All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (2024)

The Mastermind Taylor Swift’s brand new album The Tortured Poets Department is finally here and Swifties are Down Bad to find all the easter eggs and clues she talks about in the album. In the seasonal pop heartbreak album, Swift name-drops quite a few celebrities and places. So, today, we’ll be getting down to all the name drops Taylor Swift has in her new album TTPD.

TTPD turned out to be a double album. The original album dropped on midnight of April 19, and only two hours later, while Swifties were still emotional and overwhelmed with its 16 soul-stirring tracks, Taylor announced yet another version. The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology features 15 new songs — bringing the total to 31 that she wrote while performing to sold-out stadiums at the Eras Tour, the biggest musical tour of all time. Most songs of the album take shots at her previous relationships with Joe Alwyn and Matty Healy, and addresses the criticism she faces as a successful woman in the music industry.

Despite its sombre undertones, the album’s synth-pop productions and occasional love songs, which were influenced by Travis Kelce, add a touch of brightness. With the star power of Swift, TTPD has already become the most streamed album on a single day, making Taylor the most streamed artist on a single day on Spotify. The lead single Fortnight has garnered enough plays to become the most-streamed song in a single day on the platform.

The title of the album, The Tortured Poets Department, carries a literary aura that we’ve unearthed in her songwriting skills time and again. One song name that stood out upon the release of the tracklist was Clara Bow, who is an iconic American actress known to be the first ‘It Girl.’ Fans quickly became curious about why her name was used in Swift’s song, and wondered about the reasoning behind the reference. As it turns out, Taylor Swift name-dropped several celebrities and landmarks throughout TTPD, each in a unique context. So, today, we are deep-diving into those personalities and landmarks and the context in which Swift uses their names.

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD)

Charlie Puth

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (1)

One line from the title track of the album The Tortured Poets Department got immediate attention from the fans, and that is when Taylor sings “You smoked then ate seven bars of chocolate / We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist”.

Charlie Puth is an American singer-songwriter and music producer. His early success came from the viral song covers, which he posted on YouTube. Soon, he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and signed with eleveneleven in 2011, where he also wrote and produced songs for other singers. Eventually, he left the label and signed with Atlantic Records and Artist Partner Group and released his debut single Marvin Gaye (featuring Meghan Trainor) in 2015.

The talented signer-songwriter has since then released hit after hit and collaborated with artists like Wiz Khalifa for See You Again, Selena Gomez for We Don’t Talk Anymore, and BTS Jungkook for Left & Right among others. He also wrote several songs for other artists like So Am I by Ava Max, Broke by Jason Derulo feat. Stevie Wonder & Keith Urban, Celebrate by Pitbull, Bedroom Floor by Liam Payne, and Stay by The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber.

The sheer volume of songs Puth has written for other artists in completely different musical styles speaks volumes about his musical comprehension. Despite contributing extensively to the music industry for more than a decade, Puth’s level of recognition has not always matched his talent. So, when Swift said “Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist” it deeply resonated with the fans. By the recent Google Trends search results, it seems like Swifties are on the case.

It’s unconfirmed if the two artists are actually friends, but they are probably on friendly terms. Puth has covered some of Taylor’s big hits on his YouTube channel and TayTay has called him the “piano prince” on TikTok when he welcomed her in joining the platform.

Dylan Thomas And Patti Smith

You can trust Taylor to put in the most unexpected comparisons and imagery in her songs. Before Taylor Swift mentions Charlie Puth, she name drops two more people in the title track of TTPD. She sings “You’re not Dylan Thomas, I’m not Patti Smith / This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel, we’rе modern idiots“.

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (2)

In her song, she compares her partner with Dylan Thomas who is arguably the most well-known Welsh poet of all time, best known for his works Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Under Milk Wood, and Fern Hill. He was famous for his profoundly lyrical and emotional poetry and tumultuous personal life, and his romantic literary persona and self-destructive skills make him the perfect poster boy for ‘tortured poets’. Unfortunately, he passed away at the young age of 39, after drinking 18 glasses of whiskey and collapsing at the Chelsea Hotel (or Hotel Chelsea) and lingering in a coma for four days.

Patti Smith is a famous poet, author, songwriter, singer, and painter, who is known for her powerful lyrics and playing a crucial part in bringing the punk rock movement to the US. She once defended Swift in an interview with the New York Times, saying “She’s a pop star who’s under tremendous scrutiny all the time, and one can’t imagine what that’s like,” “It’s unbelievable to not be able to go anywhere, do anything, have messy hair. And I’m sure that she’s trying to do something good. She’s not trying to do something bad. And if it influences some of her avid fans to open up their thoughts, what does it matter?” Smith was also another guest at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan where she stayed with photographer Robert Mapplethorne in 1969.

After TTPD dropped, Smith thanked Taylor through her Instagram, posting a picture of her reading a book by Dylan Thomas with the caption, “This is saying I was moved to be mentioned in the company of the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Thank you Taylor.”

Taylor appears to have shown her admiration for the poets throughout the song, placing them on a pedestal whilst also telling her partner, “We don’t have to be self-destructive to create art so let’s just be the modern idiots that we are.”

Chelsea Hotel

The same line from the song The Tortured Poets Department also mentions the name of the heritage establishment Chelsea Hotel. The Victorian architectural wonder has a long and age-old connection to pop culture. The 1966 documentary Chelsea Girls was shot at this iconic hotel. From poets to singers, Chelsea Hotel has served many iconic artists throughout the years, including Mark Twain, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen.

Taylor isn’t the first artist to mention Chelsea Hotel in a song. Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2 track, Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning, and Bob Dylan’s Sara also mention the heritage building.

Lucy and Jack

In the title track of TTPD, Taylor Swift name drops two more people — Lucy and Jack. She sings, “Sometimes I wonder if you’re gonna screw this up with me / But you tell Lucy you’d kill yourself if I ever leave / And I had said that to Jack about you so I feel seen”. Even though she doesn’t mention the surnames, attentive Swifties have found clues about who she might be talking about in the song.

Before the album dropped, everybody was convinced that the song was about her ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn, as he once mentioned that he was part of a chat group named the ‘The Tourtured Men Club’. But a listen to the song, makes it clear that it is about Taylor’s other ex-boyfriend Matty Healy, whom she briefly dated in 2023. Matty’s love for typewriters is well documented, and in the very first line of the song, she sings “You left your typewriter at my apartment / Straight from the tortured poets department”.

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (3)

So for Lucy, most people seem to believe that the songstress is referring to Lucy Dacus, a member of the Grammy-winning music group Boygenius. She has, or at least had connections to both Swift and Healy. Boygenius members have previously collaborated and performed with Matty and The 1975. And when Phoebe Bridgers, another Boygenius member was opening for Taylor in her Eras Tour, she brought out Lucy and Julien Baker to perform with her. It seems like the trio are also on friendly terms with Swift.

Unfortunately, there now appears to be a rift between Matty and Lucy, following an incident in which Healy made a terrible joke about Dacus’ band name, adding, “I don’t really hear from [Dacus] that often.” Dacus swiftly answered, “You don’t hear from me at all,” which led to Healy deactivating his X account.

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (4)

As for Jack, the word on the street is that Jack is Jack Antonoff, Taylor’s close friend and frequent collaborator. Antonoff also co-wrote and produced the song, and much of the album with her.

Sarahs and Hannahs

In her song But Daddy I Love Him, Taylor sings “Sarahs and Hannahs in their Sunday best, clutchin’ their pearls saying, “What a mess”.” She uses the names ‘Sarahs and Hannahs’ to refer to the people who criticise her relationships in the name of caring for her.

Florida

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (5)

Taylor Swift has a song named after the US state of Florida on her album TTPD. She trades verses with Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine and talks about leaving behind their old life, moving, and finding sanctuary in the Sunshine State of the USA. They sing “Florida, is one hell of a drug / Florida, can I use you up?” Eagle-eyed fans have also pointed out that after Swift and Joe Alwyn’s breakup news came to light, her first Eras Tour stop was (you guessed it), Tampa, Florida.

The singer broke down her songs in her commentaries for Amazon music, sharing, “I’m always watching Dateline”. “People have these crimes that they commit; where do they immediately skip town and go to? They go to Florida. They try to reinvent themselves, have a new identity, blend in. I think when you go through a heartbreak, there’s a part of you that thinks, ‘I want a new name. I want a new life. I don’t want anyone to know where I’ve been or know me at all.’ And so that was the jumping off point. Where would you go to reinvent yourself and blend in? Florida!”

Texas

In the song Florida!!! with Florence + The Machine from TTPD, Taylor Swift also name drops Texas, another US state. She sings “So you pack your life away just to wait out the sh*t storm back in Texas” which might be another subtle nod to her Eras Tour schedule. Before Florida, the Eras tour made a stop at Arlington, Texas; after performing three nights in Tampa, Florida, Swift brought the tour right back to Houston, Texas.

The Blue Nile

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (6)

Taylor’s song Guilty as Sinbegins with the line “Drowning in the Blue Nile“. A natural initial reaction is to think that she’s talking about the river in Africa; however, that’s not exactly what she’s saying here. In the following lyric of the song, Swift says, “He sent me Downtown Lights / I hadn’t heard it in a while“, confirming that she is instead referring to one of Scotland’s greatest music groups, The Blue Nile and their smash hit, Downtown Lights. Coincidentally, the song came out in 1989, and was the band’s only song to chart in the United States.

In the song, she speaks about a potential love interest who has sent her the song Downtown Lights by The Blue Nile. She then finds herself suddenly fascinated by the tune, which she hasn’t heard in a long time. This supports the assumption that this song is about Matty Healy, who is an avid TBN fan.

Clara Bow

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (7)

Taylor named a whole song after the 1920s actress Clara Bow, and the name sparked an interest in fans about the actress’s life. In the song, Swift draws parallels between her and Bow’s life. She sings “You look like Clara Bow in this light / Remarkable / All your life, did you know / You’d be picked like a rose“. The legendary predecessor of iconic ladies of the entertainment industry like Marilyn Monroe and Madonna, Clara Bow was the original flapper who became America’s sweetheart in the 1920s.

Despite growing up in an unstable home with a deranged mother and an abusive and alcoholic father, Clara found her solace in movies. She starred in over fifty silent films including It, which earned her the title of the first ‘It girl’. She tried her best to live her life unapologetically, but even at the peak of her career, scrutiny and public criticism never left her side. Sounds familiar?

It’s a beautiful song for all the young women who are fighting for their rights and their careers. Taylor draws similies about how the world is especially cruel to women, and even more so if they are successful. But why did she choose Clara Bow as her muse? “That’s how we teach women to see themselves, as like, you could be the new replacement for this woman who’s done something great before you,” Swift shared. “I picked women who have done great things in the past and have been these archetypes of greatness in the entertainment industry. Clara Bow was the first ‘it girl.’”

Stevie Nicks

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (8)

Taylor Swift also name drops singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks in her TTPD song Clara Bow, singing “You look like Stevie Nicks in ’75 / The hair and lips / The crowd goes wild at her fingertips / Half moonshinе, a full eclipse”, comparing herself to Nicks at the time she joined Fleetwood Mac. But the comparison goes beyond their similar looks and blonde hair. Swift quickly realises the price of stardom and staying ‘dazzling’, singing, “It’s hell on earth to be heavenly / them’s the brakes, they don’t come gently.”

On her choice of highlighting Stevie Nicks, Taylor said, “Stevie Nicks is an icon and an incredible example for anyone who wants to write songs and make music.”

Taylor Swift

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (9)

Swift also mentions her own name in the song Clara Bow, singing “You look like Taylor Swift / In this light / We’re loving it. / You’ve got edge she never did / The future’s bright / … Dazzling.” In her 18-year-long music career, she has inspired many budding artists to pursue music as a career. Artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Conan Gray, and Sabrina Carpenter have expressed their love and adoration for her and her music time and time again.

Even though many believe Swift and Rodrigo aren’t on talking terms right now, Swifties seem to think that Taylor wrote this song about her. From the start of her music career, Olivia has been compared to Taylor for her songwriting skills, Grammy wins, and more. As Taylor has said, society loves to describe a woman as a replacement for someone great who came before, or pit them against each other.

In her previous track Nothing New, Swift wrote that, “And someone else lights up the room / People love an ingénue”. Nevertheless, Clara Bow is a message from her to younger generations of singers and performers, that even if society draws comparisons, everyone has their own edge and a bright ‘dazzling’ future awaits them all.

Aston Martin

In the song imgonnagetyouback Taylor sings “I’m an Aston Martin / That you steered straight into the ditch”. Aston Martin is a supercar manufacturer who also participates in the car racing sport Formula 1. Before Swift started dating Kelce, rumours were suggesting that she was dating F1 driver Fernando Alonso, an Aston Martin driver. But neither party ever confirmed or denied the rumours. So, when Swift made the brief reference, Taylonso (Taylor and Alonso’s couple portmanteau) fans were ecstatic.

Chole or Sam or Sophia or Marcus

These names seem to be fictional. Taylor uses these names as a metaphor for the people her exes cheated with.

Aristotle

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (10)

In the TTPD: The Anthology love song So High Schoolshe sings “Truth, dare, spin bottles / You know how to ball, I know Aristotle” alluding to her relationship with American footballer Travis Kelce. The difference in intellect between them is often discussed in the media, and she laughs at the critiques with this line. Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scholar. His works cover a wide range of disciplines, including natural sciences, philosophy, linguistics, economics, politics, psychology, and art.

The Black Dog

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (11)

And so I watch as you walk / Into some bar called The Black Dog / And pierce new holes in my heart” Taylor sings in the song The Black Dog. It turns out that The Black Dog is a real bar in Vauxhill, London. Swifties have already started flocking to the pub after listening to the song. In the song, she talks about a certain ex going to the pub and forgetting to turn off his location. She also sings about him being with someone younger and singing a song by the band The Starting Line.

And recently, the owner of The Black Dog pub alluded to the song being about Joe by saying, “We do have a certain blond regular who frequents, let’s just say that.”

The Starting Line

Taylor also mentions the pop band The Starting Line in her song The Black Dog. She sings “When someone plays The Starting Line and you jump up / But she’s too young to know this song”, which hints at infidelity.

The rock band has thanked Taylor Swift for the name drop. They said, “Dear Taylor, we heard the song, thank you for name checking our band,” they wrote via Instagram. “We feel flattered and humbled by the reverberations of love that have come back to us as a result. It’s an honour to have TSL memorialised on such a lovely song. You didn’t have to do that, but you did, and we appreciate it wholeheartedly. Respect!”

While the owner of The Black Dog pub created some buzz by sharing that they had a regular “blonde” customer, fans quickly pointed out numerous Healy references scattered throughout the song. Healy played The Starting Line’s The Best of Me at the 1975’s concert in Manila on May 3, 2023,with Healy mouthing, “This one is about you. You know who you are. I love you,” while performing on stage. The following day, The Sun confirmed that Healy and Swift were dating.

Swift said the exact same thing two days later at her Nashville Eras Tour concert, which Healy attended. She also talks about dating someone younger, which Matty has done… twice.

Aimee

The Aimee of “ThanK you aIMee” is actually KIM (Kardashian), taking into account the capitalised letters of the title. Kim and her then-husband Kanye West famously tried to sabotage Swift’s career and called her a “b****” in one of his songs. Without ever apologising, Kim has said multiple times that she thinks they are over it, especially after getting divorced from West. This song is a diss track pointing towards Kardashian, calling out her wrongdoings under the not-so-subtle guise of Aimee.

Many Swifties also think she chose the name ‘Aimee’ as a subtle nod to the pop princess Britney Spears, whose hit song If U Seek Amy has resonated with many music lovers over the years.

Cassandra

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (12)

The song Cassandra might be connected to a princess of the same name in Greek mythology, the daughter of Priam and Hecuba, king and queen of Troy. Smitten by her beauty, the god Apollo. granted her the gift of prophecy. But when she rejected him, he cursed her that no one would ever believe her predictions. Snakes whispered in her ear, allowing her to recite a prophecy. During the fabled Trojan War, she foresaw the Greek strategy of the Trojan horse, and she tried to warn everyone, but no one believed her.

Taylor compared her own situation to Cassandra’s, particularly when Kim and Kanye painted her as a liar to the whole world. This is also relevant for when her masters were sold to Scooter Braun without prior consultation with her; when she tried to tell her story to her fellow musicians, many took Braun’s side. So she sings “So, they killed Cassandra first ’cause she feared the worst / And tried to tell the town / So, they filled my cell with snakes, I regret to say / Do you believe me now?

Peter

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (13)

From the surface level, the song Peter talks about the Disney animated classic Peter Pan, leader of the Lost Boys (which she also mentions in the song).

Taylor seems to say goodbye to a past lover who dragged her along for a long time, singing, “And I didn’t want to hang around / We said it was just goodbye for now”. Fans assume that this song is about her ex Matty Healy as he often draws parallels between him and Peter Pan. Swift and Healy have also known each other for more than a decade, and so they have enough history between them to make plausible broken promises like “You said you were gonna grow up / Then you were gonna come find me”.

Robin

Even though it’s unconfirmed, many fans believe Swift and Aaron Dessner named the song after Dessner’s son, Robin. Through the words of the song, the singer hopes that the kid can hold on to the free spirit of youth before it is tainted by the strains of adulthood. She wishes him the best in life through the lines, “In sweetness / Way to go tiger / Higher and higher / Wilder and lighter / For you”.

(Main and featured image: Kayla Oaddams / Getty Images)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Whose names do Taylor Swift drop in TTPD?

Taylor Swift name drops many celebrities and landmarks in the new album TTPD including Charlie Puth, Dylan Thomas, and Patti Smith.

Does Taylor Swift like Charlie Puth?

Taylor sang “We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist” in her TTPD title track, so it seems like she likes his music and they are on friendly terms.

Why is it called The Tortured Poets Department?

The album overall carries a sombre tune and talks about relationships that didn’t work out and the torture of breaking up and moving on. Who else would make art out of their pain if not the tortured poets? So, the name perfectly justifies the theme of the album.

All of Taylor Swift’s name drops in her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (2024)

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