Following the release of The Tortured Poets Department, Taylor Swift revealed the inspiration behind songs “Fortnight,” “Clara,” “Florida!!!,” “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?,” and “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys.”

On Monday, Amazon Music offered a playlist experience including track-by-track commentary from Swift on her latest album. Following the release of her surprise double album, Swift called the 31-track LP “an anthology of new works that reflect events, opinions and sentiments from a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time — one that was both sensational and sorrowful in equal measure.” The Tortured Poets Department became the most streamed album on Spotify the first day of its release, with more than 200 million streams in less than 24 hours.

When discussing “Fortnight,” featuring Post Malone, Swift explained the dramatic themes of life and death in the album’s first track, along with the message of fatalism, or the process of “longing, pinning away, lost dreams.”

“It’s about a dramatic, artistic tragic kind of take on love and loss,” Swift said about the first single. “‘Fortnight’ I always imagined that it took place in this American town where the American dream you thought would happen to you didn’t. You ended up not with the person that you loved and now you just have to live with that everyday, wondering what would’ve been maybe seeing them out. And that’s a pretty tragic concept really, so I was just writing from that perspective.”

In “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys,” Swift added the song is a metaphor for being a child’s favorite toy until the toy breaks and is discarded. Swift compares this example to feeling broken in a crumbling relationship. “We’re still clinging on to ‘No no, no,’” Swift shared. “You should’ve seen them the first time they saw me. They’ll come back to that. They’ll get back to that.’ So it’s kind of like a song about denial really so that you could live in this world where there’s still hope for a toxic, broken relationship.”

The singer also details “Florida,” featuring Florence + the Machine. Swift said she’s an avid Dateline watcher, and drew inspiration from the people escaping law, eager to start a new life. “I think when you go through a heartbreak, there’s a part of you that thinks, ‘I want a new name. I want a new life. I don’t want anyone to know where I’ve been or know me at all.’ And so that was the jumping off point behind, ‘Where would you go to reinvent yourself and blend in? Florida!’”

For the 14th track, “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?,” Swift discussed reaching pop stardom as a teenager and its impact on her self image. She shared that as a public figure, “the world has this sense of ownership,” and how people are quick to judge and critique her behavior. Swift wrote the song alone at a piano in a bitter state, she said, contemplating how society treats glamorized artists.

“What do we do to our writers, and our artists, and our creatives?” Swift said. “We put them through hell. We watch what they create, then we judge it. We love to watch artists in pain, often to the point where I think sometimes as a society we provoke that pain, and we just watch what happens.”


When describing the final track “Clara Bow,” Swift delved into her experience in the entertainment industry, specifically how record labels treat young female artists looking for a record deal. Swift describes Clara Bow as a the first “It Girl,” and Stevie Nicks as an inspiration for up and coming songwriters and artists.

“So, I had this idea that it’s a conversation between the young woman sitting in the chair in front of the desk, and the man in power or woman in power sitting behind the desk saying ‘Oh you remind me so much of a woman who came before you but don’t worry, you’re better,’” Swift said. “‘We’re going to make you the new her.’ So I picked women who have done great things in the past and have been these archetypes of greatness in the entertainment industry.”

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