Feeling a ‘Tortured Poets’ Hangover? This Podcast Has All the Taylor Swift You’ll Ever Need

every single album podcast"
every single album podcast
Source: Élevae
Source: Élevae

I have been a fan of Taylor Swift since her very first album, and I have been a Swiftie since the original Speak Now era. I can name every song on every album in order. I can tell you which songs are about which guys. I can hunt for easter eggs and clown with the best of them. So, I have obviously been counting down to the release of her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, since she announced it at the Grammys in February. When the album finally dropped at midnight on April 19, I stayed up, of course, listening to the original 16 songs twice and then proceeding to stay up until 4:22 a.m. to listen to the additional 15 songs. Because, as Swifties had predicted since Taylor held up two fingers during that Grammys announcement, The Tortured Poets Department is a double album.

But one of the exciting things about a Taylor Swift album is that it means not just a new album—or two—but also new episodes of one of my favorite podcasts: Every Single Album. Launched in 2021, Every Single Album started as an analysis of Swift’s albums and has evolved to join the ongoing conversation of Taylor Swift’s songwriting, her relationships, and her role within the music industry. And over the years, I have learned more about Taylor Swift than I ever could have imagined by listening to Every Single Album. So, if you’re feeling a TTPD hangover, I promise this podcast has all the Taylor Swift you’ll ever need. Here’s what it delivers:

An analysis from two wildly different perspectives

Every Single Album is hosted by two Swifties but two very different Swifties. Nora Princiotti, a staff writer at The Ringer covering football (Who could have predicted that would be relevant to Taylor Swift in 2021?), was in middle school when Taylor Swift’s first album was released. Nathan Hubbard, a contributing writer at The Ringer and CEO of Firebird Music, started his career as a songwriter and band manager. During Swift’s early rise to fame, he was the CEO of Ticketmaster, and as she was taking over the internet, he was an executive at Twitter. This brings two wildly different perspectives to the podcast: a genuine love of Taylor Swift and a decades-long understanding of the music industry.

The history of Taylor Swift’s career—through every single era

One of the first things I noticed when listening to The Tortured Poets Department is that it’s an album that is a lot easier to understand if you’ve been around since the beginning. With callbacks to early songs like White Horse and Mine and reflections on decades-old events in thanK you aIMee and The Manuscript, this is an album that can be enjoyed by anyone, but it’s one that is easier to appreciate when you know the history. That’s why new and old Swifties will benefit from Every Single Album’s deep dive into the history of Taylor Swift’s career. Starting with the release of Taylor Swift in 2006, the podcast takes listeners back to the state of the world at the time. What other musicians were at the top of the charts? How were artists making money? How were consumers listening to music? And, of course, how were Taylor’s relationships affecting her songwriting? Every Single Album answers all of these questions—and more.

A breakdown grounded in music theory

I love music. I can memorize lyrics in two listens, and I can follow a beat. But I can’t read a single note, and I can’t play a single chord. While anyone can see the thematic similarities in imgonnagetyouback and Olivia Rodrigo’s get him back!, it takes someone with a deep understanding of music theory to hear The 1975’s About You in Guilty as Sin? and recognize that The Downtown Lights by The Blue Nile was lifted by Love It If We Made It by The 1975. And that understanding is exactly what Nathan Hubbard brings to the podcast. He points out similarities both within Taylor Swift’s body of work and within the full body of music, like how I Can Do It With a Broken Heart has a lot of Swift’s own Mastermind and Lorde’s Supercut. And even that the song’s “One, two, three, four” count sounds very much like Swift’s manager, Robert Allen.

A discussion of much more than music

I love Taylor Swift for her music, first and foremost. But Taylor Swift has always been much more than her music. She is an insanely talented marketer, known for hiding Easter eggs for her fans to decode. She’s a woman in her early 30s who has spent almost two decades writing about the most relatable human experience: love. And these are absolutely things that Nora Princiotti and Nathan Hubbard discuss. While our hosts do not paternity test every song, they do have a larger conversation about Taylor’s relationship history, from her six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn to the short-lived fling with Matty Healy to the security she seems to have found with Travis Kelce. Plus, we get to laugh at just how hilariously obvious thanK you, aIMee is.

An understanding of other musicians

I could listen to Taylor Swift every single day of my life. And let’s be honest, I basically do. But that doesn’t mean I am not interested in listening to other artists. Every Single Album has also analyzed the albums of Olivia Rodrigo, Adele, and One Direction. Additionally, they are currently in what they are referring to as “Pop Girl Spring.” This era, if you will, has included analysis of Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter, Kacey Musgraves’ Deeper Well, and Maggie Rogers’ Don’t Forget Me. And there is still more to come, of which Taylor is guaranteed to be a part of.

Ready to dive in? Start at the beginning with this episode: