Though details of the project are scarce, “The Tortured Poets Department” will be unveiled April 19. The cover art sees Swift reclining on a bed in black lingerie, courtesy of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion line.
Much of the buzz thus far has been focused on the album’s cryptic title, which some believe is a nod to Swift’s former boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. Immediately after the Grammys, footage of a 2022 Variety discussion between Alwyn and fellow actor Paul Mescal resurfaced in which the pair alluded to a WhatsApp group chat they had with Mescal’s “All of Us Strangers” co-star, Andrew Scott.
“It’s the Tortured Man Club, I think,” Alwyn says in the clip. “It’s me, you — and Andrew Scott started the group.”
Joe Alwyn and Paul Mescal have a WhatsApp group with Andrew Scott called "The Tortured Man Club."
"It hasn't had much use recently," Alwyn says.
"I feel like we're less tortured now," Mescal quips. https://t.co/CSai4ScQpzpic.twitter.com/veCp1ZdFsD
— Variety (@Variety) December 15, 2022
At the time of the chat, the group chat hadn’t been recently used because, as Mescal put it, the three men were collectively feeling “less tortured.”
Alwyn and Swift split in April of last year, roughly four months after the interview was published. The former couple dated for about six years in total.
Though Swift isn’t likely to divulge the genesis of her forthcoming album’s title, she was notably photographed at the Grammys with fellow musician Phoebe Bridgers.
From left: Lana Del Rey, Phoebe Bridgers, Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff at the 2024 Grammy Awards.
As it turns out, Bridgers ― who was the night’s biggest winner with a total of four awards ― dated Mescal for about three years. Though timelines of the relationship vary, their breakup was publicly confirmed around February 2023.
Even if “The Tortured Poets Department” is a nod to Alwyn, his split from Swift may not have provided the kind of fiery tension known to inspire a great pop song or two.
According to People, the former couple had simply “grown apart” by the end.
“Taylor didn’t see them working out in the long run,” a source told the publication last year. “They are friendly. She doesn’t have anything bad to say about Joe.”