About time you jerk
Okay so here we go. Taylor Swift finally let the streaming services have her newest album reputation after blue balling us for nearly a month. I’m not going to act like I’m Taylor’s biggest fan but she is talented, a drama magnet and immensely popular. I was looking forward to this project for those same reasons but after hanging out with some white people recently two things became very obvious. The first is that I know so little of Taylor’s catalog. The second is that I know waaay more of it than I thought. First comes cryptic Instagram posts which means, finally new music is just around the corner.
“Look What You Made Do” drops and holy moly this song blows. Reception is either “Yay!” or “Wow this is terrible.” Here is my review of the song and I will touch on it again in a bit in context of the album. So out the gate I’m skeptical; we’re getting a different Taylor. She’s no longer the girl next door, she doesn’t care about her…reputation (roll credits) any more. Completing this single drop are the album cover:
Her next couple singles were leaps and bounds better but then I had to wait to listen to the full album. Jerk.
Honestly, I didn’t hate reputation. I’m very happy that Taylor didn’t have this petty, emo attitude throughout the whole project because unless the production was incredible would have been a turnoff. There are some “I’m a strong woman, idgaf” tracks on here and that’s totally fine. A majority of the subject matter is relationships, boys, breakups, the usual stuff. Some attack these subjects from cool angles like “Ready for It.” She’s letting her subject know that she’s coming for him and that he better get ready for the games. The instrumental matches both her aggression and the more softer parts of the track and is a rather enjoyable way to kick off the album.
Next up (I’m not breaking down every song, chill) is the swagged out “End Game” featuring Future and MY FAVORITE MUSICIAN, Ed FUCKING Sheeran. AlrightIlikethissongalot. Taylor sings about how she wants to be the last girl you are with, not some stop on the road, and not “just another ex“. She doesn’t want to go through the pain of missing you or hurt you like those other girls. There’s a pre-chorusy chant that talks about her reputation and the last verse by Taylor speaks on how she cant help the drama that just happens to follow her. First off, the chant just sounds cool. It’s catchy, rhythmic, and the features are cool. So now two songs in a row that I like…well alright alright alright.
The next three tracks are cool solid middle of the album songs even though they are 3-5 on track listing. “I Did Something Bad” is another song with Swift as the villain with solid chorus. “Don’t Blame Me” is a slower but synth heavy tune about being addicted to her lover. My favorite of this bunch is “Delicate”. It’s a light vulnerable bop that is quite cute. It shows that Taylor is taking her time with this new guy as her past relationship may have ended because she jumped into them rather quickly…then wrote a hit song.
I’m gonna speed this up.
I still really hate “Look What You Made Me Do” but the production of the song makes a little bit more sense in the context of reputation but the writing and general attitude still just isn’t interesting. I feel like it just doesn’t fit. Right after that though, comes “So It Goes” which has the best 45 seconds on the album right at the beginning which then you find out is just the verses. The melody, muted basses and bass drums sound so great then tease like they are about to crescendo into something great. The chorus actually isn’t bad but personally I disagree with the drum programming. I would have preferred something a hair more epic by removing some of the bass drum hits and hi hats. I really enjoy it though and I’m glad it follows the disaster before it.
“Gorgeous” was another single and there seems to be a little whimsy to the synth line which coincides with Taylor gushing about her partner being so attractive. It’s goofy and it works. There’s always a point on an album that you feel like an artist has explored all of their ideas out and everything that comes next is just a rehash. We get there at track nine, “Getaway Car”. There isn’t really anything wrong with this song but it’s kind of just there. “King Of My Heart” feels like Taylor is just using the same melodic rhythms that we’ve heard before but then some cool, tom-filled drums kick in that got me dancing a bit. There are a few more throwaway songs that bring up the rear. “Dress” where she only it bought it so you could take it off. Fine. “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is probably about Katy Perry or…idk she mad. The album wraps up with “New Year’s Day” a nice little piano tune and it closes out Taylor’s project nicely.
reputation grew on me as I listened to it a whole bunch today. I can’t see more than two or three songs really sticking with me but the album is cool. I didn’t realize that she sung so rhythmically and quickly at times but it didn’t take anything away from the tracks. The album is heavily produced and at times I thought the instrumental could have done less; less hip hop tinged drums and less synth here and there. Despite the ridiculous album cover, general vibe I got from the album art and first single, she kinda stuck to what she knew subject wise. One theme that popped up a lot is how her reputation has affected her ability to be in “normal” relationships. We know her as one who is constantly followed around by drama which has tainted her image and could make her hard or even scary to date. Anyway like I said, I didn’t hate it and I would even say I kinda liked it.