Taylor Swift's TTPD album reviewer's byline removed due to ‘threats of violence’ - Hindustan Times
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Taylor Swift's TTPD album reviewer's byline removed due to ‘threats of violence’

Apr 21, 2024 02:25 PM IST

Taylor Swift's TTPD album has garnered mixed reactions, and one such critic review even opted for the anonymous route for the author's safety.

Inserting an editor's note with their latest review of Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department album, Paste Magazine announced earlier that they had removed the author's byline in their attempts to protect them from “threats of violence.”

FILE PHOTO: Taylor Swift accepts the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for Midnights during the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 4, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Taylor Swift accepts the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for Midnights during the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 4, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo(REUTERS)

Music albums often divide fans and critics of a particular artist's work. With Taylor Swift being one of the biggest music acts in the world, the stakes are even higher. The Anti-Hero diva has an army of fans by her side, ready to jump the gun when defending their favourite singer. Per Paste's remarks, the magazine had witnessed a similar unravelling of mishaps in 2019 when the media reviewed Taylor's Lover album. With alleged ruthless threats pouring in against the writer, the staff decided to drop any name attached to the article.

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Paste wrote on X/Twitter: “Editor’s Note: There is no byline on this review because, in 2019, when Paste reviewed ‘Lover,’ the writer was sent threats of violence from readers who disagreed with the work. We care more about the safety of our staff than a name attached to an article.”

What does Taylor Swift's TTPD album review say?

Titled “Taylor Swift Strikes Out Looking on The Tortured Poets Department,” the Paste review gave the pop diva's 11th studio album a 3.6 rating. It opens with a lede claiming that on her new album, Taylor “can't help but infantilise the very people who buy into her music and drive her successes upwards in the first place.”

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Myriads of Swifties praised Taylor's latest album for name-dropping several notable literary figures. They've even gone as far as juxtaposing Swift's writing style with poets of the olden era. In 2023, eminent Shakespeare expert and Oxford professor Sir Jonathan Bate lauded her “literary sensibility” and likened her writings to the timeless Bard in a piece for The Sunday Times Magazine.

For her brand-new music piece, the pop star again compelled listeners to pick up a book, almost as if assigning them a reading list with countless allusions to literary references. Imageries of The Great Gatsby, Macbeth, The Secret Garden and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, references to Patti Smith, Dylan Thomas, the ever-present Emily Dickinson undertones, Greek mythology and more make it to her double-feature surprise record.

However, Paste Magazine makes its sentiments on her music as clear as daylight from the word go, stating, “Sylvia Plath did not stick her head in an oven for this!”

The anonymous critic's review pans out by bashing her songwriting abilities, berating her TTPD lyricism as the “worst…to date.” Amplifying the criticism, the reviewer also put her fans' declaration of her as the “songwriter of the century” into question. Addressing the album's “mid-ness," the Paste critic claimed that TTPD seemed to result from a rut wherein the “artist making it no longer feels challenged.”

Calling out all supposed “hackneyed grasps at relevance," the author slammed Tortured Poets of Department from all directions possible, but left some room for air, regarding it as “not all rubbish.”

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In response to the TTPD review, though not everyone agreed with the claims made therein, some acknowledged the outlet's decision to protect their staff. “They don't deserve to be hunted for having an opinion on art,” wrote an observer on X/Twitter. Yet, another point of view completely rubbished the notion, barely envisioning the article as a review and more of a “gossip article” instead.

Regardless of some emerging negative reviews, the latest Taylor Swift album sold 1.4 million pure sales on its first day of release in the US (per Billboard). It has now become the top-selling album of 2024 thus far.

 

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