Who Helped Taylor Swift Write ‘The Tortured Poets Department’? One Co-Writer Speaks Out After Album Release

"We started working on these songs over two years ago and it feels like they have kept us company..."

Who helped Taylor Swift write 'The Tortured Poets Department'? One co-writer speaks out after album release
(Image credit: Instagram | @aarondessner)

It's official: Taylor Swift's eleventh studio album, The Tortured Poets Department is here!

After the album's midnight release and a surprise 2 a.m. announcement by Swift—revealing TTPD is actually a secret double album with 15 extra tracks—many fans and diehard Swifties are wondering who helped Swift write the album.

While Swift is listed as the sole writer on a few songs, Jack Antonoff of the band Bleachers and Aaron Dessner from the rock band The National are also listed as co-writers.

After the album's release, Dessner shared a candid picture of Swift recording in the studio on Instagram, along with a lengthy caption thanking the singer for letting him be part of her latest project.

"We started working on these songs over two years ago and it feels like they have kept us company and evolved in beautiful and unexpected ways through so much life lived during this process," Dessner wrote in part, adding that it's "hard to believe" he has "recorded over 60 songs" with Swift since the pair started collaborating in 2020.

A post shared by Aaron Dessner

A photo posted by aarondessner on

"I am forever grateful to Taylor for sharing her insane talents with and trusting me with her music," Dessner continued. "I believe these songs are some of the most lyrically acute, intricate, vulnerable and cathartic Taylor has ever written and I am continually astonished by her skills as a songwriter and performer."

Forever the gracious collaborator, Dessner also thanked "the incredible" Antonoff for "his open hearted and open door collaboration with me through all these many projects and all of my talented friends who continue to contribute generously to my work."

"I could never have made all this music without a village of friends supporting me," Dessner added, and before listing a slew of people who helped him contribute to Swift's melodic, extremely personal album.

Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, and Aaron Dessner accept the Album of the Year award for ‘Folklore’ onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, and Aaron Dessner accept the Album of the Year award for ‘Folklore’ onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

To close out his grateful Instagram post, Dessner said that "it's not lost on me how lucky I am that this is my job."

"I feel so grateful to be a part of creating this vast, magically detailed and symbolic word of songs Taylor has crafted that we all get to inhabit and enjoy," he continued. "Keep searching and you'll find some new detail, layer of silver of meaning with each listen."

After announcing the release of her eleventh studio album while onstage at this year's Grammy awards, Swift told the "Eras Tour" crowd in Melbourne, Australia that the album was a "lifeline."

“I needed to make it. It was really a lifeline for me,” she said, Us Weekly reported at the time. “It sort of reminded me why songwriting is something that actually gets me through life and I’ve never had an album where I’ve needed songwriting more than I needed it on Tortured Poets.”

Danielle Campoamor is an award-winning freelance writer covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mental health, politics, celebrity, and feminist issues. She has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, and more.