Review: Reputation

So, in case you weren’t aware, it’s been three years since Taylor Swift’s 1989 album was released. This album, along with her other four, was just another masterpiece, sprinkled with the most upbeat dance songs and the most heart wrenching ballads. As time goes on, however, people change, including Taylor. A person can experience a lot within a three year span, some aspects heavier and others uplifting. Taylor took what she has faced over that time frame and composed it into her sixth album, which has already taken the title as most sold album of the year just shy of a week since its release. Sonically, she has presented herself in a brand new form. Regardless of the switch, as suspected, it is yet another great piece by Swift.

The four singles released prior to November 10th, “Look What You Made Me Do,” “...Ready For It?,” “Call It What You Want,” and “New Year’s Day,” gave sneak peek into the more electronic sound of the album. Many criticized LWYMMD when it was first released in August, saying that Taylor was attempting to turn into a hip hop artists and was failing miserably, along with other claims. The song topped the charts for weeks and has consistently received radio play and attention, clearly showing that it is still a song of value and enjoyment.

Many feared that the new sound would restrict the lyrical genius that Taylor is, and lead to songs that lacked deep meaning or power. After the album was released, it was proved that this fear was an irrational one. The songs may not have the same soft sound like previous albums Red and Speak Now but they still conserve the trend of thoughtful lyrics. Personally, “Getaway Car” and “New Year’s Day” are the two songs that I immediately turn on first when playing the album. “Getaway Car” starts off with Taylor singing at a quieter tone, telling the tale of night with her love. After the first chorus, the song picks up its speed and level of energy. My personal favorite lyric from the song reads, “I knew it from the first old fashion, we were cursed; It hit you like a shotgun shot in the heart.” The song discusses being prepared and aware of what a relationship, whether it be romantic or a kinship, entails, something that I have learnt to evaluate often recently.

“New Year’s Day” has a more emotional tie for me personally. It is the only acoustic song on the album, keeping Taylor still connected to her old roots and sound. In this song, she reaches to her piano to sing of the simple acts of love and commitment, like that of helping to clean up messes after parties or supporting each other in their successes and failures. The song can also be applied to friendships and overall lifelong connections with others. The lyric that truly hit my heart when I listened for the first time was, “Hold onto the memories, they will hold onto you; and I will hold onto you.” Immediately, I was filled with immense gratitude for my friends and family and everything good that I have been able to experience with them. The song inspires the audience to appreciate every moment and gesture, small and large.

This album definitely shows off the “new Taylor,” but this doesn’t mean that she has lost that unique spark in her. She has evolved into a stronger artist, and this new music is just as valuable as her older pieces. Many artists use their personal struggles and battles to inspire what they write about, and Taylor is just one of the most popular ones to take personal pain and turn it into musical beauty.