Grab your typewriters, Swifties. We’re heading into The Tortured Poets Department. It is black and white and shades of gray. It is angry, melancholy, and introspective, and it may take a fortnight or more to decode Swift’s cryptic messages. You will need a dictionary.

A holiday of Swiftian proportions, on April 19, Taylor Swift released her eleventh studio album The Tortured Poets Department—and at 2am its surprise double The Anthology. With a whopping 31 Swift songs to listen to, memorize, and unpack, the Chairman of The Tortured Poets Department (as Taylor has been referring to herself) has given us several thick files. But why?

Critics and fans alike have worked to understand Tortured Poets and what the songs mean. Who is this about? When did this happen? What song does this sound like? For some, this is an exclusive trip into Taylor’s mind. For others, it’s entirely too much. Debating who is right will probably give X users plenty to talk about until her next album or at least until The Eras Tour returns for its next leg in May. Ultimately, though, it seems that what Taylor wants is not a new Era. She knows even posting a single emoji will “let the games begin.” With the heavy-handed albeit colorless aesthetics of Tortured Poets, Taylor has dressed a very Taylor Swift album in the clothes of a concept album. In the end, everyone from casual fans to diehards to critics, will end up undressing and revealing their most pretentious opinions as they take her story and turn it into their own.

For fans that want to know the “who’s who of who’s that” for each song, digging into the goodbye that is “So Long, London” will let them mourn their relationship with Taylor’s relationship with Joe Alwyn as they parse through the relationships outlined in each verse of “But Daddy I Love Him” Didn’t it seem so simple when it was just a Love Story? Everything was solved with a “yes.” Either way, Taylor will get to see the looks on everyone’s faces as they generate new gossip about her love life which is entirely her point. “I’m havin’ his baby. No, I’m not, but you should see your faces,” she laughs on “But Daddy I Love Him,” she sings. This is just the beginning of her peeling back her understanding of her fan’s relationship with her icon status. “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” is as biting as any of Taylor’s angry heartbroken songs but maybe meaner, a role she is rarely allowed, than we’ve ever seen her. But she’ll let us have some of her joy, too. “So High School” might be the most unserious “Glitter Gel Pen” song we get on the album as she sings about her now-beloved “football boyfriend” Travis Kelce.

Members of The Tortured Poets Department who are a little more subdued (and less drama-hungry) might notice some other themes pouring from Taylor’s ink-stained fingers. “The Albatross” and “How Did It End?” are an autopsy of the way the media and public mine her relationships for entertainment and her reputation for being a dangerous potential lover (think “Blank Space”). “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” is a devastating “Fountain Pen” song hidden behind a glittering beat that reminds listeners that Taylor puts on a big show, but she is a person and her emotions and experiences go deeper than her stage persona. “Lights, camera, b*tch, smile!” “Clara Bow” turns this analysis on the music industry, hungry for new talent, but never really more talent. Who can replace the last big name? Clara Bow becomes Stevie Nicks becomes Taylor Swift.

The lovesick Swiftie will likely find a lot to love here. From “Down Bad,” which reminds us that Taylor can write about the dramatics of love in “screaming, crying, perfect storms,” as much as she can take us from one delicate moment to the next, to “The Bolter” who gives up on love before it takes a turn for the worst. “The Black Dog” shows us betrayal while “I Look in People’s Windows” takes us back to “The Outside.” Taylor has given us a card catalog of nooks and crannies to cry in whether you’re reflecting on the love or loss of your life.

There are so many ways to read Tortured Poets, and it seems that is the point. In the final track of The Anthology, “The Manuscript,” Taylor lets all of the reflections, diaries, and lyrics go. They’re out of her hands. Tortured Poets is the death of the author at its finest. Taylor is so big she is towering over her music (her “Anti-Hero” fears realized), and while you may need a bit of Tay-lore to get through these sometimes dense lines, it’s up to you to find meaning in these lines. She owns the lyrics, but she will never be able to control the interpretations. Do with it what you will. Taylor is going to live her own life, and the truth will always belong to her.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.