Reputation: Song-by-Song Analysis and Review

Reputation sold more than 1.05 million copies in the US during the first four days of its release, making it 2017’s largest selling album in the country. These statistics are just one of many to add to Taylor Swift’s extensive list of records in the music industry. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Gore)Reputation sold more than 1.05 million copies in the US during the first four days of its release, making it 2017’s largest selling album in the country. These statistics are just one of many to add to Taylor Swift’s extensive list of records in the music industry. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Gore)

Reputation, Taylor Swift’s sixth studio album, was released at midnight on November 10. After over two years of waiting, fans greeted the 15-song masterpiece with extreme excitement and joy.

Swift has recently developed multiple reputations throughout the media and her interaction with other celebrities. She has been repeatedly portrayed as shallow and narcissistic. She is also infamous for her relationships with other stars, like Taylor Lautner and Harry Styles. With this album, Swift has altered the way that many think about her. She is able to successfully demonstrate how it feels to be a world-famous young female artist that repeatedly faces criticism. Reputation’s songs are much darker than Swift’s previous albums and illustrate a deeper meaning of the artist’s take on stereotypes, drama, and love.

  1. “…Ready For It?”

The first song on Swift’s album is a thriller from beginning to end. She opens the song with a fast-paced verse that introduces a new and young man in her life. Throughout the lyrics, Swift sings “younger than my exes but he act like such a man so” and drops other sly comments to hint towards her relationship with current 26-year-old boyfriend Joe Alwyn. The song as an entirety is seductive and mysterious, an overall encapturing way to open the door to the new Taylor Swift.

Check out Swift’s second single on Youtube, where she uses special effects to further illustrate the internal conflict of her self evaluation versus her reputation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIft-t-MQuE

  1. “End Game (Feat. Ed Sheeran & Future)”

“End Game” is the sole collaboration on Reputation, featuring Swift’s long time British best friend Ed Sheeran, as well as American rapper Future. The chorus sneakily gives mention to Sheeran’s possibly most famous single of all time, “The A Team”. Later in the song, the three artists discuss their big reputations and enemies. Swift sings about making a lasting impression on someone and being their final love or “end game”. The entire sound of this song truly encompasses the conflicted message that Swift attempts to deliver with the album.

  1. “I Did Something Bad”

Swift is well known for being involved with her fans, and like she did with her last album 1989, Swift held secret sessions to demo the music for some of her most devoted followers. During a session, she explained to listeners that she awoke one morning with a sound in her head and instantly knew that was what she wanted to hear on the track. Swift worked with Max Martin and computer software to alter the pitch of her voice and give the post-chorus a completely unique sound. The song overall exemplifies the enigmatic, darker side of the Grammy-winning artist and maintains her new edgy persona.

  1. “Don’t Blame Me”

    While a few songs are exceptions, Swift’s tracks on Reputation are generally around 3-4 minutes long. Although each song has a different sound, they come together to form a work of art. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Gore)

    While a few songs are exceptions, Swift’s tracks on Reputation are generally around 3-4 minutes long. Although each song has a different sound, they come together to form a work of art. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Gore)

On the fourth track of Reputation, Taylor Swift captures the listener’s attention with powerful harmonies. “Don’t Blame Me” is a midtempo ballad about intense, crazy, and overly addictive love. Swift compares her lover to a drug, further clarifying the way that she feels about him throughout the song. Like her songs in the past, she claims that she would do anything for her partner and yet again is able to produce a masterpiece of love.

  1. “Delicate”

“My reputation’s never been worse, so/You must like me for me…” opens Swift’s fifth song to her new album. While many other songs on Reputation are very candid and clearly express how she feels, “Delicate” gives a much more hesitant vibe. Swift questions her actions towards the person she has feelings for and the lyrics consistently ask for confirmation that she is making the right decision and that her lover wants to be with her. Although many of the songs on this album are hardcore and empowering, “Delicate” truly uncovers a more uncertain side to Swift’s personality. It also maintains the motif of a reputation built from the media that is mentioned throughout the album as a whole.

  1. “Look What You Made Me Do”

“Look What You Made Me Do” was the first single Swift released returning from her album hiatus.The song is what many consider the start of the remaking of her image. Released on August 24, 2017, the industry had many opinions about the new Taylor. The song discusses the issues that formed Swift’s social reputation and again presents a strong stylistic change in her music.

Swift’s music video for the single contains several hidden references to incidents in her past. To get a closer look into how Swift addresses her opposers, watch the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tmd-ClpJxA

  1. “So It Goes…”

The title of this song is a recurring lyric in Swift’s music, previously seen in her songs “Style” and “You Are In Love”. Her narration of a mysterious love with a slower paced tempo returns the album to what it originally sounded like. She again sings about the man’s love altering her actions and driving her crazy. While the song is a bit repetitive, it certainly is able to maintain the mood and tone of Reputation. “So It Goes…” once more presents the new Taylor to listeners.

  1. “Gorgeous”

Swift’s promotional single “Gorgeous” begins with a child’s voice repeating the title, hinting towards the childish antics of Swift and her lover throughout the lyrics. The song progresses to tell a story of jealousy and her wanting someone while she is already in a relationship. Taylor also again notions towards her boyfriend Joe Alwyn- well-known for his bright blue eyes–  with the lyrics “ocean blue eyes looking in mine/I feel like I might sink and drown and die”. Overall, Swift continues Reputation with another intense and alluring song.

  1. “Getaway Car”

Yet another one of Swift’s songs presents internal conflict about a man. Many listeners have speculated that the song is inspired by the artist’s past relationship with actor Tom Hiddleston. This speculation comes from the first verse that vaguely describes the night she met him, at the Met Gala in 2016. The rest of the lyrics explain a man that is able to take Swift away from the rest of her life and act as a distraction from all the negatives she has to deal with. The song comes full circle at the end and exemplifies Swift’s repeated behavior as the media has reported in the past. This yet again refers back to the theme of her album, creating her own reputation against those that others have formed.

  1. “King Of My Heart”

The tenth track on Reputation is about the luxury of Swift’s past relationships. Ex-boyfriends Tom Hiddleston and Calvin Harris both own expensive sports cars, and both brands are mentioned in the early verses of the song. The beat to “King Of My Heart” is extremely catchy, similar to many other tracks on Swift’s sixth studio album.

 

  1. “Dancing With Our Hands Tied”

The fast paced song that takes spot #11 on Reputation is eerily similar to Swift’s past music. The words to the track again explain a mysterious love but also show Swift’s lack of self confidence in finding a lover. She sings “I knew there was no one in the world who could take it/I had a bad feeling,” and epitomizes that the way the media has portrayed her makes relationships difficult for her. Overall, the song explains that dating Swift results in living your life in the spotlight and she acknowledges it will be hard to make anything work.

  1. Swift represents a more mature and dark side of herself with her new album cover. The 15 tracks also exemplify her new image. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

    Swift represents a more mature and dark side of herself with her new album cover. The 15 tracks also exemplify her new image. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

    “Dress”

Often referred to as the most seductive song on the album, “Dress” is most certainly based on a more adult topic. Swift mentions several suggestive comments about spending the night with her lover and her wants of that time. While many made speculations that the song is about Ed Sheeran, he has denied the allegations alongside Swift who has said all positive songs on the album are written about boyfriend Alwyn.

  1. “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

Swift’s 13th song, also her lucky number, is potentially the best song on the album for multiple reasons. The sound is contagious in the best way, the lyrics are fierce and edgy, and Swift is able to show her superiority over those who have shamed her — specifically Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Throughout the lyrics, Swift presents herself as an adult figure speaking down to misbehaving children. Taylor continues to throw major shade and refute many horrible things said about her as Reputation goes on.

 

  1. “Call It What You Want”

Another of Swift’s selection of singles from this album, “Call It What You Want” is a song that describes the rough year of 2016 that Taylor experienced. After the release of Kanye West’s “Famous”, Swift received a massive amount of attention from the public eye. All the drama that occurred eventually resulted in Swift retreating from the spotlight altogether. The second to last song on her album is able to express how it felt to constantly be talked about and disrespected, ultimately referring back to her reputation.

 

  1. “New Year’s Day”

Swift wraps up Reputation with a reminiscent but very mature song. In contrast to most of the rest of the album where Swift acts rebellious and unforgiving, “New Year’s Day” is a song about remembering the good and bad memories. Taylor uses the metaphor of an end-of-year party to acknowledge and learn from events in the past. Through and through, it is a brilliant way to end the album and prove Swift’s grown maturity level.

Taylor Swift’s sixth studio album is more evidence to add to the list of masterpieces she has created proving what a legend she is and will continue to be. Between her lyrics and the music composition, Reputation is truly a great album.

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