This post is dedicated to my friend Sam, a fellow Swifty who is sadly no longer with us, she and I spent many hours going over Taylor’s albums on release night, discussing our favourite tracks and the best lyrics. This is the first album without her and I’ve been trying to guess what songs she would love.
The lead up to Taylor Swifts highly anticipated 6th album had me a 10 year long Swifty a little more than nervous. I’m 27 years old, one year younger than Taylor and the reason I feel like I have been such a big fan for the last 10 years is that I felt like I could relate to her music. I have been proud to shout her name from the rooftops and praise her amazing talent and how proud I was that she wrote such beautiful songs. Watching her go from being my own little secret when I was 17 years old to become arguably the biggest pop star in the world today is incredible.
Her musical journey has been very fluid, with each album you heard more of a pop element and the twang of the country strings disappeared but her beautiful lyrics were there telling us stories of love and growing up.
I have loved each of her albums unconditionally, they have been truly the soundtrack to my late teens and the whole of my twenties.
In August 2014 like clockwork Taylor announced that her next album released would be her first Pop Album. I was scared, but being a crossover artist it wasn’t a huge surprise and with hits like 22 and We are never getting back together from her previous album Red it was obvious this was going to be a route she was taking, however, being a country artist I knew I could always rely on her beautiful love stories and tales and I was scared that some of that magic would be forgotten going complete pop.
1989 was a natural progression and we got to hear a different sound from Taylor but with her same unique lyrics that are undeniably from her mind.
Fast forward to 2017 and I was getting really restless waiting for new music, in Taylor Swift tradition she had released a new album every two years but those two years from 1989 had come and gone.
Look What You Made Me Do was the first song to be released (in August) along with the announcement of her the album Reputation which would be released worldwide in November.
There was no denying from the moment I began listening to the lead single that this album was going to be different; if I was expecting a big change from 1989 I knew that an even bigger transformation was going to happen for reputation.
Look What You Made Me Do was different from anything she’s ever released and even Bad Bloods very honest and blunt lyrics couldn’t compare to the direct honesty of this but I liked it, the chorus I found to be a bit of a disappointment but that’s just personal preference.
In October ...Ready For It? was promo’d with an American Football advertisement, this time the chorus immediately grabbed me, upon hearing the full version it wasn’t what I was expecting, again it had undertones of this new attitude from Taylor… The delivery of the verses was confident and sharp. I personally think this would have been a much better lead single but Look What You Made Me Do was proving a point and is a real bookmark for the whole Reputation theme of the album.
The next song to be released on the lead up to the November 10th release date was Gorgeous, with the very strange baby talking intro I wasn’t sold, although the music wasn’t so unlike something we could have heard from Taylor before and it has a couple of really catchy moments but the combination of lyrics and the sound I just wasn’t feeling it and even now it’s still to grow on me. It’s sweet having friend Blake Lively’s oldest daughter featuring on the intro but I can’t help feeling like it doesn’t fit the theme of not only the song but the rest of album.
Call It What You Want the third song to be released before the albums release what the first insight of a more vulnerable side of all the new songs. The electro-pop ballad wouldn’t have been out of place on 1989 and the lyrics are a reminder that it’s the same girl that I have admired for the past decade. It was at this point that 3 years worth of anticipation returned and my fears that I may dislike the album almost completely vanished…Almost.
It’s now the early hours of Monday the 13th of November, 3 whole days have passed since I first listened to reputation in full and I’m ready to give you my thoughts and reflections on the 6th LP from Taylor Swift… Are you ready for it?
I listened to the album in chronological order skipping the 3 tracks that I had already heard so I began with End Game which features her pal Ed Sheeran and rapper Future who I was less familiar with. The sound was giving me very early 2000’s vibes which I was not hating – the smooth chant “Big reputation, big reputation /Oooh, you and me we got /Big reputations, ah /And you heard about me, ooh /I got some big enemies” flows off of Taylor’s lips rhythmically and cool. Ed’s appearance is welcomed, his voice suits the song perfectly, their 2nd collaboration is very different to the first song they released together with the now very aptly named Everything Has Changed from Taylor’s 2010 album Red.
Futures rap is overshadowed by the new un-daunted demeanour from Taylor and although his presence is accepted it would also go un-missed.
I Did Something Bad is a monumental moment in the Swift Discography as it marks the first time Taylor has cursed on a song, the word ‘Shit’ is sung casually to match the less prim and proper persona that Taylor had for so long. The song isn’t about being the victim like many people criticise her for being but acknowledging that she did something as she says ‘bad’ but in an unapologetic manner unlike her song Back To December where she sings about having remorse for treating an old flame badly. It is one of my stand out favourites it’s catchy and pretty unforgettable. It’s definitely a sing it really loud in the shower kinda song.
In Don’t Blame Me Taylor talks about her relationship with love with a soulful hymn-like song with the passion to match where at the highest point of the song showcasing her vocals. It’s a sound that isn’t unlike what is on the UK charts now.
Delicate open’s up with electronic vocals and continues into a cool beat where Taylor tells a story about whether or not she should have romantic involvement with someone, she candidly sings “This ain’t for the best, My reputations never been worse” – This is one of my favourites from the album as it shows Taylor’s more vulnerable side whilst holding on to the confidence and storytelling that she is best at. For me, it is definitely one of the highlights of the album. Another moody number is So It Goes which shows another growth in Taylor’s writing as she moves away from the fairy tale relationships she once sang fondly about and into words of a grown woman in a more realistic position.
My current favourite song is Getaway Car with the familiar distinct sound from Taylor from previous years, she goes back to telling a story. She cleverly describes a fling with a man to get out of another relationship and then ditching the fling too! I’m probably describing it terribly but, I love it. King Of My Heart is the first track on the album that resembles a love song with the combination of pop ballad and almost dance track with a synchronised effect layered on top at parts to really clarify the change of sound. The next song Dancing with our hands tied follows the similar vibe to King Of My Heart, the seductive slow dance song that slips into album neatly.
reputation introduces not only the first curse but it also homes Taylor’s most flirtatious song yet grabbing hold of her sexuality and not being afraid Dress is a sexy song with the blush-inducing lyrics “Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off”.
Reminding us that she is super successful and one of the biggest artists of all time we moved from eating cereal at midnight with her coming of age 22 to This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things where the opening lyrics begins with parties at mansions and diving into the swimming pools filled with champagne and carries us into the incredibly catchy chorus which to me reminds me of something from Annie but with the attitude times 100. This would be the only song on the album where you can definitely connect the song to one of the many headlines that Taylor was involved in this past year. Although this time around it feels like Taylor isn’t taking it so seriously and is having fun making a song out of sticky situation.
Closing the album is New Years Day a very stripped down song compared to the highly produced songs that we have just finished – I’ve read previously that Taylor wanted to write a song about the importance of who is there the morning of after New Years helping clean up the mess of the party the night before rather than who your new year kiss is. It’s a beautiful song that can be translated to both friendships and loves. After an array of songs, it was the perfect ending no dance beats or computerised synchronised overlays. The simple melody and dainty lyrics, and like every other Tay Tay album it leaves you wanting more.
It’s a big shift from what I’ve loved from Taylor for the most part of the last 10 years, however, the progression has felt natural and I’ve really enjoyed listening to her really take hold of womanhood and talking about things that she hasn’t in the past.
I do feel there is a good combination of a fresh sound and the familiarity that that old friend who has been singing to me for all these years is still there. One thing that I found was a running theme throughout most of this album was the confidence in Taylor’s voice which made it is so much easier to believe the change in sound and attitude she was making. Plus I really do embrace change and prefer to think of it as growing up rather than changing.
By now most people have made up their minds on what they think about Taylor but something you cannot deny her of is the talent that she has, from a country megastar to a pop phenomenon. Reputation exemplifies that Taylor is in complete control and is no one trick pony – no matter the headline the girl knows how to write a damn album.