Adele maintains historic record over Taylor Swift despite The Tortured Poets Department’s success

When it comes to songs about heartbreak, Adele has proved her unrivalled victory in the race against Taylor Swift’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department

Following the release of Swift’s divisive 11th album, the singer already tied with Madonna for the most number-one albums in the UK by a female artist. However, the singer failed to beat Adele’s historic record for the biggest debut in Billboard 200 history. 

Nonetheless, The Tortured Poets Department amassed a massive 2.6 million units shifted (streams and sales) upon opening in the US, according to Billboard. That number has only been beaten by the “Easy On Me” singer and outspoken supporter of Swift, who launched her album 25 at number one on the Billboard 200 with 3.48 units shifted in 2015. 

Back then, Adele’s feat was almost entirely made up of sales alone, as the soul singer’s third full-length album sold 3.38 million copies of the album within the first week.

Following the album’s release on 19 April, The Tortured Poets Department marked the first album to receive over 200 million streams on Spotify in one day. The album even surpassed Swift’s last album, the Grammy history-making Midnights, which previously held the record for the most-streamed album on Spotify in a single day, with 185 million streams.

The Eras Tour superstar has even managed to grab 12 number-one albums in her 18-year discography. The Tortured Poets Department is already 2024’s fastest-selling album so far and has already hit the top spot in the UK this week, according to Official Charts.

Despite Swift’s latest project garnering staggering streaming numbers, the record has also fiercely divided critics, with some calling it an “instant classic” and others dubbing it “underwhelming and clunky”.

As for the content matter, fans have speculated that the album details the demise of her relationship with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy. Their relationship came to light in May 2023, but appeared to come to an end in July of the same year, according to reports.

Listeners believe that multiple songs in the album – including “Fortnight” featuring Post Malone, and “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” – and even her entire discography in general could be about the “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” hitmaker. 

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