The Student News Site of West Delaware High School


The Student News Site of West Delaware High School


The Student News Site of West Delaware High School


Wearing blue, over 100 students pose for a photo to show support.
Blue For Hunter Goodman
Lili Shappell, Staff • May 23, 2024
No backpacks will be allowed in classrooms beginning with the 2024-25 school year.
The Banning of Backpacks
Seth Goebel, Staff • May 21, 2024
Seth Jackson (11), Clark Morris (11), Levi Wilson-Bries (11), Christian Timmerman (11), and Nick Mensen (12) participate in state track.
Jumping for State Track
Lili Shappell, Staff • May 21, 2024
The cast of WDHA Radio performs their final scene.
WDHA Radio Takes Center Stage
Liz Sleper, Staff • April 5, 2024
Zach Wenger looks ahead during the state cross country meet, finishing the race with a 20:33.
Boredom Fuels Success
Liz Sleper, Staff • November 13, 2023
As a member of the panel, senior welding apprentice R.J. Helmrichs answers a question at the Work-based Learning Tour held at Henderson Products on Monday, Sept. 11.
Work Based Learning Tour
Keevan Hauschild, Staff • September 18, 2023
Memphis Voelker (9) grins as he walks up Lost Beach on Lake Delhi.
Shredding Through Summer
Lexi Harbach, Staff • March 21, 2022

All’s Fair In Love And Poetry: Taylor Swift’s New Album Stuns

“The Tortured Poets Department” reviewed
Liz Sleper
Sophomore Grace Sleper makes a heart with her hands at Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour,” one of Swift’s signature gestures.

When you think of a song about a teenage love story, chances are your thoughts turn to Taylor Swift. However, her brand new album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” is a stunning contrast to the innocence of her previous records, with adult heartbreak bleeding through nearly every song. 

On tracks like “So Long, London,” “loml,” and “How Did It End?” Swift seemingly reminisces on her previous relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn, and the lyrics are devastating in the best way. Then, she adds some levity to the album with songs like “imgonnagetyouback,” “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” and “Down Bad” whose upbeat melodies are almost designed to be radio hits, though many of the lyrics from these tracks cut deep anyway.

Senior Liz Sleper, junior Josie McMahon, and sophomores Reagan Reeder and Grace Sleper smile before Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour.” (Liz Sleper)

However, there is so much poetry in “The Tortured Poets Department” that the album sometimes feels cluttered, full of beautiful words that lack concrete meaning. Many a listener had to google words like “petulance” and “sanctimonious,” because though it feels like you should know what they mean, you don’t. 

Swift is surely a poet, but upon first listen, this type of vague lyricism doesn’t lend itself to an album full of songs that are meant to tell a story. 

Of course, Swift is a mastermind, and a self-proclaimed one at that, so all criticism of “The Tortured Poets Department” is nitpicky. Overall, the album is a masterpiece, a perfect breakup album, a scream-in-the-car album, and one of Swift’s best feats of songwriting. 

Never have Swift’s songwriting skills been more apparent, in fact, than on “The Tortured Poets Department.” 

Here is some of the best poetry from the album:

On track six, “loml,” Swift writes, “You talked me under the table/Talking rings and talking cradles/I wish I could un-recall/How we almost had it all.” These lyrics describe a relationship that was built on hopes and dreams and then came crashing down. At the end of the song, Swift turns the titular phrase on its head, whispering, “You’re the loss of my life.” 

Changing a familiar phrase to fit her narrative is a trope that’s worked for the singer throughout her entire career, and it reappears in “The Black Dog,” where the singer shouts, “Old habits die screaming.”

The legend of track five is a piece of Swiftian lore, as every track five on each of the singer’s albums has gained a reputation for being the most emotional, heartbreaking song on the record. “So Long, London,” may be one of her better track fives.

Seniors Emma Hogan and Izzy Schmitz pose at Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour.” (Izzy Schmitz)

The song is a goodbye to the city of London, England, where Swift spent much of her time during her previous relationship with actor Joe Alwyn. Lyrics like “I’m p***** off you let me give you all that youth for free,” and “You swore that you loved me but where were the clues?/ I died on the altar waiting for the proof,” seemingly call out Alwyn and their six-year relationship that didn’t end in marriage. 

The song, sonically, is reminiscent of her previous album “reputation,” but lyrically paints a portrait of a dying relationship and all of Swift’s vanished dreams of marriage and a family. 

Track number 13, Swift’s favorite number, is titled “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.” The glittery pop synth that Swift has become known for makes an appearance on this song, serving as a fun contrast to the lyrics, which are about Swift’s emotions during her recent world tour. “Lights, camera, and smile, even when you wanna die/He said he’d love me all his life,” she sings. “All the pieces of me shattered as the crowd was chanting, ‘More.’” 

This is perhaps the most ironic song in Swift’s entire discography, as the song is about how Swift was on tour for her fans while going through heartbreak. The song itself is a product of the internal promises Swift has made to her fans, yet it’s about how hard it’s been to deliver these things to them.

Seniors Audrey Jolley, Mia Hodson, Stephanie LaRosa, Maggie Millenkamp, Luca Smith, and junior Olivia Halverson pose together during Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour.” (Audrey Jolley)

Taylor Swift is an enigma; she is constantly planning, dropping clues, and winking joyously to her devoted fans. She meticulously plans every aspect of her life just to give her fans something to analyze and dissect, because it’s fun. “The Tortured Poets Department” is no exception—it’s full of allusions to the singer’s personal life, past albums, and inner thoughts. 

It’s clear that Swift went through real heartbreak. And the way she coped with it (lucky for us) was to write songs and sing them—reminding everyone that Swift is a human being, rather than this larger-than-life figure the world has turned her into. And that is exactly why people love her. 


Inklings Staff Score: 8.8/10

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About the Contributors
Liz Sleper
Liz Sleper, Staff
Hey! I’m Liz Sleper, a senior here at West Delaware. I’m super involved in extracurriculars; I participate in musical, all-state choir, all-state speech, student council, NHS, play, and journalism, and I run the spirit squad Twitter page. In my spare time (I don’t have much), you can find me lifting, skiing in the winter, watching my siblings’ sports games, watching scary movies, or playing guitar (badly). In the summer, I lifeguard and teach swim lessons at the Kramer Aquatic Center! I plan on attending the University of Iowa to major in Journalism and Mass Communications, hopefully also on a pre-law track. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the yearbook team this year, and I’m looking forward to new experiences and opportunities!
Audrey Jolley
Audrey Jolley, Staff
Hi all! My name is Audrey Jolley and I am a senior at West Delaware. I am extremely involved here at school being a part of cross country, student council, musical, the Vocal All-State process, speech, All-State Speech, play, NHS, and show choir. In my spare time, I love to hang out with my friends and family. I have jobs at Fareway, Lori French Travel/La Beach Bum Tanning, and I lifeguard during the summer. After school, I plan to go into secondary education for high school English teaching.

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