Home NEWS ENTERTAINMENT Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Lyrics Detail Fury and Heartbreak in Joe Alwyn, Matty Healy Relationships

Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Lyrics Detail Fury and Heartbreak in Joe Alwyn, Matty Healy Relationships

Taylor Swift is opening the pages of her diary on her latest album The Tortured Poets Department.

On the emotionally raw record, the pop superstar, 34, details a tumultuous time in her personal life as she was riding yet another career high.

While fans expected the album to be inspired entirely by her six-year relationship with ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn, Swift surprised the world yet again with a number of tracks that were seemingly written about her brief romance last year with The 1975 musician Matty Healy.

“It was really a lifeline for me — just the things that I was going through, the things that I was writing about … it kind of reminded me why songwriting actually gets me through my life,” she told fans about her new music at a tour stop earlier this year. “I’ve never had an album that I needed songwriting more than I needed it on Tortured Poets.”

Indeed, some of Tortured Poet’s tracks are laced with longing and heartache, while others scream (literally) anger and disbelief — not just with her ex-lovers but with the public’s dissection of her love life.

On opening track “Fortnight,” Swift wistfully reflects about becoming strangers with a former lover. “And no one here’s to blame/ But what about your quiet treason?” she sings about the short-lived romance. “I took the miracle move-on-drug/ The effects were temporary/ And I love you, it’s ruining my life.”

Then on the album’s title track, the singer makes more specific references. “Sometimes I wonder if you’re gonna screw this up with me/ But you told Lucy you’d kill yourself if I ever leave,” she sings, seemingly referring to boygenius’ Lucy Dacus, who is friends with Healy.

“And I had said that to Jack about you so I felt seen/ Everyone we know understands why it’s meant to be,” Swift continues, likely referring to longtime friend Jack Antonoff, who also produced the song.

On “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys,” Swift sings about being played by the object of her affection. “Put me back on my shelf/ But first, pull the string and I’ll tell you that he runs because he loves me,” she sings in one verse. (Alwyn has been facing heat from fans since their breakup about appearing to flee from the attention that comes from dating a superstar like Swift.)

“I felt more when we played pretend than with all the Kens/ ‘Cause he took me out of my box/ Stole my tortured heart/ Left all these broken parts/ Told me I’m better off/ But I’m not,” she sings later in the song.

On “Down Bad,” Swift reveals she was “down bad crying at the gym” (she previously detailed her tour prep to Time, sharing she trained at Dogpound).

“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,” sings Swift, who shared in her 2020 Miss Americana documentary that she had fallen for Alwyn and his “wonderful, normal, balanced kind of life” away from the spotlight.

But now, “How dare you think it’s romantic/ Leaving me safe and stranded,” she sings on the song.

On “So Long, London,” one of the album’s most heart-wrenching tracks, Swift details trying to save a failing relationship and the loneliness she grappled with.

“I stopped trying to make him laugh/ Stopped trying to drill the safe,” she sings, later making a reference to “the house in the Heath” she left behind. (In her Time cover interview, Swift opened up about moving to a “foreign country” — likely London, where she often spent time with Alwyn — amid her public feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.)

“And I’m pissed off you let me give you all that youth for free,” she sings, reflecting what she had told Time about wanting to live freely. “Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years — I’ll never get that time back,” she told the outlet.

On “Fresh Out the Slammer,” Swift further shares how isolated she felt in her relationship. “Another summer taking cover/ Rolling thunder, he don’t understand me/ Splintered back in winter/ Silent dinner, bitter he was with her in dreams,” she sings.

Later in the track, Swift sings about “running” to another lover who’s been waiting for her. “Now we’re at the starting line/ I did my time,” she sings, possibly referencing The Starting Line, a band often covered by The 1975. (On bonus track “The Black Dog,” a heartbroken Swift makes another Starting Line reference.)

Swift appears to allude to Healy again on “Guilty As Sin” as she sings of someone sending her “downtown lights” as she’s “drowning in the blue nile.” (Healy has previously called Scottish band The Blue Nile his “favorite band of all time.”)

The pop star seethes on “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me” and “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” calling out an ex yet again for disappearing. “You tried to buy some pills from a friend of friends of mine/ But they just ghosted you/ Now you know what it feels like,” she sings.

“And I don’t even want you back/ I just want to know/ If rusting my sparkling summer was the goal,” she continues. (Swift and Healy’s breakup went public just weeks after they were first linked in early May as she was on tour.)

On “loml,” Swift expresses regret about rekindling a relationship with a “con man” who sold her “a get-love-quick scheme” and left her hurting more than ever.

“You s–t-talked me under the table talking rings and talking cradles/ I wish I could un-recall how we almost had it all,” she sings. “The coward claimed he was a lion/ I’m combing through the braids of lies/ ‘I’ll never leave’ ‘Never mind.'”

On “I Can Do It with a Broken Heart” (a surprisingly melodically upbeat track), Swift appears to call out two lovers who promised her forever.

“He said he’d love me all his life/ But that life was too short,” she sings early on in the song. Then later, “He said he’d love me for all time/ But that time was quite short.”

On “Smallest Man,” Swift reaches peak anger: “You said normal girls were ‘boring’/ But you were gone by the morning.”

“You kicked out the stage lights but you’re still performing/ And in plain sight you hid/ But you are what you did/ And I’ll forget you but I’ll never forgive/ The smallest man who ever lived,” she sings.

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