One of the most highly anticipated albums of the year just dropped and we seriously cannot find our chill.
Reputation, already topping chart after chart, captures the immense story telling Swift has divulged into throughout the course of her career. Her second full pop album creates a fetching image of what it's like to fall in love and be in love, especially when it's with the right person. But the record is also so much more than that. With funky production and heavy basses, Swift unleashes her story and the battles she's fought over the last few years. Each song one from their own but so sonically united, this record crests any other that the pop star has has released, proving that as music continues to evolves, she's right there following its lead.
This darker, more complex album celebrates what pop has become, and relishes how Swift has led up to this defining moment in her career. As a whole, this record defines the meaning of putting your heart and soul into the creativity of sound and making it into something alluring and captivating. Each song on their own, though? They infect you, they ignite you and they all have a different story that ripples into one ever-lasting narrative. So sit down, grab a glass of wine and let the games begin.
1. "...Ready For It"
This opening track sure does make us ready for what's to follow. In a Swift first, the singer takes on rapping during the two verses of the three minutes and twenty-eight second tune. Although the Old Taylor is "dead", she doesn't seem to be too far away in this dramatic melody. The bass that makes you feel as though your speakers might burst dies down a bit during the pre-chorus and chorus, and we finally get a little taste of that Old Taylor, or in the new sense, the real Taylor. And the most eye-catching line? "He can be my jailer, Burton to this Taylor, every love I've known in comparison is a failure", referring to the legendary love of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. This song not only has a mind of its own, but gets you hyped for the 14 stories that follow.
2 . "End Game" feat. Ed Sheeran & Future
Who would've seen this trio coming? Taylor opens the track, but unlike a normal feature, her actual verse is the last to come. Future cuts in first with the line "I got a reputation, girl, that don't precede me" whereas both Swift and Sweeran offer the alternative lyrics of "reputation precedes me." Even though there's no song titled "Reputation", this song gives you the watering glimpse of what it would've been like. "End Game" is different and unique, but it's one of a kind that gives you major R&B vibes and the truth from Swift's red lips.
3. "I Did Something Bad"
The title itself just makes you wonder, what did you do, Taylor? The opening beat sounds like a broken record on repeat, because what she did felt so good and she'd do it over and over and over again. Then the beat builds right before the bass drops in the chorus and the rest of the melody suits such mystery and the lyrics fit right in ("If a man talks shit then I owe him nothing. I don't regret it one bit 'cause he had it coming"). The bridge cuts in with "They're burning all the witches even if you aren't one / So light me up" and this third track off the record is so dark and eerie that it leaves us wanting more.
4. "Don't Blame Me"
One of the most different tracks Taylor has ever recorded, she digs into the concept of drugs, but not in the way most do. The lines "Lord save me, my drug is my baby, I'll be using for the rest of my life" and "I get so high every time you're touching me / Trip of my life, every time you're touching me" show that Swift is high off her love and nothing but. The background vocals top any other on the record and at any point during the three minute and fifty-seven second anthem, you'll be able to hear Swift's soft "hmm" that tap into the intimacy and explosiveness that tie together her diligence on this track.
A serene fix between two tracks that muster up an edgy storm, this song is delicate just like its title. The song shows her hesitant side when approaching a new relationship. She comes into it with chilling vocals that fit to the beat and reflects on the last year she's encountered that's been a roller coaster of a ride with "my reputations never been worse, so you must like me for me."
6. "Look What You Made Me Do"
Most people put this song in relation to her Kanye feud, when really, it's so much more than that. This song paints a story about all of the people who ever did her wrong, all of the people that accepted her into the pop culture just to turn on her a few years later, and all of the people that chimed in on the "#TaylorSwiftIsOverParty". She's angry, and she's letting us know. She "killed off" the "Old Taylor" with the line "I'm sorry, the Old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, cause she's dead!" And there's clearly no more holding back. Her reputation was denounced, and she's here to reclaim it.
7. "So It Goes..."
One of the sexiest tracks on the record, Swift isn't about the white horses and happily ever afters anymore, oh no. In fact, she's stepped it up a notch or two...or one hundred. The days of fairy tale love wishing are over and the new Taylor has finally taken the step to sing about more than just falling in love and being in love with the lines "You know I'm not a bad girl but I do bad things with you" and "Come here, dressed in black now / Scratches down your back now." And if you thought this would be the only dirty, sexy sound of the album, you better take a seat.
"Gorgeous" gives us a small three minute and thirty second recess between the songs that preceded and the ones that are to follow. This playful, fruity and so damn catchy tune will make you realize that Taylor is just like any of us, getting those angry drunk butterflies when you meet someone you so desperately want but can't have. It's a whiskey drinking, drunk (literally, not even figuratively) in love at first sight melody accompanied by light and smooth but funky production. It rings in at the middle track of the record and almost sort of creates a divide. What comes before is dark, edgy and sexy, but what comes after is perky, lovely and sexy. She's defined a mix that pulls it in all together.
9. "Getaway Car"
A chronicle of love and heartbreak, "Getaway Car" opens with a robotic tone saying "No, nothing good starts in a getaway car", and it follows the log of a relationship that was doomed from the start because Swift was still in the midst of finding herself and her place ("Should've known I'd be the first to leave, think about the place where you first met me / In a getaway car, no they never get far"). The funky tune ends with the repeated lyrics "I was riding in a getaway car, I was crying in a getaway car, I was dying in a getaway car, said goodbye in a getaway car", because so much happened from beginning to end that even though she was finally free, she was really anything but.
10. "King of My Heart"
This track is a pop song at its finest and could rank in on the list at one of Swift's best produced pop songs of all time. The verses follows the different stages of love, each accompanied by a calming voice that grows stronger and stronger right before the pre-chorus hits, then it's all wrapped together with the chorus "And all at once, you are the one that I've been waiting for, king of my heart, body and soul. And all at once, you're all I want, I'll never let you go, king of my heart, body and soul." It's these types of tracks where Swift stays true to her genius lyrical mind but tests out the waters of new sounds and rides the waves until a masterpiece is created that are defining moments in the pop music culture.
11. "Dancing With Our Hands Tied"
One of the most upbeat songs on the record, the pressure of this song is evident with its fast pace chorus and on the down low verses. The beat is relentless, but in a good way, and Swift's layered vocals over the tragically beautiful lyrics make it all the more better.
A heavy song made light and sexy, this is a defiant song of synth-pop. The production here gives off Melodrama vibes and although it's structurally different both sound wise and lyrically compared to what Taylor's ever done before, it's still so Taylor Swift. "I only bought this dress for you to take it off" chimes in as the hook, and if that doesn't explain the energy of this lyrical tote, then I don't know what will. It's a definite mood for sure, and it plays into her "So It Goes..." attitude that elucidates her transition from adolescent fairy tale love stories to sultry adulthood anthems.
13. "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things"
So playful, so anthem chanting, such a Taylor classic. It's so rich in sound, just like the concept of the lyrics, and it comes in as one of the most playful on the album. The sarcastic tone throughout the song makes it almost funny, which is the point. It's a goodbye to the feud that's been sought out for too long, and her laugh at the two minute thirty-three second mark after stating "forgiveness is a nice thing to do" will make you fall in love with the cat-loving, tea spilling pop star even more.
14. "Call It What You Want"
With such unique and different beat accompanied by such emotionally complex lyrics that pull at the core strings of your heart, we are facing a true Taylor Swift song at it's finest. The mid-tempo tune is such a story teller but at the same time is so calming that we just want more of it. It paints a picture of how Taylor has fallen in love over the last year, and found her one real love; one that built a fire just to keep her warm after the fall of everything around here, one that she is laughing with and making forts under covers with, all while trusting him like a brother. It goes, "And I know I make the same mistakes every time, bridges burn, I never learn, at least I did one thing right". And that she did, and we are so here to finally see her so in love and happy.
15. "New Year's Day"
Saving the most sincere and effortless track for last, Swift dives into the love she's been drunk on for the last year. This piano and single guitar stringed track closes out the album in the calmest and best way possible. It's simple yet so complex. Swift's vocals glimmer as she sings about the romance of not quite that midnight New Year's kiss, but what follows after -- when everyone's heading home on New Year's Day, but you've found that one person who will stick around to clean up the bottles and the glitter and the mess with you. Because even though you've enjoyed the fun parts, they'll still be there when things are hard or messy. Swift is happy, which is all we've ever wanted, and we can finally take a breather knowing that this past year wasn't full of annexing herself from the world writing self-pity tunes, but was full of the best moments of her life, proving that there's so much more to experience than the snotty remarks and false facades people give you. Though this is the least produced song out of the 15 melodies, it fits in so well with the diverse atmosphere of this album. Swift knew that this was the perfect way to end her story and I couldn't agree more.