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In case Taylor Swift didn’t already send fans flying when she won Album of the Year for the fourth time at this year’s Grammy Awards, she generated even more buzz by announcing her new album: The Tortured Poets Department.
“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 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.
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‘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.
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.”
Joe Alwyn and Paul Mescal have a WhatsApp group with Andrew Scott called “The Tortured Man Club.”
“It hasn’t had much use recently,” Alwyn says.
“I feel like we’re less tortured now,” Mescal quips. https://t.co/CSai4ScQpz pic.twitter.com/veCp1ZdFsD— Variety (@Variety) December 15, 2022
“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.”
What Songs Are on ‘The Tortured Poets Department’?
As of now, Taylor has not released a single from the album nor has she performed any songs from The Tortured Poets Department.