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Taylor Swift is breaking down the meaning of some of her new songs.

New on Amazon Music, Swift offers a track-by-track experience of some of the songs featured on her newly released album The Tortured Poets Department. Through the playlist experience, the singer revealed the inspiration behind songs “Fortnight” featuring Post Malone, “Florida!!!” with Florence + the Machine, “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?,” “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys” and “Clara Bow.”

After its release, Swift called the album “an anthology of new works that reflect events, opinions and sentiments from a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time — one that was both sensational and sorrowful in equal measure.”

“This period of the author’s life is now over, the chapter closed and boarded up,” she continued. “There is nothing to avenge, no scores to settle once wounds have healed. And upon further reflection, a good number of them turned out to be self-inflicted. This writer is of the firm belief that our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page. Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it. And then all that’s left behind is the tortured poetry.”

Swift later surprised fans by releasing a secret “double album” expansion of The Tortured Poets Department with 15 extra songs. “It’s a 2am surprise: The Tortured Poets Department is a secret DOUBLE album,” Swift wrote on Instagram. “I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past 2 years and wanted to share it all with you, so here’s the second installment of TTPD: The Anthology. 15 extra songs. And now the story isn’t mine anymore… it’s all yours.”

Below is what Swift had to say.


“‘Fortnight’ is a song that I think exhibits a lot of the common themes that run throughout this album. One of which being fatalism — longing, pining away, lost dreams. I think that it’s a very fatalistic album in that there are lots of very dramatic lines about life or death. ‘I love you, it’s ruining my life.’ These are very hyperbolic, dramatic things to say but it’s that kind of album,” she said. “It’s about a traumatic, artistic tragic kind of take on love and loss. ‘Fortnight’ I always imagined that it took place in this American town where the American dream you thought would happen to you didn’t. You ended up not with the person that you loved and now you just have to live with that everyday, wondering what would’ve been maybe seeing them out. And that’s a pretty tragic concept really so I was just writing from that perspective.”

When announcing the song as the first single from the album, Swift explained her adoration for Post Malone, writing on Instagram alongside a photo with him: “I’ve been such a huge fan of Post because of the writer he is, his musical experimentation and those melodies he creates that just stick in your head forever. I got to witness that magic come to life firsthand when we worked together on ‘Fortnight.’”

“My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”

“It’s a metaphor from the perspective of a child’s toy, being somebody’s favorite toy until they break you and then don’t want to play with you anymore. Which is how a lot of us are in relationships where we are so valued by a person in the beginning, and then all of the sudden, they break us or they devalue us in their mind. We’re still clinging on to ‘No no, no. You should’ve seen them the first time they saw me. They’ll come back to that. They’ll get back to that.’ So it’s kind of like a song about denial really so that you could live in this world where there’s still hope for a toxic, broken relationship.”


“I think I was coming up with this idea of what happens when your life doesn’t fit or the choices you’ve made catch up to you and you’re surrounded by these harsh consequences and judgment and circumstances did not lead you to where you thought you would be? And you just want to escape from everything you’ve ever known. Is there a place you could go?” Swift explained.

She said she always watches Dateline and “people have these crimes that they commit; where do they immediately skip town and go to? They go to Florida. They try to reinvent themselves, have a new identity, blend in. I think when you go through a heartbreak, there’s a part of you that thinks, ‘I want a new name. I want a new life. I don’t want anyone to know where I’ve been or know me at all.’ And so that was the jumping off point behind Where would you go to reinvent yourself and blend in? Florida!”

“Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”

“So being in the public eye since I was a young teenager, there’s a lot that that does to your perception of the world, your perception of yourself. The idea that the world has this sense of ownership and not just a right but they feel they have a responsibility to judge you and critique you and to weigh in and that can really toy with you,” Swift said. She said the song was one she wrote alone at the piano “in one of those moments when I felt sort of bitter about all the things we do to our artists as a society and as a culture” which, she said, is concept explored on the album. She added, “What do we do to our writers, and our artists, and our creatives? We put them through hell. We watch what they create, then we judge it. We love to watch artists in pain, often to the point where I think sometimes as a society we provoke that pain and we just watch what happens.”

She said at times she can feel like she’s a “witch in a haunted house” when she’s unable to cope using her normal coping mechanisms. “This song was just a very very true way that I feel sometimes and it’s always good when you can be honest about those things.”

“Clara Bow”

Swift began describing the song as one that served as a “commentary” of what’s seen in the industry over time. “I used to sit in record labels trying to get a record deal when I was a little kid. And they’d say, ‘you know, you remind us of…’ and then they’d name an artist, and then they’d kind of say something disparaging about her, ‘but you’re this, you’re so much better in this way or that way.’ And that’s how we kind of teach women to see themselves, as like you could be the new replacement for this woman who’s done something great before you,” she said. “So I had this idea that it’s a conversation between the young woman sitting in the chair in front of the desk and the man in power or woman in power sitting behind the desk saying ‘Oh you remind me so much of a women who came before you but don’t worry you’re better. We’re going to make you the new her.’ So I picked women who have done great things in the past and have been these archetypes of greatness in the entertainment industry. Clara Bow was the first ‘it girl.’ Stevie Nicks is an icon and an incredible example for anyone who wants to write songs and make music. So I just thought it would be interesting to talk about how weird that feels if we really add up that that’s what we do as a society.”

Physical copies of the new album also reportedly include a handwritten poem Stevie Nicks wrote for Swift, featured on the LP gatefolds or CD booklets. The poem’s header reads, “For T — and me…” and throughout the poem, Nicks seemingly sets the stage for songs about heartbreak.

“He was in love with her/ Or at least she thought so/ She was brokenhearted/ Maybe he was too/ Neither of them knew. She was way too hot to handle/ He was way too high to try —/ He couldn’t even see her/ He wouldn’t open his eyes/ She was on her way to the stars/ He didn’t say goodbye,” the poem reads.

Listen to the track-by-track experience on Amazon Music here.

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