“New Taylor” arrives in “reputation”


Photo by Johnny Jackson

Jonathan Jackson

Three years after her last album, 1989, New Taylor has finally entered the building with her latest album, “reputation.” While it, in my opinion, isn’t better than 1989, there are many standout tracks that make the album easily one of Taylor Swift’s best.
1: …Ready For It?
    The second single released before the album’s release, …Ready For It? serves as the introduction to what this new era of Taylor Swift is all about. The song begins with Swift rapping, which is pretty solid stuff, then transitions into an airy, lighthearted chorus, where Swift references fantasies in her dreams. Meshing the more serious rap bits with the much more lighthearted chorus serves as a solid, but not outstanding introduction to the album.
Rating: 7/10
2: End Game (feat. Ed Sheeran & Future)
    Featuring two superstars in their own rights, End Game speaks of Swift wanting to be more than a quick fling, wanting real relationships. All of the artists involved speak of how decisions they’ve made in the past affect their current reputation and the state of careers. Obviously meant to be a radio hit, this song succeeds at its task, being one of the most catchy tracks of the entire album. “It’s different than anything I’ve ever heard from her while still keeping to her roots of writing songs,” junior Anna Weston said.
Rating: 8.6/10
3: I Did Something Bad
    In this song, Swift speaks of doing “something bad” to those who do her wrong, but New Taylor feels no remorse. This song is Swift’s statement that she won’t deal with any more crap, and that she is closing her circle. She also says, “They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one, so light me up,” calling out those who would wish to shame her in the public eye. The first truly powerful song of the album, I Did Something Bad is a good, but not great song.
Rating: 8/10
4: Don’t Blame Me
    My personal favorite song of the entire album, Don’t Blame Me turns from a quiet, personal affair into a powerful ballad of how Swift falls hard for those she loves, opening with “Don’t blame me your love made me crazy, if it doesn’t you ain’t doing it right.” While this may not be the best example of Swift’s songwriting ability, Swift’s powerful vocals and the song’s feeling of being similar to Wildest Dreams make it the best track of the entire album.
Rating: 10/10
5: Delicate
    Another song about a past love of Swift’s, this track ditches the past innocent views of Swift’s love life and speaks more of her adult life, meeting a man in a bar, and her attempt to transform the ensuing casual fling into a more serious relationship. The song feels like a chill version of her part in I Don’t Wanna Live Forever, her duet with Zayn for the Fifty Shades of Gray soundtrack, but is honestly in the bottom half of songs on this album.
Rating: 6.8/10
6: Look What You Made Me Do
The original single released before the album, Look What You Made Me Do was the introduction of New Taylor to the world. While my initial impression of this song was a cool new edgy, serious Taylor, the song has become somewhat cringy after listening to the entire album. While it serves as a representation of what Swift is promoting her image as, the song itself, lines like “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s dead” lead me to somewhat disdain the song, but other people related to Swift calling out her foes, including junior Kendall Walsh, who says “[Look What You Made Me Do] describes my life because people are constantly pushing me to the edge until I’m at my breaking point.”
Rating: 5.5/10
7: So It Goes…
    Seemingly from a dream, while this song doesn’t quite show off Swift’s range or powerful voice, So It Goes… is another song about another man Swift met in a bar, or perhaps the same one from Delicate. She sees him, and says “All eyes on you, my magician,” and “I’m not a bad girl, but I’ll do bad things with you,” saying this man may have been somewhat of a negative impact on her life. With a nice flow and a catchy chorus, So It Goes… is beautifully orchestrated and an amazing musical piece.
Rating: 9/10
8: Gorgeous
    A song about Swift’s inability to speak to a man she’s interested in, saying “I can’t say anything to your face, ‘cause look at your face.” Although the lyrics feel somewhat elementary, most people can relate with Swift’s meaning, including junior Aleia Coberley, who said “ I relate on a spiritual level. all the words I’ve ever wanted to say put into a song.” The relatability of the lyrics and the extremely catchy nature of the song pushes it over the threshold of being a good song.
Rating: 8/10
9: Getaway Car
In this song, Swift speaks of an encounter with a man she met in a getaway car, but what they were getting away from is never explicitly stated, although it could be implied that there was a one night stand, as afterwards, they never meet again. An incredibly catchy tune that begins like synthesized EDM, Getaway car is a very intriguing track, whose general ambiguity and beat makes it an underground hit.
Rating: 9/10
10: King of My Heart
A very hoppy, light tune, King of My Heart is Swift’s anthem to her significant other, whose tune and general flow is one of the best out of the entire album, and also leads into the last leg of the album. Similar to other songs, King Of My Heart begins as if it comes out of a dream, with the beat slowly getting stronger into the lead up to the chorus, and in the chorus, the beat returns to an airy, lighthearted vibe, which still works here.
Rating: 8.4/10
11: Dancing With Our Hands Tied
A fast paced, nonstop ride, Dancing With Our Hands Tied is repetitive, but is so quickly paced, and the chorus is so catchy and well put together that the track comes together, and the nature of the song makes it a great one to sing in the car with your friends, due to its repetitive but well-crafted lyrical structure, the more grounded verses mesh with a fast-paced, incredibly catchy chorus to create a bop.
Rating: 9.5/10
12: Dress
A song that seems as if it’s taken out of a fairy tale, this track details Swift attempting to turn a friendship into something more, saying “I don’t want you like a best friend, only bought this dress so you can take it off.” The most beautiful song of the entire album, Dress is an amazing, personal account of Swift’s, which is incredibly relatable, only adding to the song’s impact.
Rating: 9.3/10
13: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
In what seems like a preppy rant, this song feels a little over the top, and while on the first few listens it’s good, it quickly loses its place as an interesting song. In what could be one of Swift’s best songs, Swift toasts all of her “Real friends,” and laughs after she says “forgiveness is the right thing to do,” but one of the few songs that speaks on the drama surrounding Swift on an album speaking of her reputation instead sounds like a child complaining about the mean kids in her kindergarten class.
Rating: 6/10
14: Call It What You Want
The final single released before reputation, Call It What You Want has one of the best beats and flow to it, and kept excitement up for her new album. “It was my favorite song on the album,” junior Jarrett Hart said. “Her life is kinda crumbling around her, and she has to work to get it back with someone she cares about.” Swift isn’t letting anyone come between her and her man, and she tells everyone to call her current relationship what they want. Easily the best pre-released single, Call It What You Want is one of the best songs of the entire album.
Rating: 9/10
15: New Year’s Day
My least favorite song of the album, New Year’s Day is a slow, methodical song, which is supposed to cap off the album in a way that evokes memories of old, slower, country Taylor through the guitar, but ends up just being a slog whose lyrics aren’t too impactful, and a general flow that isn’t interesting or too catchy.
Rating: 5/10
Buy “reputation.” here and here.