Taylor Swift has been dropping clues about her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, leading up to its release on April 19, 2024. One day before the album dropped, she revealed that the clues created the phrase, “We hereby conduct this post mortem.” Following the big reveal, fans are now wondering what the sentence means.

What Does Post Mortem Mean?

While post mortem can have several meanings, Taylor is likely using it as a term to look back at past experiences. The phrase is “an analysis or discussion of an event after it is over,” according to Merriam-Webster. Meanwhile, the website also describes it as something that is “done, occurring, or collected after death.”

What Does Taylor Swift’s Post Mortem Clue Mean?

In the week leading up to the Tortured Poets Department release, Taylor had fans looking for hidden words in the lyrics of her old songs on Apple Music. She previously created playlists on the streaming platform that breaks down the five stages of heartbreak: Denial (“I Love You, It’s Ruining My Life”), Anger (“You Don’t Get to Tell Me About Sad”), Bargaining (“Am I Allowed to Cry?”), Depression (“Old Habits Die Screaming”) and Acceptance (“I Can Do It With a Broken Heart).

Fans were encouraged to look for clues in each playlist, which ultimately spelled out the phrase. The final word was revealed on April 18, 2024, and was “mortem,” which was hidden in the lyrics of her song “Begin Again.”

The final word meant that the complete sentence was, “We hereby conduct this post mortem.” The clue likely means that Taylor will look back at past relationships that are completely over in the new album. However, she has not yet clarified exactly what the phrase means.

Shortly after the complete sentence was revealed, several fans rushed to social media to speculate on its meaning. “That’s mysterious! I’m curious about the significance of ‘MORTEM’ in the lyrics,” one person wrote. Another added, “POST MORTEM??? oh this is serious.”

Meanwhile, others admitted they weren’t sure what the clue meant. “OMGGGGG!!! I still don’t know what we’re talking about here,” a third fan chimed in.

What Does Post Mortem Mean? Breaking Down Taylor Swift's ‘Tortured Poets Department’ Message
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

When Did Taylor Swift Announce ‘The Tortured Poets Department’?

The “Karma” singer announced her latest album at the Grammy Awards on February 4, 2024. She shared the exciting news while accepting the Best Pop Vocal Album award for Midnights.

“OK. This is my 13th grammy. Which is my lucky number, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that,” she told the crowd during her acceptance speech. “I wanna say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years, which is that my brand new album comes out April 19. It’s called The Tortured Poets Department.”