The Swiftly Successful Debut of “Reputation”

Taylor Swift ushers in her new era of music with her newest album,

Rolling Stone

Taylor Swift ushers in her new era of music with her newest album, "Reputation".

Caitlyn Truong, Photojournalist

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The “Tim McGraw” days are far over for Taylor Swift, who wanders further and further from her country roots with her newest album Reputation. Reputation is Swift’s sixth studio album filled with references to ex-boyfriends, malicious rumors, and fake friendships.

Reputation debuted on November 10, three years from Swift’s last album 1989. It sold around 700,000 copies in the United States on the first day, according to Billboard. The album is predicted to sell over a million copies during its first week; the current record is held by Swift herself, with 1.29 million copies sold during the first week of 1989. According to Variety, Taylor Swift plans to outsell 1989, which unfortunately means Reputation was not released to streaming services. Swift has had a history of refusing to release her music to streaming service in protest of the royal services and only recently restored her music to Spotify. It is unknown whether Reputation will eventually be released to streaming services.

Frequent listeners of Taylor Swift will immediately note that Reputation has a very different sound than her previous albums. She established her new pop star status with 1989; with Reputation, Swift progresses towards R&B pop with deep bass beats, electronic tones, and darker lyrics. However, Reputation still maintains Swift’s catchy choruses and clever bridges. The fifteen-track album is a combination of love songs and references to the rumors which surrounded Swift in the past year.

Reputation appropriately opens with “…Ready for It?” which immediately introduces Taylor Swift’s new era of music. In “End Game”, Swift collaborates with rapper Future and close friend Ed Sheeran for a fast paced song which owns up to her tarnished reputation while confessing, “I don’t wanna be just another ex-lover you don’t wanna see…I wanna be your end game.” With “I Did Something Bad”, Swift embraces her history of referencing ex-boyfriends in her songs. “Don’t Blame Me” and “Delicate” are love songs seemingly dedicated to her current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. “Look What You Made Me Do”, the album’s first single, blatantly retaliates against her rumors and establishes her new image with lyrics such as, “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me”. Swift warns her boyfriend that “all eyes [are] on us” in “So it Goes…” while openly adoring him in “Gorgeous”.

The second half of Reputation are closer resemblances of 1989 with the catchy “Getaway Car” and “King of My Heart”. In “Dancing with Our Hands Tied”, Swift sings about her relationship with Calvin Harris, made obvious with the lyrics “We love without reason / Oh, 25 years old”; Swift was 25 years old when she began dating the DJ. “Dress” has almost desperately affectionate lyrics, while “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is a fierce song very nearly dedicated to Kanye West, the rapper who began a feud with Taylor Swift over his offensive lyrics and mistaken friendship. “Call It What You Want” is another prod at invasive tabloids; the album ends with the slow “New Year’s Day”.

As it seems, everyone at some point will find themselves singing along to Taylor Swift, regardless of her new sound. Mattie Vouga (10), a fan of Reputation, declared the album as “Taylor’s best yet” and says, “Taylor is great at whatever she does. My favorite song on the album is probably ‘Getaway Car’ because it’s so catchy.” To listen to the album, Reputation is available on iTunes for $13.99.

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