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The Pony Express

The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School

The Pony Express

Taylor Swift’s eleventh original studio album The Tortured Poets Department, was released at midnight on April 19, 2024, with a surprise of an additional fifteen songs two hours later. In its first day, the album set the record for the most streams in a day, beating 1989 (Taylor’s Version) and Midnights, who had both previously held that title. Fans were shocked and delighted by the extended track list, staying up until the early hours to begin learning and decoding every song. 

The Tortured Poets Department explores a darker tone than Swift’s usual work, sonically a mix between Midnights’ synth-y pop and the dreamy sound and lyricism of folklore and evermore. Its sharp-tongued, scathing lyrics echo reputation, showing a more consistently angry and bitter Taylor than listeners have ever heard. No songwriter expresses their feelings quite like Swift and this album is no different—many of the lyrics feel like a catharsis, a type of therapy for her.  


  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 Alchemy 
  16. Clara Bow 


  1. The Black Dog 2
  2. imgonnagetyouback 3
  3. The Albatross 
  4. Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus 
  5. How Did it End? 
  6. So High School 
  7. I Hate it Here 
  8. thanK you aIMee 
  9. I Look in People’s Windows 
  10. The Prophecy 
  11. Cassandra 
  12. Peter 
  13. The Bolter 
  14. Robin 
  15. The Manuscript 

Highlights of the soundtrack include the up-tempo “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys,” the scathing “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” the reflective “Clara Bow,” and the symbolically upbeat-to-hide-pain “I Can Do it With a Broken Heart.” Additionally, there were two highly anticipated features in the first half of the album. Post Malone lent his vocals to “Fortnight” and Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine joined Swift on “Florida!!!” Both tracks were well-received by fans with effortless harmonies and strong performances. 

While there were multiple standout tracks, the sheer number and variety of tracks caused the extended album to feel a bit unfocused and incohesive. Many of the songs blend together or feel like fillers, especially in THE ANTHOLOGY’s bonus tracks. Not many artists could write and produce thirty-one songs while touring, re-recording previous works, and going through a six-year-long-relationship breakup. While this is an impressive feat that almost pays off, The Tortured Poets Department: THE ANTHOLOGY could have benefited from some editing and paring down. 

The Tortured Department is an ambitious project and a treat for Swifties, who can delve into its easter eggs, lyrical callbacks, and hours of new content. However, it is a more divisive album, with several negative critic reviews and more mature themes than some of her previous material. Swift certainly is tortured, her lyrics telling the tale of the end of a stifling relationship, the desire for a fresh start with someone new, before its brief flame crashed and burned as well. Additionally, Tortured Poets tracks such as “But Daddy I Love Him” and “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” touch upon Swift’s complicated relationship with her fans, and anger towards those who feel the need to comment on her personal choices and relationships. 

Overall, Swift’s eleventh studio album was an enjoyable listening experience and an intriguing new addition to her expansive catalog. It is a raw, vulnerable, angry album and a glimpse behind the glittering curtain of Taylor Swift’s carefully crafted persona. Tortured Poets is a testament to the power of Taylor Swift as both a global phenomenon and a songwriter and will likely be remembered as such for years to come. 

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