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Taylor Swift Added Fuel to Joe Alwyn Theories on ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Taylor Swift performed her first of four shows in Tokyo last night and very generously gave the crowd more intel on her upcoming album, The Tortured Poets Department. She also added fuel to fan theories that the album could be focused on the end of her six-year romance with Joe Alwyn.

Swift shared that she began writing songs immediately after her previous album Midnights was finished. For reference, Swift announced Midnights at the MTV VMAs on Aug. 28, 2022, although the exact date she finished it privately is unknown.

Last night, she said she has been working on The Tortured Poets Department for two years, meaning she had started by late January or early February 2022.

Swift told the crowd, “I’ve been working on Tortured Poets since right after I turned in Midnights. So you turn in an album months in advance so you can make finals, make sure it’s the best. So I started working on it immediately after that, and I’ve been working on it for about two years. I kept working on it throughout the U.S. tour and when it was perfect in my opinion, when it was good enough for you, I finished it. And I am so, so excited. Soon you’ll get to hear it. Soon we’ll get to experience that together. And I’m just like, I’m over the moon about the fact that you guys care about my music. It still blows my mind. I love doing this. I know I keep saying that, but that’s because it’s true. Everyone’s like, ‘Why do you make so many albums?’ I’m like, ‘Man, because I love it! I love it so much. I’m having fun. Leave me alone.’”

It is worth noting that one of Swift’s bonus tracks for Midnights, “You’re Losing Me,” was the first track really speculated by fans to be about her Joe Alwyn breakup. Jack Antonoff later revealed that the song was written on Dec. 5, 2021, shortly before Swift likely started working on The Tortured Poets Department.

It isn’t tough to imagine, given her Tortured Poets track list includes a song called “So Long, London” (the city British actor Alwyn and Swift spent so much time in), that the project might explore her feelings as their romance faded.

News of Swift and Alwyn’s split broke on April 8, 2023. A source told People that the couple, who dated very privately throughout their relationship, had been more on-off in secret than people knew. “They’ve had rough patches before and always worked things out, so friends thought they would take some time apart but eventually come back together,” a source said on April 10, 2023. Swift and Alwyn realized “ultimately, [they] weren't the right fit for one another,” they added.

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