Taylor Swift – ReputationCultureMusicAlbum reviews
The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Instead of letting the critics destroy her already tarnished repute, she does it herself, shedding her infamous pop princess persona for the real Taylor in her newest record, aptly named Reputation. Released 10th November, the album chronologically tells her side of the tumultuous past three years, from the unabashed anger over the unfair destruction of her reputation, to the gradual falling in love. With only three primary producers beside herself, Swift explores a darker, moodier, edgier pop sound that is the night to 1989’s heavily produced day.
The singer throws out her old fairytale imagery and tries out new metaphors, such as the recurring theme of crime and its subsequent punishment. In 1989-esque Getaway Car, she declares, “We were jet-set Bonnie and Clyde/ Until I switched to the other side” over a key change that brings about an inexplicable feeling of heart-pounding fearlessness. In this standout song, she falls back on her tried and trusted cliche-meets-metaphor lyrical approach.
Though Look What You Made Me Do is oft cited as her ultimate enemy-bashing number, the real hit is delivered in This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, which may be her longest song title yet. To a simple melody meant to emphasise the “lecturing a bad child” tone, Swift fiercely defends herself, and almost forgives her adversaries, before cackling and declaring, “I can’t even say it with a straight face!”.
Reputation is not solely feud-focused – in fact, over half the tracks focus on love. The singer once said she’d write about the kind of love that glows golden if she ever found it, and it is obvious that she has. This works the best in Call It What You Want, a beautiful piece that enthuses classic Swift songwriting that features personal, intimate moments of connection and true love. Tunes like Call It What you Want and vocoder-heavy Delicate make it clear the artist is done letting her reputation ruin her relationships. In the latter, she intones, “My reputation’s never been worse, so you must like me for me”. No other lyric sums up the album as well as this one, and explores how reputation and love affect one another.
Taylor Swift is back, and she’s coming for blood. In a true pop masterpiece that may single-handedly save the genre for the next year, each track shines brighter than the last. Though the old Taylor is dead, she will be remembered. As she croons in the light, understated piano ballad of New Year’s Day, which is about the person who stays behind to clean up with you after the party, “Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you”.
Reputation is released on 10th November 2017. For further information or to order the album visit the Taylor Swift website here.
Watch the video for Look What You Made Me Do here: