Guilty as Sin?

THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT (2024)

“Guilty as Sin?” is track nine on Taylor’s eleventh studio album, THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT (2024). It was released on April 19, 2024, through Republic Records.
Table of Contents

Background

Taylor released her tenth studio album, Midnights, on October 21, 2022, to widespread commercial and critical success, becoming the biggest album of the year. Midnights was eventually nominated for six Grammy Awards at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards on February 4, 2024. The morning of the ceremony, Taylor teased the release of an album by changing her profile picture across all social media platforms to a black and white version of the already existing cover artwork of Midnights. This led to her fans speculating online that she was preparing to release reputation (Taylor’s Version), a forthcoming re-recording of her sixth studio album, reputation (2017). Taylor’s website also appeared to have crashed, replaced with the non-existent HTTP status code 321, as well as error code “hneriergrd”, which fans deciphered to be an anagram spelling “red herring”. They also analyzed the source code of her website and found hidden, foreign-language words, which they then translated into English. The words found would be revealed to be words in Taylor’s handwritten note for the album.

Taylor won the Grammy Awards for “Best Pop Vocal Album” and “Album of the Year” for Midnights a few hours later. In her acceptance speech for the former, she revealed a new studio album, titled THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT, and announced its release date of April 19, 2024, which she had been keeping secret for nearly two years. Its cover artwork was subsequently posted on her social media accounts, along with a photograph of a handwritten note:

«And so I enter into evidence / My tarnished coat of arms / My muses, acquired like bruises / My talismans and charms / The tick, tick, tick of love bombs / My veins of pitch black ink / All's fair in love and poetry…Sincerely, The Chairman of the Tortured Poets Department.»

The album’s tracklist, including “Guilty as Sin?”, was revealed a day later.

Live Performances

“Guilty as Sin?” received its first live performance acoustically on piano on May 18, 2024, in Stockholm during one of Taylor’s shows on “The Eras Tour” (2023-2024). Before playing the song, she said:

«Thank you for being this kind of a crowd! You know, it just makes me want to play one of my favorite songs from TORTURED POETS that I’ve never played live before.»

On July 4, 2024, she played an acoustic mashup of “Guilty as Sin?” with “Untouchable” (2009) on guitar in Amsterdam.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Drowning in the Blue Nile
He sent me ‘Downtown Lights’
I hadn’t heard it in a while
My boredom’s bone-deep
This cage was once just fine
Am I allowed to cry?
I dream of cracking locks
Throwing my life to the wolves
Or the ocean rocks
Crashing into him tonight
He’s a paradox
I’m seeing visions, am I bad?
Or mad? Or wise?

[Chorus 1]
What if he’s written ‘mine’ on my upper thigh
Only in my mind?
One slip and falling back into the hedge maze
Oh what a way to die
I keep recalling things we never did
Messy top lip kiss
How I long for our trysts
Without ever touching his skin,
How can I be guilty as sin?

[Verse 2]
I keep these longings lockеd
In lowercase inside a vault
Somеone told me
There’s no such thing as bad thoughts
Only your actions talk
These fatal fantasies
Giving way to labored breath
Taking all of me
We’ve already done it in my head
If it’s make believe
Why does it feel like a vow
We’ll both uphold somehow?

[Chorus 2]
What if he’s written ‘mine’ on my upper thigh
Only in my mind?
One slip and falling back into the hedge maze
Oh what a way to die
My bed sheets are ablaze
I’ve screamed his name
Building up like waves
Crashing over my grave
Without ever touching his skin
How can I be guilty as sin?

[Bridge]
What if I roll the stone away?
They’re gonna crucify me anyway
What if the way you hold me
Is actually what’s holy?
If long suffering propriety
Is what they want from me
They don’t know how you’ve haunted me
So stunningly
I choose you and me
…Religiously

[Final Chorus]
What if he’s written ‘mine’ on my upper thigh
Only in my mind?
One slip and falling back into the hedge maze
Oh what a way to die
I keep recalling things we never did
Messy top lip kiss
How I long for our trysts
Without ever touching his skin,
How can I be guilty as sin?

[Outro]
He sent me ‘Downtown Lights’
I hadn’t heard it in a while
Am I allowed to cry?

General Information
ArtistTaylor Swift
AlbumTHE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT
ReleasedApril 19, 2024
Recorded2022-2023
StudiosConway (Los Angeles)
Electric Lady (New York City)
Prime Recording (Nashville)
Sterling Sound (Edgewater)
GenrePop
Length4:14
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT CHRONOLOGY
Florida!!!Guilty as Sin?Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?
Song Artwork
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Official Audio