Taylor Swift alum covers 'folklore' and 'The Tortured Poets Department'

Taylor Swift Told Us Years Ago What the Reaction to ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Would Be

Of all the emotions Taylor Swift paints in her songs, one has been underrepresented until now: anger. In The Tortured Poets Department, Swift makes up for lost time and comes across as big mad throughout the entire album.

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I’ll admit, TTPD is a little choppy for me, and while some of that can be attributed to production and how increasingly over synth-pop I am, some of that is definitely because I wasn’t expecting her to come across so pissed off—seemingly over her past relationship with Matty Healy.

I’m not the only one; the reviews are decidedly mixed. Rolling Stone loves it. Pitchfork is meh, and Paste hates it. However, being a diehard Swiftie who loves to dissect everything Swift does in the same way certain people can spend hours debating the intricacies of their fantasy football team, it seems like Swift predicted what the response to TTPD would be via a song off her 8th studio album, folklore.

The song is “mad woman” and in particular, the lyrics:

And when you say I seem angry
I get more angry

And there’s nothin’ like a mad woman
What a shame she went mad
No one likes a mad woman
You made her like that

Taylor Swift

Now, look, I am not inclined to call Swift “mother,” which is to say, I don’t automatically love everything she does, nor do I think she is some preternatural Jigsaw type of mastermind playing 4-D chess with the world while the rest of us mere mortals play checkers. My view of her is that she is extremely tender towards her feelings, and as a result, musically at least, she does not give in to the complaints that, as someone at the top of her career, she has nothing to feel bad about. She does, dammit! She wrote an entire album about it with TTPD, and she’ll cry if she wants to.

I also think that the tenderness towards her own feelings makes her songs interesting in a way that many mainstream artists are not, primarily because Swift writes, in my opinion, nearly exclusively for the female gaze. As a result, it feels like sometimes Swift is the only one out there making music for the girls who wrote sad love poems in their diaries in 7th grade about boys who will never really see them. She writes for other perspectives, too, but she honors the 7th-grade girl in her for better or worse, more than any other mainstream pop star out there. Your mileage on this will undoubtedly vary.

Anger, as many women know, is one emotion we’re not supposed to feel for too long, or too deeply because it makes everyone else around us uncomfortable. This is something Swift inherently knows, as she wrote an entire song about it on folklore. She also, however, revels in the anger on TTPD. She’s mad at her failed love affair, and blames the fans (“But Daddy I Love Him”), the man in question (“The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”), and her team (“But Daddy I Love Him”); she’s also hugely mad at Kim Kardashian (“thanK you aIMee”) and I wonder if “TTPD” is going to be viewed more favorably once the dust settles and we’ve all had time to settle into the anger along with Swift. Maybe the mixed reaction to the album is that the anger in it caught us all by surprise?

I don’t know. Talk to me in a year, once I’ve gotten over the fact that the album is about that guy. Maybe TTPD will become a classic f-you album in the vein of Live Through This. Doubtful, but you never know, especially when it comes to Taylor Swift.

(featured image: Republic Records)


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Author
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.