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The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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‘THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT’ puts a captivating twist on traditional synth-pop

Image courtesy of Universal Music Group
Taylor Swift’s “THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT” is a cathartic, introspective album that is raw and honest in a way she’s never been before.

Taylor Swift’s album, “THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT,” not like any album she has released before, is a unique blend of styles. While the pop star’s 11th original album has been received positively by critics, fans are divided. Some have expressed that the album sounds unidimensional, and Jack Antonoff’s—one of Swift’s main collaborators on the project—production has been receiving significant backlash. However, the tracks produced by Aaron Dessner from The National are well-received all around. 

While Dessner’s tracks are not necessarily “better,” they are more sonically diverse, whereas Antonoff favors a synth in the background that can get repetitive. In regards to musical diversity, the album incorporates several styles of music, while maintaining an overarching theme. However, I don’t think this takes away from the variety in this album. When selecting songs for an album, the tracks must be similar to some degree in order to be cohesive, and I think this album hits the mark when it comes to that. 


One of the standout tracks on this album is “loml” with its melancholy production and descriptive lyrics that truly paint a picture in the listener’s mind. Along with the vivid imagery, Swift references her previous music, making the track even more meaningful.

In her song “peace,” from the album “folklore,” she sings, “You paint dreamscapes on the wall.” In this song, she sings, “When your impressionist paintings of heaven turned out to be fakes.” There is a sharp contrast. Most fans didn’t expect that Swift would use the acronym “loml” to mean rather than the more popular “love of my life”, “loss of my life”. This truly takes the devastation she expresses to another level.

The 13th track on the album, “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart” has been a definite fan favorite, and for good reason. The chorus is insanely catchy, with lyrics that perfectly capture how difficult it is to work in the music industry while going through an emotional breakup. She describes how she was feeling during the Eras Tour while she was struggling with her personal life, with lyrics such as, “All the pieces of me shattered as the crowd was chanting ‘MORE!’”

One of the more underappreciated songs on “THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT” is “Fresh Out The Slammer,” which has some of the best production on this album. This song has an ethereal dreamy pop sound, one we haven’t heard much of since her “Lover” album came out. This song is about going back to that one person after getting out of a relationship. “Fresh out the slammer/I know who my first call will be to,” Swift sings. 

From the jarring drums of “Florida!!!” to the mellow, soft instrumentals of “So Long, London,” this is one of her most musically diverse albums. This album puts a twist on your typical synth-pop. With its poetic lyrics and references to her previous music, Swift keeps listeners enraptured and mesmerized with every track.

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