Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ Better Than Expected But Inconsistent

Taylor Swift's new album, "Reputation," is inconsistent, said reviewer AnnMarie Barenchi.

By AnnMarie Barenchi
BU News Service

Taylor Swift has a big reputation and it isn’t squeaky clean. The country-turned-pop star has fallen under fire over the past few years for drama around Kanye, Katy Perry and exes like Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston. Instead of shaking it off like she did in her last album, Swift is grabbing it by the horns and owning the good with the bad in her new album, “Reputation.”

After the release of “Look What You Made Me Do” and “…Ready For It?” hope and excitement for a good Swift album quickly diminished. Swift fans and haters alike were left wondering if the whole album would be centered around the Kanye feud, which has seemed to drag on far too long. 

But let’s set the record straight before going forward: the unfortunate singles are the weakest tracks on the album. With the exception of “Call It What You Want,” if you skip over the pre-released tracks, you are actually left with a decent pop album. Unfortunately, you are also left with inconsistency. 

Queen of feigned innocence, Swift has often kept her romantic sins and sexual encounters hidden in vague lyrical hints. In “Reputation,”  her snake-bitten side shows more than ever before.

While “Look What You Made Me Do” is a vast, almost comical overcorrection, Swift calls out ex-lovers for their lying habits and other bad deeds in “I Did Something Bad.” At the same time, she admits to being manipulative and confesses it “feels so good.”

“Getaway Car” is also a confession of her flaws. In this track, she details sneaking behind her lover’s back with another man. Both of these confessional tracks are among the stronger songs on the album.

Other songs on “Reputation” make it clear that Swift’s romantic side didn’t die with the old Taylor. “Delicate” remind us that Swift is just a girl looking for love, even if her reputation has never been worse. Though we watch her leave two men throughout the album, she seems to finally find something genuine by “New Years Day,” the last and only true love song on the album.

So did the old Taylor really die? At first, it seems so. The pop Swift we grew to know and love on “1989” seemed to disappear in favor of old school Rihanna, Selena Gomez and Flume soundalikes. However, upon a second or third listen, her signature melodies and clever lyrics are still there, hidden in her attempt to become a part of current pop.

Though there are high moments on Swift’s “Reputation,” we cannot forget that there are low points, too. Though the production by Max Martin, Shellback and Jack Antonoff is great, some of Swift’s talk-singing, overcorrections and failure to let go of tired drama hold the album back from rivaling other pop releases this year, like Lorde’s vibrant “Melodrama.”

Still, we have to admit it. “Reputation” was better than expected.

Play it:
“I Did Something Bad”
“Getaway Car”
“Dancing With Our Hands Tied”

Skip it:
“Look What You Made Me Do”
“…Ready for it?”
“This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”



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