What a night for Taylor Swift — and her millions of fans.
The “Anti-Hero” singer is now a 14-time Grammy winner after taking home two awards for Midnights: Best Pop Vocal Album, her second win in that category, and Album of the Year. She made history by winning the top prize for a fourth time. After Swift thanked her loyal fans onstage, she really treated Swifties by announcing a new album: The Tortured Poets Department.
What can we expect from Swift’s 11th studio album? When will it come out? And why do some people think the title disses her ex Joe Alwyn? Here’s the scoop.
The Tortured Poets Department will drop on April 19
When Swift won her first award of the night, she said she wanted to thank her fans “by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years.”
“It’s called The Tortured Poets Department,” Swift declared as she fittingly won her lucky No. 13 Grammy. “I’m gonna go post the cover backstage.” She quickly made good on that promise.
We know the name of one song
The Tortured Poets Department is going to be a 16-track album. According to her website, the collector’s edition will feature a bonus track called “The Manuscript.” It’s the only song name known so far.
Swift ushers in a new era
The album cover is unlike anything fans have seen yet from the 34-year-old singer. In the intimate black-and-white picture, Swift is lying down on a bed in black high-waisted underwear and a black sheer tank. (According to Swift’s stylist, she's wearing the Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s luxury brand, and YSL.)
“All’s fair in love and poetry...” Swift captioned the image on social media.
On another photo, there’s a handwritten note that reads: “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 view of pitch black ink.”
The note is signed, “Sincerely, The Chairman of The Tortured Poets Department.”
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 5, 2024
Fans expected Swift to announce Reputation (Taylor’s Version) — but it was a “red herring”
There are only two rerecorded albums the singer has yet to release: Reputation and Taylor Swift. Swift has been dropping Easter eggs for weeks that seemed to hint Reputation (Taylor’s Version) was coming. Speculation went into overdrive when, before the Grammys telecast, Swift changed her social media profile images to a black-and-white versions of the pictures. (The original Reputation album cover is black and white.) Swift then showed up to the Grammys in black gloves and a white dress with six necklace chains, but no, it was not a nod to her sixth album, Reputation.
Swift’s website intentionally went down right before the Grammys and a mysterious error code appeared, that if you unscrambled it, spelled “red herring.” Turns out, the Reputation era hints really were a red herring.
the aesthetic of “the tortured poets department” by taylor swift ౨ৎ ˚｡⋆ pic.twitter.com/8gKj0xpzoE
— lia ◟̽◞̽ | TTPD🤍 (@gilmoongirl) February 5, 2024
The Joe Alwyn of it all
It was revealed in April 2023 that the singer and British actor had split after six years together, but neither of them have said anything about the breakup. (Who did it? When, exactly? Why?) The closest fans have gotten is one of Swift’s bonus tracks off Midnights called “You’re Losing Me.” Well, Swift said herself on Sunday that she’s been working on The Tortured Poets Department for two years, so it seems more than likely the album will cover the ending of their relationship. It didn’t take long for fans to point out the album title has a direct tie to Alwyn.
In December 2022, Alwyn revealed he’s in a WhatsApp group chat called “The Tortured Man Club.” The topic came up during Variety’s Actors on Actors series with Paul Mescal. The two were in the chat with All of Us Strangers star Andrew Scott.
“It hasn’t had much use recently,” Alwyn shared.
Joe Alwyn and Paul Mescal have a WhatsApp group with Andrew Scott called "The Tortured Man Club."
"It hasn't had much use recently," Alwyn says.
"I feel like we're less tortured now," Mescal quips. https://t.co/CSai4ScQpzpic.twitter.com/veCp1ZdFsD
— Variety (@Variety) December 15, 2022
What about Travis Kelce?
Per usual, fans won’t know what is exactly covered in the album until it’s released — but Swift will likely drop some Easter eggs over the next two months. Whether we’ll hear about her falling in love with the Kansas City Chiefs tight end remains to be seen, but there’s a good chance he inspired a song or two. Some people are speculating that “The Manuscript” could be about — “the man you script,” i.e., Kelce.