In all honesty, when I first heard “Look What You Made Me Do”, a sudden urge to rip my ears off erupted in me. With its annoying chorus and poorly-written lyrics, the song is, in my opinion, the worst single Swift has ever released. I dreaded her upcoming album Reputation, but I gave it a listen anyway. After the last note of the final track “New Years Eve”, I turned my phone off and realized that the old Taylor was not dead.
Well, not completely.
Regardless of whether one worships or despises Swift, everyone can most likely agree that Reputation is the most successful album of 2017. Within the first week alone, it sold 1.287 million copies, surpassing Ed Sheeran’s Divide (931,000) copies. To add, the album has also yet to appear on a streaming platform. I do not find this surprising. Considering the drama Swit has landed herself into in the past two years, she still has millions of loyals fans by her side who will love her music no matter what happens.
In regards to the actual music… while I expected Reputation’s quality as musical art to be much more worse, the LP is one of her weaker projects. Regardless, it’s still pretty decent. Like her previous albums, Taylor goes on and on about the ups and downs of her love life–which does get redundant–throughout a good chunk of Reputation. She also discusses her drama with rapper Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, as seen in tracks “Look What You Made Me Do” & “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”. Soundwise, the first half of the album is much more intense compared to the second half, with a trap-like beat backing the tracks. Swift most likely included this because of trap music’s large success this year, and thought it would attract more listeners.
The opening track “…Ready For It?” and the following tune “End Game”, featuring her friend Ed Sheeran and hip-hop artist Future, convey this, especially the latter’s use of a famous rapper. They are catchy tracks, I’ll admit that, but the lyrics lack depth. However, that might be due to the fact that Taylor is a Pop artist now, and in Pop, catchiness is valued more than meaning. That tone continues through the next 5 or 6 tracks. Then, comes along “Gorgeous”, a light song eerily similar to Taylor’s older projects. Along with many others, I caught this when the track was first released as a single a few weeks ago. I thought that she was just releasing this a throwback track, and the rest would sound like that other single. Yet, the next track, “Getaway Car”, and the tracks after that follow the same idea. The closing song “New Year’s Eve” is a ballad with a very simple instrumental, drastically contrasting the opener, “…Ready For It?” Swift executed the second half of her album in a way to appeal to the listeners who prefer her older, more laidback style (like me).
In the end, Reputation has its strengths and weaknesses. The undertones of the recent drama Swift has landed become quite irritating at one point, but the tunes are still pretty darn catchy. I am very intrigued to hear her future projects.