Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’: Everything to Know About Her Double Album

Taylor released two separate 'The Tortured Poets Department' albums on April 19.

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammys
View gallery
Image Credit: Gilbert Flores/Billboard via Getty Images

Taylor Swift released her much-anticipated 11th album The Tortured Poets Department in two parts! Taylor had announced the new album at the 2024 Grammy Awards, where she also won Album of the Year. She announced the album after her first win of the night though. “So, I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I have been keeping from you for the last two years,” Taylor said while accepting her award for Best Pop Vocal Album. She added, “It’s called The Tortured Poets Department. I’m going to go and post the cover right now backstage. Thank you, I love you!” 

Eagle-eyed fans, of course, are now trying to pick apart the meaning behind the upcoming album. In fact, some have even suggested that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn could have inspired the title. 

Taylor Swift’s Album Teaser & Music Video Announcement

Days before the record is supposed to drop, Taylor posted “The TTPD Timetable” on her social media. It’s a short animated video that’s from the point-of-view of someone leaving a lounge-looking area with a guitar, Taylor’s records, and some crumpled up papers, to go to a hall and enter a door that says “The Tortured Poets Department.” In the room, there are some desks with typewriters on them. The camera then pans to a corkboard with a calendar on it that says, “The Tortured Poets Department Release Day.” It also announces that a new music video will be released at 8pm ET.

Taylor Swift’s New Album Release Date

The Tortured Poets Department is set to come out on April 19, 2024, Taylor confirmed. The album cover features a black and white shot of Taylor lying on a bed, wearing black lingerie, which was reportedly from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion line. 

Taylor also announced a new edition of the album, which includes the bonus track “The Bolter.” She shared the news via Instagram alongside a photo of the updated cover art for the new edition.

Her last and final new edition of the album was announced as the “Black Dog” special edition. Taylor announced the news during a “secret songs” portion of her tour in Singapore.

‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Meaning

The title of Taylor’s 11th studio album sounds like it’s loaded with meaning. After all, songwriting is poetry. Many social media users joked that the title reminded them of a few movies and references in popular culture, one of which was the coming-of-age film Dead Poets Society. One X user (previously Twitter) tweeted a still from the movie, featuring the male students in their classroom. 

“The Tortured Poets Department in question,” the fan quipped. Others also pointed to the famous TV show Bridgerton and the film Little Women, which starred Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Timothée Chalamet. 

It’s still unclear what exactly inspired Taylor to give her 2024 album its title, but she posted an Instagram picture of what appeared to be lyrics from one of its songs. 

“And so I enter into evidence / My tarnished coat of arms,” the apparent lyrics read. “My muses, acquired like bruises / My talismans and charms / The tick, tick, tick of love bombs / My veins of pitch black ink.” Taylor wrote at the bottom of the page, “All’s fair in love and poetry – sincerely, The Chairman of The Tortured Poets Department.”

The lyric “love bombs” is likely a reference to a significant other giving the other person an overabundant amount of gifts or showing more affection than they usually would. 

Taylor also appeared to give fans some ideas of what the songs might contain, when she released a series of five playlists on Apple Music that detail the stages of heartbreak. Each playlist was made up of songs from her catalog and began with a personal message from the singer, explaining what the emotion was. The playlists were “I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life”, “You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad”, “Am I Allowed to Cry?”, “Old Habits Die Screaming”, and “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.”

Did Joe Alwyn Inspire ‘The Tortured Poets Department? 

Since this is Taylor’s first studio album released since her breakup with Joe, fans think their split could have served as inspiration behind a few tracks. Some even pointed out that the title sounded a lot like something that Joe previously talked about. 

During Joe’s 2022 Variety conversation with Paul Mescal, the Favourite actor revealed that he was part of a WhatsApp group chat called “The Tortured Man Club.” 

“It’s the Tortured Man Club, I think. It’s me, you — and Andrew Scott started the group,” Joe said at the time. “[Andrew is] just messaging himself good mornings. We were both in the Sally Rooney universe and crossed over with Lenny Abrahamson. We were so lucky to have that experience.”

During a Tortured Poets Department event in Los Angeles, some fans have theorized some hints about Joe in the material that was included. There was a library card file unit with 72 slots, which some fans speculated represented the 72 months that Joe and Taylor were together, according to E! News. Some of the drawers were also opened, and some people believe those may signify major dates.

What Songs Are on ‘The Tortured Poets Department’? 

Taylor released the track list, which includes guest artists, for The Tortured Poets Department on February 5. She also posted a new black and white close-up photo from the album photoshoot along with a side view of the 16 song titles as well as a bonus track title. A quote or lyric was added as well and reads,  “I love you, it’s ruining my life.”

The track list, which is labeled with Sides A-D, includes the following:

Side A
“Fortnight” (featuring Post Malone)
“The Tortured Poets Department”
“My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”
“Down Bad”

Side B
“So Long, London”
“But Daddy I Love Him”
“Fresh Out the Slammer”
“Florida!!!” ( featuring Florence + the Machine)

Side C
“Guilty as Sin?”
“Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”
“I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)”

Side D
“I Can Do It With a Broken Heart”
“The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”
“The Alchemy”
“Clara Bow”
Bonus Track: “The Manuscript”