4 Theories About Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Album That Just Make Sense
Swift made the big announcement during her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2024 Grammy Awards.
"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 on April 19," Swift shared on stage.
"It’s called The Tortured Poets Department. I'm gonna go and post the cover right now backstage. Thank you. I love you," she added, just moments before dropping the album cover on Instagram.
Swift's last album, Midnights, was released in October 2022 and also won Album of the Year at this year's Grammys.
Prior to its release, Midnights had fans decoding hidden messages and underlying meanings, and in true Swiftie fashion, fans are already bursting with ideas about the singer's new era.
Below, here are four burning, unconfirmed fan theories about Swift's forthcoming album.
It's Her Long-Rumored Collaborations Album
One popular theory is that this album might be Swift's long-awaited collaborations album and is packed with star-studded features.
Some fans think that the plural nature of The Tortured Poets Department might hint that there is more than one so-called poet involved in the project.
Plus, in her Instagram post announcing the album, she included a poem signed by "The Chairman of The Tortured Poets Department," insinuating that there are more people associated with it, and that she's just the leader of the pack.
Prior to the big announcement, fans also noticed that Swift and several of her friends – including Blake Lively and Keleigh Teller – conspicuously changed their social media profile pictures to black and white photos, lending a sense of a collective nature to this album era.
The Album Title Pokes Fun at an Ex
According to Variety, in 2022 Swift's ex Joe Alwyn shared that he was part of a group chat with pals Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott called the "Tortured Man Club." Alwyn even referenced the chat again while speaking to GQ UK.
He explained to GQ UK that the chat " a reflection on [Mescal’s character in Normal People] Connell and Nick [ Alwyn's Conversations With Friends character]."
Now, fans believe that Swift's eerily similar album title is a direct reference to Alwyn's group chat with his buddies.
Plus, one of her collaborators and friends Phoebe Bridgers, who was spotted sitting with Swift at the Grammys and lent her vocals to the Red (Taylor's Version) track "Nothing New," is Mescal's ex.
Its Release Date Is Part of a Carefully Plotted Pattern
According to Swifties, The Tortured Poets Department is part of a carefully curated release schedule that leads up to her 13th album. (Because, duh.)
This particular theory says that since Swift released Evermore followed by two re-recorded albums (Fearless and Red), and then Midnights followed by two re-recorded albums (Speak Now and 1989), then the new album must be part of the same pattern.
That would mean that the re-recorded versions of Reputation and Taylor Swift should be released after Tortured Poets Department, followed by her 12th studio album to close out the "re-recordings era."
That leaves a brand new fresh start for the release of her 13th album, since 13 is such an important number in the Swift universe.
It Was Written at the Same Time as Midnights
During her Grammys acceptance speech, Swift revealed that she's been keeping the album a secret for two years, meaning that the creation of it overlaps with her relationship with Alwyn, as well as the writing sessions for Midnights.
Many fans who picked up on that detail are convinced that the two albums may contain similar themes since they are from the same period in Swift's life.
Some even believe Tortured Poets Department might be the darker sister to Midnights' synth-pop glimmer.
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Gallery Credit: Ryan Reichard