we NEED to talk about joe alwyn AGAIN before tortured poets

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Summary Notes


In a detailed analysis, Zach, a pop culture theologist and host of the "Evolution of a Snake" podcast, dissects Taylor Swift's music, particularly her portrayal of the five stages of grief in her Apple Music playlists and the underlying themes of her recent work. He suggests Swift's relationship with Joe Alwyn, whom he dubs the "heirloom turkey," has significantly influenced her albums from "Reputation" to "Midnights." Zach argues that the couple's dynamic, trapped in a cycle of victim, rescuer, and persecutor roles, ultimately led to a misalignment of desires and priorities. He highlights Swift's struggle to balance her public persona with Alwyn's preference for privacy, and how this tension, coupled with her own introspection during the pandemic, resulted in songs that reflect on past relationships, personal growth, and the eventual dissolution of their romance.

Summary Notes

Taylor Swift's Apple Music Playlists and the Five Stages of Grief

  • Taylor Swift has created Apple Music playlists that correspond to the five stages of grief.
  • The playlists are thematically organized and include songs from her discography.
  • The stages of grief represented are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
  • Each playlist is named after a lyric from the "Tortured Poet Department."

"We start with 'I love love you. it's ruining my life' which is about denial featuring songs like lavender haze, Sweet Nothing, glitch, Beed and snow on the beach and Betty randomly."

This quote explains the theme of the first playlist, which focuses on denial, and lists some of the songs that are included, highlighting the emotional turmoil associated with this stage.

Taylor Swift's Recent Silence and Return with Playlists

  • Taylor Swift had been quiet after her tour ended in Singapore.
  • She returned with curated playlists two weeks before the release of the "Tortured Poet Department."

"Taylor has been suspiciously quiet ever since she wrapped the ears tour in Singapore and she has come back to give us a little little juicy morsel two weeks a fortnight if you will before torture poet Department finally lands in our laps."

This quote indicates Taylor Swift's period of silence and her recent activity of releasing playlists as a teaser before her new project.

Analysis of Taylor Swift's Lyrical Content

  • Zach has filmed a detailed video analyzing Taylor Swift's lyrics, particularly those about her relationship with Joe Alwyn.
  • The analysis does not require any revisions based on the new playlists, suggesting a consistency in themes.

"I literally don't have to make any revisions the things that I've said fall very neatly into how she's categorized a lot of the midnight songs especially in this video."

The quote confirms that the previous analysis Zach conducted aligns with the way Taylor Swift has categorized her songs in the new playlists, indicating a clear thematic connection.

Taylor Swift's Lore and Complexity

  • Taylor Swift's music and the surrounding "lore" can be overwhelming due to the depth and complexity of her songwriting.
  • The "Swifty community" is deeply engaged with the layers of storytelling and character development in her music.

"Accessing Taylor Swift's music can feel so overwhelming perhaps even unapproachable at this point in her career where everywhere you turn there is a new nugget of information to unearth what we like to call Lore around these parts in the Swifty community."

This quote highlights the intricate world Taylor Swift has created within her music, which includes a rich narrative that fans are eager to explore and discuss.

The Evolution of Taylor Swift's Personal Storytelling

  • Taylor Swift's albums have transitioned from clear storytelling to more complex narratives with Joe Alwyn's involvement.
  • Earlier albums had a central story loosely arranged around a concept, but recent albums reflect a richer, more nuanced portrayal of her experiences.

"I would say that all the way up until lover these stories were easy to parse fairly and the characters within them were kind of signposted clearly enough to us by Taylor herself."

The quote reflects on the evolution of Taylor Swift's songwriting, noting that her earlier work was more straightforward in its storytelling compared to the more complex narratives of her recent albums.

Taylor Swift's Relationship with Joe Alwyn as a Muse

  • Taylor Swift's relationship with Joe Alwyn has been a consistent theme in her music since his introduction as a character.
  • Unlike previous relationships portrayed in her music, the relationship with Alwyn is often shown in a present, active tense, with less clarity on conflict and resolution.

"The unique and peculiar thing about the heirloom turkey is that he has been by a long shot her most consistent and transparent Obsession as a writer."

The quote discusses Joe Alwyn's significant influence on Taylor Swift's songwriting, describing him as a consistent muse and the focus of many of her songs.

Taylor Swift's Artistic Shift and Autofiction

  • Taylor Swift's songwriting has shifted towards a blend of fiction and autobiography, particularly in the albums "Folklore" and "Evermore."
  • This blend allows for a richer exploration of her personal experiences while incorporating fictional elements.

"I think it's useful to apply the literary genre of autofiction here when we're talking about folklore and Evermore."

The quote introduces the concept of autofiction as a framework for understanding the narrative style of Taylor Swift's recent albums, which mix real-life details with fictional storytelling.

Taylor Swift's Upcoming Album "Tortured Poet Department"

  • The upcoming album is expected to break new ground in Taylor Swift's discography.
  • It is anticipated to offer a more honest portrayal of her breakup with Joe Alwyn, marking a return to the candid breakup album format.

"We are entering now into her first realtime true chronicling of a breakup the legendary tailor of breakup album since red."

This quote suggests that "Tortured Poet Department" will be a milestone in Taylor Swift's career, offering a direct and honest account of her breakup, similar to the raw emotional storytelling of her earlier work.

Taylor Swift's Relationship Dynamics and the Drama Triangle

  • Taylor Swift's relationships, including with Joe Alwyn, are analyzed through the lens of the drama triangle, a psychological model describing dysfunctional relationship dynamics.
  • The model includes roles of victim, rescuer, and persecutor, which can shift within a relationship.

"The drama triangle looks a little bit something like this the victim goes poor me. The Rescuer says let me help you and then the persecutor says it's all your fault."

The quote explains the drama triangle concept, which Zach suggests is a useful tool for analyzing the dynamics in Taylor Swift's relationship with Joe Alwyn, as portrayed in her music.

Zach's Analysis of Taylor Swift's Discography

  • Zach offers a critical analysis of Taylor Swift's music, particularly the albums influenced by her relationship with Joe Alwyn.
  • The analysis includes the psychological aspects of their relationship and how it has been depicted in her songs.

"I'm putting my jover boots on and we're going into the jover mine and let's start with reputation first of all watch my video on it."

This quote indicates Zach's deep dive into the analysis of Taylor Swift's "Reputation" album and the relationship with Joe Alwyn, encouraging viewers to watch his detailed video for further insights.

Taylor Swift's Regression into a Relationship with Joe

  • Taylor Swift's relationship with Joe is seen as a regression to a younger self that was dependent on a man.
  • Her lyrics in "Dress" reflect a dependency where Joe sees the best in Taylor despite her flaws.
  • The relationship with Joe provided comfort during a time when Taylor faced public hate and private betrayal.

"Flash back when you met me, your buzz cut and my hair bleached. Even in my worst times, you could see the best of me."

The quote highlights how Joe could see the best in Taylor even during her difficult times, indicating a deep emotional support and understanding within their relationship.

"My one and only, my lifeline."

Taylor refers to Joe as her "lifeline," suggesting a deep emotional reliance on him for support and stability.

The Victim-Rescuer-Persecutor Complex in Taylor Swift's Songs

  • Taylor Swift's songs explore the psychological framework of victim, rescuer, and persecutor.
  • The victim feels powerless and seeks rescuers to solve their problems.
  • The rescuer neglects their own needs to help others, often enabling the victim's dependency.
  • The persecutor is spiteful and overreactive, disrespecting others' views.

"My castle crumbled overnight. I brought a knife to a gunfight."

Taylor sees herself as a victim, ill-prepared for the conflicts she faced, which led to her downfall.

"They're burning all the witches even if you aren't one."

This line suggests a persecution complex where Taylor feels unfairly targeted and judged by others.

Taylor Swift's Relationship Dynamics with Joe

  • Taylor Swift's relationship with Joe is characterized by secrecy, drama, and a need for rescue.
  • The relationship began under intense scrutiny and pressure, lacking the normalcy of a typical new relationship.
  • Taylor's personal insecurities and the public persona add complexity to the relationship.
  • Joe's desire for privacy conflicts with Taylor's career and public life.

"I loved you in spite of deep fears that the world would divide us."

Taylor's love for Joe persists despite fears of external forces breaking them apart.

"I'm a mess, but I'm a mess that you wanted."

Taylor acknowledges her flaws and the fact that Joe chose her despite them, showing a mutual acceptance within their relationship.

The Fragility of Taylor Swift's Relationship with Joe

  • The relationship's fragility is a recurring theme, with references to it being "breakable" and "teetering on the edge."
  • The songs on the album "Lover" reveal underlying anxieties and the drama that sustains the relationship.
  • Secrecy and the need to hide the relationship contribute to its fragile nature.

"I'm so high every time you're loving me."

This quote likens Taylor's love for Joe to an addiction, emphasizing the intense emotional stakes involved in their relationship.

"My babies fly like a jet stream high above the whole scene."

Taylor describes the relationship as transcending the chaos of her public life, suggesting a desire for escape and elevation above her troubles.

The Impact of Secrecy and Drama on the Relationship

  • Keeping the relationship secret feels like a punishment and adds pressure.
  • Joe's non-communicative nature causes anxiety for Taylor, prompting her to test the relationship's boundaries.
  • The dramatic dynamics of their relationship are both a source of attraction and anxiety.

"You can't talk to me when I'm like this, daring you to leave me just so I can try and scare you."

Taylor expresses her frustration with Joe's non-communicative nature and her own reactions to it, highlighting the tension in their communication.

"My heart's been borrowed and yours has been blue."

The quote suggests that Taylor is open to love despite past heartbreaks, while Joe's moodiness and reluctance to communicate are challenges they face.

Taylor Swift's Self-Reflection and Accountability

  • Taylor Swift reflects on her role in conflicts within the relationship.
  • She often takes on the blame for issues, portraying herself as the persecutor in the drama triangle.
  • The song "Afterglow" is an example of Taylor taking responsibility and attempting to rescue the relationship.

"I'm the one who burned us down, but don't go, meet me in the Afterglow."

Taylor admits to her role in causing conflict and pleads for reconciliation, showing her willingness to repair the relationship.

"Why'd I have to break what I love so much?"

This quote reflects Taylor's self-reflection and remorse for her actions that have damaged the relationship, indicating her desire to understand and correct her behavior.

Afterglow and Relationship Dynamics

  • Taylor Swift discusses the concept of "Afterglow" as a sense of satisfaction after resolving a conflict with a loved one.
  • She mirrors the non-communicative behavior of her partner in the song, highlighting a cycle of conflict and reconciliation.
  • Taylor Swift expresses a need for reassurance and salvation from her partner, indicating a dependency in the relationship.

"The Afterglow itself is like that demented reward that you get yet after you stop fighting with someone you love and you have the satisfaction of having made it through and been strong enough without falling apart."

The quote emphasizes the relief and sense of accomplishment that comes after overcoming a dispute in a relationship, which is both rewarding and somewhat twisted due to the emotional toll it takes.

"I lived like an island I punished you with silence but even when she's saying it's all me in my head she kind of immediately reverts back to the victim herself."

Taylor Swift acknowledges her own actions in the relationship conflict, such as isolating herself and not communicating, but also feels victimized, indicating a complex dynamic where both partners contribute to the cycle of conflict.

Death by a Thousand Cuts and Relationship Analysis

  • "Death by a Thousand Cuts" is believed to reflect the slow deterioration of a relationship.
  • Taylor Swift makes references to other songs that fans associate with her relationship with Joe, suggesting a more tumultuous history than previously believed.
  • The song describes the painful process of a relationship falling apart and includes callbacks to previous works, hinting at the personal significance behind the lyrics.

"This song is about the slow demise of relationship how things Decay and fall apart but also how that process of a slow death can be excruciatingly painful."

The quote describes the song's theme of a relationship gradually ending, which is a painful and drawn-out experience, and connects it to the broader context of Taylor Swift's album and personal life.

Mental Health and The Archer

  • "The Archer" addresses Taylor Swift's mental health and her struggle to overcome personal challenges.
  • The song illustrates a continued dependency on her partner for support and stability.
  • Taylor Swift conveys a sense of helplessness and the need for assistance to maintain her emotional well-being.

"I think that also definitely illustrates that she's still in a place of I need help I can't get out of this funk by myself help me hold on to you."

This quote explains that "The Archer" reflects Taylor Swift's feelings of needing external help to cope with her mental state, suggesting that her partner plays a crucial role in her emotional support system.

Pandemic's Impact on Taylor Swift's Relationship

  • The pandemic forced Taylor Swift and her partner into closer proximity, which both strengthened their bond and highlighted their differences.
  • Taylor Swift had intended to become less publicly active, as mentioned in her documentary, but the pandemic altered her plans.
  • The isolation during the pandemic contributed to the themes of urgency and intimacy in her songs.

"I truly think this relationship would have fallen apart earlier had the pandemic not happened."

The pandemic is suggested to have prolonged Taylor Swift's relationship with her partner by forcing them into a situation where they had to confront and adapt to their differences, leading to a more intense bond.

Folklore and Evermore: Composite Sketches and Fictional Elements

  • Taylor Swift's albums "folklore" and "Evermore" are described as composite sketches, blending various experiences and memories into single songs.
  • Songs from these albums explore themes of past relationships, missed opportunities, and people who are no longer present in her life.
  • The lyrics often reflect on the nature of her relationship with Joe and their emotional dynamics.

"These songs are composite sketches and I'll explain what I mean they are informed by many different memories and experiences and just one song Can Encompass multiple different experiences that are not necessarily related by their subject or event but one overarching thought."

The albums "folklore" and "Evermore" are characterized by songs that weave together different life experiences and emotions into a unified narrative, showcasing the complexity of Taylor Swift's songwriting.

Collaborations and Relationship Reflections

  • Taylor Swift's collaborative songs, such as those with Bonnie Vair, often depict the end of a relationship and the communication breakdowns that lead to it.
  • The lyrics reveal a dynamic where one partner feels they have communicated effectively while the other feels blindsided.
  • The co-written songs serve as a metaphor for the end of Taylor Swift's own relationship, with the exchange of vocals symbolizing the exchange of perspectives.

"The dynamic that's being described here is basically Dynamic described on acc the street and false god there is a fatal breakdown of communication."

The quote discusses the recurring theme of communication issues within Taylor Swift's relationship as depicted in her music, suggesting that these problems were a significant factor in the relationship's challenges.

The Lakes and Pandemic Isolation

  • "The Lakes" is characterized as a song that encapsulates the desire to escape from modern life and find solace in isolation during the pandemic.
  • The song reflects on the impact of the pandemic on Taylor Swift's life and career, as well as her relationship with Joe.
  • Taylor Swift's lyrics express a connection to her partner even when contemplating a life away from the public eye.

"When she pictures leaving the World Behind and being truly alone she's not actually alone she wants to bathe in her calamitous love and insurmountable grief but not without her Muse."

The quote highlights the contradiction in Taylor Swift's desire for solitude and escape, as she imagines a life of retreat while still maintaining a deep emotional connection with her partner, Joe.

Relationship Inequalities and Self-Worth

  • Taylor Swift reflects on feelings of inferiority and a perceived imbalance in her relationship with Joe.
  • She questions whether she is deserving of Joe's love and feels overshadowed by his integrity.
  • The lyrics suggest that Taylor Swift would consider having a child as an expression of her love for Joe, indicating the depth of her emotional investment.

"Your integrity makes me seem small you talk with my friends and it's like I'm wasting your honor."

Taylor Swift feels diminished by her partner's moral character, suggesting a dynamic where she perceives herself as less worthy or honorable, which impacts her self-esteem within the relationship.

Evermore and Realizing Relationship's End

  • "Evermore" continues the themes of "folklore," but with a heavier emphasis on fictional storytelling.
  • The album explores the realization that a relationship may no longer be beneficial and the need to end it gracefully.
  • Taylor Swift contemplates the business and personal implications of her relationships, indicating a strategic approach to her public and private life.

"Evermore Taylor realized that this partnership was coming to an end. but she had to learn how to do it gracefully."

The quote suggests that during the creation of "Evermore," Taylor Swift came to the conclusion that her relationship with Joe was nearing its conclusion, and she was contemplating the best way to end it without causing unnecessary public attention or detracting from her professional achievements.

Relationship Dynamics and Breakup Timing

  • Taylor Swift stayed in a relationship with Joe longer than she wanted to find the optimal time to break up.
  • She ignored warning signs because announcing a breakup would overshadow her career moves.
  • Swift is known for recognizing when a relationship is over, as reflected in her music.

"I think she stayed in it longer than she wanted to in order to find the optimal time to officially part ways."

This quote suggests that Swift consciously delayed ending her relationship with Joe to avoid negative impacts on her professional life.

Personal Growth and Artistic Expression

  • Taylor Swift uses her music to work through personal growth and relationship patterns.
  • Her lyrics often reflect a journey of self-discovery and the importance of leaving unfulfilling relationships.

"Sometimes walking out is the one thing that will find you the right thing."

The quote emphasizes the theme of departure as a necessary step toward personal fulfillment, both in relationships and career choices.

Collaboration and Role Reversal

  • Swift's song "Renegade," a collaboration with Big Red Machine, indicates a role reversal in her relationship with Joe.
  • The song explores themes of support, personal responsibility, and the challenges of being with a non-conformist partner.

"Taylor is squarely in rescuer mode on this track."

This quote highlights Swift's shift to a supportive role in the relationship, as portrayed in the song "Renegade."

Internal Conflict and Honesty

  • The song "Renegade" also deals with themes of honesty and self-revelation within a relationship.
  • Swift questions Joe's sincerity and his willingness to confront personal issues.

"You wouldn't be the first Renegade to need somebody."

This quote captures the idea that even independent individuals need support, a concept explored in the song.

Artistic Identity and Industry Stance

  • Swift's music often reflects her stance against industry figures like Scooter Braun.
  • She identifies as a "renegade" in the music industry, challenging norms and fighting for her rights.

"I know I don't have to do it alone, I have you here with me to support me on my endeavors."

The quote shows Swift's recognition of the importance of mutual support in her personal and professional life.

Relationship Struggles and Self-Discovery

  • Swift's song "Renegade" delves into the complexities of a relationship where one partner struggles with anxiety.
  • The dynamic between Swift and Joe involves cycles of conflict and reconciliation.

"You fire off missiles because you hate yourself, but do you know that you're demolishing me?"

This quote illustrates the destructive impact of Joe's internal struggles on the relationship with Swift.

Artistic Direction and Relationship Status

  • Swift's album "Midnights" was written while maintaining the appearance of a relationship with Joe.
  • The songs explore themes of longing, regret, and resolve, often referencing past relationships.

"Taylor was in a really difficult position when she was writing 'Midnights.'"

The quote suggests that Swift was facing personal challenges while creating her album, which influenced its content.

Self-Reliance and Independence

  • "You're on your own, kid" reflects Swift's realization of the importance of self-reliance.
  • Swift recognizes that true fulfillment comes from within, not from external relationships or achievements.

"All you have is yourself, it's all you've ever had."

This quote conveys the theme of self-sufficiency and inner strength found in the song "You're on your own, kid."

Confusion and Emotional Legacy

  • The song "Maroon" expresses confusion over the emotional legacy left by a past relationship.
  • Swift grapples with the significance of the relationship and its lasting impact on her.

"That's a real effing legacy to leave."

The quote highlights the profound and enduring emotional effect that a significant relationship can have, as expressed in "Maroon."

Acceptance and Desire for a Dynamic Life

  • "Midnight Rain" explores Swift's acceptance that she may never have a "normal" relationship.
  • Swift acknowledges her need for an interesting life, one that may not align with Joe's desire for normalcy.

"There was nowhere for me to stay, but I stayed anyway."

This quote reflects Swift's initial willingness to stay in a relationship despite recognizing its limitations.

Reflection on Past Relationships and Current Stasis

  • Swift's songs on "Midnights" reflect on past loves and her current relationship's stagnation.
  • She questions whether she has missed out on the love of her life and longs for past connections.

"I'm wondering if the love of my life has slipped away."

Swift's introspection about potentially having lost a significant love is evident in this quote.

Frustration with Partner's Inaction

  • The song "Bejeweled" expresses Swift's impatience with Joe's lack of effort in the relationship.
  • Swift challenges Joe to either show up fully or step aside, reflecting her dissatisfaction with the status quo.

"You can try to change my mind, but you might have to wait in line."

The quote conveys Swift's frustration with Joe's inaction and her readiness to move on if necessary.

Introspection and Lover's Support

  • "Sweet Nothing" and "Dear Reader" delve into themes of introspection and the need for a supportive partner.
  • Swift feels constrained by the relationship and longs for a life beyond just being in love.

"All that you ever wanted from me was sweet nothing."

This quote suggests that Joe desired a simple, uncomplicated love, which was at odds with Swift's complex life and priorities.

Relationship Breakdown and Emotional Pleas

  • "You're losing me now" captures the breakdown of Swift's relationship with Joe.
  • Swift expresses exhaustion with trying to fix the relationship and desires more active engagement from Joe.

"I've got nothing to believe unless you're choosing me."

The quote reflects Swift's desire for Joe to actively choose and fight for their relationship.

Regret and Isolation

  • Swift regrets the period of isolation she endured while accommodating Joe's desires.
  • She hints at the challenges of maintaining her public persona while navigating a private struggle.

"I'm suffering, this is why 'Midnights' sounds all over the place."

This quote reveals Swift's personal turmoil during the creation of "Midnights," which resulted in a disjointed album narrative.

Anticipated Revelations and Future Analysis

  • Swift hints at future work that will provide more insight into her relationship with Joe.
  • Fans are encouraged to look for additional clues in upcoming songs and interviews.

"Tortured poets is sure to fill in the gaps on where exactly it all went wrong."

The quote suggests that Swift's future releases will further explore the details of her relationship with Joe and its eventual end.

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