Taylor Swift fans all around the world, fondly known as Swifties, sat with bated breath in front of their TVs for Swift to announce the release of her highly anticipated “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” album while accepting her 13th Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album on Sunday evening.
Instead, she did something she is most famous for — surprising her fans with the announcement of an entirely new album.
“I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years, which is that my brand-new album comes out April 19,” she said. “It’s called ‘The Tortured Poets Department.’ I’m gonna go post the cover backstage.”
There were collective dramatic gasps heard around the world.
In a couple of minutes, Swift posted the cover for her new album: a black and white picture of her lying in a bed, looking particularly lovelorn.
She then posted what seemed like handwritten lyrics: “And so I enter into evidence / My tarnished coat of arms / My muses, acquired like bruises / My talismans and charms / The tick, tick, tick of love bombs / My veins of pitch black ink.”
The album is touted to be about Swift’s recent six-year-long relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn, which ended in April. Close to April 19. The math is mathing, right?
Alwyn, known for being notoriously introverted and private about his relationship with Swift, was often accused of being indifferent to his pop-star girlfriend, sometimes even unhappy with the massive fame and fanbase she has. Swift has alluded to this in her singles “You’re Losing Me” and “Bejeweled.”
So when the titles of “The Tortured Poets Department” dropped Monday evening, fans swore on their lives that this album would call out Alwyn for his inability to commit to Swift.
Songs like “So Long, London” “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can),” “But Daddy I Love Him,” and “Florida!!!” might be about Swift attempting to salvage her relationship one last time, bidding goodbye to Alwyn and their home for six years in London, and then performing in Tampa, Fla. after the news about her breakup got out.
Swift is often accused of dragging her exes into her songwriting. And she accepts that. “If they don’t want bad things written about them, then maybe they shouldn’t do bad things,” she said after the release of her album “Red.”
So, if Alwyn is going to be called out for his treatment of Swift, he might have actually seen it coming.
As Swift embarks on the second leg of her highly celebrated and bankable “Eras Tour,” she genuinely has the world at her feet. She has a Midas touch and there’s little to no doubt that she’s going to deliver another hit with her new album.
And then, we wait for “Reputation (Taylor’s Version).” What a time to be a Swiftie.
Vishakha Deshpande is a reporter for The Marblehead Weekly News.