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THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT: Taylor Swift’s new album is too dark for kids

By Summer Lane

Photo: Deposit

Call me out of the loop, but I had no idea that Taylor Swift’s newest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” released on Friday, April 19. I knew it was coming up soon, but the release blindsided me, and for the sake of staying in the “know,” I went ahead and listened to the album a few times while I was working on Friday morning.

I’ve discussed Taylor Swift before on this blog, so you can go back to my old articles about her previous album, “Midnights” or check out my thoughts about the societal idolization of the pop star here.

I don’t want to rehash everything here, but I have previously established on the CCM blog that Swift, while she is a talented lyricist, is not a “family-friendly” crooner anymore. With that in mind, I think it’s important for parents to know the messages that Swift is pushing in her music because young girls across the board are pretty obsessed with her music and her entire brand.

The good, the bad, and the bottom line

Swift’s latest album cover pictures her languidly stretched across a bed in black and white, and that black and white snapshot truly conveys the theme of the entire album: it’s melancholy and “tortured.”

There are several explicit songs on the album. I tried listening to a few tracks while I was driving with my daughter, and I was unpleasantly surprised when one song carelessly dropped words like “b***” and “f***” without warning (Daddy I Love Him). That ended that, so I switched to something much more kid-friendly.

My daughter actually likes listening to Taylor Swift songs – but what I let her listen to are Swift’s older albums, with songs like “Our Song,” and “Love Story,” or “Fearless.”

These albums are, in my opinion, very solid, and safe for young girls to listen to (they appropriately and, I think, pretty innocently delve into the emotions of first love, crushes, and heartbreak).

Taylor Swift is now 34 years old, and her content has changed a lot. It’s darker, more intense, and much more sexual. The pop star is currently dating NFL star Travis Kelce, and she was previously dating an English actor, Joe Alwyn. It is strongly alleged that “The Tortured Poets Society” is primarily about their relationship and breakup (they were together for six years before splitting), and honestly, it shows.

The songs blend together, almost as if they are one continuous song. In “Guilty as Sin?” she essentially describes a kind of sexual fantasy that she repeatedly has about a potential love interest, and in “Fortnight” she sings about wanting to “kill” another woman who has, presumably, married a man she used to be romantically involved with. “I love you, it’s ruining my LIFE,” she croons.

I will say this: her lyrics can be really fun to listen to, at times. Here’s a taste of “loml,” which stands for “Love of my Life,” and later, “Loss of My Life”:

You cinephile in black and white
All those plot twists and dynamite
Mister steal-your-girl then make her cry
You said I’m the love of your life

In “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” another F-bomb is dropped, and she laments yet another busted relationship (some speculate it’s Matt Healy), singing:

Was any of it true
Gazing at me, starry-eyed
In your Jehovah’s witness suit
Who the f***  was that guy
You tried to buy some pills
From a friend of friends of mine
They just ghosted you
Now you know what it feels like

In all, this album feels like an extension of her 2020 album, “Folklore.” I also feel as if there comes a point where Swift’s lyrical judo is so complex that it’s almost too hard to follow – the message is all over the place at times, and it seems clear that Swift needs a breakup to write songs. Then again, THAT is her brand, so why change it? She’s a billionaire now because of it.

What will happen if she ever gets married and gets happy? Perhaps her albums will take a lighter and more buoyant tone, but for now, “The Tortured Poets Department” is dark, sexual, filled with regret, and lacking the toe-tapping bops that made her a superstar in “1989” with songs like “Blank Space” and “Shake it Off.”





The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team. This specific article was written by Summer Lane, and may not be reproduced, except to quote for reviews or interviews, without the express permission of the author. 



Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 30 books, including the hit Collapse Series. She is an experienced journalist and columnist who reports on news within the U.S. and abroad. She is the Associate Editor for Right Side Broadcasting Network. Additionally, she owns Write Revolution News, where she provides a rapid-fire feed of the nation’s most important America First news and events.

Summer is also a mom and wife who enjoys rural country living, herding cats and ducks, and reading fiction. She is passionate about writing on women’s issues, parenting, and politics from a theologically-grounded perspective that points readers to the good news of the gospel.

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