As anticipation builds for Taylor Swift‘s forthcoming album The Tortured Poets Department, set for release on April 19th, the pop superstar has unveiled a series of personal Apple Music playlists.

Each playlist is a curated journey through the emotions encapsulated in her first 10 albums, aligning with the five stages of grief. This unique approach to music curation offers fans an intimate glimpse into the songwriting process and emotional landscape that Swift navigates in her work.

Swift’s ‘Five Stages of Heartbreak’ playlists resonate with the framework of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief theory, each signifying a distinct phase of heartbreak. Fans can now explore these emotions through Swift’s musical lens, starting with the ‘denial’ stage in the “I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life” playlist. Tracks like “Style” and “Treacherous” are selected to represent the turmoil and potential self-deception during this initial phase. Swift describes these songs as a reflection of the struggle to recognise warning signs in a relationship, leading to moments of denial and even delusion.

The ‘anger’ phase is powerfully represented in the “You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad” playlist, featuring hits like “Vigilante Shit” and “Bad Blood”. Swift acknowledges that anger has various expressions, but for her, the healthiest outlet has been through songwriting. This collection is a testament to the cathartic process of transforming anger into art, helping her move past the intense emotion.

“Bargaining” is the next emotional stage, and Swift’s corresponding playlist, “Am I Allowed to Cry?”, includes tracks such as “Soon You’ll Get Better” and “This Is Me Trying”. These songs delve into the desperation that accompanies bargaining, where one tries to negotiate with oneself or a loved one in the hope of altering an inevitable outcome. Swift’s selections for this playlist echo the internal struggle and the intuition that often signals an unfavourable turn of events.

In the “Old Habits Die Screaming” playlist, Swift confronts ‘depression’, the penultimate stage of heartbreak. Songs like “Champagne Problems” and “Forever Winter” explore the depths of loss and hopelessness. Swift suggests that engaging with these feelings through music is a crucial step towards healing, often indicating that one is nearing the end of this challenging emotional phase.

The final stage, ‘acceptance’, is celebrated in the “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart” playlist, sharing its name with track 13 on The Tortured Poets. Here, Swift’s song selection, including “You’re On Your Own, Kid” and “Long Story Short”, signals a turn towards healing and moving forward. These tracks highlight the duality of loss and gain, encouraging listeners to make space for new positive experiences in their lives.

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Swift’s album announcement came during her acceptance speech at the 2024 Grammys for her album Midnights. Since then, Swift has revealed the main cover, details on the four deluxe editions, and exciting collaborations with Post Malone and Florence + the Machine.

To experience Taylor Swift’s emotional and musical journey through heartbreak, head here.

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