Leave it to Taylor Swift to close out the 2024 Grammy Awards with a surprise announcement. Apparently, the pop star has been quietly working on her 11th studio album for two years now. The project had remained secret until Sunday, when she finally revealed its name and release date during her acceptance speech for best pop vocal album for Midnight. Swifties expected their idol to mark this historic victory by dropping out Reputation (Taylor version), but Blondie, always three steps ahead, pulled a fast one by revealing news of a different album instead: The Department of Tortured Poets.
“Okay, this is my 13th Grammy. My lucky number; I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that,” Swift joked on stage. “I want to thank the fans by revealing a secret that I have been hiding from you for two years. That’s because my brand new album comes out on April 19th. His name is The Department of Tortured Poets.”
Here's everything we know about The Department of Tortured Poets so far:
What is the meaning of the album title?
If we take Swift at her word on the two-year timeline, that means she must have written at least part of this album while dating her actor ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
In May 2022, Alwyn said: British GQ that he and fellow actor Paul Mescal have a group chat called Tortured Man Club, a reminder that they both starred in TV adaptations of Sally Rooney's brooding modern romance novels. The theory becomes really compelling when you combine this information with words from the Folklore bonus track, “The Lakes”, said to have been written about Alwyn. “Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die,” Swift sings in the song. “I have no place, and my beloved, neither do you. These Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry. I'm leaving, but not without my muse.
When is the new album coming out?
It will be released on April 19, 2024. Some have noted that April 19 is the same day that several members of Swift's BFF squad, including Gigi Hadid and the Haim sisters, unfollowed Alwyn on Instagram in succession in 2023. It's also worth noting that Swift will still be on the Eras Tour when Tortured poets drops, so there could be potential changes to the set list.
What is the new album about?
Swifties certainly seem convinced that this will be a Joe Alwyn breakup album. The sentiment behind track names like “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys,” “Down Bad,” “So Long, London” and “But Daddy I Love Him” seems to bear this out. A similarly sad but vengeful vibe can be detected in the album's tagline: “All is fair in love and poetry.”
What is the tracklist for the new album?
I'm so glad you asked! The album will include 16 songs and a bonus track. In addition to the cover art, Taylor Swift also shared the record's back cover and track listing on Instagram. Collaborators include rapper Post Malone and the ethereal Florence + the Machine.