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The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print


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The resident Swifties of Normal West react to Taylor Swift’s 11th studio album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology album cover. PHOTO: BETH GARRABRANT
With the release of her 11th studio album which includes a secret 15-song album, Taylor Swift continues to blow the minds of Swifties from all over the world. Normal West is home to a few Swifties, themselves, and they share their thoughts on the newest album in this fun feature.

KATIE LOPEZ (Social Studies Department): I will be honest, every time I listen to a more recent Taylor Swift album for the first time, I feel like most songs sound the same (Evermore, Folklore, Midnights). The same is true this time around with TTPD, but the lyrics are unreal. I am certain that my brain will start to differentiate these songs as I grow more familiar with them, but I cannot look past how impressive, biting, and honest the lyrics are in every single song. I’m not even trying to sound hyperbolic, but Taylor Swift is the lyricist of our generation. Even if you don’t know the names of the men she’s singing about or the background of each story, you can still enjoy her stories. So far, I am feeling a lot of “1989” vibes and many similarities to “Folklore.”

Current favorites are “But Daddy I Love Him,” “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” and “The Tortured Poets Department.” Honorable mentions are “Clara Bow” and “Florida!!!”

NATALIE SPATH (English Department): Taylor Swift is an absolute mastermind, and if you did not already know this, you should now. Even if you are not a fan of Taylor, I implore you to print out at least one of these songs and just read the words. Her lyricism is insane and only continues to get better with each new release. As Mrs. Lopez mentions above, the first listen of some of these songs did tend to sound the same to me and probably will continue to do so until my brain begins to memorize the rhythm; however, my absolute favorite part about being a Taylor Swift fan is that I have grown up alongside her–and she often puts words to experiences I have had or am having. These two albums do that, too. I have loved Taylor Swift since her debut album and have seen her music evolve from Country to Pop to Indie and now to Synth-Pop. The Tortured Poets Department (both the original and Anthology versions) are, in my opinion, some of her best writing–full of allusions, metaphors, and other English-nerdy things that I, of course, appreciate.

My current favorites are: “The Tortured Poets Department,” “But Daddy, I Love Him,” “I Can Do it With a Broken Heart,” “imgonnagetyouback,” “thanK you, aIMee,” & “The Manuscript.”

ANNA KLAIRE HAWKINS (Senior): Swift introduces a new wave of sound through these two Synth-Pop albums. The first few tracks initially made me feel “meh,” as I was fairly underwhelmed after feeling the high of “1989 TV” and being met with slow-paced tracks. However, the progression of the tracks increase as the album continues, growing the excitement as the “mastermind” continues to present her incredible lyricism. In both TTDP and Anthology, Swift fuses blends of romance and heartbreak to make relatable tracks for all listeners. If you’re delusional towards someone that will never feel the same, I would highly recommend “Down Bad,” and “But Daddy, I Love Him.”

My current favorites are: “Down Bad,” “imgonnagetyouback,” and “So Long, London.”

LEAH SMOLEN (Senior): Listening to the first few songs on TTPD, I was incredibly underwhelmed. The first portion of the album isn’t a personal favorite in terms of production, but the tracks produced by Aaron Dessner definitely lifted the album. “Clara Bow” is my favorite overall, but my 2nd and 3rds come from the “THE ANTHOLOGY,” which was better. “The Black Dog” and “Cassandra” had such strong songwriting which made me wish they were included in the standard edition. I can see the album growing on me, but it didn’t have the initial great first impression like some of her previous albums. 

RACHEL EVANS (Foreign Language Department): To me this album has so many songs that are parallels to ones on previous albums but with a more mature voice (“Robin” paired with “Never Grow Up” and “thanK you aIMee” paired with “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” for example). Her lyricism is what makes her such a phenomenal artist, and it’s never been more obvious than it is on TTPD. With each album I see more and more literary merit in her work. TTPD in particular, like Folklore and Evernore, reminds me of Sylvia Plath’s prose and poetry. Like Mrs. Spath, I have grown up alongside Taylor and have been a Swiftie since I first heard “Teardrops on My Guitar” in middle school. I immediately asked my mom to take me to Borders Bookstore to buy the CD with my allowance, and I’ve been along for the ride across genres and decades ever since. Taylor puts into words so many of the integral experiences of youth, young adulthood, growing up, love, and loss, and I will forever be so grateful for that. 

I am overwhelmed trying to pick my favorites, but here are a few: “Florida!!!,” “loml,” “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”, “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” “The Albatross,” “thanK you aIMee,” “Cassandra,” “The Bolter,” and “The Manuscript.” 

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