Taylor Swift’s ‘Department of Tortured Poets’ Shows Megastar in Decline – Campus Times

Taylor Swift’s ‘Department of Tortured Poets’ Shows Megastar in Decline – Campus Times

For fans of: Midnights by Taylor Swift

I want to start this review by saying that I don’t consider myself a Taylor Swift hater.

I think “1989” and “Evermore” are both great albums and I love “folklore”. Many of his big hits are songs that I have a lot of nostalgia for. However, I was quite disappointed with “Midnights”, which delivered mediocre synth-pop with few takeaways. When she announced “The Tortured Poets Department” after “Midnights” (unfairly) won album of the year at the Grammys, I was pretty skeptical. I was hoping for a return to the more hard-hitting singer-songwriter material she did with “folklore” and “evermore,” but I feared it would be a continuation of the blandness of “Midnights.”

Unfortunately, the latter turned out to be the case.

I don’t see why this album came out. Most of these songs feel like they should have been left in the editing room. The fact that this ended up being a “secret double album” amazes me; an hour was more than enough time for me (keep in mind that I’m only reviewing the standard edition of the album, as the “Anthology” addition contains 15 additional tracks and counts as a reissue).

“The Tortured Poets Department” is a collection of Swift’s sleepy ballads and dreary laments, with most of the lyrics dealing with her increasingly unrelated personal life. I don’t blame anyone who enjoys this album or identifies with its lyrics, but I can’t help but roll my eyes at some of these lines: “You smoked then ate seven bars of chocolate/ We Said Charlie Puth Should Be a Greater Artist”, “Now I’m Crying at the Gym/It All Comes Out Like Teenage Petulance”, “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me… Well You Should being”, are all lines that seem particularly bad to me. .

I see this as a huge step backwards from the lyrics about “folklore” and much of Swift’s earlier work. Although I think she was always a bit overrated as a songwriter, she tended to write stories that were poignant, very relatable, and good at storytelling. Now I can’t seem to care what she has to say.

The sound of the album is also nothing interesting. Although Jack Antonoff is an accomplished producer who has done a fantastic job, he doesn’t bring anything special here. The instrumentals are dull and tasteless, and even if there is sometimes a burst of energy, like on my favorite track, “Florida!!!” featuring Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine breathing some much-needed life into the album, most of these songs are nothing special or memorable instrumentally.

This album isn’t bad in my opinion – it’s good in the background, sometimes it has atmosphere, and one or two tracks were quite interesting. But given Swift’s artist profile and the attention she’s getting, she could do a lot better. Hopefully she takes some time before releasing another album as lackluster as this one.

Rating: 5/10


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