Kate Aksyonov, Section editor
I swear I don’t love the drama, it loves me:” perhaps the perfect one line summary of the story behind Taylor Swift’s long awaited new album, “Reputation”. It represents the shift between the “old Taylor,” naive and caught up in Tennessee and boyfriends, to a more introspective “new Taylor” who has accepted that the rumors will always exists, and now focuses on herself. In this electro-pop album, completely different from Swift’s other works, listeners can expect to discover new stories, and meet the intense and darker tracks of the new Swift. They will fall in love with the light-hearted, genuine tracks, and at the end, press the replay button.
After 1989’s release three years ago, the entire world has been “Ready for it.” With the anticipation for another album never truly ceasing after the end of Swift’s tours for 1989, the excitement overflowed when the star erased all of her social media platforms as a transition into a new album. It’s clear to see that Swift, who has stayed out of the media for the last three years, has returned completely rebranded.
The fans’ hope of a new album was confirmed with the drop of “Look What You Made Me Do”, a simple, pop, and very repetitive song. Throughout the lyrics she accuses all of her enemies and the media for forcing her into what she has become: a very faint translation of the sweet country star at the start of Swift’s career. This song holds the line that has become Swift’s new mantra: “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now/ Why? Oh… cuz she’s dead.”
Being completely honest, as I laid awake at midnight, finally listening to the song after sitting by my phone and counting every second until it dropped, my heart was wrenched from my chest as Swift sang that infamous lyric. Swift’s “Speak Now” and “Red” albums were my absolute favorite, and if I wanted her to do anything, it would have been for her to revert back to that style- not bury it into the past with a well-meaning RIP. This song was too mainstream and shallow for my taste, but thankfully it does not reflect the rest of her album.
The album can be divided into two main categories: the new Swift, hardened by the battles that come with being famous, and the old Swift, who is discovered in “Call it What You Want to” not be dead, but just hiding. The theme of reputation appears in many of Swift’s songs, but not in a negative way. It’s as if Swift wants the listener to know that she’s accepted that her reputation will always be a public fight, but she won’t let it define her.
In songs like “End Game” (her collaboration with Future and Ed Sheeran), “Don’t Blame Me”, “Call it What You Want”, “Delicate”, and “King of my Heart”, Swift makes it clear that she is past her jumping from guy to guy stereotype. Swift even confronts this misconception in “End Game:” “I know what they all say/ but I ain’t tryna play/ I wanna be your end game.”
The stories and side meanings aside, Swift’s new album is filled with a variety of different songs, each with their own unique twist. Songs like “Ready for it”, “Don’t Blame Me”, “I Did Something Bad”, and “So it Goes” fall under a darker, more suggestive side of Swift with an intense, taboo mood. To contrast, tracks like “Gorgeous” and “Call it What You Want to” are sweet, innocent, and make listeners whip out their makeshift microphone a.k.a. hairbrush to dance and sing along. Songs such as “Getaway Car”, “King of my heart”, and “Delicate” fall in the middle of these two opposites and most resemble her past albums. Fans of Swift’s previous emotional ballads like “Clean” or “All Too Well” can cherish a simpler, slower paced song of “Reputation”: “New Year’s Day”. With beautiful vocals and a captivating story of contentment in the chaos of the day after the party, “New Year’s Day” is the perfect song to end the album on… unless the listener (not saying names) goes on to repeat the album a few more times.
For those who don’t have the automatic reaction to buy any song Swift produces, I would highly recommend dropping all previous perceptions for this album before deciding against purchasing it. I have many friends who have hated Swift’s old songs but have loved this new album since it is so different from the rest with its new electropop style. While there really is no other album comparable to “Reputation”, fans of pop artists like Ed Sheeran, Lorde, or Selena Gomez should definitely check out the album.
After three years of holding breaths, Swifties all around the world will be listening to Swift’s new album for months on end, each time falling more and more in love with the little surprises and details hidden in each song (for example, the baby speaking at the beginning of “Gorgeous” or the sound that Swift customly created for “I Did Something Bad”). Listeners will both be intrigued in the new Swift that each song reveals and nostalgic as they receive slight reflections of past albums.
“Reputation” is an all around masterpiece and there is nothing out there quite like it. If I didn’t provide enough reasons why this album is worth a listen, feel free to ask any of the millions who have already purchased the album.