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

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Feb 6, 2024 at 10:07 AM

Reading time: 4 minutes

Attention, all Swifties! Taylor Swift has announced the release date of her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, and it is less than three months away. I repeat it is less than three months away! Here’s everything we know so far about Swift’s latest project.

When will ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ come out?

On 19 April 2024, the new album will drop and let’s just say that netizens have already begun speculating exactly what topics the record will touch upon. Already likening the album’s name to the iconic Robin William film Dead Poets Society, it seems as though Switfies are under the impression that this one will be for the girlies who linger in bookshops and exclusively read Jane Austen.

With so much anticipation and excitement surrounding the upcoming release, let’s delve into all of the online rumours, the potential boyfriend connections, and some of the fans’ best reactions to the announcement.

Taylor Swift unveils tracklist for ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

The new LP includes 16 songs and one bonus track titled ‘The Manuscript’. There are just two guest features this time: Post Malone and Florence and the Machine. See the full tracklist below:

01 Fortnight [ft. Post Malone]
02 The Tortured Poets Department
03 My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys
04 Down Bad
05 So Long, London
06 But Daddy I Love Him
07 Fresh Out the Slammer
08 Florida!!! [ft. Florence and the Machine]
09 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 Alchemy
16 Clara Bow
17 The Manuscript (Bonus Track)

How did Taylor Swift announce her new album?

During her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammys on Sunday 4 February, the singer teased: “I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years, which is that my brand new album comes out April 19. It’s called The Tortured Poets Department.” Naturally, the crowd went absolutely wild.

Swift’s album Midnights not only picked up the win for Best Pop Vocal Album, but it also scooped up Album of the Year as well. With that, Swift broke a tie she’d previously held with Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, and Stevie Wonder, going on to hold the title for most Album of the Year wins, with four in total.

The new album came as a complete shock to a lot of fans, many of whom were expecting Swift to tease the release date of Reputation (Taylor’s Version). After Swift left the stage, she shared the cover art and release date for the new album on her social media accounts.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

The post’s caption read: “All’s fair in love and poetry…”

Is Taylor Swift’s new album about the movie ‘Dead Poets Society’?

Upon seeing and hearing the album title, fans were quick to connect it to the movie Dead Poets Society, which was released in 1989. Coincidence? I think not. You don’t need to be a devout Swiftie to know that 1989 is Taylor Swift’s birth year and the title of her first full pop album from 2014.

The movie, which features the late Robin Williams as the lead character is about an English teacher at a highly conservative all-boys boarding school. Instead of following the textbook and rigid curriculum that was laid for him, Mr Keating decides to introduce the boys to passionate poetry. This, in turn, introduces them to the joys and pleasures of life.

Taylor, who signed one of her posts as the “chairman of the tortured poets department,” has also stated multiple times that she is an avid reader, with fans constantly finding references to acclaimed American poet Emily Dickinson, as well as contemporary writer Taylor Jenkins Reid in her lyrics.

Is Swift trying to dedicate a whole album to her literary heroes and create an unofficial book club for her fans? Cause I am here for it!

Well, it’s only one theory.

Is Taylor Swift’s new album about ‘The Tortured Man Club’?

Others believe that The Tortured Poet’s Department is about Joe Alwyn, Swift’s former long-time boyfriend of six and a half years. The couple’s break-up was announced in April 2023 so fans immediately started to speculate that the songs are likely about the end of her and Joe’s romance.

This seemed especially plausible to them because Alwyn and actor Paul Mescal have a WhatsApp group with Andrew Scott called “The Tortured Man Club.” The two actors revealed this information during Variety’s Actors On Actors series.

In the 2022 Variety interview, Mescal asked Alwyn: “What’s the name of the group chat that we’re in?” Joe laughed before answering: “Tortured Man Club, I think.”

“It hasn’t had much use recently,” Alwyn added at the time, with Mescal agreeing: “No, I feel like we are less tortured now.”

Swift is famous for responding to her misogynistic moniker of being a “man-eater” with satirical ballads such as Blank Space, and Look What You Made Me Do.

Could it be that Swift is once again writing an album to respond to her critics? Is the singer satirically saying that as a chairman of the department and a woman who has left quite a lot of hearts broken in the past, tortured men is something she specialises in?

Again, it would be something I am absolutely here for. We love a woman who talks back at the patriarchy and reverses the terms that were used to subjugate her!

However, in the album letter for the rerelease of 1989, the singer reflected on the intensive scrutiny her relationships had been subjected to.

“You see—in the years preceding this, I had become the target of slut shaming—the intensity and relentlessness of which would be criticized and called out if it happened today. The jokes about my amount of boyfriends. The trivialization of my songwriting as if it were a predatory act of a boy crazy psychopath. The media co-signing of this narrative. I had to make it stop because it was starting to really hurt,” Swift stated.

“I don’t like seeing slide shows of guys I’ve apparently dated. I don’t like giving comedians the opportunity to make jokes about me at awards shows. I don’t like it when headlines read ‘Careful, Bro, She’ll Write a Song About You,’ because it trivialises my work,” the letter read.

This theory directly supports the man-eater narrative, with all the corresponding posts warning Alwyn to “watch out.” They contain the damaging assumption that the only thing that gives fuel to Swift’s art is a broken heart when she has proven over and over again that she can write music about everything ranging from elections to her age—does anyone remember ‘Fifteen’ and ‘22’?—and the city of New York. Making Swift’s music solely about her exes minimises the artist’s merit of her work and assigns the credit for her accomplishments to them.

Whatever Swift’s newest album is about, I reckon we’ll only know for sure on 19 April 2024. So sit tight and make sure you have your notifications on. I have a feeling none of us are going to want to miss this…

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