Taylor Swift opens up on origins of The Tortured Poets Department songs: ‘We love to watch artists in pain’ - Hindustan Times

Taylor Swift opens up on origins of The Tortured Poets Department songs: ‘We love to watch artists in pain’

Apr 23, 2024 11:33 AM IST

Taylor Swift offers the meaning behind Fortnight, Clara Bow, Florida!!!, and other songs from her new album, The Tortured Poets Department.

Taylor Swift has opened up on the idea behind her new album, The Tortured Poets Department, and some of its tracks, including Fortnight, Clara Bow, and Florida!!! In her commentary on Amazon Music, Taylor said that the origin of her album was in the thought that society loves to watch artists “in pain.” (Also Read – Taylor Swift gets love for The Tortured Poets Department from Sophie Turner, BTS' V and more celebs: ‘This is so good’)

Taylor Swift spills the beans on her new album The Tortured Poets Department
Taylor Swift spills the beans on her new album The Tortured Poets Department

Taylor on TTPD

“What do we do to our writers, and our artists, and our creatives? We put them through hell. We watch what they create, then we judge it. We love to watch artists in pain, often to the point where I think sometimes as a society we provoke that pain and we just watch what happens,” said Taylor.

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Taylor said the track Who's Afraid of Little Old Me is the most reflective of the above idea. She wrote the tune “alone, sitting at the piano in one of those moments when I felt bitter about just all the things we do to our artists as a society and as a culture.”

My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

Taylor said the song talks about how some of us are like in relationships: boy toys. “We are so valued by a person in the beginning, and then all of the sudden, they break us or they devalue us in their mind.” Swifties have been speculating that the album is in reference to Taylor's troubled relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn, which ended a year ago.


Taylor says Fortnight, her collaboration with Post Malone, has the “fatalistic” essence of the album. “There are lots of very dramatic lines about life or death. ‘I love you, it’s ruining my life.’ These are very hyperbolic, dramatic things to say. It’s that kind of album,” she said.


Taylor said that while watching the American show Dateline, she realised how people yearn to make a new identity for themselves post a breakup. "There’s a part of you that thinks, ‘I want a new name. I want a new life. I don’t want anyone to know where I’ve been or know me at all.’ And so that was the jumping off point. Where would you go to reinvent yourself and blend in? Florida!”

Clara Bow

Named after the renowned 1920s Hollywood actor, the song talks about the regressive idea of measuring a woman artist's achievement by telling her which other woman artist she's “replaced.” “I used to sit in record labels trying to get a record deal when I was a little kid. And they’d say, ‘you know, you remind us of’ and then they’d name an artist, and then they’d kind of say something disparaging about her, ‘but you’re this, you’re so much better in this way or that way,'” Taylor explained.

Read more about Taylor Swift in our special story here.

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