The old Taylor Swift is dead. Seriously, this time.

At the same moment that Taylormania was reaching unbelievable levels, threatening to turn the artist at its center into an untouchable icon, it turned out that the real Taylor Swift was spending her time between glitzy, three-hour concerts crafting some of her bravest works of art. Tortured Poets Section: Selections Filled with the rawest, angriest, most guarded songs of Swift's career — the exact opposite of the fun, focused non-attack a skeptic might expect from an artist at her current level of exposure.

In the new episode of our weekly program Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, Brittany Spanos and Rob Sheffield join host Brian Hiatt for in-depth, insightful details of the first half of Poets. (They'll delve into the second half in another episode, soon.) The album elicited a largely mixed response, but our episode focuses on unpacking its lyrical mysteries, musical influences, and more. He goes here For the podcast provider of your choice, keep listening Apple Podcast or Spotifyor just press the play button above.


The album's title track drops all the hype, opening wide-eyed adorable Easter eggs as it directly addresses her brief but apparently intense relationship with Matty Healy in 1975. With Joni Mitchell candor, Swift offers a startling self-assessment of the things the two artists have in common: “We're crazy,” she sings, placing the harmonies on this description for emphasis. Then there's “But Daddy I Love Him,” in which Swift unleashes pure hell on “fans” who sought to lecture her about the inappropriateness of Hailey's relationship. “I'll tell you something about my good name,” she growled. “It is mine alone to be disgraced.” Also worth noting is the creepy and satirical “Who's Afraid of Little Old Me,” where she once again embodies the dark Taylor of “Look What You Made Me Do,” beaten into the monster on the Anti-Hero hill.

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