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Everything We Know About Taylor Swift’s New Album The Tortured Poets Department

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Updated: | Originally published:

Taylor Swift's new album The Tortured Poets Department comes out Friday. With a few days to go until its release, Swift is building the anticipation, dropping all kinds of hints about the lyrics, themes, and collaborators on the new album.

On Monday, a mural appeared on the side of a building in Chicago with the letters "TTPD" and the number 13, and a QR code that leads to a YouTube video on Swift's page. In the 13-second clip, the message "Error 321" appears.

The message "Error 321" also showed up on the singer's website in February, before she announced the new album at the Grammy Awards.

While kicking off the next leg of the Eras Tour in Tokyo following the Grammys, Swift gave a little context on the work she'd put into the album.

"I’ve been working on Tortured Poets since right after I turned in Midnights," she told the crowd. "I’ve been working on it for about two years. I worked on it throughout the US tour. Soon we’ll get to hear it together.”

The Tortured Poets Department includes Jack Antonoff, Swift's longtime collaborator, among the list of songwriters, as well as The National's Aaron Dessner.

Here’s everything to know about The Tortured Poets Department, out April 19.

What do we know about The Tortured Poets Department?

Although Swift has released the tracklist on Instagram, along with some other hints, it’s hard to tell exactly what the album will be about.

Recently, Swift released five new playlists on Apple Music that sort her old songs into different categories, giving a significant hint about what The Tortured Poets Department's tracklist will mean.

Swift sorted her old songs into categories that represent the five stages of grief. The playlists are named after the stages and songs from the new album: denial (I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life), anger (You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad), bargaining (Am I Allowed to Cry?), depression (Old Habits Die Screaming), and acceptance (I Can Do It With a Broken Heart). Each of the playlists comes complete with a voice memo from Swift about the inspiration behind the types of songs in each playlist.

On social media, Swift revealed the multiple different album cover variations that will be available and a few bonus tracks on the album, “The Black Dog,” “The Manuscript,” “The Bolter,” and “The Albatross.”

Apple Music and Spotify drop hints about The Tortured Poets Department

After releasing the five themed playlists, Apple Music is promoting The Tortured Poets Department ahead of April 19 by revealing "a word a day until the Taylor Swift album drops," according to the service's bio on X.

The first word was "HEREBY," which fans were prompted to figure out by looking at the lyrics page for Swift's song "Glitch," from the "Denial" playlist. In the lyrics, random letters were capitalized. Collected and unscrambled, those letters spelled "HEREBY."

The second word, uncovered by the same challenge through the song "Peace," was "CONDUCT." Apple Music will reveal more words throughout the week.

On one shelf of mostly unmarked books is a thick one titled Guilty as Sin, which is also the title of the album's ninth track.

When does Taylor Swift’s new album come out?

The Tortured Poets Department will be released on April 19. Swift made the album available for pre-order on her website after announcing it at the Grammys. 

What are the songs on The Tortured Poets Department?

On Monday, Swift dropped the official tracklist for the new album. The Tortured Poets Department will feature 16 songs and one bonus track, titled “The Manuscript.” Other titles include: “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can),” “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys,” “But Daddy I Love Him,” and “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.”

One of the tracks is titled “Clara Bow, in reference to the film star. Bow's great-granddaughters told People in a recent interview that they hope she honors her legacy. “She came from a really tough background and she really made it happen for herself,” one of her descendants says.

“I hope she conveys a positive image of Clara Bow, which I think she will,” she added. “I would imagine that Taylor uses this as a way to highlight her accomplishments, her accolades, her talent. They're both people that have really strong raw talent.”

Who is featured on Taylor Swift’s new album?

The Tortured Poets Department has two features. The first track, “Fortnight,” includes a feature by Post Malone and the song “Florida!!!” features Florence and the Machine.

What fans are theorizing about The Tortured Poets Department

Following Swift’s announcement, fans online began looking for meanings and clues behind the details she gave. According to some on the internet, the title of the album seems to nod to her ex-boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. In 2022, during Alwyn’s Actors on Actors interview with Paul Mescal, he revealed that he was in a group chat with Mescal and actor Andrew Scott called “The Tortured Man Club.”

Will this album be added to the Eras Tour? 

Throughout her wildly popular international Eras Tour, Swift has been re-releasing her old albums with brand new vault track songs. She manages to sneak in these new songs during the surprise song section of her show, where she plays two new songs from her discography that are not on the original setlist. She may do the same with the new songs from this album when the tour picks back up on May 9 in France. With her album being released during Coachella weekend, there are rumors that the pop star may make an appearance to support her friends, Lana Del Rey, Ice Spice, and Sabrina Carpenter, who are all set to perform in the desert this weekend.

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Write to Moises Mendez II at moises.mendez@time.com