I’ve had Taylor Swift’s new album, “Reputation” on my radar ever since the release of her single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” which I essentially ripped apart in a previous review. “Reputation” was released on Nov. 10 and brought a surprising variety of songs that range from pop to electronic dance music. As a whole, the album isn’t terrible; in fact, there are a few songs that are actually quite catchy and I anticipate being played at future townhouse ragers. The major issue I have with “Reputation” is the clear message Swift sends declaring that the sweet country singer that everyone fell in love with for favorites such as “Our Song,” and “Fearless,” is gone.
“Reputation” is an aggressive compilation of songs that discuss topics such as revenge, sex, gender and power. She sounds like a basic A-list pop star trying to create the next best song for a club. I would say there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a difference between creating music for the enjoyment of your fans and creating music that compromises your own individuality solely to sound like every other pop artist.
Let’s get down to it. The album opens with recent release, “Ready for It.” An obvious favorite with pop-listeners as it has a catchy bass drop and hard-hitting lyrics that are perfect for your 8 a.m. spin class. This upbeat song starts the album off on a fairly good note, but the second song on the track, “End Game,” is just awful. I can’t even tell if, “End Game” is suppose to be a hip hop/rap song or if it’s supposed to be a slow pop song, because the dynamics are just all over the place. Also, let me know the last time you saw a white country singer evolve into a sudden rap star — oh right, it’s never happened. And this is why. T-Swizzle, I’m afraid this song really missed the mark. It’s not fast enough to dance or work out to, yet the random rap breaks (which are executed wonderfully by Future) make it impossible to consider the song as “chill.”
Song three on “Reputation” just had me laughing. Swift opens the song with, “I never trust a narcissist, but they love me/ So I play ’em like a violin/ And I make it look oh-so-easy/ ‘Cause for every lie I tell them, they tell me three.” First thing’s first, a narcissist is someone who is completely obsessed with themselves, so sorry to break it to you Swift, but if you’re calling (most likely Kanye West) a narcissist, then you can’t also say he “loves” you — it just doesn’t make sense. Secondly, you admit openly to your fans, your family, your haters, the world, that you lie to these “enemies,” essentially admitting that you get on their level. I used to admire you when I was eight years old, but I’m not confident I would have admired you if you were advertising messages like you are now. Two wrongs don’t make a right, it’s elementary, my friend.
Jumping ahead to song 10, “King of My Heart” is really well-crafted. This song has a great dynamic between smooth, groovy lyrics that break into a more upbeat rhythm for the chorus. The lyrics for this song are extremely catchy and I commend Swift for actually appreciating that rich boys aren’t necessarily the key to happiness. Another single on the album that mimics this same flow of smooth, low-key rhythms that erupt into a more upbeat chorus is “Dress.” “Dress” starts off with light pulsating beat drops and the low voice of Swift, which eventually transitions first into Swift increasing the speed at which she sings, then to the accompaniment of drums and electro-vibes. However catchy “Dress” is, the lyrics again taint Swift’s reputation — no pun intended. With lines such as, “Only bought this dress so you can take it off,” and “I’m spilling wine in the bathtub/ You kiss my face and we’re both drunk,” Swift publicizes her lust-filled relationships that contradict her early “good girl” repertoire of country favorites.
There is one song on “Reputation” that is absolutely beautiful, and that is “New Year’s Day.” The song is comprised of soft piano notes and chords and Taylor Swift’s natural, gentle vocals. This song is a raw representation of perhaps the vulnerability Swift has been feeling for years, and holds many hidden reasons as to why she created such an aggressive album in the first place. This song counters each song from her album. It’s honest, elegant and shows no signs of aggression or the want of revenge, and it’s this song that makes, “Reputation,” worth purchasing.
“Reputation” received a 4/5 stars on iTunes, it goes for $13.99. Currently, “Reputation” is only available for purchase in retail stores and on iTunes. Sources told Variety that Swift plans to keep the album off of streaming services, such as Spotify, for at least its first week of sales. This is largely due to Swift’s belief that, “people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created.”
I give the album 3/5 stars.