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Taylor Swift Shares 5 ‘Stages of Heartbreak’ Playlists Ahead of ‘Tortured Poets Department’ Album Release



Taylor Swift attends the Women In Music held at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, U.S., Dec. 12, 2019. (Shutterstock Photo)

Each playlist features tracks from the pop star’s first 10 albums.

Fans may have been on to something when they theorized that Taylor Swift‘s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, was inspired by the five stages of grief. Ahead of the LP’s April 19 release, the pop star shared a quintet of playlists she personally curated for Apple Music on Friday (April 5), each of them featuring songs from her first 10 albums representing a distinct phase of heartbreak.

Four of the playlists are named after the taglines of previously announced deluxe editions, with the fifth one dubbed “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” after one of the song titles on Tortured Poets. Firstly, the “I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life” roundup features tracks such as “Style” and “Treacherous,” designed by the 14-time Grammy winner to embody the “denail” stage.

“This is a list of songs about getting so caught up in the idea of something that you have a hard time seeing the red flags, possibly resulting in moments of denial and maybe a little bit of delusion,” she said in a statement. “Results may vary.”

Secondly, anger is soundtracked by a playlist called “You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad,” including “Vigilante Shit,” “Bad Blood,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and more. “These songs all have one thing in common: I wrote them while feeling anger,” Swift continued. “Over the years, I’ve learned that anger can manifest itself in a lot of different ways, but the healthiest way that it manifests itself in my life is when I can write a song about it, and then oftentimes, that helps me get past it.”

Next up in the “Five Stages of Heartbreak” — modeled after Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ famous five stages of grief theory — is bargaining. For this phase, Swift gathered tracks like “Soon You’ll Get Better,” “Say Don’t Go” and “This Is Me Trying” in a playlist titled “Am I Allowed to Cry?”

“This playlist takes you through the songs that I’ve written when I was in the bargaining stage, times when you’re trying to make deals with yourself or someone that you care about,” the “Anti-Hero” singer explained. “You’re trying to make things better, you’re oftentimes feeling really desperate, because oftentimes we have a gut intuition that tells us things are not going to go the way that we hope, which makes us more desperate, which makes us bargain more.”


The fourth stage is depression, encapsulated by Swift on songs such as “Champagne Problems,” “We Were Happy” and “Forever Winter” on her “Old Habits Die Screaming” playlist. “We’re going to be exploring the feelings of depression that often lace their way through my songs,” she added. “While these things are really, really hard to go through, I often feel like when I’m either listening to songs or writing songs that deal with this intensity of loss and hopelessness, usually that’s in the phase where I’m close to getting past that feeling.”

Finally, Swift’s “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” playlist — which matches the name of track 13 on Tortured Poets — marks the last stage of grief/heartbreak, aka acceptance. “Here we finally find acceptance and can start moving forward from loss or heartbreak,” Tay said of the mix, which ropes in songs including “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” “Closure,” “Now That We Don’t Talk” and “Long Story Short.”

“These songs represent making room for more good in your life, making that choice because a lot of time when we lose things, we gain things too,” Swift added.

Swift is currently taking a two-month break from her global Eras Tour trek to prepare for the release of her 11th studio album, which she first announced while accepting best pop vocal at the 2024 Grammys for her previous LP, Midnights. Since then, she’s shared the new project’s main cover plus details on the four deluxe editions, as well as confirming that Post Malone and Florence + The Machine are both featured on the album.

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