The 5 tracks you need to hear from Taylor Swift's surprise 'Tortured Poets' companion

Taylor Swift just can’t stop.

Two hours after she dropped her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” late Thursday night, the pop superstar revealed that the LP’s 16 tracks represent just half of what she described as “a secret DOUBLE album.” The other half, she added, comprises 15 more songs and completes a massive collection called “The Anthology” that’s all but certain to take up nearly one-third of Billboard’s Hot 100 when its tracks hit the charts.

On first listen, the bonus material mostly lives up (or down) to its billing — big outtake energy, in other words, as in “Cassandra,” which hits like a lesser version of Swift’s “Cardigan” (from 2020’s “Folklore”) and “The Prophecy,” which suggests that Taylor might be a serious Sufjan Stevens fan . Still, a handful of cuts stand out. Here are five to savor:

‘So High School’

Inspired, one presumes, by Swift’s relationship with Travis Kelce, this fuzzed-out guitar jam about watching “American Pie” on a Saturday night is exactly what it would sound like if the indie-rock band Alvvays covered Hilary Duff’s “So Yesterday.” (Speaking of secret albums, it also evokes thoughts of the legendary mid-‘90s bubble-grunge record Mariah Carey made under the name Chick.) Come for the line where she tells her dude to “touch me while your bros play Grand Theft Auto”; stay for the psychotic (if touching!) request to “tell me ’bout the first time you saw me.”

‘thanK you aIMee’

Those haphazard capital letters — K, I and M — point toward the real-world subject of this folky midtempo number, another flashback to adolescence in which Swift’s old nemesis Kim Kardashian appears to be cast in the role of high-school bully. Good fodder for the stan wars on social media, though “thanK you aIMee” has nothing on Swift’s “Betty,” perhaps the best song any non-teenager has written in recent memory about the emotional stakes of the teen years.

‘Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus’

A lovely chamber-folk ditty about two lovers keeping painful track of each other long after the end of their toxic romance. “If you wanna break my cold, cold heart,” Swift sings, “just say, ‘I loved you the way that you were.’”


“The Anthology” is a bit long on mournful acoustic numbers, which is why the velvet-hammer beat here feels so welcome. Lyrically, the concept — do I want revenge or a reunion? — is basically a redo of “Get Him Back!” by Swift’s successor Olivia Rodrigo. Wonder if Olivia’s heard it yet?

‘I Hate It Here’

It’s incredible that nobody on Swift’s team advised her against singing about a game she and her friends used to play in which they’d pick a decade from history they’d have liked to live in. Her insane answer to this prompt? “I’d say the 1830s but without all the racists.”

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