Swift drops surprise double album, Latest Music News - The New Paper

Swift drops surprise double album

American pop star Taylor Swift kept fans glued to their music players on April 19 with the release of her 11th album, The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD), at noon (Singapore time).

But just as many Swifties completed their first or even second listens of the new record, the 34-year-old singer-songwriter made sure they would stick around by dropping a second instalment, TTPD: The Anthology, just two hours later at 2pm (Singapore time) – which is 2am in the eastern part of the United States.

“It’s a 2am surprise: The Tortured Poets Department is a secret double album. I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past two years and wanted to share it all with you,” Swift wrote on Instagram on April 19.

TTPD: The Anthology, which is available on streaming services worldwide and as a digital album in selected markets, adds 15 tracks to the original 16 songs in the initial release. The new additions include bonus tracks that will be included on previously announced variant editions, namely The Manuscript, The Bolter, The Albatross and The Black Dog.

Fans who purchased CDs or vinyls of the original album did have some treats awaiting them, including a handwritten poem by American singer-songwriter and rock band Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks.

The poem starts with: “He was in love with her. Or at least she thought so.”

Swift contributed some words to the vinyl gatefolds and CD booklets as well, in the form of a lyrical prologue that includes the line: “Lovers spend years denying what’s ill-fated.”

Lover was the title of her seventh album from 2019. That record was an ode to her relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn, which ended in early 2023.

Many fans and critics expected TTPD to shed light on why the Swift-Alwyn romance fizzled out after six years. In an April 19 Instagram post, she described the work as reflecting “events, opinions and sentiments from a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time – one that was both sensational and sorrowful in equal measure”.

But multiple reactions online suggest that the most incriminating tracks on the original version of TTPD were about someone else entirely: British musician Matty Healy, frontman of pop-rock band The 1975. The pair went public in early May 2023 and broke up by early June.

“TTPD being a Matty Healy album when it was marketed as a Joe Alwyn album feels like the biggest catfish of all time,” wrote one fan on X.

Another fan on Reddit’s Taylor Swift forum suggested: “I’m wondering if she didn’t want to put too much attention on her break-up with Joe, and therefore released a double album. First half mainly about Matty, second half (in TTPD: The Anthology) about Joe.”

Notably, one track on TTPD: The Anthology seemed to be a veiled attack on American reality star Kim Kardashian, whom Swift famously feuded with in 2016 when Kardashian was married to American rapper Kanye West.

The uppercase letters in the formatting of the 24th track’s title, thanK you aIMee, seem to spell out ‘Kim’.

The chorus also includes the lines: “All that time you were throwing punches, I was building something. And I can’t forgive the way you made me feel.”

One netizen on Reddit said: “So we all agree this is the most obvious diss track.”

But Swift seemed to caution fans against aiming their pitchforks at Kardashian, Healy or Alwyn.

She said in an Instagram post on April 19: “This period of the author’s life is now over, the chapter closed and boarded up. 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.”

On April 18, Swift announced that the first single off TTPD would be the lead track, Fortnight. The collaboration with American rapper Post Malone will have a music video released on April 20 at 8am (Singapore time).

“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 first-hand when we worked together on Fortnight,” Swift wrote on Instagram about the duet with her fellow musician, whose real name is Austin Richard Post.

She also shared a teaser clip of the music video, which shows her wearing dramatic Victorian gowns, alternately tied up, smashing a chair and banging on a typewriter.

TTPD features a second collaboration, with English singer Florence Welch, who leads the indie rock band Florence & the Machine, on another TTPD track, Florida!!!.

If Swift’s recent commercial success is any indication, the dual releases of TTPD are likely to break streaming records. In recent months, she was declared a billionaire by Forbes magazine and won the Grammy Album of the Year trophy for the fourth time – the most of any artiste in the history of the music awards.

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