13 Reasons Reputation Is A Masterpiece

13 Reasons Reputation Is A Masterpiece

A track-by-track rundown of Taylor Swift's latest work of art.

Reputation is not Taylor Swift's greatest album of all time.

It lacks the sequel to All Too Well that Swifties anticipated (we're still waiting on that 10 minute version). There is a grand total of one slow song, and the album is dominated by catchy, mainstream-pop songs, with much simpler and sexier lyrics than we are used to in Swift's music canon.

That does not, however, undercut how much fun this album is. It allows you to celebrate love- both making it and falling into it- without the devastation of heartbreak to follow. As Taylor puts it in "King Of My Heart," the album's most techno song, "is this the end of all the endings?" in reference to her finding The One in her boyfriend, British actor Joe Alwyn.

Finally, Taylor is happy, and it definitely comes across on Reputation.

1. Ready For It?

"Ready For It" was the single we definitely were not ready for. Following up "Look What You Made Me Do," this song cemented that the dark and scary Taylor wasn't just a song-specific phase. And I was definitely NOT expecting that nude bodysuit in the music video. Taylor established herself as undeniably sexy on Reputation, and I'm not complaining.

Best lyric: "Every love I've known in comparison is a failure."

Farewell, ex-boyfriends!

2. End Game - featuring Ed Sheeran and Future.

Was the Future feature necessary? No. But when I heard Ed and Taylor were teaming up on a track for Reputation, I expected a sequel to "Everything Has Changed," circa 2012, AKA a beautiful duet. I was severely disappointed, and at first listen, not very impressed with the rap-inspired anthem. But the more I listen to it, the more I like it. And I can't stop listening to it.

Best lyric: "Reputation precedes me, they told you I'm crazy, I swear I don't love the drama, it loves me!"

3. I Did Something Bad.

The banger of the album, no debate.

Best lyric: "I never trust a playboy, but they love me. So I fly 'em all around the world and I let them think they saved me."

Ha! Trick's on you, boys. Taylor is actually the one in control here.

4. Don't Blame Me.

This is by far my favorite song on the album. It's catchy and stays sexy even with the gospel-inspired chorus.

Best lyric: "If you walk away, I'll beg you on my knees to stay" *BASS DROP*

I scream every time. So sexy without overdoing it.

5. Delicate.

This one is a little bit too Auto-Tuned for my taste, especially since I know what a beautiful voice Taylor has, and it gets lost in this over-processed track.

Best lyric: "Is it cool that I said all that? Is it chill that you're in my head? 'Cause I know that it's delicate."

Although I'm not impressed with any part of this song in particular, I would have to choose this as the best part because the Taylor we know and love shows herself in this one specific way: finding the exact words to describe how every girl has felt as some point. These lyrics describe when you find someone you really like, but you're not sure how far you can go with it, and you feel so unsure but really excited at the same time, because this potential relationship is still in its delicate phase.

6. Look What You Made Me Do.

This song was the first we'd heard from Taylor since 2014, so of course all us Swifties jumped on it. Its spooky Halloween vibes, combined with the fierce Taylor we weren't expecting to pop up out of nowhere, made this song legendary. And themusic video is absolutely iconic.

Best lyric: "I'm sorry, the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh! 'Cause she's dead."

I'm just as shook as I was the first time I heard it.

7. So It Goes.

This was the sexy banger I was not expecting to find on Reputation. "Scratches down your back" did make me uncomfortable though, coming from Taylor, I'm not going to lie.

Best lyric: "You know I'm not a bad girl but I do bad things with you."


8. Gorgeous.

Remember when Taylor dropped "Gorgeous" as a single and we all thought the old Taylor was back? HAH.

This song is the bright peppy tune Reputation needed to lighten up its darkness. "Gorgeous" is the innocent one in the friend group.

Best lyric: "Guess I'll just stumble on home to my cats."

9. Getaway Car.

"Getaway Car" is almost as catchy as "Blank Space" and the most 1989-infused track on the album. It is refreshing to hear the old Taylor is still in there somewhere!

Best lyric: "I wanted to leave him, I needed a reason."

Shots fired.

10. King Of My Heart.

My second least favorite song on the album. I'm still gonna listen to it though.

Best lyric: "Is this the end of all the endings?"

11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied.

This song is the sexy version of "Starlight" from Red.

Best lyric: "I loved you in spite of deep fears that the world would divide us."

12. Dress.

I had high hopes for this song after reading about parents' reactions at Reputation secret sessions. But upon hearing it, it is my least favorite song on the album. And it's not because it's about sex. It's the way Taylor talks instead of sings in the verses, and the annoyingly high falsetto for the rest of the extremely repetitive song. Sorry, Taylor - not a fan of this one.

Best lyric: "If I get burned, at least we were electrified."

13. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things.

This song was the Kanye and Kim Kardashian West diss we were all expecting - need I even bring up the whole snake thing? - but none of us were ready for.

Best lyric: "*laughter* I can't even say it with a straight face!"

Also, the Gatsby reference makes my life.

14. Call It What You Want.

My favorite single Taylor released off this album. It's lowkey a jam.

Best lyric: "Nobody's heard from me for months, I'm doing better than I ever was."

All we want is Taylor to be happy!

15. New Year's Day.

The only slow song on the album is a beautiful conclusion to all we've missed from Taylor's life in the past few years, outlined in Reputation.

Best lyric: "Please don't ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere."

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"

I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.

We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Shows Shouldn't Have To Rely On Sexist Or Racist Jokes To Be 'Funny'

Punchlines that come at the expense of female, plus-sized, LGBTQ, or other marginalized characters are too common

Recently I’ve been trying to be a more conscious consumer. I bring old plastic bags with me to dining halls, religiously carry a reusable water bottle, avoid online shopping whenever possible, and buy clothing second hand. But while I try to have my environmental bases covered, I often forget to cover my moral bases.

After reading a New Yorker article by Molly Ringwald, I started to think about my role as a consumer of art and pop culture. Molly Ringwald, an actress known for her roles in John Hughes movies such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Sixteen Candles,” examines in her article the problematic aspects of the movies she starred in and whether those iconic films are or should still be relevant today.

While the #metoo movement has already brought some of these issues to the public eye, there is still much more to unpack. As allegations rolled out against men in Hollywood for their actions, the already present calls to boycott the films and projects of perpetrators such as Woody Allen or Kevin Spacey, have grown stronger. While many have their own opinions on whether this type of action is necessary or effective, I certainly see the merit in not contributing further to the fame and wealth of the people who committed these ugly acts.

However, the line gets fuzzier when the films, series, books, etc. are not produced by people who have done something explicitly wrong, but still perpetuate that same culture of misogyny and sexual exploitation. Prompted in part by the article, I thought back on some of the pop culture I personally have grown up on, and was disappointed, though not surprised, to realize how wrong some of the movies and shows I loved are.

A classic example is “How I Met Your Mother,” a T.V. show I have seen at least twice through (with that being a conservative estimate). And while I obviously never approved of the sexist and even openly rape-y character of Barney, a serial womanizer, it didn’t really occur to me to turn off the show and choose something else. Those same problematic punchlines that come at the expense of female, plus-sized, LGBTQ, or other marginalized characters are repeated over and over in almost any sitcom I’ve ever seen, from “Friends” to “That '70s Show.” The trend isn’t just T.V. shows either, but some of my personal favorite comedies and rom-coms. I try not to think too hard about how transphobic the whole concept behind “She’s The Man” is, for example.

Acknowledging that the movies and shows I love are sexist is bad enough, but a voice inside me resists condemning them totally. That voice whispers to me that comedy is supposed to be offensive, and it’s all just joking. But that voice is absolutely wrong. I may have to remind myself that occasionally, but funny doesn’t have to be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic. Proving that are Trevor Noah, Sasheer Zamata, Kate McKinnon, and all the other talented comedians that can be genuinely funny without taking cheap shots at marginalized groups.

In her article, Molly Ringwald argues that despite their “blind spots” as she calls them, the movies she starred in are still valuable in the message of empowerment they gave to teenagers. But is the same true of sitcoms and shows with less artistic value? I don’t really know, but I think denouncing them totally probably won’t help. They are pop culture milestones that whether we agree with them or not, will remain relevant, at least for the foreseeable future.

While that may be true for older, already successful shows and movies for those still on the air or coming out now, we can make a choice. We can be conscious consumers and make a point that we demand jokes that don’t degrade others — comedy and art of a higher order. Because more and more, we see that it’s not just possible, but even funnier and more relatable.

Cover Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television

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