The Student News Site of Bryan High School

The Norseman

The Norseman

The Norseman

Swiftie trashes torturous album

As a passionate Swiftie, I was thrilled when pop legend Taylor Swift announced her most recent album, The Tortured Poets Department, on stage at the Grammys. After the success of Midnights and the steady winning streak Taylor was on with the Eras Tour, it seemed like nothing could go wrong. But, as Taylor says in her iconic song “Wildest Dreams,” nothing lasts forever…

The Tortured Poets Department was awful. I’ll go ahead and say it since, clearly, nobody else will. It is truly torturous and definitely not poetic in the slightest. I genuinely believe that any Swiftie who says this album is one of her best is brainwashing themselves. I adore Taylor Swift; I really do. Even albums like Lover and Evermore, which most people don’t care for, are some of my favorites. This is why I feel confident in saying that The Tortured Poets Department is an objectively bad album.

To start with, the style is wildly inconsistent. One of my favorite things about Taylor’s discography is the fact that you can play a song and instantly know what era it is from. Lover’s bubblegum pop, Reputation’s dark and fierce attitude, and Debut’s heartfelt country yearning are all iconic in their own unique way. The Tortured Poets Department simply doesn’t have this.

The name suggests angsty poetry written on a typewriter, the black ink stains on Taylor’s hands contrasting with her pristine nail polish, and a solemn tear falling onto her parchment. Even Taylor claims that this is her album in which songwriting has been most important. But, then you contrast this with the actual content of the album, and it makes no sense. “I’ll scratch your head and you’ll fall asleep like a tattooed golden retriever.” Yeah. Very poetic.

Not even the album cover is memorable, with it simply showing a black and white photo of Taylor lying on a bed in black lingerie. I know she is capable of being more creative than this. I would honestly prefer the early 2000s PhotoShop nightmare album cover of Debut to this boring slop.

There are problems with the album that go beyond its aesthetic. For one, it’s forgettable. The lyricism is bland and uninteresting at best, and a complete joke at worst. She makes several attempts at humor that come off more like a millennial’s snarky TikTok than an actual well-thought-out joke. Thinking about the entire 31 track album (way too long.. it’s like she tried to shove every scrap and draft into the album to make up for its suckiness), I can only remember the tune to about two songs. And that’s coming from someone who can sing pretty much any Taylor Swift song from memory. 

I feel like even Taylor knows that the album wasn’t good. In the song “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me,” which has a ridiculously stupid title, she jokes about “putting narcotics into all of her songs” to keep audiences “singing along.” With how her fanbase has been violently defending this new album and even claiming that Swifties who didn’t care for it are stupid or fake fans, I’m inclined to believe this might be the case!

Besides just the general quality of the music, some tracks on the album border on problematic and harmful. She has multiple songs on the album detailing her recently ended relationship with actor Joe Alwyn. This wouldn’t be a problem at all, except in songs like “So Long, London” and “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys” (which are unfortunately some of the better songs on the album), she blames their breakup on his depression and struggles with mental health. 

And, to make things worse, she goes on to say in “Who’s Afraid Of Little Old Me” that “you wouldn’t last an hour in the asylum where they raised me.” Now, I’m a big Taylor defender, but appropriating mental facilities for your dark and “spooky” aesthetic and then going on to demonize Joe for his struggle with mental health is downright disrespectful.

While I don’t believe that being mentally ill necessarily excuses how he hurt her, putting lyrics like this in her songs stigmatizes mental health. It can make people who are struggling feel like a burden to their friends, family, and partners. When an artist has an audience as big as Taylor’s, they need to consider what effect their songs will have on people.

A few songs grew on me a little, like “Down Bad” and “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart.” This doesn’t mean that I think they’re great or even good compared to Taylor’s other songs, but I do see a spark of inspiration in them that I feel to get from the other tracks on the album.  

This album had a real chance to be good, but instead of putting the same time and effort she put into her other albums, Taylor assumed that the fans would eat up whatever she put out and rushed it. And eat it up they did. 

I have already faced an insane amount of backlash from my Swiftie friends for not liking this album, and I’ll probably face even more when this article is published. Luckily, it’s my senior year, so the rabid Swifties will have to plot my death in the next week if they want to assassinate me for it. 


Leave a Comment
Donate to The Norseman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bryan High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ace Roueche
Ace Roueche, Associate Editor
Donate to The Norseman

Comments (0)

All The Norseman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *