By Josh McCann

Above Photo via Facebook: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” is filled with great songs, from “I can love with a broken heart” to “Guilty as Sin,” but one song is my early fav—“So High School.” Out of the 31 tracks (13 backwards), there’s something soo good about “So High School.”

Okay, I was especially excited about this album since it celebrates the act of writing. Taylor has written so many great lyrics over the years. And it goes to another level on this album. Being a writer myself, I love how Taylor celebrates the art. It means everything to create something and release it to the world. I get that same feeling. Writing should be something you love to do.

As a university professor and high school English teacher, I was immediately drawn to the title. Each day I’m reminded of how crazy adolescence can be. Everything is amplified: best friends, crushes, heartbreak, schoolwork, taco day in the lunch cafe. Back in high school I would listen to my favorite band, the Smashing Pumpkins. “1979” would play in my station wagon on the way home from school. I’d turn up the dial and drive around my small town, my friends packed in the backseats. It felt like the song was written about us. That’s what the best songs do. Especially at that age.

“So High School” appears on the second half of TTPD. It comes out of nowhere. Kind of how “New Romantics” and “Hits Different” did. The second I heard the guitar intro, I stood up out of my chair, the sun shining over my backyard. I knew it was going to be something. It hits different from the rest of the double album.

It’s all about Taylor feeling like she’s in high school again. A coming-of-age story. When she didn’t feel like the popular girl. The melody is so sweet. She sings in that low register, which makes the lyrics all the more memorable. “Truth, dare, spin the bottles/ You know how to ball, I know Aristotle,” she sings. This is mostly likely about Travis Kelce. He made the album! It’s an upbeat pop jam with fantastic guitar leads. It’s simple but so catchy. Those are the hardest ones to write. The juxtaposition of joy and devastation is something Taylor has captured so insanely well in her songs through the years.

YouTube: Taylor Swift

When she eventually comes back around for a tour, she’ll have to choose which tracks to perform off of this album. If she plays this live, fans will go nuts. I’ve seen her live three times, two of which I covered for this very blog (Reputation, ERA’s). Each show is amazing. I can see “So High School” sneaking into the set. An underground gem. Kind of like the movies I grew up with that became cult classics: Clueless, Heathers, Cruel Intentions.

Speaking of movies, she sings, “I’m watching American Pie with you on a Saturday night.” Yes, all kinds of cool nostalgia here. It’s also interesting that we are at a point with Taylor looking back on her high school years. It feels like just yesterday that she was a teenager breaking country hearts.

And now there will be a new generation of students that’ll listen to “So High School.” I know my students will identify with it. They’ll feel like the song is written about them. Years from now, it’ll take them back. Just like when I hear “1979” now. What a time. It’s such a cool thing. With so many amazing tracks on TTPD, this one could end up standing out of the crowd.

By mykct