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A Brief Guide to Who’s Who on Taylor Swift’s ‘Tortured Poets’

When Taylor Swift released “The Tortured Poets Department,” on Friday at midnight, her fan base quickly got to work decoding the album, looking for layers of meaning and insight into Ms. Swift’s life. Of course, that includes the pop singer’s romantic history.

Like many of her past works, the songs on this album — which features over a dozen additional tracks as part of an extended album called “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology” — are laden with names and references, many of which appear to be to real people from Ms. Swift’s universe and the literary canon. At least two poets, Dylan Thomas and Patti Smith, are mentioned.

Here’s a look at some of those characters.

Matty Healy

Credit…Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images

Plenty of lines from “Tortured Poets” have fans guessing that certain songs — including “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” “The Black Dog” and “Down Bad” — may be about Matty Healy, the frontman for the 1975 who was spotted out and about with Taylor on several occasions last spring. One clue Swifties are latching on to: On the “The Black Dog,” Ms. Swift refers to the band the Starting Line. Mr. Healy covered one of the band’s songs while he was touring last spring. And then there is the much-discussed reference to a person Ms. Swift describes as a “tattooed golden retriever” on the album’s title track. Mr. Healy seems to fit the bill, according to her fans.

Travis Kelce

Credit…Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Ms. Swift’s fans have been floating the notion that the many sports references in the track “The Alchemy” allude to the football player Travis Kelce, the singer’s current boyfriend. “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 beat,” she sings in the chorus. “Where’s the trophy? / He just comes running over to me,” she adds in the bridge. But there is some debate, with some fans noting that her use of the term “blokes” would seem to imply the song is not about an American. (A winking line about “heroin but this time with an E” has some guessing the song is about Mr. Healy, who has previously spoken about his drug use.)

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