Arts, Music, Review

Swift’s ‘TTPD: The Anthology’ is an Album for Swifties

★★★☆☆

Taylor Swift loves her easter eggs and surprises, so it did not come as a huge shock, when, at 2 a.m. on April 19 she released a second half to her new album, The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology. What was surprising, however, was that part two consisted of 15 extra songs.

The 15 songs are no different than the 16 released two hours before. They are simply an extension of TTPD. This is an album that will grow on you if you are a Swiftie, and will remain rather unmemorable if the only Taylor Swift song you know is “Love Story.” 

The first song on this extended album, “The Black Dog,” is a nostalgic song which expresses Swift’s frustration and clouded rage amid a breakup. The Black Dog is a London pub, connecting this song to either of her English ex-boyfriends Joe Alwyn or Matty Healy. 

“Old habits die screaming,” Swift sings as the instruments and her voice grow more intense, expressing her frustration. 

Swift expresses her heartbreak in “Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus” as she sings all of her lyrics in the second-person perspective. This song feels like an intimate conversation Swift is letting us listen to about how she changed for someone, but still could not prevent the end of that relationship. 

“If you want to break my cold, cold heart/ Just say, ‘I loved you the way that you were,’” Swift sings.

This song seems to be about Healey based on a lyric where Swift mentions “an internet starlet.” 

TTPD: The Anthology has definitely confirmed that Swift and Healey’s relationship was meaningful to her. With 31 songs, the album surprisingly contains more songs about Healey than Alwyn. 

“Peter” is another nostalgic track that is sung from the perspective of Wendy, a character in Peter Pan. The lyrics tell the story of Peter Pan, the boy who lived in Neverland and never grew up, and Wendy who stayed in the real world and matured. 

“You said you were gonna grow up / Then you were gonna come find me,” Swift sings in the chorus. 

This song on its own is nothing special, unless the listener is a Swiftie. On Swift’s album, folklore, her second track entitled “cardigan,” is about young love and heartbreak. 

“I knew you / Tried to change the ending / Peter losing Wendy,” Swift sings in “cardigan.” 

“Peter” takes on a deeper meaning when it is related to “cardigan” because it shows Swift thought her significant other would grow up and come find her, but his refusal to grow left her with no chance but to leave. 

What would technically be track five of the new 15 songs, is “How Did It End?,” a heart-wrenching and poetic song about the lack of privacy Swift experiences after a breakup. 

“Come one, come all / It’s happening again / The empathetic hunger descends / We’ll tell no one except all of our friends / But I still don’t know / How did it end?” Swift sings in the outro. 

After continuously explaining her breakup to everyone, Swift still can’t discern what happened. The title of the song refers to the question she was most frequently asked, but also to her own thoughts as she attempted to deal with heartbreak. 

Swift grappled with the consequences of her fame in multiple songs on the first half of the album and in “The Prophecy,” she pleads for love over stardom. After Swift and Alwyn broke up, it was revealed that Joe had always struggled with the fame and lack of privacy surrounding Swift. 

“Change the prophecy / Don’t want money / Just someone who wants my company / Let it once be me,” Swift sings. 

One song on the album contains a not-so-hidden message within its title, “thanK you aIMee.” The capitalized letters spell out KIM, hinting that the song is about Kim Kardashian. Kardashian and Swift’s drama was a result of Kanye West and Swift’s unpleasant relationship

“I don’t think you’ve changed much / And so I changed your name and any real defining clues, and one day / Your kid comes home singing / A song that only us two is gonna know is about you,” Swift sings. 

It’s safe to say that everyone knows who the song is about. 

On the other hand, Travis Kelce, Swift’s boyfriend, also receives a song written about him. “So High School” is, for lack of a better phrase, so high school. The song’s instrumentation sounds like a song at the beginning of a 2000s movie when the main character walks through her new school.

Kelce plays American football on the Kansas City Chiefs, a characteristic Swift uses to identify him as the subject of the song. 

“Truth, dare, spin bottles / You know how to ball / I know Aristotle,” Swift sings. 

Swift’s songs exist within a web, each connected to another in the world she has created. If fans were touched by Swift’s previous work, then this album is one that will surely grow on listeners. 

April 28, 2024

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