a lost zillennial

Predictions for The Tortured Poets Department

Strap in folks. TTPD comes out this week, and my friends don't have an hour or three to listen to me talk about it. If you are a Taylor Swift enjoyer and have thoughts, please email me and we can dish ;)

a lost zillennial

This is all off top of the dome. I may meander.

In contrast to reputation

TS announced this album at the Grammy's when most suspected she was going to drop the date for reputation TV. I figured she'd pull a fast one somehow, but I continued to be surprised by her hijinks, so I wasn't sure how.

The entire album being a surprise in a sense reminded me a bit of folklore and evermore. We woke up one day, and there were new albums. Of course, TTPD isn't a total surprise since we learned about it months ago, but the element of surprise was still there. She wore black and white knowing that people expected rep, and looking back, the fit wasn't giving rep at all, even considering that a TV may have a different take on the original.

a lost zillennial

I remember seeing the photos before the announcement that night and thinking it didn't feel right for rep. The ensemble reminds me of Old Hollywood-type vibes β€” and one of the tracks, Clara Bow, would fit in nicely with that β€” and offers a sort of refinement that rep does not. Rep has themes of being broken down and learning to get up again, but she was emanating sophistication that evening.

Rep is, in theory, the anthesis to sophistication and high-class industry to-dos. Think about the delicate MV: here, she is able to be her true, goofy self because nobody can see her, so she rips off her shiny gold dress, kicks off her shoes, and dances like (literally) nobody is watching.

About Joe

I'll start with saying that, when I analyze things like music, I am doing this through a literary lens. Similar to how students in a literature class speculate what could have influenced what an author wrote, looking at her work critically is integral to understanding what she could have meant.

Considering the TS that the public knows as anything other than a character is a bit para-social and silly to me. That character may be strongly centered around who she truly is as a person, but she has invested tens of millions of dollars into her public persona. TS, like any other pop star or mega-celebrity, is precisely manicured. She's expressed that she enjoys the fan theories and she caters to them and plays her little tricks (again, see: Grammy's night), but I think it's important to remember just that. She manufactures herself, whether for capitalistic or self-preservation purposes, and that's part of the brand.

A whole lot of the discourse surrounding Midnights was whether or not it was a "breakup album," and many, including me, settled that it was. The rah-rah now is that TTPD is the Joe breakup album, and that would make sense on the song titles alone, but if Midnights was a breakup album, does that mean Joe gets two whole albums?

We're undoubtedly going to learn more about their relationship (based on the title of the album, the track list, the imagery), but my hunch is that this won't be any regular break-up album. TS is now in her mid-30s, and she's made it clear what she's looking for. There has to be more than just heartbreak going on, but I can't put my finger on exactly how.


I'm CONFOUNDED, folks. I wish we got a single so I could get hype, but I also enjoy just dropping it all at once so people don't make up their minds about the album before the actual release date. I was skeptical as hell after the Lover singles.

This is definitely going to be a pop album. I've seen a few speculative tweets that have some teeth. First is that this might be some sort of mix between rep and Red as far as vibes go, which sounds right based on the limited info we have. Red was a coming of age album, and rep has that edginess to it that I get from some of the tracks in TTPD.

Another theory is that this will have similar vibes to Ceremonials by F+TM, which I think is a stretch, depending on what they meant. I think it's likely that this will be a strings-heavy record based on the imagery we've gotten so far.

TS cares a lot about her lyrics, and poetry being so much apart of this album tells me there will be more than a few songs I will cry to, but I've cried to all sorts of songs! So that means nothing.

Track 1: Fortnight (ft. Post Malone)

It is a bold move to title a song fortnight in the year of our Lord, 2024. Memes abound.

Having a feature track as the first track is interesting to me and not a decision I'd expect. With Posty, this can go a lot of ways, and I'm interested to see how it plays out. Depending on how it goes, I can see this being a single.

Track 2: The Tortured Poets Department

Ahem. I'm going to talk about punctuation real quick.

Something I noticed about the title of the album was the lack of an apostrophe in poets. The Tortured Poets' Department or Poet's Department could have two different meanings, but there isn't an implication of possession at all. Not sure if it actually has any significance, but something to ponder.

We don't get title tracks in all of her albums (Speak Now, Red, Lover, evermore... I think that's all of them?) so it's intriguing to think about what this will do for the record. I don't think the title track always necessarily defines the entire album always β€” Speak Now, for instance, I don't think fully captures the emotional intentions of the album, although the title for the album makes sense β€” but this one might for TTPD.

Track 3: My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

Ballad vibes? I can't see this being anything other than sad, but Blondie has surprised me before.

The title alone made me think of the F+TM's My Boy Builds Coffins, which is a great song, but it's making me not be able to shake that vibe off of this one.

Track 4: Down Bad

This feels like it might be a single for absolutely no reason other than it's snappy and I could imagine it being something played on the radio. It's been a popular phrase for a while. Down Bad might be something more upbeat / poppy.

Track 5: So Long, London

My thoughts are probably mostly what's already been said: this might have parallels to London Boy. That idea is interesting since that was such a silly goofy upbeat poppy song, and not one that was a standout from Lover.

But this might be a You're Losing Me : Cornelia Street :: So Long, London : London Boy. There's no telling what she'll do.

I could see this being a bittersweet goodbye to a place you aren't ready to leave but have to for the sake of yourself. Did she ever live there for an extended period of time, though? (Google search: Yes, she lived there, but I'm not sure for how long) That in and of itself could be something to note: London could have been a place she spent downtime.

Regardless, it's track 5, and TS knows how to cut deep with those. Tears expected.

Track 6: But Daddy I Love Him

I detest the word d*ddy so I was not thrilled to see this, lol. I'm not sure what to expect.

Track 7: Fresh Out the Slammer

Getaway Car? I like her mischievous songs, but I'm not sure if this will be mischievous. Maybe the "slammer" is a toxic relationship? Not necessarily with herself, but with a habit, business, mental health struggle? Idk! This one seems like it'll be interesting.

Track 8: Florida!!! (ft. Florence + the Machine)

I'm... wary.

This is one of the BAM in-your-face track titles, and it reminds me of Slut! from 1989 TV. Someone's ultimately confirmed theory I saw on Twitter was that this song was going to be less Slut! and more slut., and they were right.

That being said, we 20-something Swifties have probably mostly had our F+TM phases, so I'm excited to hear it. I think TS learned her lesson with Snow on the Beach (feat. Lana) since she went back and added... more Lana. The worst thing that could happen here is that Florence's voice is not taken advantage of to its fullest potential.

Alright, now the elephant in the room. What's TS got to say about Florida? As far as I know, there aren't many fan theories circulating about this one based on her real-life experiences (I don't follow them all really closely, so I could be TOTALLY off base on that), but I'm thinking this could be some kind of allegory? Florida is the place where people retire, settle down, enjoy the end of their lives. Not to say I think TS is retiring anytime soon, but this could be somehow related to leaving something or someone behind, perhaps an obligation.

Track 9: Guilty as Sin?

Taylor loves her punctuation, especially her ...s and ?s. I don't really have any outstanding predictions for this one. I think it's gonna be horny.

Track 10: Who's Afraid of Little Old Me?

When they say, "Oh my God, she's insane! She wrote a song about me!" I bet you think about me.

Fear of a person who wronged her β€” not necessarily Joe β€” being brought into the limelight? People in her life gots to be knowing they need to watch themselves.

Either that, or perhaps something about someone in her life having to face the "consequences" of her emotions, skirting around having big conversations. Maybe a Scooter song?

Track 11: I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)

No, you can't :)

Poppy, maybe? I'm noticing that I think these silly song titles will lend themselves to pop. This is a bit of a trendy turn of phrase right now β€” Olivia Rodrigo has it as a little line in get him back! β€”Β which is another reason I think it'll be potential radio material.

Track 12: loml

Ariana Grande is that you? Idk, this is probably gonna be some sort of ballad or a very poppy song. No in between. I will cry and/or dance.

Track 13: I Can Do It With a Broken Heart

This is kinda reminding me of how she started the Eras Tour with invisible string being the folklore opening track and changed it to the 1 around the time the news broke about her and Joe. I'm also not sure if she ever ended up playing Cornelia Street? (Quick Google search: yes she did)

Perhaps this has to do with staying positive and giving the people what they want even when you're going through it.

Track 14: The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived

Allegedly, one of the big reasons Joe and TS broke up is because he wanted to be private and she wanted to progress her career (see: peace and Bejeweled). Maybe this is something about how he tried to squander her for his needs without considering her own. I could see this being something akin to a nursery-rhyme/story-time type song as far as storytelling goes.

As with many of these songs, though, this could also be a Scooter and Co. song. Something to chew on.

Track 15: The Alchemy

Mystical... I feel like if this was a track on folklore/evermore it would make sense. But I can't separate alchemy from the Fullmetal Alchemist of it all, so brain empty on this one.

Track 16: Clara Bow

I don't know a whole bunch about Clara Bow, but TS has made many allusions to the '20s in her discography, so this isn't a necessarily shocking track title. Not sure what to expect, but something tells me this is gonna be sad or at the very least thought-provoking.

Bonus tracks

Blondie is a capitalist at heart, which has never come as a surprise. It's a shame that there are already so many bonus tracks (and I wouldn't be surprised if there were more later) because her bonus tracks are typically pretty solid.

The Manuscript sounds like a neat title for a song

The Black Dog is going to be overused as a TikTok sound for Sirius Black related videos and quoted in AO3 fanfics. Calling it.


That is all. I will probably post a reflection on this when I digest the album. If I was too off base... I might ignore it in shame. Something to note is that I'm not seeing how Mr. Kelce can or will fit into these, so that will be interesting to see. Maybe we won't hear about him as much as we expect.

I didn't even delve into my thoughts on the album cover and the sultry vibes as a whole, but I am done typing. Fin. Done. No mas.

I have a feeling I'm gonna like the merch for this one, so I will be refreshing the TS shop at midnight. Wish me luck.



Shoot me a comment or start a conversation with me by emailing davstri4077@gmail.com.