Magazine Withholds Reviewer’s Name In Taylor Swift Album Critique Fearing Fan Backlash

Paste Magazine has taken the extraordinary step of publishing an anonymous review of Taylor Swift’s latest album “The Tortured Poets Department” to shield the writer from potential threats by the artist’s devoted fanbase known as “Swifties.” The decision comes after a 2019 review of Swift’s album “Lover” resulted in the writer receiving violent threats from readers who disagreed with the critique according to a statement posted on X formerly Twitter.

The unnamed reviewer gave Swift’s 11th studio album a scathing 3.6 out of 10 rating criticizing both the lyrics and overall composition. The writer argued that Swift’s self-proclaimed “tortured” era is difficult to accept given her immense popularity and success stating “In terms of popularity—certainly not always in terms of quality—no musician has been bigger this century than Swift which makes it impossible to really buy into the ‘torture’ of it all.”

The review also took aim at the album’s lyrics describing them as filled with “simplicity empty language [and] commodification” and the instrumentation as “the most dog-water uninspired synth arrangement you could possibly imagine.”

Despite the harsh critique from Paste Magazine most other outlets published positive reviews of the album. However the New York Times and New Musical Express (NME) did offer some milder criticism.

The New York Times suggested that the album would have benefited from some editing noting that the “sharpest moments” of the album “would be even more piercing in the absence of excess but instead the clutter lingers while Swift holds an unlit match.”

NME’s review argued that the album lacks the “genuinely interesting shifts” that have marked Swift’s career thus far comparing it unfavorably to her previous works like the “lyrical excellence on her superior breakup album ‘Red'” and “‘1989”s pivot to high-octane pop.”

Regardless of the mixed reviews “The Tortured Poets Department” quickly shattered several records on Spotify. It not only garnered the highest number of single-day streams on the platform but also became the first album to surpass 300 million streams in a single day.

The anonymous writer in the Paste Magazine review addressed the intense devotion of Swift’s fans and the potential backlash critics may face writing “Women can’t critique Swift because they’ll run the risk of being labeled a ‘gender traitor’ for doing so. Men can’t critique her because they’ll be touted as ‘sexist.'”