Taylor Swift Dropped a Double Bomb Overnight

'Tortured Poets Department' was released at midnight Friday, with a surprise at 2am
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2024 2:00 AM CDT
How Taylor Swift's New Album Is Being Received
This cover image released by Republic Records show "The Tortured Poets Department" by Taylor Swift.   (Republic Records via AP)

Taylor Swift's eleventh album was released at midnight Eastern time Friday, and to say Swifties are going wild over The Tortured Poets Department would be a bit of an understatement—reactions were being posted live to Twitter (where Swift herself revealed at 2am Eastern time that—surprise!—it's actually a double album) and, of course, Reddit. (Want to read the less impressed takes on the album? Go here. A more typical thread of devoted Swifties giving their first impression is here.) On Metacritic, the album's score based on seven reviews so far from professional critics was sitting pretty at 91 out of 100. A sample of what music critics have to say:

  • The album is "written in blood": That's from Ann Powers at NPR, who writes that, "Throughout Tortured Poets, Swift is trying to work out how emotional violence occurs: how men inflict it on women and women cultivate it within themselves."
  • "Great sad pop": That's from Maria Sherman at the AP, who writes that the album feels like "a cathartic purge after a major heartbreak delivered through an ascendant vocal run, an elegiac verse, or mobile, synthesized productions that underscore the powers of Swift's storytelling."
  • Her "most personal album yet"? It might be, according to Rolling Stone, which was one of the two (so far) outlets ranking it at 100 out of 100. The other is the Independent.

  • Fans get called out: The Guardian is one of several outlets (not to mention Reddit threads) pointing out that Swift appears to bring up a beef with her fans in a song that appears to be about her short-lived and wildly unpopular relationship with Matty Healy of The 1975. "There's clearly a risk involved in calling out elements of your own fanbase, however justified said attack is, but Swift pulls it off," writes Alexis Petridis, who gives the album a generally favorable review but notes some might argue it's "a shade too long."
  • Not impressed: The lowest-ranked review on Metacritic comes from Laura Molloy at NME, who calls the album a "rare misstep" for Swift. "Musically, it's an album mostly devoid of any noticeable stylistic shift or evolution," she writes. Other than a few interesting moments, "it mostly descends into a monochromatic palette, existing in the same Jack Antonoff-branded synth pop as Midnights, yet struggling to capture any of its brightness."
  • Collaborations: At CNN, Alli Rosenbloom writes that "the songs on which Swift chose to feature collaborators are some of the album's highlights." Those include "Florida!!!" with Florence + the Machine, "a gorgeous match of two unique voices blending together," and "Fortnight" featuring Post Malone, "a dynamic first track, perhaps the album's catchiest."
(More Taylor Swift stories.)

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