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Quintessential Taylor Swift tracks to rediscover before 'The Tortured Poets Department'

Taylor Swift's hotly-anticipated album, "The Tortured Poets Department," is set to drop this week — here's a curated playlist to hold you off until then. – Photo by @taylorswift

It's been a long wait for the Swifties, but Taylor Swift's newest album, "The Tortured Poets Department," is finally here. 

With a release date of this upcoming Friday, there's still plenty of time to get back into the pop star's music. Whether you're already a major fan, a newcomer looking to see what all the hype is about or a lost football fan, here are some essential songs to check out before the big day.

"the lakes"

Despite Swift revealing the tracklist, cover and name of her album last month, she's yet to release a single, so its impossible to guess exactly what this new album is going to sound like.

Luckily, the title, "The Tortured Poets Department," suggests rich lyrics and references to literature. Swift has explored poetry before in her discography — one of the most obvious examples is "the lakes," a bonus track on "folklore."

The track features the lyric, "take me to the Lakes, where all the poets went to die." This line feels a bit morbid, but it's really just romanticizing the idea of being connected to nature and literature in times of sadness — themes likely to come up again on this newest album.

"Cornelia Street"

The top theory among Swifties is that the title of the album refers to a group chat that her ex-boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, was in, so it's best that fans get a quick refresher before diving into her new project.

"Cornelia Street" was one of many songs written during her relationship with Alwyn and is featured on Swift's album "Lover." This song gives insight into how Swift anticipated she would feel if her relationship with Alwyn were to end, singing, "That's the kinda heartbreak time could never mend."

Once "The Tortured Poets Department" drops, we'll get to see if this is how Swift's feelings have actually played out, or if the album is directed at another ex.

"You're Losing Me"

Like "Cornelia Street," "You're Losing Me (From The Vault)" is a song about Swift's feelings about a breakup — this time, referring to one that's actively happening.

This is a bonus track from the "vault" of Swift's 10th album "Midnights," featuring iconic lyrics that imply Swift might harbor more anger than she expected to. One of the standout lyrics includes, "And I wouldn't marry me either / A pathological people pleaser / Who only wanted you to see her." 

With its synth-pop sound, a relatively new facet of Swift's repertoire, the song gives us a hint of the genre we might get on the artist's 11th studio album.

"The Great War"

"The Great War" is another song from "Midnights," but this one has a different storyline than "You're Losing Me." The track implies Swift's relationship survived its rough patch, but knowing the eventual outcome, it's left listeners with lingering questions. Did her breakup with Alwyn come as a surprise? Is this a song meant to be a fantastical account of their real relationship?

Fans may finally get their answer on "The Tortured Poets Department."


"ivy" is a track off of Swift's ninth album "evermore." While the lyrics themselves aren't necessarily related to poetry, fans theorize that this song is about the poet Emily Dickinson. 

In fact, an episode of the AppleTV+ original series "Dickinson" even used the ballad in the background of an episode. Like "the lakes," "ivy" is a song in the folk-pop style that seems perfectly suited for this new album.

"The Story Of Us"

To be completely honest, Swift's newest album probably won't sound much like "The Story Of Us," considering this song comes from her third album "Speak Now," released all the way back in 2010. 

Before Swift inevitably takes us on another heartbreaking journey, exploring somber themes and melodies, this upbeat dance song serves as a nice change of pace.

This playlist is certainly not an exhaustive overview of Swift's discography, but it should help you prepare for the drop of her newest album. If you have the time, consider relistening to her biggest hits, before a new crop of songs takes their place in your rotation.

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