 track, “London Boy”, about her boyfriend of six years, Joe Alwyn. As of 2023, the pair had split. Could this track be her bidding him goodbye once and for all? We have only heard one breakup track regarding Alwyn: her 2023 track “You’re Losing Me” provides listeners with heart-wrenching lyrics, hinting that “The Tortured Poet’s Department” track will follow a similar pattern. 


But Daddy I Love Him:

A strange title at first glance, this track six has potential hidden meanings behind its cryptic wording. One of Disney’s most famous princess movies, The Little Mermaid, has Ariel say these lines to her father when she is about to give up her voice for the man she loves. Will this be the message behind this song? Did Taylor almost give up her career to be with Joe Alwyn?


Fresh Out The Slammer:

Track seven is one that has a lesser amount of speculation about its significance, mostly because it seems rather self-explanatory. The main interpretation about what the contents of this song could include are Swift’s first experiences after the split from her ex. In this context, the “Slammer” would be referring to the breakup, and her being “Fresh Out” of it would be the recency of the breakup. 


Florida!!! (ft. Florence and the Machine):

Due to its vague title, this track eight has gained a significant amount of attention. Many fans have said that the title references this US state because it was her first stop on her incredibly significant Eras Tour after her split with her ex was announced. Of course, it is a rather convoluted theory, but anything is possible with Swift. Another important note to mention is that “Florida!!!” is one of the two tracks on TTPD with a feature, leaving many Florence and the Machine fans interested in what this song could be about. Finally, the last point of intrigue in this song are the three exclamation points at the end of the title, which is something unheard of in the context of Swift’s discography, as any punctuation has in the past had a limit of 1. 


Guilty As Sin?:

This track is one of the more ambiguous ones. It could be about so many different things, perhaps even about a scandal. Another possibility is that it contains a bit of context as to what her ex did for the relationship to come to an end. The question mark insinuates a doubtful connotation of whatever is to be discussed, especially since the title itself is not exactly a question, like many of Swift’s other songs that have question marks at the end. 


Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me? 

The title pretty much tells most of the story of this song. Taylor keeps topping the pinnacle of her fame, and she has discussed feeling lonely at times. As her fame has skyrocketed, she has leaned on her inner circle to keep her grounded. However, when one reaches such a high level of fame, people are more intimidated by them. Perhaps this song will join songs like “The Lucky One” and “Nothing New” about Taylor’s struggles with fame? 


I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can):

As has been revealed in Swift’s new Apple Music Playlists about the stages of grief, she tends to ignore the red flags in her relationships. It would make sense that this track would be about her desire to be with a certain person, and tossing aside her morals in order to pursue them. Of course, being Taylor Swift, she likely could change him if she really tried, but the point is she shouldn’t have to. Hopefully with the drop of this track we can get more insight as to Joe Alwyn, or a different mystery man’s true tendencies in a relationship. 



The only abbreviated track on the album, it begs the question: What does it stand for? Most commonly, the abbreviation is known as “Love of my Life”, but as this album is almost certainly a breakup album, there could be other meanings as well. A common speculation made among fans has been that it could stand for “Loss of my Life” or “Loss of my Lover.” Perhaps, if the title is repeated, it could even change over the course of the song, going from “Love of my Life” to the last time it is mentioned being “Loss of my Life.”


I Can Do It With a Broken Heart:

During her Eras Tour, Swift has been quoted saying that she can perform with a broken heart. However, she has disproved herself many times, as she has broken down crying during setlists. This song will capture the pain of being heartbroken and having to perform. 


The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived:

Once again, the title pretty much says it all. This song has multiple possibilities for who it is about, but a common train of thought is that it is about Scooter Braun. Swift and Braun have a complicated past, and she has made her dislike for him very clear. Perhaps this song will add to Swift’s medley of diss tracks towards Braun. 


The Alchemy:

Taylor has been referred to in the past as a witch by many other celebrities. Swift has embraced it, as during her Eras Tour, the  “willow” performance has dancing witches. Perhaps Swift will be mixing potions in “The Alchemy” and furthering the embrace of this term. 


Clara Bow:

The final track of the album raised some eyebrows. Clara Bow was a silent film actress and one of the original “it girls”. It is thought that Swift will compare and relate herself to the actress, and how she has felt silenced in the past and how the acme of her fame has impacted her status.

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