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The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

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The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

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Meet the Staff
Kinley Gigous
Kinley Gigous

Kinley Gigous is a freshman and a photographer for Free State Journalism. Outside of journalism she is involved in theatre, soccer, forensics, and Finer Things club. Outside of school, she enjoys crocheting...

REVIEW: The Tortured Poets Department

Journalism student reviews Taylor Swift’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department

Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department came out on April 19, contrasting from any album she’s released with the new direction she went in. Coming from a dedicated fan of Taylor Swift, this album is the worst she has released; however, it’s still slightly above mediocre. 

For an album with a title that says the word “poet,” it’s a lyrical letdown. Swift is often praised for her excellent writing, and this talent is absent throughout a majority of the album’s songs. Lyrics like “You take my ring off my middle finger/And put it on the one people put wedding rings on” from the title track, “The Tortured Poets Department,” “My friends all smell like weed or little babies” from “Florida!!!” and “Touch me while your bros play Grand Theft Auto” from “So High School” take away from the good qualities that Swift usually has throughout her albums. In her two most recent albums before this one, evermore and Midnights, the lyrics were the best quality, so this drastic comparison was surprising and a letdown for many fans. However, while the lyrics are subpar, the album makes up for it with its incredible production.

The Tortured Poets Department might be Swift’s best-produced album so far. Though this album is definitely unique for its bad lyrics, it’s also positively unique from the rest of her discography with its sound, which I feel like she hasn’t fully accomplished since folklore in 2020. Without a doubt, the most uniquely produced track is “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.” The way this song connects the lyrics with the production is something she hasn’t really done in this way before. The song is about how she’s going through a breakup and still having to do her tour, and these themes are shown in the production, mimicking what her earpiece sounds like when she’s performing. Some other well produced songs are “Florida!!!”, “imgonnagetyouback”, “Down Bad” and “The Alchemy.” Despite this, I can’t enjoy songs like “The Alchemy” due to the explicit details that make it far too obvious who she’s writing about.

A significant issue with this album is how specific and personal it is. I’ve done the math and the amount of name dropping is up 158% compared to the average amount of her past ten albums. This might just be a me thing, but I don’t want to know that Matty Healy told Lucy Dacus that he’d kill himself if he and Taylor Swift broke up. Even previously released songs like “right where you left me” and “Our Song” paint a detailed picture of exactly how she was feeling at an exact time without making them too specific to the life of Taylor Swift. The magnitude of the details in her life restricts the listener from interpreting the song in their own way and makes many of the songs hard to listen to.

Sophomore Baila Love’s tier list of The Tortured Poets Department

Overall, I would give The Tortured Poets Department a 5.8/10. The production is great for many songs, but the lyrics are inexcusable and deteriorate the quality of the album. It’s just not the usual standard I expect to hear in Swift’s music. I do think this album still has some great songs, but the inconsistent quality is its fault.

About the Contributor
Baila Love
Baila Love, Photographer
Baila is a sophomore and a photographer for Free State Journalism. She spends most of her time listening to music and making crafts for her friends. Outside of journalism, she focuses on debate and forensics.
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