Taylor Swift’s Reputation is finally out and though hesitant (and upset that she wouldn’t be streaming it right away) at first, I kind of can’t stop listening to it. Taylor attempts to take back the narrative with this seemingly unapologetic and honest album. Though this was meant to be a grown-up and in-control acknowledgement of the rumors that constantly surround her; her lyrics struggle to find the upper hand. I’ve been listening to the album all morning but listening to Taylor Swift makes me miss nonsensical Pop Music. I just can’t find the time to analyze her lyrics and who they’re about.
I will admit that when all of her singles were being released, I struggled to stand behind this album, none of the singles (for me) came close to the creations from 1989. However, after listening to the entire album, I found myself falling in love with the tracks that were not pre-released. Though it’s difficult to strip my mind of the tiny bit of bias it has towards Taylor Swift, I try my best to analyze this album as a music lover and not a human tired of the constant news-rotation of Taylor’s antics.
“End Game” is one of my favorites though admittedly, I could have done without the Future feature. Ed Sheeran is a fun surprise when he sneaks in with a verse and a few background vocals but Future’s verse took me out of the song completely. “I Did Something Bad” is the song that should have been released instead of “Look What You Made Me Do”. “I Did Something Bad” brings out the receipts while giving you one of the best Pop Songs on the album.
Each track on Reputation feels as if Taylor stuck to a clear formula for this album: a little manipulation of the voice, a catchy (and sometimes repetitive) chorus, a significant moment when the dubstep-like beat drops and a plethora of synth-thick production. This new formula works for Taylor but if you pay too-close attention, some of these songs start blending into each other which causes you to feel like one song has been playing for 8 minutes.
“Getaway Car” is my favorite song; maybe it’s the clear way in which Jack Antonoff’s sound is embedded within this song or maybe it’s the catchy lyrics but I keep going back to this song. “Don’t Blame Me” carries Taylor Swift’s strongest vocals, towards the end of the song she hits a few vocal runs and this is what I wish we got more of. “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” gives me the best kind of 80’s vibe with a blend of modern Pop and it’s the perfect kind of modern love song.
When it comes to songwriting, Taylor Swift clearly has the upper-hand in the Pop world and though each song in Reputation carries it’s own wonderful world, Taylor’s evident intention gets lost within the lyrics. She struggles when it comes to being unapologetic and yet vulnerable which in turn makes some of her songs sound like a “woe is me” tale. On my end, zero research has been done about who each song is about because again, I am listening to Taylor Swift as a music lover not as someone who craves the dramatics. As a musical project, Reputation is a strong album and clearly showcases Taylor’s growth as an artist. I just wish her musical growth was what everyone would discuss; I can’t find the energy to care about which of her ex-boyfriends her songs are about.