Taylor Swift’s new album The Tortured Poets Department: Everything you need to know

Publish Date
Thursday, 18 April 2024, 1:51PM

Taylor Swift’s 11th album, The Tortured Poets Department is dropping today at 4PM and here is everything you need to know.

When was it announced?

Swift announced The Tortured Poets Department at the 2024 Grammys while accepting her 13th Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.

After beating Ed Sheeran, Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, and Olivia Rodrigo in the category, Swift grinned as she gave her acceptance speech saying: “Okay, this is my 13th Grammy. Which is my lucky number. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that.

Revealing she has been secretly working on her 11th studio album, she said: “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, which is that my brand-new album comes out April 19th it’s called The Tortured Poets Department.

“I’m going to go and post the cover right now backstage. Thank you, I love you! Thank you!”

Moments later the cover art was posted to her Instagram account showing a black and white image of her reclining across pillows. The top half of her face and lower half of her legs are cut off in the low-contrast image.

She captioned the post: “All’s fair in love and poetry.”

Join us at Real Groovy, Auckland from 4PM for a Taylor Swift THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT listening party!

19 Victoria Street West, Auckland CBD.

This special evening will include:

  • Glitter Face Painting
  • Friendship bracelet making
  • THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT era attire contest
  • And of course, THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT album will be playing all afternoon into the night

So come dressed in your best and Shake it Off with us from 4-7pm.

What is the album about?

In the weeks that followed the album announcement, Swift dropped small teasers hinting at its contents.

On the first night of her Eras Tour’s Melbourne leg, she made a telling confession about her latest project, saying: “Tortured Poets is an album − I think more than any of my albums that I’ve ever made − I needed to make it. It was really a lifeline for me.”

“It kind of reminded me of why songwriting is something that actually gets me through my life,” she shared, sitting at her piano. “I’ve never had an album where I needed songwriting more than I needed it on Tortured Poets.”

However, many Swifties have theorised that the album was not only a means of survival for the singer, but a way to process her breakup from actor and boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

Is it about about Joe Alwyn?

Many fans have theorised that The Tortured Poets Department centres around Alwyn, whom she dated for six years.

The album’s release date is said to be exactly one year since Swift’s friends and brother unfollowed Alwyn on Instagram, thus suggesting the couple broke up on April 19, 2024. Swift was snapped having dinner with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively that night – who both reportedly unfollowed Alwyn as well.

What’s more, the track list for the album shares a few Easter eggs that hint at Alwyn’s inclusion.

Not only do the song titles include apparent references to the English actor and their past relationship, such as So Long, London, but Swift recently revealed that the album is about heartbreak while sharing five playlists with Apple Music, which some fans believe TTPD could explore thematically.

In each playlist, Swift has chosen songs that depict the different stages of a break-up: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Why is the album called The Tortured Poets Department?

In support of Swifties’ theory that the album is about Alwyn, fans dug up a clip of the Conversations With Friends actor which seemingly points to the album’s title as a reference to her former beau and his pals.

In an interview with Variety in December 2022, Alwyn - alongside Paul Mescal - revealed that the pair shared a WhatsApp group chat with Andrew Scott called “the Tortured Man Club.”

“So what’s the name of the WhatsApp group we’re in?” Mescal asks, to which Alwyn replies, “It’s either the ‘tortured’ or the ‘lonely’—'Tortured Man Club,’ I think. Me, you, and Andrew. It hasn’t had much use recently.”

“No,” Mescal affirms. “I feel like we’re less tortured now.”

What is the track list?

Swift only waited a day after announcing The Tortured Poets Department to reveal the album’s track list on Instagram.

Side A

  • Fortnight (feat. 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!!! (Florence + the Machine)


  • Guilty as Sin?
  • Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?
  • I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)
  • LOML

Side D

  • I Can Do it with a Broken Heart
  • The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived
  • The Alchemy
  • Clara Bow
  • Bonus Track: The Manuscript

Swift has since revealed three more bonus tracks on the album: The Albatross, The Black Dog and The Bolter, which she announced at her Melbourne shows in February.

How long has Swift been writing the album?

During her first Eras Tour show in Japan on February 7, just a couple of days after announcing the albumSwift revealed that the album had been in the making for longer than many had thought.

“I’ve been working on it for about two years,” she confessed to the audience at Tokyo Dome. “I kept working on it throughout the US. tour, and when it was perfect - in my opinion when it’s good enough for you - I finished it and I am so, so excited that soon you’ll get to hear it.”

She added, “I’ve been working on Tortured Poets since right after I turned in Midnights,” which would’ve been a few months before her last album dropped back in October 2022.

Are there any notable collaborations on the album?

The Tortured Poets Department features two major collaborations: Post Malone, who sings on Fortnight, as well as Florence + The Machine on Florida!!!

Both Malone and the band’s frontman Florence Welch have praised Swift in the past, with the rapper dubbing Swift “a great f****n’ songwriter” in an interview with Howard Stern last year.

Welch and Swift gushed about each other in a 2015 Billboard interview, with Swift saying: “What sets Florence apart? Everything. Every time I’ve been around her, she is the most magnetic person in the room — surrounded by people who are fascinated by the idea of being near her.”

First published by NZ Herald, reshared with edits and permission.

Play ZM and long live <3


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