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It Doesn't Matter That Joe Alwyn Thinks Taylor Swift's New Album Name Is 'Shady'

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Taylor Swift, Joe Alwyn

Swifties around the world shrieked with joy while watching the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, upon hearing Taylor Swift announce the release date of her 11th album, titled “The Tortured Poets Department.” 

It’s been fairly simple for Swift devotees to suss out the supposed origin story of her album’s title, making the connection between “The Tortured Poets Department” and Joe Alwyn’s WhatsApp group chat, "The Tortured Man Club."

A source close to Alwyn told the Daily Mail what the 32-year-old actor apparently thought of that connection and, surprise, he’s not too happy. 

But it doesn’t matter that Joe Alwyn thinks Taylor Swift’s new album name is ‘shady.’

His discomfort at being called out in a work of art by his famous ex raises various philosophical questions about the divide between art, life, and love, and whether those things should stay separate.

According to the Daily Mail’s report, Alwyn maintains that Swift’s title is an “undeniable” reference to his dramatically named group chat. 

   

   

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The source noted that “The Tortured Man Club” text thread was something Swift called into question during their relationship, saying, “Taylor knocked him for the name of this when they were together. She didn't want people to think that it had anything to do with her, so when he spoke out about it, she was, of course, bothered.”

One could rightfully question whether Swift should have been upset by something that allegedly had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with the character Alwyn played in the screen adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel, “Conversations with Friends.”

In that same vein, one could argue that Alwyn’s opinion on Swift’s forthcoming album doesn’t hold any water, either, especially since the two are no longer together.

Alwyn and Swift’s split was reported to be amicable, but that doesn’t mean they don’t each harbor unresolved feelings. What better way to move through emotional turmoil than to put it on the page, on the screen, or into a song?

In declaring Swift’s choice of title to be ‘shady,’ Alwyn inserts himself into a conversation that actually has little to do with him.

The insider recounted that Alwyn “has no reason to believe yet that she is going to diss him or their relationship,” yet, “If it is a diss album, that is shady.”

“He helped her with songwriting on her past album so it will really come as a shock to him if she talks about their breakup, as it is something he has not spoken of at all,” the source continued.

By virtue of no longer being romantically linked, Alwyn has no real foot to stand on in critiquing Swift’s choices. 

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No artist works in a vacuum, which is to say, everyone who creates anything is mining their own experience for source material.

The insider also noted something most fans would agree with, that Swift’s general songwriting style is to utilize “her past using code and points of reference.”

“It may just be that she is reflecting on their time together and he is hoping it is nothing more,” they shared.

It Doesn't Matter That Joe Alwyn Thinks Taylor Swift's New Album Name Is ShadyPhoto: Liam Goodner / Shutterstock

Alwyn entered into a romance with Swift knowing full well who she was: A megastar, a writer, a hugely famous creative force. In some way, he must have been aware that she might just use their entwined experience for material. After all, that’s what artists do.

As an actor, Alwyn slips into different roles and various versions of characters that he may or may not connect to on a personal level. Who’s to say that Swift, as a songwriter, doesn’t do the exact same thing? 

While most of what a writer creates is tied to their inner world, it could also be argued that writers can take on other personas as well. 

Swift’s gravitational pull is beyond strong. No matter what she does, her fans and her critics will pore over liner notes, trying to decipher each lyric and what its deeper meaning is. If she is using this album to process her six years with Alwyn, that’s entirely her prerogative. As Alwyn “has removed himself from her narrative,” it shouldn’t matter to him what she says. 

Swift herself exclaimed, “All’s fair in love and poetry.” If that statement is to be taken as a truth, then, all is fair when love’s fallen out as well

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.