Taylor Swift’s new album is about a reckless kind of freedom. If only it sounded as uninhibited | Laura Snapes Culture | The Guardian

The Tortured Poets Department depicts a spell of post-breakup mania against the perfect backdrop of the Eras tour – a thrillingly immature reality undermined by safe music

As The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD) finally sees its official release, the intention behind the title remains as enigmatic as it was when Taylor Swift announced it two months ago. The title track seems to mock one such tortured poet who carts a typewriter around and likens the budding couple to Patti Smith and Dylan Thomas. “We’re modern idiots,” Swift laughs. The album’s aesthetic wallows in anguish and Swift’s liner notes and social media captions are littered with self-consciously poetic proclamations. And the erratic period captured in the lyrics couldn’t be further from a life of cloistered studiousness.

TTPD depicts a manic phase in Swift’s life last year, the reality behind the perfect stagecraft of the Eras tour. Wild-eyed from what sounds like the slow dissolution of a six-year relationship, she lunged at a once-forbidden paramour with a taste for dissolution, a foul mouth and a well-founded bad reputation. The latter, she makes clear as she sings repeatedly about flouting paternalistic and public censure, was a central part of the attraction: “He was chaos, he was revelry,” Swift sings on But Daddy (evidently about the 1975’s Matty Healy).

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