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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Taylor Swift’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, is eloquent and lyrically masterful

The album cover for The Tortured Poets Department.

There is not a time I can remember when the name Taylor Swift was not in my vocabulary. 

My aunt has a striking resemblance to Swift, and when I was younger, my aunt was frequently mistaken for being the pop sensation. There was a time when she was getting picked up from the airport, and a man came running up to her asking for an autograph and picture because he thought she was Swift. This anecdote inevitably is mentioned at every family reunion, where discussions about Swift and her music are commonplace.

My mom, sister and I are all “Swifties”—though the ardor of my mom and sister surpasses mine. For this reason, we stayed up to watch the 2024 Grammys, hoping she would announce a new album. When she won the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for her tenth studio album, Midnights, I was almost positive that she was going to announce the release of Reputation (Taylor’s Version). I was shocked to see that instead, she announced a brand-new album, The Tortured Poets Department, set to be released on April 19. This 16-track album is filled with masterful storytelling, lyricism, poetry, and heart-wrenching songs. I love every song on this album, but I will only review my favorites. 

Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)

When Swift first released the tracklist, I was expecting this song to be a sad song I could cry to based on the title, but it was actually the opposite. I have found myself dancing to this song when I hear it despite the sadder meaning that it has. I was excited to see that this song was a collab with Post Malone, and I had very high expectations, as I love both Swift and Malone’s music. My expectations were exceeded, as their voices sounded perfect together. The bridge in “Fortnight” had my jaw on the floor. Everything about it was impeccable, and I could listen to that part of that song over and over again. The lyrics to the bridge are absolute perfection, and she connects them to another song in the album, “Florida!!! (feat. Florence + the Machine)” Overall, I love this track, and it is a perfect start to the album. 

My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

This track lives rent-free in my head, and I find myself singing it at the most random times. It has a very catchy tune, and the more I listen to this song, the more I appreciate the melodies. The lyrics are genius, such as when she sings, “Rivulets descend my plastic smile,” which describes Swift as being a doll with tears streaming down her face. The metaphors and imagery used are simply amazing. The track is a metaphor from the perspective of being a kid’s favorite toy until they break you and don’t want to play with you anymore.  

This 16-track album is filled with masterful storytelling, lyricism, poetry, and heart-wrenching songs.

So Long, London

This is the fifth track in the album, and when I began to listen to it, I had AirPods in, so when Swift started to sing, it sounded like the music was traveling through my ears. Before she begins to sing, there is a pulsing synth sound that perfectly leads into the first lyric. This track holds the title for favorite in my head. Similar to all of the songs in this album, the lyrics are breathtaking, and the more you think about each word, the more meaning everything has. The more I listened to it, the sadder it got, and when I began to really think about the meaning of the lyrics, a few tears were spilled. The track is absolutely ethereal, and every time this song begins to play, my heart breaks a little bit more. The main meaning of this song is a melancholic take on heartbreak. 

Florida!!! (feat. Florence + The Machine) 

If I am being honest, I had no idea who Florence + The Machine—the band featured on the eighth track—was before listening to this song. The second that I first heard Florence Welch’s—the lead vocalist of Florence + The Machine—voice, I immediately knew this would be a perfect addition to the album. The beat, alongside the strong voices of both Swift and Welch, mix to create an ideal song to dance and scream along to. 

Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?

In this track, Swift proclaims, “Who’s afraid of little old me?” and then follows this by saying, “You should be.” The overall vibe of this song reminded me of Swift’s 2017 album, Reputation. It also echoed one of her previous songs, “mad woman,” where Swift was answering her critics in the music industry who labeled her as being “too emotional” and “crazy.” In this new track, she sings, “’Cause you lured me / And you hurt me / And you taught me / You caged me and then you called me crazy / I am what I am ’cause you trained me.” These lyrics follow a similar message to “mad woman” because this track talks about how society will raise an artist up just to tear them back down. 

The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived

This track instantly became one of my favorites. The tone feels very bitter and definitely adds to the 1830s era that this album seems to be set in. Fans have speculated that this song is about Swift’s ex-boyfriend, Matty Healy, and the song feels like a scathing, unsent letter that was turned into a song. The song slowly builds up to an explosive bridge, and the lyrics are brutally raw and honest. 

Throughout this album, the lyrics cut straight to the point, more than they have in any of Swift’s previous albums. The melodies and harmonies used perfectly complement the lyrics and message of each of the songs. The Tortured Poets Department is a masterful album that feels like poetry when listening to it. Everything about this album had me in awe, and there was not one song that had me disappointed. Swift has continued to amaze me with the songs she puts out, and I am beginning to believe that there is not an album she will put out that will leave me feeling let down.

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About the Contributor
Juliana Lieuwen
Juliana Lieuwen, Staff Writer
Juliana is a junior entering her first year on The Central Trend. She loves sunsets and spending time with her rabbit Snickers. When she isn't at school you can find her at 5 High Farms, the place where she rides horses. Juliana is also on the FHC Equestrian team and is busy with that in the fall. She loves to sing and dance to music by Taylor Swift. When she isn't busy with horses or school, she loves drawing, hanging out with friends, and shopping. She is so excited to be writing for The Central Trend this year. Favorite food: Sushi Favorite color: Hot Pink Her pets: Two chickens, one cat, one dog, one bunny Favorite song: "You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift Favorite numbers: 3 and 7

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