A Review of Taylor Swift's 'Reputation'By Katherine Mickewich | 6/12/17 2:49pm
Courtesy of Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s relationship with the public has been anything but smooth sailing over the past few years. Something that hasn’t wavered drastically is her musical ability. With every album comes an onslaught of bops and bangers which most whom do not like her personality, can admit are catchy. Her newest album Reputation was anticipated to be a vindictive testimonial to years under public scrutiny and controversy. This being due to the title Reputation and singles like "Look What You Made Me Do" that focus on revenge. Whether the album suits its expectations is still up for debate. However, here’s my take on Reputation.
Reputation is an eclectic album for Taylor Swift to be releasing. It takes on a much darker tone than her previous albums thematically. Similarly to her previous work, much of the album remains to be wistful and dazzlingly romantic but in Reputation, they take on a slight, if not great edge. "I Did Something Bad" being a song that deviates greatly from her previous work. There’s something so deliciously sinister about the way she sheds her “good girl” image for parts of the album. In "End Game" Taylor Swift flexes her genre melding muscles foraging into the pop/hip-hop realm collaborating with Future and Ed Sheeran. A rap artist in a Taylor Swift song seems somewhat cringeworthy, but I think the infusion of Future’s verse didn’t seem out of place, even when accompanied by a verse by Ed Sheeran. The entire album is teeming with eclectic choices like this and seems like a giant risk for Taylor Swift to take at this point in her career.
The entire album slaps together a bunch of hits instead of building a cohesive storyline. Despite this, I think that most of the songs bleed with a vibrant quality that make them endlessly fun to sing along to. In the song "...Ready For It?" the entire tone shifts halfway through, going from this rumbling drone with lyrics echoing the revenge theme in the album to something airy, light, and dreamy. The song starts the album with excitement and the first half mirrors this momentum. However, the song "Don’t Blame Me" is by far the standout moment in the album. It’s brooding, enticing, and a little bit folksy in the tone of the melody. It encapsulates everything that’s good about this new era of Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to the album for weeks now and I still can’t get enough of it. Moreover, I can see a possibly underrated piece being the song "New Year’s Day" - a standout piano and acoustic guitar moment that seems to prove Swift still has that honest 'je ne sais quoi' that made her country albums so magical. Other standout songs include "Delicate", "Dancing With My Hands Tied", "Getaway Car", and "King of my Heart."
It’s evident that Swift may have been unsure of what she wanted to convey in the album. However I find it to be maybe her most honest and self-baring release to date. While not being her best work, it is certainly a solid pop album that has as many good moments as it does confusing elements. All in all I don’t think Reputation lives up to its expectations, but will remain to be a diamond in the rough, the better songs on the album becoming secret gems in her discography.