Reputation By Taylor Swift
By Anna Fjortoft
Selling 1.216 million copies of an album only in the first week? Not a surprise for artists such as Taylor Swift. Reputation, her sixth studio album (Billboard), dropped on November 10th. The name of the album for sure is prevalent in most of the 15 tracks, as Taylor delves into the media scandals and rumors that plagued her public life last year. After listening to this album, I can say with certainty that it is a not so shy departure from Swift’s previous Grammy winning album, 1989. Reputation is darker and more cryptic than her previous albums, exemplified in the lyrics of “I Did Something Bad,” They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one. But although this album is mysterious, it doesn’t sway from Swift’s pop sound at all. If you think you know the sound of the album by the first two singles “Look What You Made Me Do” and “…Ready for it?” I suggest you listen to the full album before making a judgement.
I went track by track through Reputation, and I’m going to talk about each song individually and finally the album as the whole. First off is the song that shows this album is nothing like Swift’s previous albums, “…Ready for it?”. Personally, this is my least favorite track off of the whole album. This song has nothing to it other than the chorus. The soft chorus and the heavy bass don’t mesh together well. The chorus of “…Ready for it?” (In the middle of the night, in my dreams) is actually quite astounding because we see Swift’s voice with a melodic electronic background; but in all honesty it doesn’t go with the rest of the track. Next up is “End Game” featuring Ed Sheeran and Future, which is pop-radio gold, due to the fact that you find yourself nodding along to the track the first time you hear it. This song is put together incredibly well, with beautiful layered background vocals and electronic sounds mixed with medium bass. The only thing I disliked about this song is that it gets a little repetitive and long at times. After “End Game” is “I Did Something Bad”. Although starting off strong, the chorus is super cheesy with the bass going in and out. It’s creative and original, but sounds Kidz Bop-esque with this sound. This song is good but not phenomenal, it feels like Swift is yelling instead of singing during the chorus.
Next up is “Don’t Blame Me,” which is actually a charming song, with a stellar pre-chorus. I can see it being played in dance clubs with the heavy bass and enchanting lyricism. This is most likely going to be played on the radio as well, as it is fantastic with mesmerizing lyrics. Then there is “Delicate,” which sounds exactly like the name- silky smooth pop. This song provides a perfect transition between the high energy songs “Don’t Blame Me” and “Look What You Made Me Do”.
Near the middle of the album is “Look What You Made Me Do,” which shows the world that Swift has moved to a more edgy, harsh and mature sound. To me, this song is a bit of a resentful one, but despite the monotone Look What You Made Me Do being repetitive, you can hear compelling instrumentals in the background. This song is mediocre at best because it has no flow, but it was the perfect lead single because it drew attention to the album. After “Look What You Made Me Do” is “So It Goes…” which is an enjoyable addition to the album. “So It Goes…” has electronic roots which adds volume to the rhyming lyrics You know I’m not a bad girl but I’ll do bad things with you. This is one of the most clean sounding and simplistic songs of the album, which makes it one of the best. After “So It Goes…” is the chill “Gorgeous,” which is nothing special, but manages to be catchy at times. This is one of those songs that is experimental and feels uncompleted; in this song we don’t really see Swift’s full vocal range which is disappointing because that could’ve possibly completed the song.
Possibly the best song on the album, “Getaway Car,” follows “Gorgeous,” this track screams classic storytelling Swift. Of course the song is electronic-pop and different from her previous albums, but the emotional lyrics put together with the synthesizer and light piano in the background are close to perfect. The lyrics are second to none, We were jet-set, Bonnie and Clyde, until I switched to the other side. Next up is “King Of My Heart,” I have no opinion on this song, as it is satisfactory but unmemorable. This is the one song on the album I am undecided on. One of the songs with the best buildups to the chorus is the following track “Dancing With Our Hands Tied.” “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” is a true pop-EDM song, with 1980’s sounds partially covered by David Guetta reminiscent bass drops. “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” is one of the most accomplished songs on the album, because it seems timeless. Succeeding “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” is “Dress,” which seems like a fantastic continuation of “So It Goes…” because of similar styles of layering vocals in both songs. This is one of the more vulnerable and emotional songs on the album with lyrics like My hands are shaking from holding back from you. “Dress” is one of the finest tracks because it is so innovative, sounding current while not sounding sampled or dull.
Near the end of the album is “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” which seems out of place near the end of an album that was calming down from a high energy beginning and middle. It is a moderate song that sounds like musical theatre combined with mid 2000s pop. “Call It What You Want” goes behind “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” a velvety song that doesn’t have a spirited chorus, but is relaxing and soft- rightfully placed near the finish of the album. Closing the album is “New Year’s Day,” which cannot necessarily be described as a ballad but still an alluring and sentimental song. “New Year’s Day” showcases Swift’s storytelling abilities front and center with lyrics like Squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi.
My favorites from Reputation are “New Year’s Day”, “Dancing With Our Hands Tied”, “Getaway Car”, “So It Goes…”, and “End Game” featuring Ed Sheeran and Future. As a whole, this album was very experimental but it was also very original and enticing so I would give this album 7.5 out of 10 stars. In comparison to Swift’s last albums, keep in mind it’s nothing that she’s ever done before; this doesn’t mean it still doesn’t have the attention grabbing elements of previous hits like “Love Story or “Blank Space”. Overall, no matter how much you hate Taylor Swift, think she’s awesome, or think that she’s so-so, most people can fess up to enjoying one of her songs; ladies and gentlemen, that is the influence of Taylor Swift.