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‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Is So Lana Del Rey-Coded That It’s Frustrating



'The Tortured Poets Department' Is So Lana Del Rey-Coded That It's Frustrating

I don’t like The Tortured Poets Division. I stated it! Swifties, be at liberty to seize your pitchforks and storm the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: I simply wrapped up my second hear and my emotions haven’t modified a bit — I’m nonetheless on the restaurant. Now, this isn’t to say I feel TTPD is dangerous. If something, it’s type of the alternative. It has the potential to be good… in a universe the place Lana Del Rey made The Tortured Poets Division.

Look, you possibly can both seize your pitchforks now, or just click on out of the tab: I’m supplying you with the out, as a result of what I’m about to say will (almost definitely) damage your emotions. However the fact hurts, and the reality is that this album doesn’t give Taylor Swift in any respect. And in the event you’ve ever listened to Lana Del Rey in your life, you’d know precisely what I’m speaking about. This doesn’t belong within the 2024 Taylor Swift universe — it belongs within the vinyl part of City Outfitters in 2014 subsequent to the particular version of Born To Die.

Transparently, I don’t take into account myself a “large Swiftie;” I began listening to her after she dropped folklore (primarily as a result of I noticed Bon Iver was featured), and actually fell in love together with her storytelling and songwriting. I went to the Eras Tour with my lifelong finest buddies and screamed the bridge of “Merciless Summer time” on the high of my lungs and obtained a friendship bracelet from the crying 13-year-old seated subsequent to me. Hell, “‘tis the rattling season” was on my Spotify Wrapped for 2 years straight! The girl is a juggernaut, a generational expertise that deserves all (sure, even AOTY) of her flowers. So, when the clock hit midnight on April 19, I immediately flocked to Spotify to take heed to TTPD with the remainder of the world. And I used to be met with disappointment.

The second Taylor began singing on “Fortnight,” I clocked that one thing was off. When she sang, “I used to be purported to be despatched away / However they forgot to come back and get me / I used to be a functioning alcoholic / ‘Til no person observed my new aesthetic,” her voice simply sounded… totally different. It wasn’t prefer it sounded extra mature, or skilled, or something like that — it felt like some form of impersonation or caricature. By the top of the music, I used to be virtually ripping my hair attempting to determine what it was. However by “Florida!!!” and “Who’s Afraid Of Little Previous Me?” it hit me: The Tortured Poets Division is so Lana-coded that it hurts.

I’ve been a Lana fan since conception (OK, like, 2010, however you get the purpose), however my love for her as an artist doesn’t blind me to the greatness of others. Nonetheless, there’s no denying the influence that Lana has had on the music trade and, most lately, Taylor Swift.

I problem you to take heed to tracks like “I Can Repair Him (No Actually I Can)” and “Fortnight” and say that Taylor’s vocals aren’t giving Lana — particularly with lyrics like “The dopamine races by means of his mind / On a six-lane Texas freeway / His fingers so calloused from his pistol / Softly traces hearts on my face” together with the form of smokey, sulky, Western-Americana vibes of the observe. Can somebody AI generate Lana singing this as an alternative of Taylor? I’m attempting to see one thing.

With so many moody lyrics about consuming, smoking, and courting the “dangerous boy” (he’s actually Matty Healy), TTPD appears like Taylor is taking over a brand new persona: a scorned, “tortured” artist who deserted the glitter pen to put in writing lyrics in blood whereas downing liquor by the bottle. For Swifties, that is most likely so sick and like, Mom of her. However I’ve seen this movie earlier than, and it’s a tough one to observe up.

It’s value noting that, up to now, Taylor has lauded Lana for her affect on pop music. On the 2024 Grammys, Taylor pulled Lana on stage together with her (regardless that Lana has simply misplaced that class) and stated, “I feel so many feminine artists wouldn’t be the place they’re and wouldn’t have the inspiration they’ve it if weren’t for the work that [Lana has] accomplished.” The 2 collaborated on the Midnights observe “Snow On The Seaside” alongside Jack Antonoff, who has additionally labored on Lana’s albums Regular F*cking Rockwell, Chemtrails over the Nation Membership, and Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Below Ocean Boulevard?

Lana Del Rey’s aesthetic has been recognizable because the early 2010s. Her music consists of drug use, alcoholism, intercourse, dangerous boys, outdated males, crime, and the entire Americana grittiness you can ask for. And regardless of Lana’s notable affect, she’s nonetheless touted as an underdog, indie-darling whose aesthetic is a little bit too “edgy” for the mainstream. However, add some popstar aptitude, and a few of Taylor’s storytelling, and also you’ve received one thing that mainstream music listeners will love.

So, do I feel that Taylor purposefully copied Lana for TTPD? No; Lana’s clearly been an enormous affect on Taylor all through the years, and the 2 are buddies and collaborators. Similarities are sure to come back up. However do I feel Taylor’s album does something we haven’t seen earlier than? No, and this iteration feels inauthentic. 

The Tortured Poets Division isn’t a nasty album, it’s simply not a Taylor Swift album. Certain, all of it sounds the identical to me, however possibly I don’t have supersonic Swiftie listening to skills. Perhaps I’m lacking one thing right here, or possibly I’m a scorned Lana fan who was rooting for her Grammy win. Or, possibly, TTPD isn’t my cup of tea, and that’s OK. (I’m allowed to not like issues!) All I do know is that I’ll be sitting fairly listening to Blue Banisters whereas y’all resolve if you wish to sharpen your pitchforks or choose up a Lana album.

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