Thirteen Taylor Swift Songs You Should Listen to Before The Tortured Poets Department

Summary notes created by Deciphr AI


Hosts Cameron and Lisa of the "Swiftly Spoken" podcast curate a 13-track Taylor Swift playlist, anticipating the thematic and sonic elements of her upcoming album, "Torture Poets Department." They reflect on Swift's discography, focusing on her country roots, songwriting prowess, and narrative storytelling. The playlist aims to encapsulate potential references, emotions, and stories Swift may revisit, offering fans a prelude to the new album's vibe. They discuss tracks like "Delicate" for its anxiety and hope, "Peace" for its profound questions, and "London Boy" in relation to the new track "So Long London," highlighting Swift's changing relationship with the city. The hosts also delve into songs that may resonate with the album's themes of love, loss, and self-reflection, such as "Cornelia Street," "Invisible String," and "The Lakes," while considering Swift's recent interviews for additional context.

Summary Notes

Swiftly Spoken Podcast Overview

  • Cameron and Lisa are the hosts of Swiftly Spoken, a Taylor Swift podcast.
  • They analyze Taylor Swift's lyrics, albums, and speculate on future releases.
  • The episode focuses on creating a playlist of 13 essential songs to listen to before the release of "Torture Poets Department."

"In this episode we're going to be compiling a playlist of 13 songs that we think should be essential listening before the Torture Poets Department comes out in under a month's time."

This quote sets the stage for the episode's objective: to provide listeners with a curated playlist of Taylor Swift songs that are relevant to her upcoming album.

Previous Episode Reference

  • The current episode is based on a previous one where they discussed essential songs before the release of "Midnights."
  • The concept was initially inspired by an article from the Consequence of Sound.

"You might potentially remember a previous episode that we did where basically before the release of Midnights we looked at essential songs that we think that people should listen to before they then explore Midnights or just Taylor's general discography."

Cameron recalls a previous episode that serves as a template for the current discussion, highlighting their ongoing analysis of Taylor Swift's music.

Playlist Compilation Process

  • Cameron and Lisa compiled individual lists and selected songs that appeared on both.
  • They did not include much from Taylor Swift's first five albums, focusing on later works.
  • They believe the selected songs hint at the themes and stories of the upcoming album.

"We basically compiled two lists and then chose the ones that we both included which there were a few that we knew were staples on this list and then went through most of Taylor's discography to kind of get our head around what we think would be a good representation of what we think we're going to see."

The hosts describe their methodical approach to creating the playlist, emphasizing their collaborative effort and strategic song selection.

Song Analysis: "Delicate"

  • "Delicate" is seen as the beginning of a narrative that may conclude in "Torture Poets Department."
  • The song captures a mix of hope and anxiety, reflecting themes of uncertainty in relationships.
  • References to the color blue are noted, which is a recurring theme in Taylor Swift's music.

"Delicate is an extremely interesting song to listen to because... it's going to give a bit of whiplash really isn't it... it's almost like this is the start of the circle and potentially some of the stuff that's explored on Torture Poets will kind of round off the circle and finish it off."

Cameron explains that "Delicate" sets the stage for a narrative arc that may be completed in the upcoming album, highlighting the emotional complexity of the song.

Song Analysis: "Peace"

  • "Peace" raises questions about the sufficiency of love amidst external chaos.
  • The song is linked to "Anti-Hero" and themes of fame's impact on personal relationships.
  • "Peace" is seen as a precursor to the themes expected in "Torture Poets Department."

"Peace is next on our list and right off the bat when your Cascade ocean wave Blues come... it's a big question she's asking in peace... and I think this album is going to give us an answer to it."

Lisa discusses the significance of "Peace" and its thematic connection to the anxieties of fame, suggesting that the upcoming album may address the questions posed in the song.

Song Analysis: "You're Losing Me"

  • "You're Losing Me" is described as a prequel to "Torture Poets Department."
  • The song's lyrics convey heartbreak and the fear of loss.
  • Imagery such as the Phoenix, weddings, and battles are highlighted, indicating potential recurring metaphors in the upcoming album.

"This is like the essential pre-list to Torture Poets like this is the one you have to kind of listen to but it is that kind of heartbrokenness of like you're losing me like what are you doing like you know hold on."

Cameron emphasizes the emotional depth of "You're Losing Me," portraying it as a foundational piece for understanding the narrative of "Torture Poets Department."

Symbolism of the Phoenix

  • Cameron and Lisa discuss how the Phoenix symbolizes rebirth and resilience, akin to the theme of overcoming adversity.
  • The Phoenix metaphor is linked to the idea of continuing despite being "absolutely destroyed."

"Like she described herself as like a phoenix is constantly having to rise from the ashes which then links back to like look what it made me do almost you know it's like how many more times how many more awful things have to happen to me and I have to keep being like okay. cool. just keep going keep going..."

The quote emphasizes the concept of enduring and persisting through hardships, much like a phoenix rising from its ashes, and connects this idea to the resilience portrayed in the song lyrics.

The Great War Metaphor

  • The song "The Great War" is mentioned as an exploration of conflict within a relationship, using an extended metaphor of war.
  • The metaphor includes imagery of being soldiers and taking the battle underground, possibly hinting at the internal struggles and the fight for resolution.

"It uses this very very very long metaphor of describing the relationship basically or a fight in the relationship as like this proper like battle like a war."

This quote highlights the use of an extended metaphor comparing relational conflict to a war, suggesting a deep and intense struggle.

References to Past Songs

  • Fresh out the Salam is discussed in relation to themes from the album "Reputation."
  • Themes of being criminals or outlaws in a relationship are noted as recurring motifs in Taylor Swift's music.

"For example fresh out the Salam is a very interesting one to me because it links back to reputation songs and a lot of theming in reputation is basically around he can be my Jailer... and now again that seems to be cropping up so another interesting link."

The quote points out the thematic connections between new and past works, specifically the recurring imagery of criminality and rebellion in relationships.

Reflection on Time and Lost Years

  • The discussion turns to Taylor Swift's reflection on her time out of the spotlight and the years she feels she lost.
  • This reflection is linked to the sentiment expressed in her Time Person of the Year interview.

"But now she looks back on it. and she's never going to get those years back that she hid away from the world and maybe that's kind of what that's referencing."

The quote captures the sense of regret or loss over the years spent away from public life, as reflected on by Taylor Swift.

Renegade as Autobiographical

  • Renegade is highlighted as a song that may reveal more under analysis, especially in the context of other songs.
  • The song's autobiographical nature is discussed, considering its collaborative origin with Aaron and Bon Iver.

"It's a very Taylor Centric song it's very interesting things that she's revealing and again when analyzed under a different light obviously back when it was released I don't know you don't think too much of some things in it."

The quote suggests that the song "Renegade" holds personal revelations from Taylor Swift, which become more evident when re-examined with additional context.

Emotional Catharsis in Music

  • The possibility of songs on the new album providing a cathartic experience for listeners is discussed.
  • "Tolerate It" is described as a devastating song, and there is hope that the new album will contain similar emotionally powerful tracks.

"If there are any songs like tolerate on the album I do hope it is one of those kind of moments of catharsis where you can just be like. no I have broken free."

This quote expresses the desire for songs that enable listeners to experience emotional release and the empowerment that comes from overcoming difficult situations.

Happiness and Healing

  • "Happiness" is recognized as a song that takes a kinder view of the end of a relationship, tracking the stages of grief and healing.
  • The conversation speculates on whether the new album will focus more on immediate emotions or retrospective views.

"Happiness I think this one is a much Kinder view of the ending of a relationship... it's going to be okay I'm going to be okay."

The quote reflects on the song "Happiness" as a narrative of healing and acceptance following the end of a relationship, suggesting a hopeful outlook.

In-the-Moment Songwriting

  • The timing of the album's creation during the Eras tour is noted, implying that the songs may capture Taylor Swift's in-the-moment feelings.
  • The discussion points to a potential immediacy in the emotional content of the new songs.

"We are very much going to see her processing everything that she wants to lay out for us and analyze very much in real time."

The quote indicates that the album will likely present a real-time exploration of Taylor Swift's emotions and experiences as they were unfolding during the tour.

Betting on Oneself

  • Taylor Swift's recent quotes about betting on herself suggest a theme of self-reliance and confidence that may be explored in the new album.
  • The conversation suggests an expectation of themes related to self-empowerment and independence.

"She said she's very much betting on herself now which I think is going to be explored in this album."

This quote posits that themes of self-empowerment and taking control of one's own destiny will be prominent in the new album.

Cornelia Street and Invisible String

  • Songs like "Cornelia Street" and "Invisible String" are mentioned as potentially providing lyrical parallels and emotional depth.
  • The songs are seen as capturing the anxiety and hope within a relationship.

"Even with Cornelia Street there is as we mentioned with Delicate there's still that anxiety of like. oh my God I hope you know I never lose you."

The quote reflects on the emotional complexity within the songs "Cornelia Street" and "Invisible String," particularly the mix of anxiety and hope regarding the future of a relationship.

Relationship Dynamics and Emotional Healing

  • Discusses the emotional challenges of revisiting places associated with past relationships.
  • Suggests the possibility of redefining personal associations with places and memories as part of healing.
  • Considers the transformative power of rewriting memories to move forward in life.
  • Emphasizes the potential for positive outcomes and personal growth from such experiences.

"She mentioned that you know is that something that she might say like you know I can't I or she might even be like actually you know what I can now because I've re you know written like my relationship with that place."

This quote highlights the process of emotional healing by changing one's relationship with places tied to past experiences, signifying growth and the ability to move on.

Artistic References and Predictions for New Work

  • Taylor Swift's use of important places in her album 'so long London' is discussed.
  • The conversation predicts how Swift might explore the metaphor of an 'invisible string' being cut to symbolize the end of a relationship.
  • The idea of interlinking songs and creating a meta-discourse within her lyrics is praised.
  • The playlist being compiled is seen as a prediction for potential references in upcoming work, displaying Swift's skill in lyrical continuity.

"She's very good at re-referencing stuff that she's mentioned before you know even with midnights the amount of stuff that's re-referenced there like red or out of the words."

This quote emphasizes Taylor Swift's talent for weaving together themes and references from her past work into new songs, creating a cohesive artistic narrative.

Exploration of Past Relationships

  • The discussion moves to the song 'Holy Ground' and its potential thematic focus on looking back at a relationship with a sense of happiness and growth.
  • A comparison is made with the song 'The Story of Us', which uses a book metaphor for a relationship.
  • The conversation speculates on the sonic direction of Swift's new work, mentioning a mix of 'red production' and 'folkloric vibe'.

"I think thematically with yeah like looking back on a relationship that would definitely be something that's explored."

This quote suggests that an introspective look at past relationships may be a recurring theme in Taylor Swift's work, offering a narrative of reflection and reassessment.

Artistic Self-Analysis and Poetic Exploration

  • The speakers discuss the potential for Swift to analyze her own songwriting in the song 'Torture Poets Department'.
  • The idea of songwriting as a defense mechanism and a way to project feelings is considered.
  • The conversation anticipates that Swift might delve into her role as a poet and how her lyrics can be interpreted.

"It would be really, really fun if she kind of does do like an analysis of herself as a poet."

This quote captures the excitement around the possibility of Taylor Swift using her music to self-reflect on her artistic process and the nature of her songwriting.

Escapism and Simplistic Living

  • The song 'The Lakes' is discussed in the context of escapism and the desire to run away from modern life and technology.
  • The conversation touches on the themes of living a simple, natural life and dying surrounded by nature.
  • Speculation is made about how Swift's previous work during the pandemic might influence the thematic content of upcoming songs.

"She did kind of express in this song that you know it is an escapism of everything of Technology of people you know thrusting their opinions upon you and just like running away."

This quote explores the theme of escapism in Taylor Swift's song 'The Lakes', highlighting a longing for a return to simplicity and a break from societal pressures.

Sonic Universe and Intertextual Connections

  • The speakers reflect on the difficulty of predicting Swift's sonic direction due to her diverse aesthetic.
  • They emphasize the importance of respecting Swift as an artist rather than focusing on gossip.
  • The conversation concludes with a focus on exploring the connections between Swift's new music and her previous work, creating a 'Sonic Universe'.

"We're more worried about like what it sounds like and just how interesting is that Taylor references her previous work and you know and how we discuss like the family tree and how previous work links and the connections you can make."

This quote underlines the speakers' interest in the artistic quality and thematic connections within Taylor Swift's music, rather than the personal details of her life.

Personal Connection to Music

  • Cameron discusses the importance of listeners personally connecting with songs.
  • Different songs cater to different emotional responses: cathartic singing, reflection, or simply enjoying a beat.
  • The versatility of music allows for a mix of experiences, from deeply emotional to light-hearted enjoyment.

"That is when you take these songs on as your own and relate them to your own experiences and your own."

This quote highlights the personal aspect of music, emphasizing how individuals relate songs to their own life experiences.

Artistic Unpredictability

  • Taylor Swift's music is known for its bait-and-switch tactics, surprising listeners with unexpected emotional depth.
  • A song titled "Happiness" is given as an example of Taylor's ability to juxtapose a seemingly positive title with a somber theme.

"But I think she'll she's. I mean she's her bait and switches are extremely you know they're. Whip lashy."

The quote describes Taylor Swift's skillful manipulation of expectations in her music, creating a whiplash effect with contrasting themes.

Thematic Depth in Music

  • The album "1989" is discussed for its thematic complexity, touching on anxieties, worries, darkness, hope, and freedom.
  • Song titles and production can be deceiving, making it difficult to predict the emotional journey of an album.

"And then those names and that song production and the way the lyrics are written is just also. Yeah. It's just such a like Clash of different things coming together that you can never tell with Taylor to be honest with you."

The quote reflects on the multifaceted nature of Taylor Swift's music, where production, lyrics, and song titles converge to create a complex emotional narrative.

Song-Specific Analysis: "London Boy"

  • "London Boy" is considered essential listening due to its portrayal of Taylor's experiences in London.
  • The song is expected to play a thematic part in the new album, perhaps addressing the end of her relationship with the city.

"And I think that obviously I think that this one is an essential one to listen to purely because we get to see what Taylor's previous relationship was with London and potentially the her relationship now that she's going to explore and having to say goodbye to this relationship with London that she explores in London boy which is very positive and fun."

This quote explains the relevance of "London Boy" in understanding Taylor Swift's past and present relationship with the city, anticipating a thematic connection to her new work.

Emotional Complexity in Track Five

  • Track five is anticipated to be emotionally heavy, continuing the tradition of track fives being significant on Taylor Swift's albums.
  • The discussion suggests a blend of emotions, from nostalgic memories to the pain of letting go.

"Yes this this one is going to be the Hefty one."

The quote predicts that track five will be emotionally substantial, in line with the expectation of depth typically associated with this position on Taylor Swift's albums.

Analyzing "Hits Different" and Other Songs

  • Songs like "Hits Different" are expected to offer new perspectives on familiar sentiments.
  • The discussion includes how re-recordings and vault tracks can shift listeners' understanding of previous albums.

"I really do think that songs like hits different Renegade and you're losing me and even dear reader when this after this album we're going to go back you know when certain songs with the re-recordings especially you listen to the vaults and then you go back into the album and you're like. Oh my God the piece of the puzzle just fits now."

This quote suggests that revisiting older songs, especially with new context from re-recordings, can enhance the listener's understanding and appreciation of Taylor Swift's music.

The Role of Memories in Taylor Swift's Music

  • Taylor's music often explores the theme of being haunted by memories.
  • The persistence of memories is a relatable aspect for fans, making experiences feel validated.

"Something that happens with a lot of Taylor's music is she is just so haunted by memories and the Persistence of them."

The quote touches on the recurring theme of memories in Taylor Swift's music and how it resonates with the experiences of her listeners.

The Importance of Validation in Music

  • Taylor Swift's music is praised for making listeners' feelings feel valid and significant.
  • A Time magazine article is referenced as a source of understanding why her music is so relatable.

"But the writer of the time 100 piece not time 100 sorry time person the year piece he did say that you know that he realized why people love her so much is because she makes your feelings feel valid."

This quote underlines the impact of Taylor Swift's music in validating the emotions of her audience, as noted by a Time magazine writer.

Pre-Album Release Analysis

  • Before an album release, there is speculation about the album's content, including explicit tracks and potential song lengths.
  • The discussion acknowledges that not all pre-release information is reliable.

"By the time that this episode gets out perhaps we will have got more information we do try and update you guys through the community tab on YouTube so make sure to subscribe to us over there if you want to keep keep up to date."

The quote addresses the evolving nature of information leading up to an album release and the efforts to keep listeners informed through updates.

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