Thoughts on 'Reputation'

So, I've written a lot in the past about Taylor Swift and my love for her. On Friday she released her new album, 'Reputation'. I've now listened to it a few times over, and have some thoughts.

Firstly, some people have written articles/blogs on how nobody should care about this album. In these trying times, when other artists are trying to turn their gaze at our world, and all things we are, as a planet, collectively going through at the moment, Taylor is still writing songs that are basically all abut herself. At the same time, a prevailing theme of this album seems to be her frustrations with all the negative attention she gets for her relationships, friendships, feuds. Writing all about your personal life, and then complaining when that's all people talk about is a pretty indefensible stance.

My thoughts on this side of things are basically that I wish she could have ignored all the bad press/negativity and kept doing what she was doing before. The problem with that is that what she was doing before was writing about her feelings and relationships, and it seems like the 'negative side of fame' is what she has feelings about now, rather than just boys.

To be clear, when I say the negative side of fame, I am not trying to say that the change in her public 'reputation' has nothing to do with Taylor herself. She has made choices and said things in the last 5 years that I have disagreed with, and that have had a profound effect on how she is perceived. As far as my perception of her goes, the biggest thing that sticks out is the song, video, concept, idea, whole vibe around 'Bad Blood'. It's a not a good song, it's not a nice message, and it was wholly unnecessary. But then, I'm not a very confrontational person! Similarly, her Twitter incident with Nicki Minaj was spectacularly badly-judged. (Obviously there's the ongoing Kanye thing, which could take up a lot of time and words. I don't really have an opinion on that to be honest... He started it? She made it worse? She might have stabbed him in the back? The video for 'Famous' was very disrespectful. I don't really care about all the 'he said/she said'.)

But that's not what we're here for!

I was not convinced at all by the songs that came out in advance of the album, nor the artwork. Now that I've heard it, I like it a lot more than I thought.

Favourite tracks:
  • New Year's Day
  • Call It What You Want
  • Getaway Car
  • King Of My Heart
  • This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things (ethically questionably, banging tune)
Favourite lyrics (so far):

"And he can be my jailer, Burton to this Taylor"
        - ...Ready For It?

"I bury hatchets, but I keep maps of where I put 'em"
        - End Game

"This ain't for the best
My reputation's never been worse, so
You must like me for me…
We can't make
Any promises now, can we, babe?
But you can make me a drink"
        - Delicate | I like this song a lot - it seems much more relatable somehow, and maybe honest than the earlier ones.

"You did a number on me
But, honestly, baby, who's counting?
Who's counting?
(1, 2, 3)"
        - So It Goes...

"You should take it as a compliment
That I'm talking to everyone here but you
And you should think about the consequence
Of you touching my hand in a darkened room"
        - Gorgeous | This one really grew on me a lot. It's intentionally silly and immature, because aren't we all when faced with a cute boy?

"Guess I'll just stumble on home to my cats
Unless you wanna come along"
        - Also Gorgeous | This is just funny.

"The ties were black, the lies were white
In shades of gray in candlelight"
         - Getaway Car

"I knew it from the first Old Fashioned, we were cursed
We never had a shot, gunshot in the dark"
         - Also Getaway Car | This lyric sounds SO GOOD when she sings it.

"Is the end of all the endings?
My broken bones are mending
With all these nights we're spending
Up on the roof with a school girl crush
Drinking beer out of plastic cups
Say you fancy me, not fancy stuff
Baby, all at once, this is enough"
         - King Of My Heart | I really, really like this one. (I would probably have given it a different title, but perhaps there is a chance she's not familiar with Westlife's 2001 mega-smash with a similar name. After finding that link I listened to the entire song and and still have every tubular bell chime, every overblown vocal ad lib ingrained on my SOUL. Oh and Swear It Again just came on after. I may be some time...)


"Even in my worst times, you could see the best of me
Flashback to my mistakes
My rebounds, my earthquakes
Even in my worst light, you saw the truth in me"
        - Dress | Like, don't we all wish we could say this?

"My baby's fit like a daydream
Walking with his head down
I'm the one he's walking to
So call it what you want, yeah"
        - Call It What You Want | This whole song is perfect. Especially this version from Saturday Night Live.

"I want your midnights
But I'll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year's Day"
        - New Year's Day | I like this song more than anything on 1989, and it's my favourite on this album. It sounds like it was written by the same person who wrote Speak Now, and I'm very into that.

In listening intensely to the album for this listen, it is abundantly clear to me that this is an album of two halves and I drastically prefer the second half. The first half is a bit angry, and outward-looking, and the second half is about falling in love, and I love that.

Those are just some initial thoughts - there will be more (maybe, I shouldn't make promises I can't keep...). I'm really enjoying listening to it.