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Everyone Taylor Swift sings about in ‘Tortured Poets’

By Eva Hartman, Los Angeles Times
Published: May 4, 2024, 5:42am

Taylor Swift didn’t hold back on calling everyone out on her newest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” and the reactions are rolling in.

The surprise double album was released in two parts on April 19, giving exuberant Swifties plenty of material to analyze — including multiple celebrity call-outs.

Kim Kardashian

Swift and Kardashian have a long-standing feud, which started with Swift and Ye back in the day and goes back to Kimye’s infamous doctored phone call, which appeared to prove Taylor had given consent for a nude wax figure of her to appear in Kanye’s “Famous” music video. TLDR: The call was edited, but Swift was ripped to shreds online anyway, an experience that inspired her now legendary “Reputation” album.

Swift isn’t quite letting Kardashian off the hook, and “TTPD’s” “thanK you aIMee” pointedly had the letters of Kardashian’s first name capitalized in the title.

“And so I changed your name and any real defining clues / And one day, your kid comes home singin’ / A song that only us two is gonna know is about you,” Taylor wrote, apparently referencing daughter North West’s TikToks that have featured her songs in the past.

Kardashian didn’t respond directly to the taunt, but she did post a throwback photo with Swift’s ex-best friend Karlie Kloss on mutual pal Derek Blasberg’s birthday. Whether it was a coincidence is anyone’s guess.

Matty Healy

The 1975 frontman was the surprise “TTPD” guest star. He and the “Bejeweled” singer appeared to have had a short fling following her split from Joe Alwyn, but the lyrics in “TTPD” have led to speculation that the two were involved for far longer.

The title track is particularly damning: “You left your typewrit er at my apartment,” Swift sings, referencing Healy’s apparent penchant for the old-school device. (“Who uses typewriters anyway?” she later asks.)

Swift goes on to call him a “tattooed golden retriever” before describing his smoking habits.

“But you tell Lucy you’d kill yourself if I ever leave / And I had said that to Jack about you so I felt seen,” she continues, referencing Boygenius member Lucy Dacus, who performed with Swift on the Eras tour, and her producer and bestie Jack Antonoff. Sounds super healthy and normal!

And all that’s from just one song. “But Daddy I Love Him,” “Fresh Out the Slammer,” “Guilty as Sin?,” “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)” and “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” all pile on the blame.

Healy responded coolly on Wednesday. “I haven’t really listened to that much of it,” the singer told paparazzi, “but I’m sure it’s good.”

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His tone marks a stark difference from when he called dating Swift “emasculating.”

Joe Alwyn

Just as fans predicted, Taylor’s ex-boyfriend of six years was spared little sympathy. Even the album title is supposedly a reference to the name of a group chat between the actor, Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott, called the “Tortured Man Club.”

“So Long, London” is Taylor’s most obvious hit at Alwyn, considering he inspired the track “London Boy” on her 2019 album “Lover.”

“I didn’t opt in to be your odd man out,” she sings about the end of their relationship. “I founded the club she’s heard great things about / I left all I knew, you left me at the house by the Heath.”

It’s clear Alwyn promised Swift a lot more than what he gave her. In “LOML” she laments how “You s—-talked me under the table / Talkin’ rings and talkin’ cradles / I wish I could unrecall / How we almost had it all.”

The marriage references don’t stop. In “imgonnagetyouback,” Swift tries to decide “whether I’m gonna be your wife or gonna smash up your bike.”

Fans have also latched onto a line in “Fortnight,” which features Post Malone, as proof that Alwyn wasn’t always faithful to Swift. “My husband is cheating, I wanna kill him,” Swift sings.

According to a source, Alwyn “has listened to the album, and he is slightly disappointed, but not surprised at all.”

Travis Kelce

Of course, Swift couldn’t leave current beau Kelce behind. The Kansas City Chiefs tight end is the apparent subject of “The Alchemy” and “So High School,” both of which are riddled with football metaphors.

“The greatest in the league / Where’s the trophy? / He just comes running over to me,” she sings in “The Alchemy,” referencing the couple’s viral kiss after Kelce’s team won the Super Bowl in February.

“You know how to ball, I know Aristotle,” she added in “So High School.” “You knew what you wanted and, boy, you got her,” she concludes in the song, alluding to how Kelce pursued her after seeing her perform on the Eras tour.

“I have heard some of it, yes, and it is unbelievable,” Kelce said at a sports event in February, ahead of the album’s release. “I can’t wait for her to shake up the world when it finally drops.”

He’s “very proud of her,” a source told E! News after the record dropped earlier this month.

“Travis is so supportive of the entire album,” the source continued, “and loves that he is a part of Taylor’s story.”

Kelce’s mom, Donna, even chimed in the conversation with her own praise. “I listened to the whole album, and I listened to it all morning long when it was released,” she told People this week.

“I was just very impressed,” she said. “She is a very talented woman, and I think it is probably her best work.”

Charlie Puth

Finally, in a seemingly random shout-out on the title track, Swift sings, “You smok’d, then ate seven bars of chocolate / We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist.” Fans rushed into a frenzy online, flooding the “We Don’t Talk Anymore” singer’s social media with notifications about his name drop.

“literally honored lol,” he replied in the comments of a now-deleted Instagram post of the song.