A look at all of the Easter Eggs in Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department – from hinting at bonus tracks on-stage at the Grammys and paying tribute to her lucky number to her telling title

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Taylor Swift‘s 11th studio album The Tortured Poets Department has been released after two months of eager anticipation from fans.

And as fans pore over each and every lyric of the 31-track record, its no surprise its packed with little details and Easter Eggs that will send Swifties into a frenzy.

The record, which Taylor has branded a ‘double album’ after dropping 15 bonus tracks, takes plenty of swipes at her exes, Joe Alwyn and Matty Healy.

But fans are also noting that Taylor has packed the album with various hints and homages, including a nod to her famous lucky number.

So, as Swifties continue to soak up ever word of Taylor’s latest musical effort, here’s a look at all of the Easter Eggs from before, and after, its release…

Taylor Swift 's 11th studio album The Tortured Poets Department has been released after two months of eager anticipation from fans

Taylor Swift ‘s 11th studio album The Tortured Poets Department has been released after two months of eager anticipation from fans

Hinting at her ‘double album’

The singer first hinted that her new record would be a double album with a telling gesture while on-stage at the Grammy Awards in February

The singer first hinted that her new record would be a double album with a telling gesture while on-stage at the Grammy Awards in February

Taylor first announced her 11th studio album when she took to the stage at The Grammy Awards in February.

She told the audience: ‘I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I have been keeping from you for the last two years, which is that my brand-new album comes out April 19th.’ 

‘It’s called The Tortured Poet’s Department. I’m going to go and post the cover right now backstage.’

On Friday, Taylor’s album was released to plenty of fanfare, and at the time fans believed it would be just 16 tracks.

However, two hours later, Taylor shared the surprise news that it would be a ‘double album,’ before dropping 15 bonus tracks.

Among a flurry of social media frenzy, one fan posted that they believe had hinted at the double album during her Grammys announcement, when she gave a two-finger peace sign to the camera.

Tweeting a snap from the ceremony, a fan captioned the post: ‘The 2 meant a double album this whole time #TaylorSwift.’

Paying tribute to her lucky number

Throughout her career, the number 13 has been a prominent symbol in Taylor's music and performances (pictured in 2011)

Throughout her career, the number 13 has been a prominent symbol in Taylor’s music and performances (pictured in 2011)

After revealing 15 new bonus tracks for her album, a onslaught of fans were quick to note that the total number of songs, 31, is her lucky number spelled backwards

After revealing 15 new bonus tracks for her album, a onslaught of fans were quick to note that the total number of songs, 31, is her lucky number spelled backwards

Throughout her career, the number 13 has been a prominent symbol in Taylor’s music and performances.

The star has previously admitted that it’s her ‘lucky number,’ and she previously revealed that almost every ‘good thing’ that happened to her took place after a ’13 came up in her life.’

After revealing 15 new bonus tracks for her album, a onslaught of fans were quick to note that the total number of songs, 31, is her lucky number spelled backwards.

Posts included: ‘Oh so the album has 31 songs… hmmm 13 backwards. Party!’

‘Of course she made it 31 songs (13 backwards) and 2 hr 2 min long… Taylor Swift you’re so.’

‘Hold up… #TaylorSwift began writing #TTPD over two years ago and there’s 31 songs… which could have made her 31 when the process started… and 31 backwards is 13.’

‘THE ALBUM LENGTH? THE 2’S?? 31 IS 13 BACKWARDS?? SHES A MASTERMIND.’

The album’s title

While fans were quick to theorise that The Tortured Poets Department's title is a reference to her ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn, but it appeared that the star first hinted at the name back in 2022

While fans were quick to theorise that The Tortured Poets Department’s title is a reference to her ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn, but it appeared that the star first hinted at the name back in 2022

Fans then clocked that the name of Taylor's new album was eerily similar to a Whatsapp group that her ex Joe created with his pal Paul Mescal

Fans then clocked that the name of Taylor’s new album was eerily similar to a Whatsapp group that her ex Joe created with his pal Paul Mescal

The Tortured Poets Department: What do the critics think?

Variety – Chris Willman

‘The Tortured Poets Department gives everyone a full dose of the never-getting-over-it Taylor that no one really wanted to get over. 

‘As breakup albums go, it’s a doozy, as they would have said back in Clara Bow’s day – an unapologetically dramatic (if often witty) record that will be soundtracking untold millions of tragic rifts to come. If you’ve been putting one off, now might not be a bad time to schedule it.’

Rolling Stone – Rob Sheffeld

It’s the cathartic confession of a woman who thought she had adulthood — and adult romance — all figured out, only to find herself realizing she knows nothing.

‘Even by Swiftian standards, she gets wildly ambitious with her songwriting here.’

The Telegraph – Neil McCormick

Rating:

‘On the simplest of terms, what we have here is a very smart, seductive, lyrically sharp set of smooth synth pop songs about affairs of the heart, crafted with love, intelligence and passion – another hugely appealing addition to Swift’s expanding canon…’

The Guardian – Alexis Petridis

Rating:

‘There’s clearly a risk involved in calling out elements of your own fanbase, however justified said attack is, but Swift pulls it off.

‘She can do it because she’s an exceptionally talented writer: there’s a depth and maturity to this album that makes her competitors look a little wan by comparison.’

NME – Laura Malloy

Rating:

‘Swift seems to be in tireless pursuit for superstardom, yet the negative public opinion it can come with irks her, and it’s a tired theme now plaguing her discography and leaving little room for the poignant lyrical observations she excels at.’

The Daily Mail – Adrian Thrills

Rating:

‘There’s certainly a sense that she’s pulling out all the stops on The Tortured Poets Department. 

‘Even for someone with a track record of lengthy, value-for-money albums, it’s a mammoth undertaking.’

The Standard – El Hunt

Rating:

‘There are no doubt countless lyrical puzzles here, waiting to be unpicked, but The Tortured Poets Department is at its most potent when it does away with all of the arch devices and spells it out plainly.’ 

The Times – Will Hodgkinson

Rating:

‘Taking in synth pop, Eighties power ballads and the emotional AOR of Stevie Nicks (who offers her own poem on love gone wrong in the liner notes), these songs are delivered with Swift’s trademark gusto and megawatt professionalism – and it’s a five-star album.’

The Mirror – Mollie Quirk 

‘Overall, The Tortured Poets Department is the most magnificent body of work that sees Taylor combine her love of poetry and music. 

‘The album is incredibly deep and moving, hard to unravel and decode, yet easy to fall into and draw comparisons to of your own life.’

BBC – Mark Savage

‘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.’

While fans were quick to theorise that The Tortured Poets Department’s title is a reference to her ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn, but it appeared that the star first hinted at the name back in 2022.

While accepting a songwriting award at a Nashville event, Taylor referenced two writing tools frequently adopted by poets, saying: ‘They are affectionately titled Quill Lyrics, Fountain Pen Lyrics and Glitter Gel Pen Lyrics.

‘I came up with these categories based on what writing tool I imagine having in my hand when I scribbled it down, figuratively.’

Fans then clocked that the name of Taylor’s new album was eerily similar to a Whatsapp group that her ex Joe created with his pal Paul Mescal, called The Tortured Man Club.

The release date

One Swiftied noted the album was released a year to the day Taylor was pictured heading out for dinner with Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, where they all unfollowed Joe on Instagram

One Swiftied noted the album was released a year to the day Taylor was pictured heading out for dinner with Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, where they all unfollowed Joe on Instagram

Reports of the couple's split broke the very next day, so one fan also noted the release date could be a symbolic move, marking a year since the end of their relationship

Reports of the couple’s split broke the very next day, so one fan also noted the release date could be a symbolic move, marking a year since the end of their relationship

Once again hinting at her interest in numerology, Taylor officially released her new album on April 19.

Some Swifties were quick to note that this was the same day that Taylor was pictured heading out for dinner with pals Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, where they all unfollowed her ex Joe on Instagram. 

The fan posted: ‘OMG April 19, Taylor Swift is so cryptic. I am loving every minute of it! APRIL 19 IS ALSO THE DAY THAT Taylor’s friends unfollowed him.’

Reports of the couple’s split broke the very next day, so one fan also noted the release date could be a symbolic move, marking a year since the end of their relationship.

They tweeted back in February: ‘Did anyone else notice #TTPD is being released April 19, almost a year to the date of the news breaking that Taylor & Joe split?? She is insane for his one #TaylorSwift #TS11.’

Her tribute to Clara Bow

The Tortured Poets Department also included a song paying homage to 1920s star Clara Bow, and Taylor has made multiple references to her throughout her career

The Tortured Poets Department also included a song paying homage to 1920s star Clara Bow, and Taylor has made multiple references to her throughout her career

Before Taylor announced 15 bonus tracks on her album, the final song was an homage to 1920s star Clara Bow.

At the time the star was considered the original ‘It Girl’, with the phrase coined thanks to her role in the film of the same name.

While the song is the most obvious tribute to Clara, Swifites have found numerous mentions of the star buried in her body of work.

In her song Gorgeous, Taylor refers to the location of the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street, where Bow’s star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame is placed.

Fans also found a poem called When Battling Bill of the Bowery Fell for Clara Bow, and its believed that William Bowery was the pseudonym Joe Alwyn wrote under when collaborating with Taylor on her albums Folklore and Evermore.

The ninth song on Taylor’s album Evermore is also called Coney Island, a place which Clara’s character visits in the film It.

The meaning of her bonus track

On her album, Taylor included four different bonus tracks, with each song available on a different version of the CD that fans could pre-order.

One of these songs was titled The Albatross, a large seabird which tends to nest on remote islands and form strong lifetime bonds with their mate.

The symbolic meanings of the bird stem from the works of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which tells the story of a sailor who killed an albatross that had brought good fortune to his ship.

As his crew members begin to die one by one, the mariner bears the guilt of interfering with nature, he wears the bird’s carcass around his neck as a punishment. 

It’s also the origin of the phrase ‘albatross around your neck,’ and has lead many fans to claim that the song could be a reference to her ex Joe.

Fans theorised that while dating Joe, Taylor missed out on a lot of freedoms she had previously enjoyed.

However, other fans are claiming the song’s title is an ode to Taylor’s life in the public eye, and the burden she must carry as a mainstream singer.

THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT: TRACK-BY-TRACK

Fortnight (feat. Post Malone) 

Taylor appears to reference the end of her relationship with Joe Alwyn and her subsequent fling with Matty Healy in the first track on her album. 

In the first verse, Taylor alludes to being in an emotionally fragile place as she sings: I was supposed to be sent away but they forgot to come and get me. Taylor then wishes an ex well who betrayed her: All of this to say, I hope you’re okay, but you’re the reason / No one here’s to blame but what about your quiet treason.

In the second verse, Taylor appears to sing about a short-lived romance that failed to help her “move on”: All my mornings are Mondays stuck in an endless Februrary / I took the miracle move on drug and the effects were temporary / And I love you, it’s ruining my life / I touched you for only a fortnight.

 

A tuneful duet with Post Malone and a song seemingly about a two-week fling. The slow, electronic rhythms set the early tone.

The Tortured Poets Department

Another shimmering melody, and lyrics which suggest that Taylor, modestly, doesn’t see herself at the top table of tortured poets: ‘You’re not Dylan Thomas, and I’m not Patti Smith.’

My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

Written solely by Swift, this song’s dense electronic hum adds forceful notes. ‘Once I fix me, he’s gonna miss me,’ she vows.

Down Bad

‘Everything comes out teenage petulance,’ sings Taylor as she bitterly surveys the fallout from an old relationship.

So Long, London

The first track to be written with The National’s Aaron Dessner brings a change of pace, with a lovely, choral intro. ‘So long, London, you’ll find someone,’ sings Taylor.

This is her first new album since the end of her six-year relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn and, while she doesn't mention Alwyn by name, speculation will be rife that tracks such as So Long, London are about him. Pictured together in 2019

This is her first new album since the end of her six-year relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn and, while she doesn’t mention Alwyn by name, speculation will be rife that tracks such as So Long, London are about him. Pictured together in 2019

But Daddy I Love Him

‘I know he’s crazy, but he’s the one I want,’ sings Swift, showing wry humour as she admits to falling for the bad boys. Produced, with real brightness, by Dessner.

Fresh Out The Slammer

Finger-picked acoustic guitar adds folky notes reminiscent of lockdown albums Folklore and Evermore.

Florida!!! (feat. Florence + The Machine)

An album highlight, this theatrical duet with London singer Florence Welch is an uplifting song of escape – from small-town life and a bad romance.

Guilty As Sin?

A tale of unrequited love, and a superb slice of 1980s-style soft rock. It even mentions The Downtown Lights, a 1989 single by Scottish band The Blue Nile.

Who’s Afraid Of Little Old Me?

Big drums, a dramatic arrangement, and more dry humour in another song penned solely by Swift. ‘You wouldn’t last an hour in the asylum where they raised me,’ she snarls.

I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)

A moody, stripped-down number worthy of Lana Del Rey, who has also worked extensively with the song’s producer, Jack Antonoff.

The Alchemy: Sporting metaphors aplenty suggest a track inspired by the singer's current boyfriend, American football star Travis Kelce. Pictured at Coachella this week

The Alchemy: Sporting metaphors aplenty suggest a track inspired by the singer’s current boyfriend, American football star Travis Kelce. Pictured at Coachella this week

loml

‘You said I’m the love of your life,’ sings Taylor on this warm, resonant piano ballad. In a smart twist, the ‘loml’ ultimately becomes ‘the loss of my life’.

I Can Do It With A Broken Heart

More 1980s influences on an electronic pop track that sees Taylor vowing to remain a trouper, despite any romantic strife.

The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived

‘You didn’t measure up in any measure of a man,’ sings a disdainful Swift on a melodramatic ballad.

The Alchemy

Sporting metaphors aplenty suggest a track inspired by the singer’s current boyfriend, American football star Travis Kelce. ‘When I touch down, call the amateurs and cut them from the team,’ she sings.

Clara Bow

It’s tempting to think Taylor sees something of herself in a closing track inspired by an American actress of the 1920s who lived her life in the Hollywood goldfish bowl.

The Black Dog 

Taylor refers to a bar in Vauxhall, London, The Black Dog that she notices her ex going to one night after he forgot to stop sharing his location. 

She suggests her ex is going there to meet a new woman and sings: ‘I move through the world with a heart broken. My longings stay unspoken, and I may never open up the way I did for you.’

Imgonnagetyouback

Taylor is torn between calling things off for good or rekindling with an ex in imgonnagetyouback.

Emotions are clearly running high as she sings: ‘Whether Im gonna be your wife / Or smash up your bike / I haven’t decided yet’.

The Albatross

Taylor is taking no prisoners in this track, referring to herself as one of the largest seabirds on Earth – famed for their giant wingspan and ability to glide seamlessly. 

She sings about taking revenge with the lyrics: ‘She is here to destroy you/ Devils that you know / Raise worse hell than a stranger’. 

Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus

Taylor makes references to a partner abusing drugs. 

She sings ‘You said some things that I can’t unabsorb / You turned me into an idea of sorts / And I couldn’t watch it happen’. 

How Did It End? 

Taylor appears to reference the speculation over her relationship with Joe Alwyn as she details in the chorus: 

‘Come one come all It’s happ’nin’ again / The empathetic hunger descends We’ll tell no-one / ‘Cept all of our friends / We must know How did it end?’ 

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