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‘Tortured Poets Department’: Taylor Swift shares Easter eggs, guests and teases ‘timetable’ release schedule

With just one day to go until the release of ‘The Tortured Poets Department’, Taylor Swift fans are at fever pitch with speculation about details of the album and its slow reveal.

The pop icon is set to release her 11th studio record tomorrow (April 19) – the follow-up to 2022’s Grammy-winning ‘Midnights’.

It will feature collaborations with Florence + The Machine (on ‘Florida!!!’) and Post Malone (on ‘Fortnight’), while other song titles on the record include ‘My Boy Only Breaks His Favourite Toys’, ‘Down Bad’, ‘But Daddy I Love Him’, ‘I Can Do It With A Broken Heart’ and ‘The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived’. See the full tracklist here.

Earlier in the week, Swift ramped up the anticipation by sharing a new animated video on Instagram, which was brimming with Easter eggs about the record. Titled ‘The TTPD Timetable’, the video appears to take fans into the department itself. Check it out below:

The clip opens on a clock pointed at two o’clock. This is just the latest clue that Swift has dropped that references that time, having previously done so in the ‘Karma (Remix)’ music video.

As the video jumps through the keyhole into a new room, it zooms in on a calendar that is open at April 19 and reads ‘The Tortured Poets Department Release Day”. The calendar also reads: “8 p.m. ET music video release!!”, alongside a mystery tally that reaches the number 14. The identity of the video in question remains a secret.

The entry on the calendar for Saturday is kept carefully outside the camera frame, but it does suggest that there will be more to come, too.

More hidden details include images of Swift at her ‘Eras Tour’ piano around the same time as she announced the 2 variants with 3 bonus songs, and images of her with close friend and collaborator Jack Antonoff, which she initially posted online in October 2022.

A lyric from the album was also leaked this week at a Spotify event in Los Angeles. At the pop-up library installation, a display case showed an open book, on which was printed the line: “Even statues crumble if they’re made to wait”. At the same time, Spotify’s page for the album carried a video of Swift sitting at a typewriter, hammering out the same phrase.

The clock in the library is also set to 2pm, while a daily calendar display is open at the date Friday 13 December, which this year will be Swift’s 35th birthday.

It is not the first lyric to have been teased from the album: Swift shared the line “Crowd goes wild at her fingertips. Half moonshine, full eclipse,” on the same night as the solar eclipse, and then posted the line: “I wish I could un-recall how we almost had it all,” after announcing special vinyl variants exclusively at Target.

The very first lyrics Swift teased from the album arrived on the same day she announced ‘Tortured Poets’ at the 2024 Grammys ceremony, when she took to Instagram later that night to write: “And so I enter into evidence my tarnished coat of arms/ My muses, acquired like bruises, my talismans and charms/ The tick, tick, tick of love bombs/ My veins of pitch black ink/ All’s fair in love and poetry …

It appears that the ‘Tortured Poets’ project was inspired by the five stages of grief. Recently, Swift tackled denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance over five Apple Music playlists – each representing one of these stages.

Many fans had previously speculated that ‘Tortured Poets’ could delve into Swift’s six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn (Conversations With Friends), as well as the pair’s 2023 break-up. It has been reported that Alwyn, along with the actors Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott, had a WhatsApp group chat named ‘The Tortured Man Club’.

Earlier this year, Swift explained that writing ‘Tortured Poets’ was “really a lifeline for [her]”. She added: “Just the things I was going through and the things I was writing about.”

Swift continued: “It kind of reminded me of why songwriting is something that actually gets me through my life, and I never had an album where I needed songwriting more than I needed it on ‘Tortured Poets’.”

Following the LP’s release, Swift will resume her career-spanning ‘Eras Tour’ in Europe next month before heading to the UK and Ireland in June. Swift is due to play eight shows at Wembley Stadium in London this summer as part of the run, with support coming from Paramore.

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