Taylor Swift Releases Fierce New Genre Defying Album ‘Reputation’ [Album Review]

Taylor Swift released her highly anticipated sixth studio album, Reputation on November 10th, 2017. Reputation can be described with words like aggressive, defensive, fierce, genre defying, and full of unexplained disses against what people and the media think of her. Reputation is Swift’s vision blending genres like pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and even a bit of rap together to make a No. 1 record breaking album. Reputation was created with the help of Max Martin and Shellback, and man-of-the-moment Jack Antonoff and mixed by Serban Ghenea, and the album being released on Big Machine Label Group

Launching the album is her second single from this album, “…Ready For It?” which is also her first promotional single from Reputation. “…Ready For It?” debuted in an ad shown during a college football game between Florida State and Alabama and after its TV premiere, the song was also featured in an ABC ad. This song sounds similar to the songs we all love from her massively successful fifth studio album, 1989. The song contains a dark, luscious production and sexually suggestive lyrics that may remind some fans of the song “I Know Places.” Continuing with anthemic track “End Game” which features rapper Future and Swift’s good friend Ed Sheeran. This is Swift’s first collaboration with Future and her overall third collaboration with a rapper, following the remix of her track “Bad Blood,” which featured Kendrick Lamar, and “Both of Us” by B.o.B. which featured Swift. The album continues with a song called “I Did Something Bad” that explores Swift’s new dark sound in the Reputation era as it drifts away from her previous record 1989. “Dont Blame Me” is Swift’s ode to a partner whose love is so addictive and intense, comparing it to a drug, and showcasing the things Taylor would do for them. The lyrics are delivered soulfully, with a seductive and fierce edge to them in this midtempo synthpop song. The haunting harmonies combined with Taylor’s signature vocals make for an album highlight.

“Delicate” sees Taylor taking a more hesitant approach while pursuing a new lover, maybe about her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, who was her bf during the song’s release. Sonically, the record utilizes chilling vocal harmonies backed by a simple instrumental which beautifully accompanies Swift’s vocals. The lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” from the highly anticipated follow-up to 1989 seemingly takes shots at several unnamed rivals, who most fans suspect to be Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, and Katy Perry which Swifties have speculated are highlighted in the very cinematic music video. The song’s theme definitely consists of revenge and Swift’s rebirth into a smarter, stronger person. It showcases Swift move in a new sonic direction, incorporating electro pop and an unexpected injection of the 90’s hit “I’m Too Sexy” on the chorus. Continuing with “So It Goes, The line “So It Goes” originates from the novel Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, written in 1969. Vonnegut says the line several times in the novel whenever a death occurs, as a narrative transition to another subject. This could be symbolic to Swift’s Reputation album as a whole, since she has publicly said the Old Taylor is dead in her song/music video for “Look What You Made Me Do.” This album is Swift’s transition into the “new” Taylor. Swift has also used the line “So It Goes” previously in her hit song, Style, which was on her 1989 album, with the lyric: “So it goes, he can’t keep his wild eyes on the road.

The third track released for her album was “Gorgeous” which seems to describe a fully intoxicating infatuation in the form of love that is not being returned to Swift. The man in Swift’s attention is so attractive, that she feels compelled to be with him even though she already has a boyfriend. The song seeming plays with the rumors of Taylor cheating on Calvin Harris with Tom Hiddleston in 2016. Furthermore, the chorus seemingly mocks the perception that most of Swift’s discography is comprised of lighthearted, simple songs about boys. In “Getaway Car” Swift puts the image of a criminals in a speeding car in our minds as the central metaphor for a doomed romance, with pop-culture references added in for good measure, much like she did in her 1989 DLX Target exclusive song, “Wonderland.” It is also a tongue-in-cheek reference to her reputation as being unable to maintain a long-term relationship, which is also mentioned in her smash hit single, “Shake It Off.” A getaway car is usually a vehicle prepped for a quick escape following a crime, usually associated with robberies because of the tailing police. As Taylor brushes the residue of the catastrophic “Getaway Car” she begins to start living life until she meets the man who is the “King of My Heart”. In this track, Swift makes an extended list of allusion referencing the American life under a synth pop beat. Continuing with upbeat tempo song, “Dancing With Out Hands Tied” and Swift’s sexually charged song “Dress.” This song is a slow and steamy anthem that would be perfect within the Fifty Shades Of Grey Soundtrack.

Next on the record is the anthemic, lighthearted track,This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things in which fans have again speculated throws some major shade at all the haters. During Swift’s Secret Sessions, Swift told fans that this song drew on her experiences with fame and the media as well. Many have also speculated that this song specifically references her ongoing feud with rapper, Kanye West. Call It What You Want was first announced on Swift’s social media on November 2nd, 2017, which was coincidentally the 13th anniversary of Taylor meeting Scott Borchetta, who signed her to Big Machine Records. After the song was announced, many fans were quick to point out lyric similarities between the bridge of this track and that in her 2008 hit “Love Story.” This song could also be the most well written song on the record, and one of the most romantic. New Year’s Day is the closing track on reputation which uses a New Year’s party as a metaphor to discuss holding on to people and memories from both good and bad times. Taylor recognizes that when the ‘parties’ in her life are over and the ‘new year’ begins, such memories are all she will have left to hold on to and learn from. Musically, the song is reminiscent of Taylor’s older tracks similar to those on her album RED, with sparse production and just a guitar and piano backing her flawless voice.  Prior to the rest of the album where Taylor seemingly takes many shots at various people including the media, haters, etc, In this song she creates a more mature image, and showing she is thankful for her past and is ready to ‘clean up’ and move on with her future.

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