The Tortured Poets Department: Pre-Release Track Ranking

The Tortured Poets Department: Pre-Release Track Ranking

Photo Credit: Taylor Swift

My main advice: brace yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions. 

Darian Trabold, Managing Editor 

At the 2024 Grammy Awards, after winning the award for Best Pop Vocal Album, Taylor Swift announced the release of her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD). The album is set to be released on April 19. At an Eras Tour show in Melbourne, Australia, Swift described the experience of writing the album as her “lifeline” during a difficult time in her life. I and many others believe she was referring to her breakup with longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn.  

Based on what Swift has told us about the album, as well as the track titles and the symbolism behind them, here’s a ranking of each track prior to the album’s release: 

  1. “Florida!!! (ft. Florence and the Machine)” 

For me, hands down, this is going to be the best track. Some may say I’m biased because I’m from Florida, and this is 100% true. Taylor has officially put Florida on the map. I’m excited to see the collaboration between Taylor and Florence and the Machine; I think it’ll be a good mix. 

  1. “So Long, London” 

This one is going to hurt, and I’m looking forward to it. Swift is known for putting her most emotional songs on track 5. I think it will be interesting to see if she will reference “London Boy” in this song. 

  1. “Clara Bow” 

This is giving “Last Great American Dynasty,” which was one of my favorite songs on folklore. Clara Bow is often remembered for tabloid gossip rather than her success which I think Swift will allude to by drawing a link to herself. 

  1. “But Daddy I Love Him” 

A potential reference to the movie The Little Mermaid, in which Ariel gives up her voice for love. This may reflect the intense privacy of Swift and Alwyn’s relationship. I’m interested to see if this is a reference to the movie and I think it will be a sad, heartbreaking song.  

  1. “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)” 

We’ve all been there, right? This will become the delulu girl’s anthem, which is really exciting. 

  1. “Guilty As Sin?” 

My immediate reaction was: why is there a question mark in the title? Who is guilty? What did they do? I have so many questions and I cannot wait for answers.   

  1. “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” 

I feel like this one is going to be pretty depressing. For many, it can be difficult to find motivation when at a low point. I think this track will be unfortunately relevant and meaningful for a lot of us. 

  1. “The Albatross” 

I have to confess, I had no idea what this could mean when I first heard her announce this bonus track. Twitter sleuths were quick to post the many different meanings and their potential connections to Swift. With so many potential options on what it could be about, this track has my interest piqued. 

  1. “The Tortured Poets Department” 

I don’t love this as an album title, but it works as a track title. I am curious to see how the lyrics will flow considering it took me a while to stop calling it “Dead Poets Society.” I also wonder if the group chat “The Tortured Man Club” will be referenced. 

  1. “The Alchemist” 

This title is giving folklore and evermore in the best way. I believe this will be a slower song with haunting lyrics. 

  1. “The Manuscript” 

Similar to “The Alchemist” I think this song will have a nice, slow sound with interesting lyrics. A manuscript is a first edition of unedited thoughts, yet the album closes on this track. 

  1. “My Boy Only Breaks His Favourite Toys” 

I have a feeling this song is going to be like “I Did Something Bad” and is going to have an angry undertone. I feel this album will be more folklore/evermore in its vibes, but this song will be reflective of reputation. Also interesting to note Swift’s use of the British spelling of “favourite” instead of the American spelling.  

  1. “Fortnight (ft. Post Malone)” 

I never thought these two artists would ever collaborate. I have a hard time picturing how their sounds will blend, but I think if it is done well this is going to be an amazing track. 

  1. “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” 

I see a bit of sarcasm in this. She is literally one of the most successful women ever, yet she refers to herself as “little old me.” It could be calling out the people who have underestimated her.  

  1. “Fresh Out the Slammer” 

This song is a bit of a wild card for me. This may be a stretch, but I think it may be a reference to her first fling following her breakup with Matty Healy. I think it will discuss what happened after the breakup. 

  1. “loml” 

The use of the acronym is interesting because it feels a little unserious. Why not write out the acronym? I am really unsure of how I feel about this track or what it could sound like. It could also not be “love of my life” but maybe something else like “loss of my life.” 

  1. “The Bolter” 

We have all seen the videos of Alwyn running to the car with Taylor, which this track seems to be referring to. However, one can bolt from a variety of things including relationships so this track could take a variety of turns. 

  1. “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” 

I think this may be a reference to the fact that Alwyn did not let Taylor be “bejeweled.” Taylor seemingly had to shrink herself for him, so I wonder if she is referring to his ego or pride.  

  1. “Down Bad” 

I am not sure what to make of this. I do not think this is going to be a romantic song but instead focus on the negative aspects of being “down bad.” 

With nineteen songs we know of already, I think this album is going to be a wild ride. I have a feeling that Swifties are going to be getting all the emotions. I am eagerly awaiting the release and curious to see how my rankings might change once the album is officially out.