By Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
[Big Machine; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Gorgeous”, “Getaway Car”, “New Year’s Day”
If you want to listen to Reputation for free, you can’t. Unless you want to wade through her many other tracks and wait through commercials on iHeartRadio, there is no way to listen to the whole album without paying for it. For the poor lowly album reviewer, this sucks, because SOMEONE had to listen to over seven hours of Taylor Swift radio to hear the album once. It also sucks for the average fans who don’t want to (or can’t) pay for her publicity stunt. Either way, it’s already sold over a million copies and will probably sell a million more by the time you finish reading this.
On Reputation, her sixth album, Taylor Swift has completed her transformation from soft and sweet country musician to full on electro-pop diva. This album chronicles some of her most recent PR failures and her anger towards the way things were handled. Many of the tracks are jabs at her exes (are we surprised?) and comparisons to the current man she is with.
The singles don’t match any of the other tracks on the album. “…Ready For It?” functions as the opener with Swift singing/rapping(???) over trap music which transitions into bubbling synths. The bass rules the track and brings a heaviness which is absent from many of the other tracks. “Look What You Made Me Do”, the record’s first single is a cheap knock-off of “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. The beat is exactly the same and the track makes a point to blame the media, her ex-boyfriends and anyone else for her behavior. It’s vindictive and “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now, Why? Cause she’s dead” is like the fakest, edge-lord crap she has ever spewed.
“So It Goes…” has some really strange things going on with the post-production, making the chorus parts quieter than the other parts of the song. Trap beats and rhythms that should be harder hitting seem diminished in a way they shouldn’t be, making the whole track sound jarring. “Getaway Car” is synth driven and about a past lover. It’s not horrible, and the beat and background vocals are pretty good.
Taylor takes shots at her ex-boyfriends while praising whoever it is she is with now on “King of My Heart”. Musically, it’s trap inspired and the backgrounds are interesting. However, there are parts of the track that get washed out and turned into mush by some of the production. “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” starts with an upbeat background track and slowly rolls into a deeper chorus moment. The track loses a lot of momentum – which isn’t specific to this track alone, but it is most obvious here.
Contrary to what she says in “Look What You Made Me Do”, there is still a little piece of the old Taylor left in “New Year’s Day”, a soft acoustic track that paints a picture of her current relationship. The narrative is there and the focus is clear, as it softly ends the album on a glittering note.
It’s hard to tell how cohesive this album is when listening to it between Swift’s other hits, but for the most part, it brings a similar sound and feeling between most of her new tracks. There are moments on Reputation that even a Taylor Swift hater might actually enjoy. It’s Top 40 ready and has already broken music history records. You might as well give it a shot, as long as you skip “Look What You Made Me Do”.