All the Easter Eggs and Name Drops on Taylor Swift's 'The Tortured Poets Department,' Explained

Digging through the fan theories so you don't have to.

Taylor Swift attends 'In Conversation With... Taylor Swift' during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 09, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario
(Image credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift's eleventh studio album The Tortured Poets Department officially released at midnight Eastern time on April 19, 2024, which means by 12:01, a legion of fan theorists were already hard at work searching for Easter eggs. (And that was before the 2 a.m. surprise release of 15 extra songs.) After all, Swift is known for sharing the intense emotions she experiences in her personal life to her fans through song, and TTPD, which has been dubbed "most personal album yet," arrives after two momentous years for the singer. Half the fun of any Taylor Swift release is the flood of fan theories filling the timeline, but it can be a bit overwhelming to keep up with them all.

Below, we've gathered some of the most popular Easter eggs and name drops from The Tortured Poets Department, from which of Swift's famous friends make it onto the credits, to what the new record reveals about her recent relationships.

Matty Healy

Ever since The Tortured Poets Department was announced, Swifties have theorized that the album would partly draw inspiration from her former relationship with The 1975 frontman. So far, fan theorists have highlighted several possible connections to Healy, from lyrics and song titles that appear to reference The 1975's songs, to seeming allusions to the public response to Swift and Healy's time as a couple.

The album's title track has several theorized nods to the rockstar, many of which are found in this set of lyrics: “You smokеd, then ate seven bars of chocolate / We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist / I scratch your head, you fall asleep / Like a tattooed golden retriever.”

Matthew Healy performs onstage with Phoebe Bridgers in the set opener during the Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour at Lincoln Financial Field on May 12, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Matty Healy makes a special appearance in Phoebe Bridgers' opening set for the Eras Tour, on May 12, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(Image credit: Lisa Lake/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

Though it isn't sure whether Swift is referring to the literal sweet, "Chocolate" is also the name of The 1975's 2013 crossover hit.

Meanwhile, the track "Guilty as Sin?" begins with what sounds like an indirect nod to Healy. The lyrics, referring to an undefined love interest, start with the lines, "Drownin' in the Blue Nile / He sent me "Downtown Lights" / I hadn't heard it in a while."

The Blue Nile is a Scottish band which rose to fame in the 1980s, and their 1984 song “The Downtown Lights" is one of their most popular tracks in the U.S. Healy is a noted fan of the band, and he also Hats (their 1984 album which includes "Downtown Lights") his "favorite record of the '80s" in a 2016 Vulture piece.

Karlie Kloss, Ellie Goulding, Taylor Swift, Nick Grimshaw and Matt Healy attend the Universal Music Brits party at The Soho House Pop-Up on February 25, 2015 in London, England.

Taylor Swift (center) and Matt Healy (right) pictured with Karlie Kloss, Ellie Goulding, and Nick Grimshaw on February 25, 2015 in London, England.

(Image credit: David M. Benett/Getty Images for Soho House)

Fans have also noticed that several of the songs on TTPD seem to refer to the public's response to her short-lived relationship with Healy, who has made controversial comments over the years. Theorists have highlighted "I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)," and "But Daddy I Love Him" as songs that seem to directly address the fan response.

"They shake their heads sayin’, ‘God, help her’ / When I tell ’em he’s my man," Swift sings in the chorus. "I Can Fix Him (No I Really Can). "But your good Lord doesn’t need to lift a finger / I can fix him, no, really, I can / And only I can."

The chorus and post-chorus of "But Daddy I Love Him" includes the lyrics, "No, I’m not coming to my senses / I know it’s crazy / But he’s the one I want / I’ll tell you something right now / I’d rather burn my whole life down / Than listen to one more second of all this bitchin’ and moanin’ / I’ll tell you something ’bout my good name / It's mine alone to disgrace / I don’t cater to all these vipers dressed in empaths’ clothing."

Joe Alwyn

While more of the album seems to focus on Healy, TTPD also appears to include some songs inspired by Swift's six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn. Fans seem to agree that "So Long, London" and "loml" are the two songs with the most indirect references to Alwyn, with "So Long, London" appearing to serve as the breakup record following the 2019 Lover track "London Boy" (especially since the two songs are both the fifth track on their respective albums).

In the song, Swift sings about deciding to let a relationship go, while saying (literally) "so long" to the British city. She also includes the lyric, "I left all I knew, you left me at the house by the Heath," possibly referring to the London park Hampstead Heath. Several celebrities have homes in the adjacent neighborhood of Hampstead, though it has never been confirmed whether Alywn and Swift shared a home there.

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn arrive at Zuma on October 06, 2019 in New York City

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn are seen out and about on October 06, 2019 in New York City.

(Image credit: Jackson Lee/GC Images)

Of course, there's also Alwyn's connection to the title of the album overall, which fans clocked immediately after Swift announced the record. People reported in December 2023 that Alwyn had a group chat called the "Tortured Man Club," which also included Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott.

Travis Kelce

On TTPD, Swift debuts her (probably) first-ever songs about her current boyfriend, Travis Kelce. "The Alchemy" includes multiple football references, including the lyrics, "These blokes warm the benches / We've been on a winning streak," and "So when I touch down / Call the amateurs and cut 'em from the team / Ditch the clowns, get the crown / Baby, I'm the one to be.'"

The bridge also leans fully into the football girlfriend vibes: "Shirts off and your friends lift you up over their heads / Beer stickin' to the floor, cheers chanted 'cause they said / There was no chance trying to be the greatest in the league / Where's the trophy? He just comes runnin' over to me."

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce have dinner at Waverly Inn on October 15, 2023 in New York City.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce step out for dinner on October 15, 2023 in New York City.

(Image credit: Gotham/GC Images)

Fans have also guessed that a different song, "So High School," includes more nod to another member of the Kelce family. One line from the song appears to allude to Travis's infamous impersonation of his father Ed Kelce, which the football player has shared on his hit podcast New Heights With Jason and Travis Kelce.

"I feel like laughing in the middle of practice / To that impression you did of your dad again,” sings Swift. “I’m hearing voices like a madman.”

Jack Antonoff

Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift attend the 65th GRAMMY Awards at Arena on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California

Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift attend the 2023 Grammys, on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

The record producer, songwriter, and Bleachers frontman has been Swift's regular collaborator on every album since 2014's 1989. In addition to working on 16 songs across the album (composed of 16 production credits and 10 songwriting credits, per Time), Antonoff is directly mentioned in the lyrics for the title track "The Tortured Poets Department."

“Sometimes, I wonder if you're gonna screw this up with me / But you told Lucy you'd kill yourself if I ever leave /And I had said that to Jack about you, so I felt seen / Everyone we know understands why it's meant to be / 'Cause we're crazy,” the lyrics read.

Lucy Dacus

The "Lucy" who gets name-dropped alongside Antonoff in the title track is likely Lucy Dacus, the singer-songwriter and Boygenius member who is connected to both Swift and Healy. The now-exes share a mutual friend in another Boygenius member, Phoebe Bridgers, and Bridgers brought out both her fellow Boygenius members and Healy as guests while opening for the Eras Tour. Dacus and Swift also shared a sweet moment at the 2024 Grammys, when Swift dropped by the press room to congratulate Boygenius on their wins.

Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Taylor Swift, and Phoebe Bridgers behind the scenes at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards, airing live from Arena in Los Angeles, California

The members of Boygenius (l-r: Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers) with Taylor Swift (center right) at the 2024 Grammy Awards.

(Image credit: Francis Specker/CBS via Getty Images)

Charlie Puth

The "See You Again" singer also gets a mention on the album's title track, as Swift sings, "You smoked then ate seven bars of chocolate / We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist."

Though Puth has praised Swift's artistry over the years, the pair have never actually collaborated. There is a degree of separation: Puth worked on the song "We Don't Talk Anymore" with Selena Gomez, and he claimed in a 2018 Billboard interview that he and Gomez had a brief romantic history. (Gomez has always denied they ever dated, per CNN.)

The Puth mention is also one of the possible Easter eggs that fans have noticed linking the title track to Matty Healy. The 1975 singer once praised the "Attention" singer on Twitter, writing in 2018, "That Charlie Puth and Boyz II Men track is harrrrrd." (Per Us Weekly, the rock star seems to have been referencing “If You Leave Me Now” from Puth’s second album, Voicenotes.)

Patti Smith and Dylan Thomas

Rounding out the references in the title track, "The Tortured Poets Department" also includes mention of famed poets Patti Smith and Dylan Thomas in the lyrics of the chorus: "And who's gonna hold you like me? / And who's gonna know you, if not me? / I laughed in your face and said / "You're not Dylan Thomas, I'm not Patti Smith / This ain't the Chelsea Hotel, we'rе modern idiots / And who's gonna hold you like me?"

Patti Smith performs on stage during Noches del Botanico music festival at Real Jardín Botánico Alfonso XIII on June 20, 2022 in Madrid, Spain

Patti Smith performs during the Noches del Botanico music festival on June 20, 2022, in Madrid, Spain.

(Image credit: Mariano Regidor/Redferns)

Smith, the famed singer, songwriter, poet, author, and painter, has previously been dubbed the "punk poet laureate" who became famous at a time when the rock music genre was dominated by men. Meanwhile, Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer who's perhaps best known for his work "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” He also had a notorious drinking habit, and died in 1953 at the age of 39.

As for Chelsea Hotel, both Smith and Thomas had residencies at the historic New York City hotel. Smith wrote about her time at the hotel, where she stayed with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe at one point during their relationship in the 1970s, in her memoir Just Kids.

A quote from Smith is even included on the Chelsea Hotel's website: “I loved this place, its shabby elegance, and the history it held so possessively … So many had written, conversed, and convulsed in these Victorian dollhouse rooms. So many skirts had swished these worn marble stairs. So many transient souls had espoused, made a mark, and succumbed here,” she wrote.

Emma Stone

Emma Stone and Taylor Swift arrive to the "Easy A" Los Angeles Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on September 13, 2010 in Hollywood, California

Emma Stone and Taylor Swift attend the Easy A premiere at Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theatre on September 13, 2010.

(Image credit: John Shearer/WireImage)

The two-time Oscar winner makes a surprise appearance on The Tortured Poets, becoming Swift's latest bestie to contribute on one of her albums. Eagle-eyed fans noticed that the actress's full name, Emily Jean Stone, is included in the credits of the track "Florida!!!," which is a duet between Swift and Florence Welch Florence + the Machine.

While People confirmed that Stone helped with the song, the scope of the Poor Things star's contribution is currently unclear. On the Tortured Poets Department's physical album, the credit itself solely reads, "Oddities by Emily Jean Stone."

Kim Kardashian

Some of the most surprising TTPD fan theories have to do with Swift's long-standing feud with Kardashian. One track on the surprise double album is titled, "thanK you aIMee," stylized with three capitalized letters spelling out "KIM." Along with the thinly-veiled callout in the title, the song itself tells the story of a woman, named "Aimee," who acts like a high school bully.

Fans have specifically pointed to the song's bridge, which has the lyrics: "I don’t think you’ve changed much / And so I changed your name, and any real defining clues / And one day, your kid comes home singin’ / A song that only us two is gonna know is about you.”

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and TV personality Kim Kardashian in the audience during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California

Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian attend the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: John Shearer/Getty Images)

The lyrics possibly allude to a Tik Tok that Kardashian and her daughter North West posted to their joint account in January 2023. The since-deleted clip showed the mother and daughter dancing to Swift's 2014 track "Shake It Off."

Swift's last public comments on Kardashian came up in her 2023 Time Person of the Year profile, where the singer recalled the 2016 audio recording that Kardashian released, allegedly proving that the pop star had approved some of Kanye West's lewd lyrics about her, despite Swift claiming she hadn't. In the new interview, the "Cruel Summer" singer called the backlash following Kardashian's claim "a career death."

"Make no mistake—my career was taken away from me," she said, adding, "You have a fully manufactured frame job, in an illegally recorded phone call, which Kim Kardashian edited and then put out to say to everyone that I was a liar."


Swift's track "Cassandra" includes both direct allusions to the titular mythological figure, and possible nods to people who have wronged her. In Greek mythology, Cassandra is a princess of Troy who is granted the power of prophecy by the god Apollo. However, when Cassandra rejects him, Apollo taints her power with a curse, that no one would believe her premonitions. Cassandra goes on to predict the Greeks' use of the Trojan Horse, but no one believes her, and Troy falls.

The TTPD track includes lyrics about a betrayal, with a chorus saying, “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?”

Fans have theorized that track could be about Swift's feud with Scooter Braun, which began after he sold her masters to private equity firm Shamrock Holdings. Others have pointed towards the chorus's mention of snakes, hinting that the song could also allude to Swift's feud with Kardashian and West.

Clara Bow

Autographed studio portrait of American actor Clara Bow (1905-1965) wearing a cloche hat and a bobbed hairstyle while holding her hand to her face and pursing her lips.

An autographed studio portrait of Clara Bow, circa 1925.

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The final track of the standard TTRP album is named after legendary Hollywood actress Clara Bow, who starred in the first film to win an Academy Award. Bow was considered one of Hollywood's first sex symbols, and the earliest use of the moniker "It girl" was inspired by her performance in the 1927 film It.

Swift rightfully honors Bow in the track about a girl wishing to become the next huge star, in the lyrics, "You look like Clara Bow / In this light, remarkable / All your life, did you know / You'd be picked like a rose?"

Stevie Nicks

Nicks is also brought up in the song "Clara Bow," as another of the female stars throughout history that the unnamed narrator admires. "You look like Stevie Nicks / In '75, the hair and lips / Crowd goes wild at her fingertips / Half moonshine, a full еclipse."

"Clara Bow" ends with a reference to Swift herself, mentioned in the third person as the last real-life "It girl" serving as inspiration for the narrator. "You look like Taylor Swift / In this light, we're lovin' it / You've got edge, she never did / The future's bright, dazzling."

Musicians Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks perform onstage during the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California

Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks perform together during the 2010 Grammy Awards, on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

The Fleetwood Mac singer was also tapped to make a special contribution to the Tortured Poets Department. The physical album includes a poem written by the rock and roll legend in September 2023, which is about heartbreak at the end of a relationship.

"He was in love with her / Or at least she thought so / She was brokenhearted / Maybe he was too," the poem begins, chronicling the story of the two lovers described with the phrases, "She was way too hot to handle" and "He was way too high to try."

Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.