Taylor Swift stuns fans and critics with surprise double album

Taylor Swift stuns fans and critics with surprise double album

Taylor Swift gave her fans “a 2am surprise” when she revealed her latest much-anticipated release is actually a double album with 15 extra tracks she had kept secret.

Fans had already flocked online to hear her 11th studio album The Tortured Poets Department, combing it for clues about her private life while the critics tried to guess what she would do next when she sprung the surprise on social media.

The star wrote on Instagram: “It’s a 2am surprise: The Tortured Poets Department is a a secret DOUBLE album.

“I’d written so much tortured poetry in the past 2 years and wanted to share it all with you, so here’s the second installment of TTPD: The Anthology. 15 extra songs. And now the story isn’t mine anymore… it’s all yours.”

New songs include The Bolter and The Black Dog join the already released tracks including a collaboration with Post Malone, called Fortnight, and Florence and the Machine on Florida!!!

The star was praised for being “vulnerable in a way we’ve never heard before”, following the initial release with fans speculating that a number of songs referenced her break-up with British actor Joe Alwyn and brief rumoured romance with The 1975 star Matty Healy.

The Standard’s El Hunt gave the album two stars out of five, saying: “Sonically, The Tortured Poets Department feels like ground that has already been trodden.”

Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone magazine suggested the album may be the “most personal” yet from Swift.

“It’s the cathartic confession of a woman who thought she had adulthood — and adult romance — all figured out, only to find herself realising she knows nothing,” he said.

“This is an album nobody saw coming, even though she gave so many signs.”

 (PR Handout)
(PR Handout)

BBC music correspondent Mark Savage described the singer as “bereft and bewildered” on the new offering.

“Vulnerable in a way we’ve never heard before,” he said.

“The Tortured Poets Department is an uneven album, and one that lacks a slam-dunk radio anthem like Anti-Hero or Shake It Off – but Swift has pop music in a stranglehold for now, so it will sell by the bucketload, even though it leaked a day ahead of release.”

Meanwhile, Alexis Petridis from the Guardian awarded the album four out of five stars, criticising it as “a shade too long” while describing Swift as an“exceptionally talented writer”.

“There’s a depth and maturity to this album that makes her competitors look a little wan by comparison,” he said.

Dan Cairns from the Times gave a full five-star review of the album, saying he was “basking in the work of a writer at the very top of her game”.

“Tortured? Yes, by the sounds of it. For all the scars, though, the album’s message is this: healing, wisdom and art come at a price,” he added.

The Telegraph music critic, Neil McCormick, described the album’s standout track as being the “icily vengeful” The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived.

“The Tortured Poets Department is effectively Swift’s break-up album,” he said.

“In terms of emotional insight and sheer singer-songwriter genius, it is not in the league of such heartbreak classics as Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks and Joni Mitchell’s Blue, but at least it reaches for such heights.

“Swift knows her way around metaphors and similes, and delights in conjuring delicately cascading tranches of clever puns and dazzling wordplay rooted in real feelings.

“There are some welcome edges here, but I venture that when she is ready to stop feeding the American dream machine, that is when she will be ready to make her masterpiece.