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Not Everyone Loved ‘The Tortured Poets Department’: What Some Critics Said About Taylor Swift’s New Album in Mixed Reviews

Not Everyone Loved The Tortured Poets Department What Critics Said About Taylor Swifts New Album
Taylor Swift ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

As Taylor Swift’s latest album, The Tortured Poets Department, continues to break records, some music critics are sharing their honest reviews of the Grammy winner’s latest project.

While millions of Swifties spent the weekend dissecting the lyrics and picking their favorite new song, some journalists said they were hoping to hear more from Swift, 34.

“This album is okay. I understand that Taylor Swift is not someone you’re supposed to feel okay about,” a critic for The Atlantic wrote on April 19. “Much of the album is a dreary muddle, but with strange and surprising charms, and a couple of flashes of magic. This record is not a work of unimpeachable genius, nor does it feel engineered into existence by a committee of monied interests — it’s way too long and uneven to be, from any point of view, savvy.”

While the New York Times praised the beginning of the album — that kicks off with “Fortnite” and “The Tortured Poets Department,” the publication’s critic argued that things took a turn as the body of work progressed.


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“At times, the album is a return to form. Its first two songs are potent reminders of how viscerally Swift can summon the flushed delirium of a doomed romance,” the review stated. “As the album goes on, Swift’s lyricism starts to feel unrestrained, imprecise and unnecessarily verbose.”

Many critics still had plenty of positive things to say about Swift’s 11th studio album. While NME may have grabbed the attention of readers by calling TTPD a “rare misstep,” the publication’s critic still gave the album 3 out of 5 stars.

And because of Swift’s status as one of the biggest artists in the world, it’s nearly impossible to please everyone.

“It’s not Swift’s fault that we’re so obsessed with her,” the notoriously picky Pitchfork wrote in its review, giving her 6.6 points out of a possible 10, “but this album gives the impression that she can’t quite hear herself over the roar of the crowd.”

Not Everyone Loved The Tortured Poets Department What Critics Said About Taylor Swifts New Album
Taylor Swift Buda Mendes/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Vogue’s review expanded on Swift’s superstardom writing, “The Tortured Poets Department seems like the liberating exhale of an artist at the height of her powers. Like a dog-eared composition book you’d find tucked tightly in the arms of a sullen teen poet, Swift brandishes the wear and tear of her heart like a badge of honor — yet the difference between well-loved and weathered lies in the eye, or the ear, of the beholder.”

Over the weekend, Swift took time to celebrate some of the positive reviews she is receiving for her latest album in prominent outlets. In a series of Instagram Stories, the superstar shared a few articles that praised her body of work.

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After Rolling Stone gave the album “instant classic” status and told fans to “come for the torture, stay for the poetry,” Swift shared the review and added, “And that’s the closest I’ve ever come to my heart exploding.”

When The Independent described the album as “irresistible, country-hued tales of relationships past and present,” Swift wrote, “Everyone we know understands why it’s meant to be,” which is a lyric in her title track.

Perhaps the most important critics are the consumers. According to new data, they can’t get enough. TTPD became the first album in Spotify’s history to get more than 300 million streams in a single day. Swift’s song with rapper Post Malone titled “Fortnight” also set the record as the most-streamed song in a single day.

Not Everyone Loved The Tortured Poets Department What Critics Said About Taylor Swifts New Album
Taylor Swift TAS Rights Management/Getty Images

With such a strong fan base — and more than 283 million followers on Instagram alone — one critic questioned if Swift still needs to go above and beyond to please admirers.

“Right now, it is obvious that Swift no longer feels challenged to be good,” Paste Magazine’s review stated. “The Tortured Poets Department is the mark of an artist now interested in seeing how much their empire can atone for the sins of mediocrity.”

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Acknowledging fans may disagree, the publication stated via X that the review doesn’t have a byline because “when Paste reviewed Lover, the writer was sent threats of violence from readers who disagreed with the work. We care more about the safety of our staff than a name attached to an article.”

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While it’s likely far too soon to tell where TTPD will stack up across Swift’s entire body of work, Paste is already thinking about award season.

“Can Swift win another Album of the Year Grammy simply because she released a record during the eligibility period?” the review asked. “The Tortured Poets Department reeks of ‘because I can,’ not ‘because I should.’”

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