The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Tortured Poets Department is Wronged, Righted and Redeemed: PG-13 Questionable, Cursing, Name-Dropping and Sugar-Free

Taylor Swift’s 11th album “The Tortured Poets Department” was released on April 19, 2024. To celebrate the launch of the new era, the Grove in LA had an exhibit Spotify hosted based on the aesthetic of the album available for three days for the Swifties to enjoy.
Collage Made By Hadley Golden
Taylor Swift’s 11th album “The Tortured Poets Department” was released on April 19, 2024. To celebrate the launch of the new era, the Grove in LA had an exhibit Spotify hosted based on the aesthetic of the album available for three days for the Swifties to enjoy.

Taylor Swift’s 11th album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” is an invitation to read Taylor’s diary as if sitting on her couch with Meredith, Olivia and Benjamin (iykyk).

If Swifties were in AP Lang annotating the 31 soliloquies, they would be awestruck at how this main character (Taylor) gracefully and enthusiastically performed for millions amidst a desperate secret suffering. Lyric by lyric, Taylor is eloquent but not bitter. Poetic in her justice as she speaks her truth, she aims no pitchforks (with the exception of Kim Kardashian in “thanK you aIMee”) and artfully dodges disrespect. 

While seemingly having the time of her life during the Eras Tour, being celebrated and beloved by mega-millions of fans and breaking every record imaginable, she was at a breaking point, broken open by the brutality of a breakup. Lucky for Swifties all over the world, the shelf life of Taylor’s secret suffering expired, and we get to be inspired by her indescribable courage. 

PG-13: Questionable; Rated R (for Raw) More Appropriate

This album is not for superficial fans, nor those who aren’t old enough to have had Algebra. It’s not made for radio in terms of catchy riffs and bridges. It’s for those who genuinely feel liberated to chant “Cause I’m miserable! And no one even knows!” in a way that doesn’t make people bolt like “The Bolter.” It’s for those who endure private pain in public as Taylor has evidenced in “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart.” It’s for those who put on world-class fake smiles while feeling as though a bowling ball is lodged in our chests and our hearts are beating into cardiac arrest. 

Torii Ramirez, a junior at Sage Creek, captures this sentiment perfectly. “‘I Can Do It with a Broken Heart’ is a peppy song with an underlying message for people who can postpone their emotions for their sport or performance. It highlights the strength of surviving on a broken heart,” said Ramirez.

Unexpected and Unlikely

“Tortured Poets” genre jumps, poses a plethora of pitches and is produced with an earned license for Swift to create for herself and her fans instead of what is formulaic for sales. A non-Swiftie might snore at a listening party and say, “There’s no hit here.” The irony is that Taylor hit it out of the park. The truly tortured right now are all of the A-list artists who can’t crack the Billboard Top 14.

At the showcase at The Grove, fans could circle what they anticipate their favorite song to be on Taylor’s upcoming album from the original 16 songs. According to the Spotify workers at the kiosk, “So Long, London” seemed to be the most anticipated song by Swifties. (Hadley Golden)

Sugar-Free: Cursing up a Storm

The only thing Taylor shook off with this album was the saccharin. The saintly Swifts, as in Mama and Papa Swift, probably had cosmic panic attacks over the “curse count.” From “Down Bad” to “Florida!!!,” the torched tales of sweet Taylor’s tongue resulted in 57 naughty words. 

Searing, Stirring and Serendipitous

Despite her song “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me” Taylor never makes listeners feel the fear, just the pain, of her shed tears. Although there is no official body, there was an exhaustive tracklist of crimes. In “So Long, London” she said goodbye, in “loml” all her Swifties had a good cry and in “thanK you aIMee,” we listened to Kim Kardashian die. 

“It preaches the message to embrace criticism and allow it to be the motivation to come out on top. It’s about using underestimation as your fuel to prove others wrong,” said Ramirez.

“‘TTPD’ has no boundaries, limits or hidden emotions. If I can’t directly tell someone how I feel, I know I can go to this album, play any song, and just let everything out knowing I won’t be judged,” said Daisy Clyde, a senior at Sage Creek.

Clyde was moved by “The Black Dog” and “The Albatross.” “The Black Dog is a bar that Taylor and her now ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn went to when they were together, but it’s also a symbol of depression which I could relate to,” said Clyde. 

“In ‘So High School,’ we get to experience some relief from the heartbreak,” said freshman Abigail Burton.“It’s a love song about Taylor’s current boyfriend Travis Kelce. Taylor talks about how he makes her feel young and that their love feels fun, young and carefree. Singing lyrics like “truth, dare, spin bottles, you know how to ball I know Aristotle” representing the youthfulness of their love and how they’re different, yet still love each other so much.” 

“This album is a powerful vent and a true healing. Singing along to TTPD truly is like writing in a diary. I grew up being told I was dramatic and how I needed to just brush off my emotions so I got good at hiding them like Taylor,” said Cassandra Clark, a sophomore.

Talia Baird, junior, expresses her deep connection to “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.” 

“‘Lights, camera, and smile even when you want to die’ hit pretty close to home. In those lyrics Taylor is expressing how even though you don’t feel happy, the outside world can’t know that, so you need to put up a front to help everyone think you’re okay,” said Baird.

A shelf includes Easter eggs to the songs that would end up appearing on “The Anthology” which would be released at 2 a.m. on April 19 as a double release. A bust of Cassandra, a Greek entity who was given the gift of prophecy sits proudly on the shelf, nodding to the songs “Cassandra” and “The Prophecy”. (Hadley Golden)

“During the chorus of the song, Taylor sings, “I’m a real tough kid, I can handle it.” “These lyrics are super close to my heart because like Taylor did when she was healing, I always have to tell myself I’m going to be okay. This song has become a mantra for me.” 

Conclusion Concept:

TTPD is piercingly powerful, yet perfectly poised. I’m in awe of how mature Swift was in her songwriting, never naming her exes who inflicted the pain. Of course, Swifties know exactly whose name is in the “blank space” track by track, but she uses admirable restraint and resists the temptation to go there. Instead, like the incredible human she is, Taylor calls out those whom she admires in her songwriting like Stevie Nicks and Patty Smith and even goes further to praise Charlie Puth as underrated. 

Vote: Taylor Swift for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize

Everyone out there making noise should instead make note of how to disagree, find positive ways to channel emotions and peaceful outlets of expression.

Above all, Swift liberates all of us feeling and dealing with huge emotions in life’s circumstances. Instead of shoving our feelings into lock boxes, we now have these poetic anthems and a way to deal and heal while being real. 

As Swift said, “I think more than any of my albums that I’ve ever made- I needed to make it. It really was a lifeline for me.”

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