Our favorite lyrics from The Tortured Poets Department

The Tortured Poets Department is finally here—and we can't stop listening. The lyrics are everything we've dreamed of and more: powerful, gut-wrenching and, well, written with a fountain and quill pen (iykyk). Here are our top ten lines after our first few listens...

1. "You look like Taylor Swift in this light, we're loving it. You've got edge she never did. The future's bright, dazzling." - "Clara Bow" 

"Clara Bow" revisits many of the themes Taylor explored in "Nothing New" from Red (Taylor's Version). The song reflects on the reality of fame, being a woman in the industry and always fearing that you will be replaced. Throughout the song, the lyrics compare the subject first to Clara Bow (a silent film star of the 1920), then to Stevie Nicks and finally to Taylor herself. The lyric reflects Taylor's anxiety that a new starlet will come along, and society will deem her obsolete. 

2. "I wrote a thousand songs you find uncool. I built a legacy you can't undo." - "ThanK you aIMee"

In "ThanK you aIMee," Taylor (not so subtly) addresses the haters that have stuck with her throughout her career, comparing them to the high school bullies that taunted her in her teenage years. This song feels like the sophisticated older sister of "Mean." No matter how ~lame~ the bullies may think she is, Taylor has certainly built a legacy that no one can undo.  

3.  "You swore that you loved me but where were the clues? I died on the altar waiting for proof." - "So Long, London" 

This lyric is a punch in the gut (pretty much like the rest of the song). Taylor recounts feeling unloved in her relationship despite her partner's affirmations. Sometimes actions mean more than words. There is lots of wedding imagery throughout TTPD, and this lyric uses that to pull on our heartstrings. The switch from Lover's "London Boy" to "So Long, London" has us in our feels. 

4. "Now and then I reread the manuscript, but the story isn't mine anymore." -"The Manuscript"

Taylor not only surprised us with a double album, but in this lyric, Taylor is passing this song to us. She ends her album by finally leaving all of it behind. She wrote about her past in order to move forward and now the stories aren't hers anymore. She can move on by sharing them with us—making them ours. 

5. "You're the loss of my life." -"loml"

So what *does* the song title mean? If you're anything like us, we srsly thought "loml" stood for "love of my life." This one is def a post-heartbreak song, and it is one of the most gut-wrenching songs on the album. She describes a relationship she thought would be forever but wasn't. Turns out the stages of grief theory was *actually* right.


6. "Six weeks of breathing clean air, I still miss the smoke." -"The Black Dog"

Swifties have theorized that this lyric is a parallel to "Daylight." In "Daylight," Taylor sings "Cleaning the air, I breathed in the smoke" which could be interpreted as a reflection on the process of healing and moving on from past or difficult experiences. This song could suggest a sense of nostalgia or longing for familiarity, even when striving for positive change and growth. Taylor loves a good Easter egg, because during the Eras Tour, she also announced it right before singing "Clean." 

7. "You said you were gonna grow up then were gonna come find me" -"Peter"

In "Peter," Taylor sings about someone who promised to grow up and then come find her, similar to the promise Peter Pan makes to Wendy in the original story. This song is a not-so-subtle reference to "Cardigan." When Taylor sings, "You said you were gonna come find me," it's like she's waiting for someone who made big promises, just like Peter Pan promised to find Wendy. 

8. "You know how to ball, I know Aristotle." - "So High School" 

This is the closest we're going to get to a glitter gel pen lyric on TTPD, so you know we had to include it! "So High School" is an upbeat song about the butterflies Taylor feels at the beginning of a relationship. It also includes some nods to Taylor's relationship with Travis Kelce. The reference to Travis' football knowledge compared to Taylor's knowledge of Greek mythology is kinda adorable. 

9.  "I was grinning like I'm winning. I was hitting my marks 'cause I can do it with a broken heart" - "I Can Do It With a Broken Heart"

Taylor proved that she really is unstoppable when she kicked off the Eras Tour flawlessly and did it all with a broken heart. This song pairs heartbreaking lyrics with an uptempo synth-pop beat. If you can relate to heartbreak, you know that it is no easy feat. We can't imagine what it was like to experience that during the biggest tour of Swift's career. Brb, going to watch all of our Eras Tour vids with a new appreciation. 

10. "So they filled my cell with snakes, I regret to say do you believe me now?" -Cassandra 

If you were a Swiftie back in ye olden days (a la 2016), you might remember all too well that it was *rough* year. Taylor had to shake off the haters while her comments were flooded with snake emojis. This lyric references the infamous feud between her and Kim Kardashian and the infamous phone call. It is also a reference to the Greek mythology story about Cassandra, who was a prophetess cursed to never be believed.

Let us know your Tortured Poets Department theories on our IG @girlslifemag!

Keep reading for more Taylor coverage:
🤍 Taylor Swift announces new album The Tortured Poets Department
🤍 Taylor Swift just surprised us with a double album! Our first impressions of The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology
Taylor Swift-inspired Instagram captions for every occasion 

Top and slider image: @taylorswift


by Alex Marek and Fran Au | 4/20/2024