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Who Are The Tortured Poets Department Songs About?

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Swifties know that Taylor writes from the heart and her personal experiences. Boyfriends know that too, ahem. And if they don’t, well, they usually figure it out when the song (likely) written about them drops. With Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department album out now, I took a beat to place my best guess on just who she’s talking about in each song. So who are the Tortured Poets Department songs written about? I fully admit I’m clowning a bit (because she never confirms ANYTHING EVER), but… some feel pretty obvious. Here are my guesses. Feel free to share yours!

Who are the-tortured-poets-department songs about

What’s On The TTPD Album? Song List

  1. “Fortnight” (feat. Post Malone)
  2. “The Tortured Poets Department”
  3. “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys”
  4. “Down Bad”
  5. “So Long, London”
  6. “But Daddy I Love Him”
  7. “Fresh Out the Slammer”
  8. “Florida!!!” (feat. Florence + the Machine)
  9. “Guilty As Sin?”
  10. “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”
  11. “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)”
  12. “loml”
  13. “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart”
  14. “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”
  15. “The Alchemy”
  16. “Clara Bow”
  17. Bonus track: “The Manuscript”
taylor swift ttpd songs

Which Taylor Swift Ex Is Each Song On The Tortured Poets Department About?

I love a good mystery and the genesis of Taylor’s lyrics are mysteries I love to dive into.

Will I ever know the truth? Nope.

But it’s still kinda fun to listen to the songs, read the lyrics, and make some guesses related to the relationship stories we’re hearing. And honestly, we’re talking things from a literal standpoint here.

I fully recognize so much of her works are metaphors and stories, but… let’s clown.

So join me in deciphering which Taylor Swift ex is each song on TTPD about!


This one… Matty Healy.

I loved the beat and vibe, and I love Post Malone, but I can’t figure out these lyrics. Do you have any guesses?

Verdict: Likely Matty Healy

The Tortured Poets Department

The title song is a bop, with some wild phrases.

I scratch your head you fall asleep
Like a tattooed golden retriever

Matty. Sounds like Matty

But then there’s this part:

At dinner you take my ring off my middle finger
And put it on the one people put wedding rings on
And that’s the closest I’ve come to my heart exploding.

That kinda feels like Joe Alwyn, right?

Verdict: we’re going with mostly Matty Healy

ttpd songs

My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

She said on iHeart Radio that this was about looking for the good in a toxic relationship.

Toxic sounds like Joe Alwyn’s relationship to me.

Oh, here we go again
The voices in his head
Called a ring to end our days of wild
The sickest army doll purchased at the mall
Rivulets to send my plastic smile

But you should’ve seen it when he first got me

Verdict: Joe Alwyn

Down Bad

Did you really beam me up?
In a cloud of sparkling dust
Just to do experiments on
Tell me I was the chosen one
Showed me this world is bigger than us
Then sent me back where I came from
For a moment I knew cosmic love

Verdict: Matty

So Long London

AKA f@ck you, Joe, I tried.

Pulled him in tighter each time he was drifting away
My spine split from carrying us up the hill
Wet through my clothes, weary bones caught the chill
I stopped trying to make him laugh, stopped trying to drill the safe

Verdict: Joe Alwyn

But Daddy I Love Him

So here’s a shocker…

Is this a Travis Kelce, CURRENT boyfriend, song?

Because… I think it is? At least the last lines feel Travis. The first part certainly yell Matty.

Think of the “getaway car” after that first game.

I’m telling him to floor it through the fences,
No I’m not coming to my senses
I know he’s crazy, but he’s the one I want

I’ll tell you something right now
I’d rather burn my whole life down
Than listen to one more second of all this b!tching and moaning
I’ll tell you something about my good name,
It’s mine alone to disgrace
I don’t cater to all these vipers dressed in empath’s clothing
God save the most judgmental creeps who say they want what’s best for me,

Sanctimoniously performing soliloquies, I’ll never see
Thinking it can change the beat of my heart when he touches me
And counteract the chemistry and undo the destiny
You ain’t gotta pray for me
Me and my wild boy and all this wild joy
If all you want is grey for me, then it’s just white noise, then it’s just my choice
There’s a lotta people in town that I bestow upon my fakest smiles
Scandal does funny things to pride but brings lovers closer
We came back when the heat died down, went to my parents and they came around
All the wine moms are still holding out but f—k ‘em, it’s over

Verdict: Mostly Matty, but Travis Kelce enters the TTPD chat

TTPD taylor

Fresh Out the Slammer

Okay, I fully admit I have a huge Travis Kelce bias. I want all the Travis songs!

But this one has to be a Matty song.

Now pretty baby, I’m running
To the house
We still wait up in that porchlight gleams
To the one who says I’m the girl of his American dreams
And no matter what I’ve done it wouldn’t matter anyway
Ain’t no way I’m gonna screw up now that I know what’s at stake here
At the park where we used to sit on children’s swings
Wearing imaginary rings
But it’s gonna be alright, I did my time

Verdict: referencing Joe and transitions to Matty


Taylor told iHeart that Florida!!! is someplace that everyone goes to when they need to reinvent themselves. She saw it on Dateline- and as a True Crime girlie, can confirm. They all go to Florida.


Florida, is one hell of a drug
Florida, can I use you?
I need to forget, so take me to Florida
I’ve got some regrets, I’ll bury them in Florida

Verdict: Matty Healy

Guilty as Sin?

What if he’s written “mine” on my upper thigh only in my mind?
One slip I’m falling back into the hedge maze, oh what a way to die
My bedsheets are ablaze,
I screamed his name
Building up like waves crashing over my grave
Without ever touching his skin
How can I be guilty as sin?

I don’t know, but this one is HOT. Like… pass the spray bottle, Blanche.

Verdict: YOU TELL ME (Maybe this is a Matty song)

taylor swift ttpd songs about ex boyfriends

Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?

The scandal was contained,
The bullet had just grazed
At all costs keep your good name
You don’t get to tell me you feel bad
Is it a wonder I broke?
Let’s hear one more joke
Then we could all just laugh until I cry

Who’s afraid of little old me?
Well you should be

Yeah… this just feels like someone who spent way too many years being gaslit and decided to come out swinging.

Get em, Tay.

Verdict: Joe Alwyn

I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)

Which guy needed fixing? Which guy did the Swifties hate the most?


They shake their heads, saying, “God help her” when I tell ‘em he’s my man
But your good Lord doesn’t need to lift a finger
I can fix him, no really I can
And only I can

Verdict: Matty


First of all, this one will kill me for all time. What a sad gut-wrenching song, Swifties!

And your suit and tie, in the nick of time
You low-down boy, you stand-up guy
Holy ghost, you told me I’m the love of your life
You said I’m the love of your life
About a million times

This one is giving 100% Matty vibes. Most casual Swifties (is there a thing?) didn’t realize Matty was a long situationship, not just a 2-3 week fling last May. This relationship goes back 10 years.

A long relationship talking about getting married, then dying?

Verdict: sadly, a Matty Healy song all the way

I Can Do It With a Broken Heart

Oh, but wait, you thought that was sad? Listen to this one.

Man… Tay Tay! You are killing us with this one.

A bop that breaks our hearts: classic Taylor Swift

He said he’d love me all his life
But that life was too short
Breaking down, I hit the floor
All thе pieces of me shattеred as the crowd was chanting “More”
I was grinnin’ like I’m winnin’
I was hitting my marks
‘Cause I can do it with a broken heart (One, two, three)

Verdict: Taylor Swift- on tour, but working on getting over the Yogurt Boy & the Bad Boy

The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived

I don’t even have to hear it. I know who this describes.

Verdict: Matty Healy

I think she mixed these two dudes together to give one teeny tiny little man. Clearly, I’m not happy with the way these two dudes treated her.

Okay, so here’s the lyrics as supportive evidence:

You crashed my party and your rental car
You said normal girls were “boring”
But you were gone by the morning
You kicked out the stage lights, but you’re still performing
And in plain sight you hid
But you are what you did
And I’ll forget you, but I’ll never forgive
The smallest man who ever lived

Yep, Matty.

The Alchemy


Right? RIGHT.

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
Honestly, who are we to fight thе alchemy?

Shirts off, and your friends lift you up, over their heads
Beer stickin’ to the floor, cheers chanted ’cause they said
“There was no chance trying to be the greatest in the league”
Where’s the trophy? He just comes, running over to me

Verdict: Travis Kelce

Clara Bow

You look like Taylor Swift
In this light, we’re loving it
You’ve got edge, she never did
The future’s bright, dazzling

Sounds like a Taylor song to me!

Also- side note, she’s rumored to be Dazzler in Deadpool 3 and can’t help but peep those lyrics

This town is fake but you’re the real thing
Breath of fresh air through smoke rings
Take the glory, give everything
Promise to be dazzling

Just kinda fun to wonder about these new songs. And I might change my mind over the next 80,000 listens… I reserve that right, natch.

What do you think?

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