Taylor Swift Puts Narcotics Into All of Her Songs on ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

in Culture

In the opening verse of The Tortured Poets Department, her 11th studio album, Taylor Swift sings that she was a functioning alcoholic until nobody noticed her new aesthetic. 

They do now. 

In the album, a sprawling 31 tracks (that’s her signature 13 backward), Swift is the most unmasked (and turned on) she’s ever been. She’s done impressing the “wine moms” (even if the blood of fermented fruit is her drug of choice). Sung in a low register, the first 16 songs of TPD are primarily dark, twinkling synthy pop tunes, primarily written with long-term collaborator Jack Antonoff, with help from Aaron Dessner of The National. Dessner, whose Swift collabs are more of the folk music, indie variety, primarily encompass the latter half of The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, a surprise bonus album dropped shortly after listeners finished streaming the original album at midnight (shout out to everyone else who got a notification from Spotify that they were in the first ten percent of streams). 

TPD racked up 891 million streams in its first week in the United States, setting a new record that surpasses the previous high of 746 million streams, achieved by Drake’s 25-track Scorpion in 2018. 

On the title track, “The Tortured Poets Department,” Swift sings about a love interest who “smoked and ate seven bars of chocolate.” Despite acknowledging that this person isn’t Dylan Thomas, and she isn’t Patti Smith (“This ain’t the Chelsea hotel, we’re modern idiots”), Swift is unabashedly captivated, which is why it’s so heartbreaking when deeper into the anthology side of the album, she’s realizing that this person needed her but needed drugs more.  

If the tabloids are to be believed, the “tattooed golden retriever” in question is the problematic charismatic Matty Healy of The 1975, who’s openly …

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Author: Sophie Saint Thomas / High Times

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