Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ is here — let’s dive into the lyrics

The first meeting of “The Tortured Poets Department,” chaired by Taylor Swift, has come to order.

“The author,” as she dubbed herself on Instagram, shared a message to fans as the album dropped, calling it “An anthology of new works that reflect events, opinions and sentiments from a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time — one that was both sensational and sorrowful in equal measure.”

She also warned any fans who might want to exact revenge on her behalf move on — because she has.

“This period of the author’s life is now over, the chapter closed and boarded up,” Swift wrote. “There is nothing to avenge, no scores to settle once wounds have healed. And upon further reflection, a good number of them turned out to be self-inflicted.”

She also seemed to reflect, as she has before, that pain can be useful, especially for a songwriter: “This writer is of the firm belief that our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page. Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it.”

That doesn’t mean we can’t do a little postmortem of our own, though.

It will take more than a “Fortnight” to dissect all the lyrics, but here are the lines we predict will be endlessly dissected and screamed on TikTok for weeks to come:


I was a functioning alcoholic/ ‘Til nobody noticed my new aesthetic/ All of this to say, I hope you’re okay/ But you’re the reason/ And no one here’s to blame/ But what about your quiet treason?

'The Tortured Poets Department'

Sometimes I wonder if you’re gonna screw this up with me/ But you told Lucy you’d kill yourself if I ever leave/ And I had said that to Jack about you so I felt seen

'My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys'

once i fix me/ he’s gonna miss me

'Down Bad'

Did you take all my old clothes?/ Just to leave me here naked and alone/ In a field in my same old town/ That somehow seems so hollow now?”

'So Long London'

I didn’t opt in to be your odd man out/ I founded the club she’s heard great things about/ I left all I knew you left me at the house by the Hеath/ I stopped CPR, after all it’s no use/ Thе spirit was gone, we would never come to/ And I’m pissed off you let me give you all that youth for free

'But Daddy I Love Him'

’ll tell you something right now/ I’d rather burn my whole life down/ Than listen to one more second of all this bitchin’ and moanin’/ I’ll tell you something ’bout my good name/ It’s mine along with all the disgrace/ I don’t cater to all these vipers dressed in empire’s clothing

'Fresh Out the Slammer'

To the one who says I’m the girl of his American dreams/ And no matter what I’ve done, it wouldn’t matter anyway/ Ain’t no way I’m gonna screw up, now that I know what’s at stake here/ At the park where we used to sit on children’s swings/ Wearing imaginary rings/ But it’s gonna be alright, I did my time


Yеs, I’m haunted, but I’m feeling just fine/ All my girls got their lace and their crimes/ And your cheating husband disappeared/ Well, no one asks any questions here

'Guilty as Sin?'

What if I roll the stone away?/ They’re gonna crucify me anyway/ What if the way you hold is actually what’s holy?/ If long suffering propriety is what they want from me/ They don’t know how you’ve haunted me so stunningly/ I choose you and me, religiously

'Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?'

You caged me and then you called me crazy/ I am what I am ’cause you trained me/ So who’s afraid of me?/ Who’s afraid of little old me?

'I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)'

I can fix him, no, really, I can/ Whoa, maybe I can’t


You s–t-talked me under the table/ Talking rings and talking cradles/ I wish I could unrecall/ How we almost had it all

'I Can Do It With a Broken Heart'

‘Cause I’m a real tough kid/ I can handle my s–/ They said, “Babe, you gotta fake it till you make it” And I did/ Lights, camera, b—, smile/ Even when you wanna die/ He said he’d love me all his life/ But that life was too short/ Breaking down, I hit the floor/ All thе pieces of me shattеred as the crowd was chanting “More”/ I was grinnin’ like I’m winnin’/ I was hitting my marks/ ‘Cause I can do it with a broken heart

'The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived'

Were you sent by someone/ Who wanted me dead?/ Did you sleep with a gun underneath our bed?/ Were you writing a book?/ Were you a sleeper cell spy?/ In fifty years will all this be declassified?/ And you’ll confess why you did it/ And I’ll say, “Good riddance”/ ‘Cause it wasn’t sexy once it wasn’t forbidden/ I would’ve died for your sins/ Instead I just died inside

'The Alchemy'

Shirts off, and your friends lift you up, over their heads/ Beer stickin’ to the floor, cheers chanted ’cause they said/ “There was no chance trying to be the greatest in the league”/ Where’s the trophy? He just comes, running over to me

'Clara Bow'

You look like Taylor Swift/ In this light, we’re loving it/ You’ve got edge, she never did/ The future’s bright, dazzling