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Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Everything to know about Taylor Swift’s new album ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Everything+to+know+about+Taylor+Swift%E2%80%99s+new+album+%E2%80%98The+Tortured+Poets+Department%E2%80%99
Lilly Crist

After winning a Grammy for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift announced her newest album, “The Tortured Poets Department.” Since the announcement, fans are raving over the new music. 

The tracklist

So far the tracklist has 16 tracks, with the 17th bonus track on physical copies of the album. Here’s the tracklist as of now:

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!!! (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 / Bonus Track: The Manuscript

The release date

Swift announced the album will release April 19. April marks one year since the announcement of Taylor Swift and English actor Joe Alwyn ending their six-year relationship. While nothing’s been confirmed, fans have speculated songs like “So Long, London” and “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” might have to do with the breakup.

Parallels with tracklist announcements

Swift’s most recent tracklist announcement parallels her “Lover” announcement.

Both photos show Swift on the left with her hand on her head and the tracklist announcements on the right. “Lover,” which was Swift’s first album while dating Joe Alwyn, revolved around them falling in love; the colors are vibrant and represent the joy of falling in love at the beginning of this relationship.

“The Tortured Poets Department,” however, juxtaposes “Lover” — she’s depicted as miserable, mirroring the “Lover” album in black and white. On the bottom left corner of the post, Swift added another short poem.

“I LOVE YOU / YOU, / IT’S / RUINING / MY LIFE” 

The words are staggered, and the alignment and wording lead fans to speculate if it represents a broken heart.

The poem

Along with the media release posts, Swift included a poem.

“And so I enter into evidence / My tarnished coat of arms / My muses, acquired like bruises / My talismans and charms / The 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.”

Traci Brimhall, Poet Laureate of Kansas and director of creative writing at Kansas State, offered some insight into the poem.

“I think people expect to see the words ‘tortured’ and ‘poets’ together, but normally they aren’t seen as a department; they’re seen as people in black turtlenecks writing sad poems in coffee shops,” Brimhall said. “I like the idea of a department of poets doing a 9-5 where the torture is not their heartbreak but their never-ending email.”

The website crash

Swift’s website crashed before the release date announcement, and despite the thousands of fans who visit her site on a daily basis, there’s sound speculation that the “crash” was intentional.

During the two-hour crash, the website read “Error 321 Backend fetch failed” and “hneriergrd.” “Hneriergrd,” unscrambled, spells Red Herring, a term for intentionally distracting information. 

Some Swifties even scoured the website’s source code, claiming to find hidden clues.

The X account @tswifterastour posted a photo of the source code and the translated clues.

“A deep dive into the source code for Taylor Swift’s currently down website reveals multiple words in different languages translated to Chairman / Bruises / Veins / Cadence / Apple Cake / Talisman / Love Bombs / Muse / Ink / Evidence / Fake,” the post said.

Interestingly enough, words like muse, bruises, chairman, love bombs, ink and talisman are all words that come up in Swift’s poem that was released with the album announcement.

The apostrophe controversy

Whether or not “Poets” in the album title should have an apostrophe was a contention among grammar fanatics and Swifties alike.

Adding an apostrophe would solidify “Poets” as a possessive noun, and the placement would suggest even more. If Swift were to include an apostrophe before the “s,” it would mean the department would belong to only one poet, and including it after would make it belong to multiple. However, by leaving out an apostrophe altogether, “Poets” is used more as an adjective than a noun, leaving much more to interpretation.

With this debate, it’s important to remember that Swift likely didn’t leave the apostrophe out unintentionally and that there isn’t a true right or wrong in art. 

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About the Contributor
Kaitlynn Faber, arts & culture editor
A&C editor for spring 2024. Previously asst. A&C editor for fall 2023 and writer for 2022-23.
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