HomeMusicTaylor Swift Details 'The Tortured Poets Department' Songs And What They Mean

    Taylor Swift Details ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Songs And What They Mean

    Taylor Swift‘s ‘Tortured Poets Department‘ unraveled a lot of details about her love life of the past seven years, more specifically her relationship with Joe Alwyn and a short-lived affair with 1975 frontman Matty Healey. While she did not specify which songs are dedicated to whom, Swifties have been busy digging up clues and Easter eggs since the album dropped, clearing the blurry lines between some of her songs.

    Though she hasn’t specified the references, Swift has, however, given the background to the songs, giving listeners an insight into what really went down while the writing process was happening. In an Amazon Exclusive commentary, the singer broke down parts of her songs, allowing fans to get a deeper analysis of the lyrics. Here’s everything she has said about all the songs on the album.

    Related: Kim Kardashian Loses About 100K Social Media Followers After Taylor Swift’s Diss Track In ‘The Tortured Poets Department’


    Taylor Swift and Post Malone in the 'Fortnight' music video
    Taylor Swift and Post Malone in the ‘Fortnight’ music video

    The first single from the album, which has already gotten a music video is now one of the most popular songs from the album, garnering millions of streams across sites. Talking about the song, Swift said, “‘Fortnight’ is a song that exhibits a lot of the common themes that run throughout this album. One of which being fatalism—longing, pining away, lost dreams. It’s a very fatalistic album in that there are lots of very dramatic lines about life or death. ‘I love you, it’s ruining my life.’ These are very hyperbolic, dramatic things to say. It’s that kind of album.”

    Collaborating with Post Malone for the first time, who also featured in the music video, the video shows two star-crossed lovers ending up in an asylum after their separation. Swift brings in darker tones for this video, capturing what follows after a heartbreak. While many have speculated that the song is for Matty Healey, many have also pointed out that it could be for Joe Alwyn.

    My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

    Taylor Swift
    Taylor Swift

    This one seemed to be an obvious dig at Joe Alwyn who she revealed has been suffering from depression which inevitably affected their relationship, leading to its downfall. Speaking of this one, Swift says it’s about “being somebody’s favorite toy until they break you and then don’t want to play with you anymore.”

    She adds, “Which is how a lot of us are in relationships where we are so valued by a person in the beginning, and then all of the sudden, they break us or they devalue us in their mind. We’re still clinging on to ‘No no, no. You should’ve seen them the first time they saw me. They’ll come back to that. They’ll get back to that.’”

    She also adds “It’s a metaphor of you know from the perspective of a child’s toy, being somebody favorite toy until they break you and then don’t want to play with you anymore.

    Though the song is mostly upbeat, the lyrics are sad and rueful, talking about a relationship that shattered because of the other person’s lack of attention and love.

    In Case You Missed It: Old Video Of Matty Healy Gushing Over Typewriters And Pop-stars Resurfaces After The Release Of Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’


    The Tortured Poets Department
    The Tortured Poets Department

    This collaborative masterpiece with Florence + The Machine is – as you might have guessed from the sound- about freedom.

    “I think I was coming up with this idea of, like, what happens when your life doesn’t fit, or your choices you’ve made catch up to you and you’re surrounded by these harsh consequences and judgment,” the singer told iHeart, “and circumstances did not lead you to where you thought you would be, and you just want to escape from everything you’ve ever known? Is there a place you could go?”

    “People have these crimes that they commit; where do they immediately skip town and go to? They go to Florida,” she says. “They try to reinvent themselves, have a new identity, blend in. When you go through a heartbreak, there’s a part of you that thinks, ‘I want a new name. I want a new life. I don’t want anyone to know where I’ve been or know me at all.’ And so that was the jumping off point.”

    Another fun fact about the song is that her friend Emma Stone helped her write it.

    Clara Bow

    Taylor Swift and Clara Bow
    Taylor Swift and Clara Bow

    Taylor dedicated an entire song to the 1920s film star Clara Bow – as she should – and fans pointed out a bunch of similarities between the stars, which might explain why she chose Bow as one of the muses of her album. Speaking of the recipe behind this one, Swift said that’s about what she has seen in the industry over the time she has been in it. In the song she talks about female stars often being compared to another, perhaps younger star, and is talked of as a replacement.

    “That’s how we teach women to see themselves, as like, you could be the new replacement for this woman who’s done something great before you,” Taylor says, explaining the song. “I picked women who have done great things in the past and have been these archetypes of greatness in the entertainment industry. Clara Bow was the first ‘it girl.’ Stevie Nicks is an icon and an incredible example for anyone who wants to write songs and make music.”

    I Can Do It With A Broken Heart

    Taylor Swift
    Taylor Swift

    This one was pretty self-explanatory. Over the course of her entire career, Taylor Swift has been extremely hard-working and productive as an artist, which explains her level of success and fame. Even in the midst of heartbreak, (Red, Tortured Poets Department) the pandemic, (Folklore, Evermore) a life-altering incident, (‘Reputation’, ‘Lover)’ Swift has continued to make music, documenting everything about her life, and releasing her feelings through her music.

    In ‘I Can Do It With A Broken Heart‘, Swift talks about just that as she sings, “I cry a lot but I am so productive, it’s an art/ You know you’re good when you can even do it/ With a broken heart”

    The song is about her touring during one of the messiest moments of her life as she navigated through her breakup with Joe Alwyn and then the end of her short romance with Matty Healey. Even the Spotify canvas of the song has clips of the tour in it, proving fan theories right.

    In Case You Missed It: Taylor Swift Hosts A Mini ‘Dead Poets Society’ Reunion With Ethan Hawke And Josh Charles In ‘Fortnight’ Music Video

    Down Bad

    Taylor Swift and Matty Healey
    Taylor Swift and Matty Healey

    This one, as many speculated, is probably about her short lived romance with Matty Healey after her breakup with Alwyn. She sings about being ‘down bad’ about someone who has love-bombed her while she suffers through his absence.

    Talking about the song, Taylor said, “The metaphor of ‘Down Bad’ is that I was comparing the idea of being love bombed,” she began, “where someone, you know, rocks your world and dazzles and then just kind of abandons you — as an alien abduction where you were abducted by aliens, but she wanted to stay with them. And then when they drop her off back at her hometown she’s like ‘Wait, no, where are you going? What, I liked it there it was weird but it was cool, come back.’”

    This isn’t the only song that is rumored to be about Healey. Surprisingly, most of the songs on the album talk about her affair with Matty Healey– the opposite of what Swifties expected, who were expecting a full-blown diss album for Joe Alwyn.

    While Swift didn’t really detail anything about the rest of the songs, most of them are pretty self-explanatory. ‘So Long, London’ is a letter to Alwyn, ‘The Alchemy‘ is about Travis Kelce, and ‘thanK you aIMee‘ is about Kim Kardashian.

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    Nibir Konwar
    Nibir Konwar
    Nibir is nineteen, an autumn lover, and a poetry enthusiast. She loves Taylor Swift, Jeff Buckley, Sally Rooney and everything that's blue. She has had one year of experience as a content writer at First Curiosity and writes poetry and researches on literary criticism in her free time. Nibir is also an ardent reader and a fierce feminist. She aspires to author books someday and be an advocate for mental health.

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