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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, an analysis

Swift performing “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” on “The Eras Tour”

Taylor Swift dropped her 11th studio album “The Tortured Poet’s Department” on April 19th, 2024 at midnight. Two hours later, Swift dropped a surprise double album, The Tortured Poet’s Department: The Anthology” 31 songs were added to her discography of 274 tracks. Her fans, the “Swifties” went crazy for this surprise. 


31 new songs is a huge deal for the Swiftie community. The Tortured Poet’s Department was a highly anticipated album since it was the first new album she dropped after her public breakup with her boyfriend of 7 years, Joe Alwyn. Along with a two-week fling with the guitarist from The 1975, Matty Healy, and now “full swing” relationship with the Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce.


New songs mean new insights for this fan base. Here is a breakdown of what you need to know about the new songs on The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology. 


#1- “Fortnight” (feat. Post Malone)

The first song collaboration between the two artists, “Fortnight” is a hit single with a music video featuring both singers. A fortnight is defined as a two-week period. It is rumored that this song is about the brief relationship between Swift and singer-songwriter, Matty Healy. “I love you/It’s ruining my life/ I touched you/ For only a fortnight.” This song kicks the album off to a great start, with a fun beat, and some gut-wrenching lyrics, “Taylor does it again” says Swiftie Taylor Lerow, a sophomore at Newtown High School.


#2- “The Tortured Poets Department”

The second song on the album is rumored to be about Matty Healy. It speaks about topics such as drug abuse, longing after a break-up, and toxic relationships. Giving the fans a look into why the relationship only lasted for a “fortnight.” One lyric mentions “self-sabotage mode… you smoked then ate seven bars of chocolate… who else decodes you?” Using these poetic words to describe the dread that this relationship brought into her life. 


#3- “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”

While this song is a little harder to decode, fans suspect that it could be about ex-Joe Alwyn. “He saw forever so he smashed it up” is a gut-wrenching lyric, that perfectly defines the rumors about their breakup. After 7 years of dating, their relationship fell off, most likely due to a lack of communication.


#4- “Down Bad”

Down Bad is one of the first songs on the album where Swift expresses that maybe she would be better off without a relationship. She speaks about how “for a moment (she) knew cosmic love,” but suddenly is “down bad, waking up in blood.” While using foul language, Swift expresses her anger about the loss of this relationship and how it has shattered the world she knew. Of course, these heartbreaking lyrics have a catchy backtrack, which we can thank producer Jack Antanoff for. 


#5- “So Long, London”

So Long, London could be viewed as a sequel to Swift’s “London Boy,” released on her 2019 album, Lover. Both songs are about ex-Joe Alwyn, as he was born and raised in London. This song dives deeper into what Swift felt as she went through the end of a 7-year relationship. “My spine split from carrying us up the hill/ Wet through my clothes weary bones caught the chill/ I stopped trying to make him laugh/ Stopped trying to drill the safe.” 


#10- “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”

Taking a break from the broken relationship songs, Swift speaks again on a common topic- self-hatred. Swift says “you should be” afraid of her. The message of this song is about how the industry destroys the artist’s kindness, “I was tame I was gentle. Til the circus life made me mean/ Don’t you worry folks/ We took out all her teeth”


#13- “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart”

A breakup after a 7-year relationship is hard enough on its own, so when it happens within the first two weeks of a 2-year-long tour, it takes extreme dedication to continue. ‘I Can Do It With a Broken Heart’ touches on this subject, as Swift expresses her extreme determination to the show. “Cause I’m a real tough kid/ I can handle my ****… you gotta fake it til you make it/ And I did.” Her show is 3.5 hours long and will continue through 2025, Swift is an extremely hardworking artist. This song shows her mindset as to how she can keep going, no matter what she is facing in her personal life. 


#14- “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”

Matty Healy must have a superpower for being an awful boyfriend, as he received more songs on TTPD than Joe Alwyn. Swift rips him to shreds as she says, “Were you sent by someone/ Who wanted me dead?/ Did you sleep with a gun underneath our bed?/ Were you writing a book/ Were you a sleeper cell spy?/ In 50 years will all this be declassified?” With an intense backtrack that creates a cinematic experience, these lyrics go deeper into her emotions than ever before. Within only 2 weeks, Healy was able to derail Swift’s life. This is an extremely popular song on the album, as a lot of fans find it relatable to their personal lives. 


#15- “The Alchemy”

Finally, a song that isn’t depressing on the album. Travis Kelce earns his first love song. Swift throws in a couple of football puns, while also expressing her appreciation for their new relationship. “Alchemy” is defined as a magical combination. “The sign on your heart/ Said it’s still reserved for me/ Honestly, who are we to fight the alchemy?”


#21- “How Did It End?”

Fan Taylor Lerow says that this one is “one of Taylor’s most sad and upsetting songs because of the devastating lyrics, and heartbreaking piano.” Swift is known to create some of the best bridges known in the history of music. This one could be argued as her best. Another song about the loss she felt after a 7-year relationship, “Say it once again with feeling/ How the death rattle breathing/ Silenced as the soul was leaving/ The deflation of our dreaming/ Leaving me bereft and reeling/ My beloved ghost and me/ Sitting in a tree/ D-Y-I-N-G” Swift has a way with words, so much so that fans love comparing her to Shakespeare. A genius bridge, which is able to convey such deep emotions, and doing it in such a genius way,  is a talent only Taylor Swift can achieve.


#23- “I Hate It Here”

As the album starts to wrap up, Swift begins to express self-loathing emotions. This song hints that Swift could be battling with depression, as she talks about escaping her life to somewhere that she feels she belongs. “I hate it here so I will go to/ Secret gardens in my mind/ People need a key to get to/ The only one is mine.” A relatable song for a lot of fans, Swift’s feelings are just like any other person’s. Wanting to escape the life they are living, and finding happiness somewhere else. Somewhere only they can access. 


#26- “The Prophecy”

The Prophecy is arguably the most upsetting song on the album. It is hard to make that decision since this is Swift’s saddest work, but this song is all about wanting to be loved. It is no secret that Swift has had a list of boyfriends and is currently 34 and unmarried, which is something that society loves to talk about. This song exposes her insight on this topic, and how she feels as if it’s not possible for someone to love her. “Please/ I’ve been on my knees/ Change the prophecy/ Don’t want money/ Just someone who wants my company/ Let it once be me/ Who do I have to speak to/ About if they can redo/ The Prophecy?”

This album can be described as tragic, harrowing, mourning, anger, and everything in between. Swift has really outdone herself on this one, adding to her already impressive resume. There is no one quite like Taylor Swift. 


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About the Contributor
Haley Merrill
Haley Merrill, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Haley Merrill, I am a senior at Danbury High School! I have recently discovered my passion for writing in journalism. I am majoring in journalism in college, and wanted to get a head start at my future. I can't wait to write stories and share them with the school newspaper. Looking forward to a great year at the Hatters Herald!

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