Swifties Think 'The Tortured Poets Department' Album Covers Represent the Five Stages of Grief

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These Tortured Poets Covers Have a Deeper MeaningInstagram
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Hello, hi, we’re here to talk about—what else?—Taylor Swift’s upcoming album The Tortured Poets Department. Specifically, a super interesting theory fans have about the black and white photography in the album's various editions. But to get us caught up real quick:

Fans Already Think the Album Title References Joe Alwyn

There's speculation that The Tortured Poets Department is a reference to Joe's group chat with Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott called "The Tortured Man Club."


There's Compelling Evidence That "The Bolter" and "The Albatross" Are About Him

We have breakdowns of Joe references in bonus song "The Bolter" here, and in bonus song "The Albatross" here.


And Then There's the Release Date...

Which appears to be a not-that-subtle reference to several Joe coded events.


Kay, to the theory!!! Taylor announced Tortured Poets at the Grammys and then dropped the first album cover, featuring a moody black and white photo of herself lying down:

She then revealed the The Bolter edition while playing a show in Melbourne, ft. another black and white image in a slightly different color way.

Taylor then announced The Albatross edition while performing in Sydney, featuring yet another black and white photo of herself in yet another slightly tone:

At this point, fans clocked the shifting hues and started to come up with theories — specifically that The Tortured Poets Department variant colors represent the five stages of grief:

  • denial

  • anger

  • bargaining

  • depression

  • acceptance

Taylor obviously has a long and compelling history of using easter eggs, but this might be her most complex and ingenious yet. And if fans are on the right track with the whole "stages of grief" thing, we should expect Taylor to reveal two more editions with two more bonus tracks—potentially at one of her upcoming performances. Reminder: she's about to play a ton of shows in Singapore, before taking a break in April and heading to France in May. Soooo...stay tuned!

A Quick Refresher on Taylor Swift’s Complete Dating History and Exes

Photo credit: David Krieger/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: David Krieger/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

Does the Tom Hiddleston era really count at this point??? Help.

A Handy-Dandy Timeline of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce's Relationship for Ya

Photo credit: Patrick Smith - Getty Images
Photo credit: Patrick Smith - Getty Images

Alexa, play “...Ready for It?”

Just Calculated Taylor Swift’s Net Worth and Now I’m Crying

Photo credit: Hector Vivas/TAS23 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Hector Vivas/TAS23 - Getty Images

Correction: screaming!

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