Taylor Swift album ‘Reputation’ evolves from her previous work
I think I love Taylor Swift’s music again.
The latest album installment, “Reputation,” has finalized Taylor’s evolution from a guitar-toting country music darling to a pop artist who expertly captures her experience in powerful beats. After searching unsuccessfully for services that could stream “Reputation” for free, I conceded defeat and digitally forked over the $13.99. I listened to the whole thing on earbuds jammed into my ears in the hour break between classes and concluded after just the second song on the lineup that it was money well spent.
“Ready For It?”, especially when listening on earbuds, filled my ears with loud techno thuds that reminded me of the sensation of feeling your heartbeat in your ears. The next song of the album is the only song that features other artists. Future and Ed Sheeran make an appearance rapping on the track called “End Game.” The lyrics of the song covers Taylor’s famous Fourth of July beach parties and a certain ex-love, and they admit to the drama and reputation that precede her. It is so satisfying how transparent her lyrics are in this song. The next tracks, “I Did Something Bad” and “Don’t Blame Me” are Taylor admitting to bad behavior and not feeling sorry about it. I find these two songs refreshing and finally show Taylor is growing up and owning her experiences.
“Delicate” is one of my favorite songs because Taylor’s lyrics voice all of the straightforward things you wish you could say to someone you are starting to fall for. Some of the lines in this song speak to that intense and delicate time in a relationship when you are both starting to figure the other person out. Some of her most relatable lines are, “Do the girls back home touch you like I do?” and, “Is it cool that I said all that? Is it too soon to do this yet?” These songs are some of the most “real” ones of the whole album for me.
The eighth song on the album is the most similar to music that can be heard on her previous album. “Gorgeous,” with a tiny cameo from Blake Lively’s toddler, is the grown-up and grittier sound of music from 1989. The songs that follow, “Getaway Car” and “King of My Heart,” reflect the evolution of her music from 1989. They also reflect that Taylor, not just her music, has grown up and changed from her first pop album.
The album ends with “New Year’s Day,” a nostalgic song that is immediately in a different category than the rest of the songs on “Reputation.” When I listened to “New Year’s Day” for the first time, it reminded me so much of the last song of Adele’s “19” album. Adele ended her first album with the song “Hometown Glory.” That song similarly has the same nostalgic and melancholy feel to it that Taylor’s last song of “Reputation” has.
Piano-heavy, and more simple than the rest of the songs, Taylor seems to take less of a sorry, not sorry stance. Instead she decides to use more of a pleading and remorseful tone. If this song doesn’t make you feel even the tiniest twinge of regret or sadness over something you wish you could go back and change, there is something wrong with you. I love how she connects the day after a New Year’s Eve party to the feelings you get when you remember a past love. Taylor perfectly captures that particular feeling of sadness after a party or a holiday is over, which is something I feel every year after Christmas.
My favorite lines are, “There’s glitter on the floor after the party” and “Hold onto memories they will hold onto you.” I love the imagery of these lines because glitter never truly seems to go away and neither do memories. You can try your hardest to get rid of lingering and clinging bits of glitter, but it always hangs around. They’re like memories you wish would leave, but they will always be there with you.
“Reputation” was the satisfying sophomore album of the new pop Taylor. Try as she might, the old Taylor is not dead yet. The old Taylor is still very much there, but like a preteen finally coming into their own, she is able to express herself and her experiences better than ever in this new album. The evolution of Taylor Swift is far from over and I am ready for it.
Lauren Simenson is a student at UW-River Falls.