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Taylor Swift Tortured Poets Department 5 Stages of Grief Theory, Explained

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Taylor Swift Tortured Poets Department 5 Stages of Grief Theory, Explained
She was inspired by a popular fan theory to release related Apple Music playlists.

BY P. CLAIRE DODSON

APRIL 5, 2024
Taylor Swift at eras tour singapore
ASHOK KUMAR/TAS24/GETTY IMAGES
About a month out from Taylor Swift’s 10th album The Tortured Poets Department, Swift has given her us her first real piece of album promotion since the Grammys announcement: a set of curated Apple Music playlists labeled with TTPD songs and related phrases that reflect the five stages of grief.

Over the past months, Swift has released album variants for TTPD in different sepia-toned colors with unique bonus tracks. Fans assembled them together and found a “Five Stages of Grief” chart that mirrors the colors, thus the theory was born that the album would be a literal interpretation of her breakup with Joe Alwyn and the ensuing grief she experienced.

The Apple Music intro implies, however, that the fan theory was what actually informed Swift’s decision to compile and release these five playlists, not the other way around. “And when Swifties agree upon a theory, Taylor takes an interest—so naturally, she’s responded by crafting a series of exclusive playlists, choosing songs of her own that fit each stage,” the intro reads.

STYLE
POLITICS
CULTURE
IDENTITY
VIDEO
SUMMIT
SHOPPING
NEWSLETTER

Culture
Taylor Swift Tortured Poets Department 5 Stages of Grief Theory, Explained
She was inspired by a popular fan theory to release related Apple Music playlists.

BY P. CLAIRE DODSON

APRIL 5, 2024
Taylor Swift at eras tour singapore
ASHOK KUMAR/TAS24/GETTY IMAGES
About a month out from Taylor Swift’s 10th album The Tortured Poets Department, Swift has given her us her first real piece of album promotion since the Grammys announcement: a set of curated Apple Music playlists labeled with TTPD songs and related phrases that reflect the five stages of grief.

Over the past months, Swift has released album variants for TTPD in different sepia-toned colors with unique bonus tracks. Fans assembled them together and found a “Five Stages of Grief” chart that mirrors the colors, thus the theory was born that the album would be a literal interpretation of her breakup with Joe Alwyn and the ensuing grief she experienced.

The Apple Music intro implies, however, that the fan theory was what actually informed Swift’s decision to compile and release these five playlists, not the other way around. “And when Swifties agree upon a theory, Taylor takes an interest—so naturally, she’s responded by crafting a series of exclusive playlists, choosing songs of her own that fit each stage,” the intro reads.

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Below, dive into each playlist and its tracklist before The Tortured Poets Department comes out April 19.

Denial: I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life Songs
Taylor Swift’s message: “This is a list of songs about getting so caught up in the idea of something that you have a hard time seeing the red flags possibly resulting in moments of denial and maybe a little bit of delusion.”

Lavender Haze
Snow On The Beach
Sweet Nothing
Glitch
betty
willow
Cruel Summer
Lover
Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince
False God
Style
Wildest Dreams
Treacherous
Untouchable
That’s When
Ours
Superman
Bejeweled
Anger: You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad Songs
Taylor Swift’s message: “These songs all have one thing in common: I wrote them while feeling anger. Over the years I’ve learned that anger can manifest itself in a lot of different ways, but the healthiest way it can manifest itself in my life is when I can write a song about it.”

Vigilante Shit
High Infidelity
Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
exile
illicit affairs
mad woman
tolerate it
Bad Blood
Is It Over Now?
I Knew You Were Trouble
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
The Last Time
The Moment I Knew
Babe
I Bet You Think About Me
Dear John
Better Than Revenge
Tell Me Why
You’re Not Sorry
Forever & Always
Mr. Perfectly Fine

Bargaining: Am I Allowed to Cry? Songs
Taylor Swift’s message: “This playlist takes you through songs I’ve written when I was in the bargaining stage, times when you’re trying to make deals with yourself or someone you care about, you’re trying to make things better. You’re often times feeling really desperate because oftentimes we have a gut intuition that tells us things are not going the way that we hope. Which makes us more desperate. Which makes us bargain more!”

The Great War
this is me trying
peace
The Archer
Cornelia Street
Death By A Thousand Cuts
Soon You’ll Get Better
Afterglow
I Wish You Would
Say Don’t Go
Come Back… Be Here
Better Man
The Story Of Us
Haunted
Come In With The Rain
The Other Side Of The Door
If This Was A Movie
Renegade
Depression: Old Habits Die Screaming Songs
Taylor Swift’s message: “We’re going to be exploring the feelings of depression that often lace their way through my songs. In times like these, I’ll write a song because I feel lonely or hopeless. And writing a song feels like the only way to process that intensity of an emotion. And while these things are really, really hard to go through, I often feel like when I’m either listening to songs or writing songs that deal with this intensity of loss and hopelessness — usually that’s in the phase where I’m close to getting passed that feeling.”

POLITICS
CULTURE
IDENTITY
VIDEO
SUMMIT
SHOPPING
NEWSLETTER

Culture
Taylor Swift Tortured Poets Department 5 Stages of Grief Theory, Explained
She was inspired by a popular fan theory to release related Apple Music playlists.

BY P. CLAIRE DODSON

APRIL 5, 2024
Taylor Swift at eras tour singapore
ASHOK KUMAR/TAS24/GETTY IMAGES
About a month out from Taylor Swift’s 10th album The Tortured Poets Department, Swift has given her us her first real piece of album promotion since the Grammys announcement: a set of curated Apple Music playlists labeled with TTPD songs and related phrases that reflect the five stages of grief.

Over the past months, Swift has released album variants for TTPD in different sepia-toned colors with unique bonus tracks. Fans assembled them together and found a “Five Stages of Grief” chart that mirrors the colors, thus the theory was born that the album would be a literal interpretation of her breakup with Joe Alwyn and the ensuing grief she experienced.

The Apple Music intro implies, however, that the fan theory was what actually informed Swift’s decision to compile and release these five playlists, not the other way around. “And when Swifties agree upon a theory, Taylor takes an interest—so naturally, she’s responded by crafting a series of exclusive playlists, choosing songs of her own that fit each stage,” the intro reads.

ADVERTISEMENT

Below, dive into each playlist and its tracklist before The Tortured Poets Department comes out April 19.

Denial: I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life Songs
Taylor Swift’s message: “This is a list of songs about getting so caught up in the idea of something that you have a hard time seeing the red flags possibly resulting in moments of denial and maybe a little bit of delusion.”

Lavender Haze
Snow On The Beach
Sweet Nothing
Glitch
betty
willow
Cruel Summer
Lover
Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince
False God
Style
Wildest Dreams
Treacherous
Untouchable
That’s When
Ours
Superman
Bejeweled
Anger: You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad Songs
Taylor Swift’s message: “These songs all have one thing in common: I wrote them while feeling anger. Over the years I’ve learned that anger can manifest itself in a lot of different ways, but the healthiest way it can manifest itself in my life is when I can write a song about it.”

Vigilante Shit
High Infidelity
Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
exile
illicit affairs
mad woman
tolerate it
Bad Blood
Is It Over Now?
I Knew You Were Trouble
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
The Last Time
The Moment I Knew
Babe
I Bet You Think About Me
Dear John
Better Than Revenge
Tell Me Why
You’re Not Sorry
Forever & Always
Mr. Perfectly Fine

Bargaining: Am I Allowed to Cry? Songs
Taylor Swift’s message: “This playlist takes you through songs I’ve written when I was in the bargaining stage, times when you’re trying to make deals with yourself or someone you care about, you’re trying to make things better. You’re often times feeling really desperate because oftentimes we have a gut intuition that tells us things are not going the way that we hope. Which makes us more desperate. Which makes us bargain more!”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Great War
this is me trying
peace
The Archer
Cornelia Street
Death By A Thousand Cuts
Soon You’ll Get Better
Afterglow
I Wish You Would
Say Don’t Go
Come Back… Be Here
Better Man
The Story Of Us
Haunted
Come In With The Rain
The Other Side Of The Door
If This Was A Movie
Renegade
Depression: Old Habits Die Screaming Songs
Taylor Swift’s message: “We’re going to be exploring the feelings of depression that often lace their way through my songs. In times like these, I’ll write a song because I feel lonely or hopeless. And writing a song feels like the only way to process that intensity of an emotion. And while these things are really, really hard to go through, I often feel like when I’m either listening to songs or writing songs that deal with this intensity of loss and hopelessness — usually that’s in the phase where I’m close to getting passed that feeling.”

Bigger Than The Whole Sky
Dear Reader
Maroon
You’re Losing Me
my tears ricochet
epiphany
hoax
champagne problems
coney island
right where you left me
Nothing New
All Too Well
Forever Winter
e Were Happy
Last Kiss
Castles Crumbling
Carolina
White Horse

Midnight Rain
Labyrinth
the 1
august
invisible string
happiness
long story short
closure
evermore
it’s time to go
I Forgot That You Existed
Daylight
This Love
Clean
Now That We Don’t Talk
Begin Again
Innocent
Breathe

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