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Taylor Swift’s ‘TTPD’: A tapestry of connection, healing and resurrection

If the Eras Tour is a festival of friendship, then Taylor’s new album is a gateway to restorative community, writes Hannah Lovaglio.

After the midnight release of Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” (TTPD) on April 19, an aunt and her niece note their favorite lyrics and passing thoughts, throughout the night, on an Apple shared note. They’re states apart, but they listen together.

A husband wakes up early to read the first reviews, then sends his Swiftie wife his favorite review, a sweet nothing to start her day after a long night of listening to the 31-track double album release.

Three 5-year-olds attend the public library’s Taylor Swift Release Day Karaoke Party with their moms. They make friendship bracelets, dance without care, and take no notice of being the outlier pre-k’s in a sea of preteens.

At the same party, a young girl – who came ready to dance in an all-sequin get up – sings “Marjorie” with a maturity beyond her years. A group of moms at the back of the room bite back tears with a threefold disbelief at 1. this young girl 2. the revelation that Taylor Swift songs are so much more than pop anthems 3. the lyrics that speak a grief they have yet to name.

A theologian and activist texts his pastor colleague a tweet by Paul Eldred likening Taylor Swift to Jeremiah, another tortured poet with a double album (Jeremiah and Lamentations).

Women with the shared trauma of reproductive loss – strangers apart from being members of the same Taylor Swift Facebook fan page – reflect on the ways “lolm” helps them heal.

An advocate, artist and mom shares the piercingly brilliant observation that “I Hate It Here” could be the anthem of a child on the spectrum.

A confirmation class takes a welcomed detour as 13-year-olds talk about the album, and now, finally, the class is laughing, sharing and bonding. The vibe carries over into the Scripture study that follows.

A retired therapist and her client reconnect over lyrics that said it better than they had been able to say it themselves, in all those years of work together.


These vignettes played out over the first days after TTPD’s release, multiplied by a million, and spread worldwide.

What else in my life is generating this much positivity? What other cultural event has us thinking about one another, and reaching out to each other, with such empathy and understanding?

Last summer I wrote about what the church could learn from Taylor’s Era’s Tour. Class is still in session, friends. If the Eras Tour is a festival of friendship, then a new Taylor album is a gateway to friendship. It brings people together — people who know each other, people who know of each other, people who are unknown to each other. And isn’t that the church’s job, too?

“TTPD,” an album largely about the breaking of relationships, does nothing but shore them up.

The interactions around Taylor’s music change us at least as much as, if not more than, the music itself. “TTPD,” an album largely about the breaking of relationships, does nothing but shore them up. Because this is a great big world full of pain, and when Taylor gifts us a lyric that gives us hope or states our emotions back to us, we feel less lonely. So when we look around, we find other folks grasping for the same lifeline. Then we become a lifeline for one another, and the isolation breaks.

In the Instagram post published at the time of the album’s release, Taylor wrote, “This writer is of the firm belief that our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page. Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it.”

“Our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page. Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it.” — Taylor Swift

This pastor believes the same, and it’s not freedom because we let our grief go, it’s freedom because we let it resurrect. We let life be born out of death. We dared to face the tomb long enough to find it empty again. We took what was meant for harm and, with God’s help, turned it into something meant for good.

It’s freedom because we let it resurrect.

And for me, I need no further proof of God’s power to resurrect than what I’ve seen in the last week. Thanks be to God — one of God’s beloved, bejeweled children, Taylor Swift.


The Presbyterian Outlook is committed to fostering faithful conversations by publishing a diversity of voices. The opinions expressed are the author’s and may or may not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Outlook’s editorial staff or the Presbyterian Outlook Foundation. Want to join the conversation? You can write to us or submit your own article here

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