Leave it to Taylor Swift to shut down the 2024 Grammy Awards with a surprise announcement. Apparently, the pop star has been quietly working on her 11th studio album for two years now. The project was a secret until Sunday, when she finally unveiled its name and release date during her acceptance speech for best pop vocal album for Midnights. Swifties expected their idol to mark the milestone win by dropping Reputation (Taylor’s Version), but Blondie, always three steps ahead, pulled a fast one by revealing news of a different album instead: The Tortured Poets Department.
“Okay, this is my 13th Grammy. My lucky number; I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that,” Swift joked onstage. “I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years. Which is that my brand-new album comes out April 19. It’s called The Tortured Poets Department.”
Here’s everything we know about The Tortured Poets Department so far:
What’s the significance of the album title?
If we take Swift at her word on the two-year timeline, that means she must have written at least part of this album while she was dating her actor ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
In May 2022, Alwyn famously told British GQ that he and fellow actor Paul Mescal have a group chat called the Tortured Man Club, a callback to the fact that they’ve both starred in TV adaptations of Sally Rooney’s moody modern romance novels. The theory really gets compelling when you couple that tidbit with a lyric from the Folklore bonus track, “The Lakes,” which is believed to have been written about Alwyn. “Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die,” Swift croons in the song. “I don’t belong, and my beloved, neither do you. Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry. I’m setting off, but not without my muse.”
When does the new album drop?
It’ll be out April 19, 2024. Some have noted that April 19 is the same day several members of Swift’s bestie squad, including Gigi Hadid and the Haim sisters, unfollowed Alwyn on Instagram in short succession in 2023. It’s also worth noting that Swift will still be on the Eras Tour when Tortured Poets drops, so there could be some potential changes to the set list.
What is the new album about?
Swifties certainly seem convinced it will be a Joe Alwyn breakup album. The sentiment behind track names like “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys,” “Down Bad,” “So Long, London,” and “But Daddy I Love Him” appears to confirm as much. A similarly mournful yet vengeful vibe can be detected in the album’s tagline: “All’s fair in love and poetry.”
What is the track list for the new album?
So glad you asked! The album will include 16 songs and one bonus track. In addition to the cover art, Taylor Swift also shared the record’s back cover and track list on Instagram. Collaborators include rapper Post Malone and the ethereal Florence + the Machine.
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