The 10 Most Heartbreaking Lyrics On Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department

Posted 04/19/2024 from Cinema Blend

Now, Swifties, we kind of knew what we were getting into when Taylor Swift’s latest projects, The Tortured Poets Department and The Anthology, were announced. The assumption was it would cover the pop star’s break up with Joe Alwyn, and that was seemingly part of it. However, she also presumably wrote many tragic songs about her situationship with Matty Healy too. All this put together did answer many questions about TTPD, however, it also left us crying in the club, because Ms. Swift had to include these heartbreaking lyrics in the evidence. 

Taylor Swift singing into a mic and holding her right arm up while singing

(Image credit: Disney+)

Breaking down, I hit the floor / All the piеces of me shatterеd as the crowd was chanting, ‘More’ / I was grinnin' like I'm winnin' / I was hittin' my marks / 'Cause I can do it with a broken heart - “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart”

Now, presumably, this song is all about Taylor Swift being on the Eras Tour while she’s going through heartbreak, and looking like she’s totally fine. During that tour her breakup with Alwyn became public, and her rumored relationship with Matty Healy ran its course

As all this was happening, she had to put on a smile while performing her surprise songs and doing the lil viral “Bejeweled” dance with a smile, pretending like she was unbothered. 

As this song sadly revealed through its tragic lyrics juxtaposed with an upbeat beat, she was very bothered, and she’s unfortunately really good at persevering through a broken heart. 

Taylor Swift leaning against a chair while singing Vigilante Shit.

(Image credit: Disney+)

And I don't even want you back, I just want to know / If rusting my sparkling summer was the goal / And I don't miss what we had, but could someone give / A message to the smallest man who ever lived? - “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”

While we’re talking about The Eras Tour, “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” appears to allude to how a guy, possibly The 1975’s frontman, “rusted” what was otherwise an incredible summer. 

The Eras Tour took over last year, and to have that experience tainted by a bad relationship is miserable. As Swift sang, being with “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” her exhaustion and disappointment were obvious, and it was crushing to realize that something like this put rust on a dazzling part of her life. 

Taylor Swift on piano in The Eras Tour film

(Image credit: YouTube)

I’m so afraid I sealed my fate / No sign of soulmates / I’m just a paperweight / In shades of greige / Spending my last coin so someone will tell me / It’ll be OK - “The Prophecy”

“The Prophecy” is a brutally vulnerable track off The Anthology portion of The Tortured Poets Department. Throughout the track, Swift is reflecting on a past relationship that went sour, and she’s seemingly begging for the predetermined prophecy to be changed. 

During the bridge of the song she writes about how exhausting all this has been, even saying she’s at the “last drops of an ink pen.” She’s a statue that has crumbled after being forced to wait, and all she wants is to be fine. That’s where this tragic line comes in as she wonders if she’s destined to always be lonely and not OK.  

Taylor Swift singing into a microphone in the Long Pond Studio Sessions.

(Image credit: Disney+)

I'll never leave, never mind / Our field of dreams engulfed in fire / Your arsons match your somber eyes / And I'll still see it until I die / You're the loss of my life - “loml”

Along with freaking out about Taylor Swift’s cryptic TTPD promo, when the track list was announced, many wondered why one sone was called “loml” when the acronym commonly means “love of my life.” Well, it turns out the answer is even sadder than you probably think, because it doesn’t just mean that, in this track, it also means “loss of my life.” 

Yeah, grab the tissues for this one. Possibly about her six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn, and its end, this song follows Swift’s thought process as she concludes that this lover wasn’t the love of her life, but the loss of it. 

Taylor Swift and Post Malone typing into type writers that are letting out orange and blue energy.

(Image credit: Republic Records)

And I love you, it’s ruining my life. - “Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)”

Taylor Swift named one of her TTPD grief playlists after this lyric, noting how the songs in it reference denial. This line, which is repeated over and over in “Fortnight,” highlights the idea that the love she had for her partner was so strong, that it was overpowering the red flags for a long time. Eventually, she realized this love was ruining her life.  

Taylor Swift looking to her left in the Fortnight music video.

(Image credit: Republic Records)

‘Cause he took me out of my box / Stole my tortured heart / Left all these broken parts / Told me I’m better off / But I’m not - “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”

This song compares Swift and her ex to a boy and his harsh relationship with his toys. The lyrics paint the picture of him not playing nice and constantly wanting to destroy her. That metaphor really cements itself and hammers home the heartbreak when she illustrates that he broke her, left her in pieces and claimed she’d be better for it. 

Taylor Swift singing into her snake microphone in the Eras Tour.

(Image credit: Disney+)

Now I'm down bad, cryin' at the gym / Everything comes out teenage petulance / Fuck it if I can't have him / I might just die, it would make no difference - “Down Bad”

You need to take things seriously when you are feeling so down that you feel like dying “would make no difference.” This song feels like what happens right after a breakup when you can’t stop crying and the anger is starting to bubble up. It’s frustrating that you can’t have them, even if you know it’s for the best, and sometimes that feels like the end of the world. 

Taylor Swift looking into the camera while performing at the Grammys.

(Image credit: Taylor Swift's YouTube Channel)

And I'm pissed off you let me give you all that youth for free - “So Long, London” 

Not only does Taylor Swift know how to take someone down with lyrics, but she knows how to make listeners cry over it too. “So Long, London” is the emotional Track Five of The Tortured Poets Department, meaning it’s the most devastating song on the album. 

Overall, this track appears to document the end of her relationship with Alwyn, a British actor. While all the lyrics hit hard, the one that was the saddest was the one when she sang about how she lost a lot of her youth because of this relationship. 

Taylor Swift holding an apple in Blank Space

(Image credit: Republic Records)

I'm lonely, but I'm good / I'm bitter, but I swear I'm fine / I'll save all my romanticism for my inner life and I'll get lost on purpose / This place made me feel worthless - “I Hate It Here”

“I Hate It Here” is all about escaping a terrible situation. It sounds like reality is a nightmare, and all Swift wants is to leave. Then, during the bridge, she sings about why she hates it here, candidly noting that she’s “lonely” and “bitter.” She also said that her fantasies are so much better than reality that she’ll intentionally get lost, which is so, so, so sad, because it seems like she felt like she couldn’t physically get out. 

A screenshot of Taylor Swift smiling while singing All Too Well during the Eras Tour.

(Image credit: Disney+)

Said you were gonna grow up / Then you were gonna come find me / Words from the mouths of babes / Promises oceans deep / But never to keep / Oh, never to keep -“Peter”

“Peter” feels like it’s about a promise a boy made to Swift when they were young and never kept. The hopeless feeling in this song is tragic, and the image of it sinking to an untouchable part of the ocean brings a tear to my eye. 

Honestly, the options when creating this list felt endless. The 31 songs that make up The Tortured Poets Department and The Anthology are all deeply emotional and the majority are very sad. Taylor Swift really poured her heart and soul into this, and she left it all on the page. Now, this album is ours to cry along to, and I both thank her for that and hope she’s OK. 

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