Category: Music, ReviewsTag:

With some artists, you can press play on their new album and let the music waft over you; in some instances, you can multitask, have it play in the background as household chores get done or makeup is applied, and then some artists and albums force you to carve out a significant amount of time to immerse yourself in the artistry set forth fully. Artists like Adele, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift require your full attention. 

Taylor Swift’s newest showpiece, The Tortured Poet’s Department, dropped on Friday, April 19th. Within hours, legitimate publications and music critics were weighing in on the new album, which turned out to be a 31-track double album with a 2-hour and 3-minute run time. My question to them is, how could you fully digest and process the tales of heartbreak, frustrations, intrusive speculations, and having an axe to grind? This album is a labyrinth of emotions and experiences, each track a new twist and turn. How could one possibly uncover each easter egg and find the right puzzle pieces, masquerading as clues, together to fully see the picture curated for the masses? 

An artist once told me that when they release a song into the world, it no longer belongs to them. It becomes the property of the masses and is open to interpretation. However, Taylor Swift has a unique ability to craft narratives around her public persona’s attempts to balance her life with a significant other and its impact on past relationships. The lyrics, with their profound emotional depth, can be quite heart-wrenching at times (“So Long London,” “loml,” “How Did It End?”), and as a listener, I can’t help but feel that they are somewhat invasive, as they seem to have been taken directly from an old diary entry.

After a few more listens, I will uncover each clue and piece together the narrative Taylor wants us to believe to be true. The naysayers who protest that her lyrics serve as punishment to the ones who wronged her and should fear those who intend to, if you’re worried, you should be. 

An instant classic, “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” for the lyrics alone set to mid-tempo dance beats: “I’m so depressed, I act like it’s my birthday every day/I’m so obsessed with him, but he avoids me like the plague/ I cry a lot, but I am so productive, it’s an art/ You know you’re good when you can even do it with a broken heart.”

While many articles dive deep into each lyric and attempt to connect the dots to which person each track refers, among those rumored to be about her headlining erratic, short-lived fling with Matt Healy, “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys” is a joyous sonic ride. I’d be remiss not to mention the chills that the song “So Long, London,” with the layered, angelic-like opening reminiscing of a British royal engagement evokes. The farewell is bittersweet, rumored to be about her previous love of six years, and its epicness heightens the pain. 

Fun “Happy” Tracks: “The Alchemy,” “So High School,” and “Florida!!! (feat. Florence + The Machine).