Sorry, little Swifties - Taylor Swift's latest album is not for you

Before you jump on the Swiftie bandwagon with the kiddos, let's chat about why this incredible double album might be reserved for the older fan club.

As a parent whose Swiftie status is a result of her 7-year-old twins' obsession with TayTay, I was a little sad that I wouldn't be able to share this absolute masterpiece of an album with my littles - especially after watching the 3.5-hour-long Eras Tour on Disney+ no less than 10 times together.

Watching my children see her singing and dancing on stage, performing their favorite songs, and witnessing a bit of an emotional milestone as one of my girls literally dropped and wept when "Love Story" came on, saying "Mom, I can't believe I'm watching her play my favorite song" was definitely a core memory and a highlight of my year. When I stared at her double album on Spotify, I didn't know what to expect but hoped this would be another album my kids and I could bond to. But, Alas, it isn't. And that is absolutely not a bad thing.

Taylor’s 11th album, "The Tortured Poets Department", is a deep dive into her personal life - more than ever before. It's packed with 31 songs that echo the rollercoaster of emotions she’s experienced from recent high-profile relationships and the whirlwind of her Eras Tour. It’s raw, it’s real, and it’s definitely grown-up in themes.

Taylor... You're a muse. You sing words that I couldn't find to express my own feelings and most intimate thoughts, and you went entirely too hard on this album, something people like me really needed and didn't know. Also, thank you for dropping the album on my 35th birthday. It was at a time I thought I had healed from the last few years of my life, but realized I hadn't and just needed to hear and feel that I wasn't the only one with such a heartbreaking, debilitating experience. I took it as a personal birthday present that you wanted me to digest slowly, and so I have been doing just that.

But my kiddos will not be listening to this album, and I have a hunch that you're ok with that.

Why It Might Not Be for Little Ears

1. Emotional Intensity: The lyrics are intense - understatement of the year. Taylor doesn’t hold back on the heartache, the drama, and the complexities of love and life, which might be a bit heavy for younger listeners.

2. Mature Themes: From breakups to introspective reflections on her personal growth and challenges, she’s laying it all out there, and some of these themes might just go over the heads of the younger crowd.

3. Language Alert: Yes, Taylor’s known for her clean image, but this album has too many moments of strong language as she expresses her deepest feelings and frustrations. Even as a mom who doesn't hold back on expressing herself, I don't approve it for my littles who have literally heard it all (and call me out on it every day).

A still from Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor's Version). © 2024 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

"The Tortured Poets Department" does not pass the Parental Vibes check

While it’s all artistically brilliant and older teens might resonate with the emotional exploration and poetic expressions, for the little ones, it might be best to stick to "You Belong With Me" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" for now.

"The Tortured Poets Department" is a testament to Taylor’s artistic evolution and her willingness to bare her soul. It’s a beautiful, complex album but perhaps better suited for family members who’ve already tackled high school. Or, you know, went through a painful divorce after ten long years. Yes, I was absolutely sobbing next to complete strangers on an airplane when listening to "So Long, London" on repeat for a whole hour.

For parents of older teens, I recommend using this album as a way to start conversations with them about emotions, relationships, and personal growth. It’s a great stepping stone to talk about real-life feelings in a way that healthily connects with them, and by having someone as "untouchable" as Taylor to guide them through it all.

Whether you decide to dive into this album solo or with your older teens, it’s a freaking journey. Happy listening, and remember, every album is an opportunity to understand the soundtrack of our lives - just sometimes with headphones on.

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