Taylor Swift praised for ‘most personal’ album to date


Taylor Swift arrives for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024. — AFP filepic

Taylor Swift has been praised for being "vulnerable in a way we’ve never heard before,” following the release of her new album The Tortured Poets Department.

The US singer-songwriter released her 11th studio album to critical acclaim on Friday, with fans speculating that a number of songs referenced her break-up with British actor Joe Alwyn and brief rumoured romance with The 1975 star Matty Healy.

Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone magazine suggested the album may be the "most personal” yet from Swift.

"It’s the cathartic confession of a woman who thought she had adulthood – and adult romance – all figured out, only to find herself realising she knows nothing,” he said.

"This is an album nobody saw coming, even though she gave so many signs.”

BBC music correspondent Mark Savage described the singer as "bereft and bewildered” on the new offering.

"Vulnerable in a way we’ve never heard before,” he said.

"The Tortured Poets Department is an uneven album, and one that lacks a slam-dunk radio anthem like Anti-Hero or Shake It Off - but Swift has pop music in a stranglehold for now, so it will sell by the bucketload, even though it leaked a day ahead of release.”

Meanwhile, Alexis Petridis from Britain's Guardian newspaper awarded the album four out of five stars, criticizing it as "a shade too long” while describing Swift as an "exceptionally talented writer."

"There’s a depth and maturity to this album that makes her competitors look a little wan by comparison,” he said.

Dan Cairns from the Sunday Times gave a full five-star review of the album, saying he was "basking in the work of a writer at the very top of her game."

"Tortured? Yes, by the sounds of it. For all the scars, though, the album’s message is this: healing, wisdom and art come at a price,” he added.

The Telegraph music critic, Neil McCormick, described the album’s standout track as being the "icily vengeful” The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived.

"The Tortured Poets Department is effectively Swift’s break-up album,” he said.

"In terms of emotional insight and sheer singer-songwriter genius, it is not in the league of such heartbreak classics as Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks and Joni Mitchell’s Blue, but at least it reaches for such heights.

"Swift knows her way around metaphors and similes, and delights in conjuring delicately cascading tranches of clever puns and dazzling wordplay rooted in real feelings.

"There are some welcome edges here, but I venture that when she is ready to stop feeding the American dream machine, that is when she will be ready to make her masterpiece.” — dpa

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