The old Taylor Swift is dead. Seriously, this time.

At a moment when Taylormania reached ridiculous heights, threatening to turn the artist at its center into an untouchable icon, the real Taylor Swift was spending her time between glittering three-hour concerts creating her most fearless art. Department of Tortured Poets: Anthology Filled with some of Swift's most raw, angry and insecure songs of her career—it's the exact opposite of the inspired, focused passivity that a skeptic of an artist's current vision might expect.

In the new chapter of our weekly magazine Now Rolling Stone Music podcast, Brittany Spanos and Rob Sheffield join host Brian Hiatt for an in-depth, track-by-track breakdown of the first half. Poets. (They'll explore the second half in another chapter, coming soon.) The album sparked wildly mixed reactions, but our chapter focuses on dissecting the lyrical mysteries, musical influences, and more. go Here Listen to your preferred podcast provider Apple Podcasts Or SpotifyOr press play above.


The album's title track cuts through all the confusion as it directly references his brief but apparently intense relationship with 1975's Matty Healy. With Joni Mitchell-worthy honesty, Swift offers a startling self-assessment of what the two artists had in common: „We're crazy,” she sings, layering harmonies over that description for emphasis. Then there's „But Daddy I Love Him,” where Swift unleashes pure hellfire on the „fans” who tried to lecture Healy about the inappropriateness of the relationship. „I'll tell you about my good name,” she murmured. „The shame is mine alone.” Also notable is the creepy, sardonic „Who's Afraid of the Little Ones,” where he reprises his role as the dark tailor on „Look What You Made Me Do,” augmented by the „anti-hero” monster on the mountain.

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