When I think about my musical upbringing, Taylor Swift’s music will always have a special spot in my heart. Although I don’t necessarily keep up with her personal life, her music has always been there for me. In my earlier years she was in her country phase with songs such as “Our Song,” “Teardrops on my Guitar,” “Fearless” and “You Belong with Me.” Later on there were songs that fell more under the pop genre such as “Red,” “Shake it Off” and “22.”
I’m not proud to say that I have every CD she has produced in my car. This new album titled “reputation” is no exception. Although Swift brings some new styles into this album, it is just as amazing as the others. One of my favorite, and also least favorite, things about her music is how catchy the songs are, making singing along practically a requirement. You could listen to a song once and have it stuck in your head all day. There are definitely some songs under this album that fall under this category including “Dress,” “New Year’s Day” and “…Ready for it?”
There is no doubt that the release of this album was overdramatized. Swift removed herself from social media for the sole reason of announcing the release of the first song of this album. Upon first hearing “Look What You Made Me Do” I was seriously concerned about the sound of her new album. Although I liked the beginning of this song, it seemed as though the message the song seems to bring Swift down to her critics’ level. I understand the message of the song but is a song that basically just repeats “look what you made me do” the most effective way to do this? The tune of the song seems dated and it was not the best song to release to get people hooked on her new album. Also the line, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now/ why?/ because she is dead” seemed forced and irrelevant. As a fan who loves Swift for her music, this made me feel that the sweet girl who started singing about her high school best friend giving it all to a jerk was gone replaced by someone who’s too keen on revenge and karma.
That being said, once the rest of her album was released, this fear was replaced by intrigue in her new songs. Once I started listening, I found that many of the songs seem to be talking about a flourishing love that is coming about, possibly even a first true love. This could have something to do with Swift’s boyfriend Joe Alwyn, who she has been dating for about a year on the down low. “Delicate,” “Call it What You Want” and “New Year’s Day” all talk of something brand new that is developing into an important relationship.
The lyrics of “New Year’s Day” are relatable to anyone who have found themselves wanting to spend all their time with someone. With a heavy use of piano, the song has the tune of a love song, finished with the perfect lyrics. It sets up the scene for the morning after a special night, capping it off with the lyrics, “I want your midnights, but I’ll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year’s Day.” Who wouldn’t want to hear that from someone they are seeing?
One song that came completely out of left field was “End Game.” This song features Ed Sheeran and Future and is very far from anything Swift has come out with before. The song starts with Swift singing, but only a couple lines in, the tune changes and you don’t know what to expect. Rapping from Future and Sheeran, mixed with Swift’s singing and harmonies between the three, makes this song is a must listen to. Even people who aren’t fans of Swift will find something in this song. Not only is this song catchy, but it also has a great message of someone who is looking for a real relationship that has an “End Game” without taking into account people’s reputations.
The one song on the album that seemed to relate to “Look What You Made me Do” was the song “I Did Something Bad.” Once again Swift takes on the role of the victim with the attitude of the world being against you. Although the tune of the song is catchy, the message of the song seems self-pitying especially with lines such as, “I never trust a playboy, but they love me” and “I did something bad, but it just felt so good.” Maybe I’m too critical, but it definitely was not my favorite song on the album.
One of the big controversies surrounding the release of this album is the unavailability of the album online. Although Swift released the rest of her music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, she is waiting to release this new album. The only reliable way to listen to “reputation” is to buy the CD or get it in full on iTunes. If you are a Swift fan, then it is worth the money, but expect some surprises as well as her usual lovesick songs.