Fri. May 24th, 2024

Renowned For Sound

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Album Review: Taylor Swift – The Tortured Poets Department

2 min read
Renowned For Sound's Ryan gives his verdict on @taylorswift13 The Tortured Poets Department @SwiftNYC @TSVinylUpdates

Taylor Swift is someone who needs no introduction. She is currently the biggest artist in the world, full stop, and has been making waves for years with her loyal fanbase carrying her along through multiple album releases, rerecording of her earlier work, and world tours that have broken multiple records in the process. Her new album The Tortured Poets Department is her first foray back into new original music since 2022s Midnights, and has been highly anticipated ever since its announcement earlier this year.

Fortnight, featuring Post Malone at his most ambient crooner, mixes her synth-pop tendencies with the more atmospheric sounds of her previous few albums. The self titled track follows, holding the same mid-tempo pace and 80s-esc aesthetic, but holding a much more inventive set of lyrics. The pre-chorus of “You’re not Dylan Thomas; I’m not Patty Smith; This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel; We’re modern idiots” is a brilliant example of Taylor’s humour and self-awareness shining through. It comes through, if somewhat ironically, on Down Bad, where she compares a brief relationship to an alien abduction But Daddy I Love Him leans into an older sound, the youthful country influences shining through as Taylor sings about teenage rebellion in the face of ‘finding the one’, while Fresh Out The Slammer pulls the guitars to the forefront and has a beat switch-up in the final section that is both surprising and entertaining to listen to.

Florida!!! with Florence Welch is another power ballad with a substantial verse from the feature. It’s a song perfectly fitting both singers’ strengths, and features some exceptional backing vocals that lift the sparse track up. I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can) brings back the heightened guitar for a song about a bad relationship, the unlawful, rebellious imagery in the lyrics fitting well with the tone. This leads into the first piano-led tune on the record loml, a genuinely pretty ballad about love, life, and death. I Can Do It With a Broken Heart is most anthemic and upbeat song on the entire album, despite the lyrics being comically sad. “I’m so depressed I act like it’s my birthday, everyday”. The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived is one of the most bitter dis-tracks Taylor has ever penned, while closer Clara Bow is a gorgeous building ballad lyrically ending on a positive note.

The Tortured Poets Department isn’t going to turn any haters over to Taylor’s side, nor is the two-hour extended addition that was released the same day, but it’s album packed with tight and heartfelt pop tracks that feature – for the most part – intriguing and occasionally humorous lyrics.