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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Love child of Midnights and Folklore: The Tortured Poets Department 

Sunny Cao

The new “Tortured Poets Department” Vinyl

As a longtime Swiftie, I, like many, freaked out when I logged into Instagram on Feb. 4. I saw that Taylor Swift had just announced that her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poet’s Department” would be dropping on April 19.  

Of course, when the album was finally released, I stayed up way past my normal bedtime to listen to it. 

To be completely honest, after listening to the album for the first time, I didn’t have many thoughts and was slightly disappointed. The songs just seemed to kind of blend together, and no one song stuck out to me as an immediate favorite. Maybe this was because it was 1 a.m., and I was going delirious working on a group project, but I digress.  

Now, looking back, after the album has marinated in my mind for about a month, I certainly have some things to say. 

I can’t believe I had thought all the songs sounded similar, as I now recognize how different they are. From the more folk-influenced songs, such as “Clara Bow” or “loml,” to what fans have dubbed “glitter gel pen songs,” such as “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” the album is diverse with all types of genres and sounds. 

Some current personal favorites include “Down Bad,” “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)” and “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.” Although all the songs on the album have distinctly different productions, they are somehow still very thematically similar. From heartbreaking breakup anthems such as “So Long, London” to fun experimental songs such as “Florida!!!”, which came from Swift watching Dateline, a true crime TV show. This album was all over the place in terms of style, but it still creates a perfect picture.

With the spazzy pop production like her album Midnights and the lyrical vulnerability of albums like Folklore and Evermore, both released in 2020. This album is a perfect combination for folk and pop lovers like me. 

In addition to the original 16 songs dropped at midnight, Swift dropped another collection of 15 brand new surprise songs at 2 a.m. in another album called “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology,” revealing this project to be a massive double album consisting of a whopping 31 songs. Compared to most other artists, where the average number of songs on an album is 10-12 tracks, Swift’s 31-track album is a huge feat in the music industry. 

Love or hate her, you’ve got to commend Swift for her productivity. She has been touring the world nonstop ever since April 2023, so I would just like to know where the heck she finds the time to record and write two whole albums while performing consistently. 

The Anthology album features more piano-composed and vulnerable songs such as “How Did it End?,” “Cassandra,” and “The Manuscript.” To me, the Anthology album moves even closer thematically to her Folklore and Evermore albums, as she sings from the perspective of various made-up characters with complicated backstories, such as “Peter” being sung from the POV of Wendy from the famous fairytale Peter Pan. 

Swift also raised some headlines with a certain song on the Anthology album called “thanK you aIMee,” with the capital letters purposefully spelling out “KIM” alluding to her previous and long-standing feud with the Kardashian family. 

Personal favorites from the Anthology album include “The Bolter,” “So High School,” and “Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus.” This album shows the range of Swift’s writing style and production. She seems to be able to sing in any genre of music, and her pen game is immaculate, as always. 

Since my first listening session, my esteem for the album has grown exponentially. But a word of caution: That level of appreciation is a project. Tortured Poets require that you sit with it and listen to every song carefully. With my revised assessment, I give it a solid 10 out of 10 Falcons. 

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