Taylor Swift at the 2024 Grammy Awards
The Taylor Swift Phenomenon Has Gripped the Word Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty

Taylor Swift. Or rather the Taylor Swift phenomenon has gripped the world yet again. Whether you're a die-hard Swiftie (or not so much), it's hard to deny she is a musical, cultural, and style force of a generation. She's also one of the most polarizing figures in pop culture (and maybe history). Like it or not Taylor Swift has become the reigning queen of a new breed of women we've dubbed "Lit" Girls — with more money, power, style, and mega-influence than ever before (discover all the "Lit" girls here). Even 90s rock icon Courtney Love has stated that Swift is "probably the Madonna of now. " Not to be misleading, as Love is firmly in the "Swift is overrated" school of thinking— Love unleashed in a recent interview with The Standard London claiming Swift "is not important" and stating the pop star "might be a safe space for girls, but she's not interesting as an artist."

Many, like BFFs Blake Lively, Ice Spice, the millions of Swifties around the world, and the legendary Stevie Nicks — a Swift fan-girl who penned a poem for the star's new album— would disagree. And if she were alive today, we suspect Clara Bow (a forgotten screen siren of the glamorous Jazz Era) would also be firmly in the pro-Taylor Swift camp. Like Swift, Bow was the celebrity It girl of the moment, celebrated and condemned in equal measure. This could explain why Taylor Swift has named a song after Clara Bow on her on her new album.

Ah yes, that new album. Unless you're living under a rock Swift has dropped her 11th studio album "The Tortured Poets Department". The highly anticipated arrival of TTPD, a 16-track album, kept Swifties up all night, but their Queen repaid them with the release of a surprise second album just two hours later. So now we have "The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology", which Music Times has hailed as "a brilliantly messy new album".

In true Swift style, all 31 songs feature lyrics layered with narratives of her personal and love life. Which is precisely what everyone is obsessing over. Including, we imagine Kim Kardashian who is a target in TTPD, along with Swift's most recent exes. There is just so much to unpack about Swift's new album, along with her polarization and mega influence on music, celebrity culture, and fashion that it's hard to know where to start. Here are a few Taylor Swift conversation starters that have taken over the global conversation right now.

"Clara Bow" is Proof Swift Knows She is Celebrated and Condemned
It might be the closing track on TTPD but "Clara Bow" is getting the most attention. A glamorous silent movie actress of the Jazz Era, Bow is considered Hollywood's first It girl, sex symbol and celebrity. Like Swift, Bow was a polarizing figure who lived her life under the glare of the spotlight. Swift's attraction to Bow speaks to the idea of two beautiful young, talented women who captured the zeitgeist only to be celebrated and condemned. And while this may have been the demise of Bow, the son is Swift's F-you to the world that no one is ever going to bring her down.

Stevie Nicks Wrote a Handwritten Poem for Taylor and TTPD

Love might be a hater but legendary Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks penned a personal poem for "The Tortured Poets Department," which appears in the album's opener. "For T," it reads, followed by "and me...," Swift and Nicks, performed together at the 2019 Grammy Awards and are mutual fans and friends. In June 2023 Nicks thanked Swift during a concert for writing the song "You're on Your Own, Kid," while she was mourning the loss of her Fleetwood Mac bandmate and cherished friend Christine McVie.

Taylor Swift Just Reignited Her Feud with Kim Kardashian

Fans are theorizing that Swift's song "thanK you aIMee" throws shade at Kim Kardashian. Their beef started back in 2009 when Ye (aka Kanye West) stole the microphone (and the moment) from Swift at the MTV VMA Awards. As the shell-shocked singer went on stage to accept her award for Best Female Video for "You Belong with Me" West ranted that it should have been Beyoncé winning for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". And it's been non-stop drama, bad blood (and an infamous leaked phone call) ever since. The first clue that suggests "thanK you aIMee," is a diss on Kim Kardashian is the capitalization of K, I, and M, in the track's title which spells out Kim. As for the lyrics, although Swift implies she is referring to a high school bully, it sounds like KK to us. "When I picture my hometown / There's a bronze, spray-tanned statue of you / And a plaque underneath it / That threatens to push me down the stairs at our school / And it was always the same searing pain / But I dreamed that one day I could say," Swift sings in the opening verse.

Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Kim Kardashians, 57th Grammy Awards
Taylor Swift reignited her feud with Kim Kardashian in The Tortured Poets Department Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

The Tortured Poets Department Celebrates Swift's Love Travis Kelce

Swift is now loved up and out and proud about her new partner Travis Kelce, famed tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. Once fiercely private about her relationships, Swift and Kelce have become known for their PDAs, matching outfits, and for igniting the worlds of music, sport and fashion. In her song "The Alchemy" there are plenty of Travis-inspired lyrics and sports references like touchdowns, winning, streaks and trophies. But it was the "Kiss, Kill, Marry" reference that got our attention. In the first verse of the song Swift sings "Are you gonna marry, kiss or kill me?," which is no doubt a reference to a 2016 interview when Kelce played a game of "Kill, Marry, Kiss" and chose to kiss Swift. The chorus also appears to be a declaration of her love. "So when I touch down / Call the amateurs and cut 'em from the team. Ditch the clowns, get the crown / Baby, I'm the one to be / 'Cause the sign on your heart / Said it's still reserved for me."

Taylor and Travis Super Bowl
Taylor and Travis celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl win on February 11, 2024. Courtesy of Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

TTPD Has Plenty of References to Her Past Ill-Fated Relationships

Swift's songs are often autobiographical and riff on her heartbreaks and "The Tortured Poets Department" includes a song about the death of her relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn. In "So Long, London, " Swift sings, "I stopped trying to make him laugh, stopped trying to drill the safe. I stopped CPR, after all, it's no use / The spirit was gone, we would never come to." The superstar also appears to do a major takedown on another ex, Matt Healy. She only dated the 1975 frontman for a few months back in 2023, but the title and lyrics of "The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived," seem to be in response to controversial comments he made about Swift as well as racist remarks about her BFF Ice Spice. The ferocious song hints at a man who "ghosted" and left and includes the lyrics: "In public showed me off / Then sank into stoned oblivion / Cause once your queen had come / You treat her like an also-ran. "Were you sent by someone who wanted me dead?"

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