At the 2024 Grammys on Sunday night, Taylor Swift surprised fans by announcing her new album, The Tortured Poets Department, while accepting Best Pop Vocal Album for Midnights, her first of two awards — including the night’s final prize, Album of the Year. The new album title — The Tortured Poets Department — is four words long, giving Swifties and casual listeners alike so much to talk about.
Swift darted off stage and uploaded the moody black and white album cover to Instagram with a sneak peek of a verse of poetry that ends with, “All’s fair in love and poetry … Sincerely, The Chairman of the Tortured Poets Department.” Of course, the speculation and jokes rolled in on X / Twitter.
Immediately, fans started claiming the album as being for the “English and classics girlies,” BookTok, “tote bag carrying, bookstore wandering, literature-loving girls,” and those who identify with the dark academia aesthetic.
Others poked fun at the seemingly Tumblr-inspired title album cover. One X user captioned a Tumblr-era doodle with, “Her mood board when naming the album.” Another said, “That one girl in high school photography classes that would post her homework on Tumblr with 30 Seconds to Mars lyrics.”
Yet the dramatic, black-and-white cover and verbose title were also met with excitement. One fan exclaimed, “The Tortured Poets Department? YES. MILLENNIAL CRINGE IS THE MOMENT. 2008 TUMBLR CORE. IT’S GIVING 274 PHOTOS IN THE FACEBOOK ALBUM. MOVE OVER GEN Z, WE ARE BACK.”
Some even started to theorize about The Tortured Poets Department because if there’s one thing Swifties (and the internet) love to do it’s speculate.
With just four words, a photo, and a verse, the speculation is underway. Fans clocked that the title might be a reference to Swift’s ex-boyfriend actor Joe Alwyn. In an interview with Paul Mescal, the pair revealed that they are in a group chat with Andrew Scott titled, “The Tortured Man Club.”
On April 19 all will be revealed.