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Griffin Eckstein

Fans say Swift blocked fellow artist's #1

Despite delivering Charli XCX her largest debut yet, “Brat” will come in at #2 on the U.K. album charts, blocked by “The Tortured Poets Department,” which will spend a sixth week atop the charts as Swift’s “Eras Tour” makes its way to the country.

Fans expressed suspicion at the timing of an announcement from Swift on the release of six U.K.-only album variants, on sale for the five hours remaining on album sales tracking for the week. Sales for the additional variants, which included voice memo demos and live versions of previously released songs, gave Swift the edge, the Official Charts said.

“Taylor Swift is releasing new versions of her snoozefest album only in the U.K. because Charli is predicted to go #1 there,” one X user wrote.

“Why is Taylor Swift threatened by Charli XCX?” another user asked. “[I love you] but you are on top of the world let Charli have her moment.”

Swift fatigue seems to be growing online after her “The Tortured Poets Department” exploded to truly historic heights, selling over 1.4 million copies on its first day. Some critics have gone as far as to make a website to capture the mind-boggling number of album variants (it currently sits at 58 permutations).

“I’m so over this woman,” one X user reacted to the announcement. In TikTok comments, fans call out Swift’s “greed” and question her defensiveness in the face of success by other female artists. 

The incident has been compared to a similar album variant rollout last month, when Swift’s album locked Billie Eilish’s “Hit Me Hard And Soft” out of the top spot, boosted by digital album sales including previously unheard voice memo demos, and garnering a similar fan reaction online.

“Brat,” which currently sits at a 95/100 on review aggregation site Metacritic and earned the title of #1 project of 2024 so far, also employed a deluxe edition to boost its spot in the charts, “Brat and it's the same but there's three more songs so it's not,” which featured the fan-favorite “Spring Breakers.” The album is expected to make a top-5 debut on the U.S. Billboard charts.

Swifties and Charli’s fans alike also took notice of a name-drop in the track “360,” which references Gabriette Bechtel, fiancee of Swift’s ex Matt Healy, the alleged subject of several “Tortured Poets” tracks. Charli is also engaged to Healy’s bandmate, George Daniel. 

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