I really do not have any strong feelings towards Taylor Swift or her music. The strongest feelings I have ever had on anything she has ever released is a simple “this is alright” or “this is a bit annoying.” Being surrounded by the massive amounts of hype and drama surrounding her newest album, Reputation, was quite odd. Apparently there was a pretty big fight between Swift and Kanye West involving lyrics on his album which cast Swift in a bad light, and this album is her bouncing back from that. So I decided to give it a shot for a fun entertaining review. A guy who has never listened to anything more than Swift’s hit singles reviewing her new album, that should be funny, right? He is going to act overly angry with it because hating pop music is cool and he does not like girly music drama. That’s how comedy reviews work.
Well, 55 minutes and one album later, I can now give my honest opinion on this supposedly legendary piece of pop music, an album that has been hyped beyond belief.
It was meh. Certainly nowhere near as bad or as good as various parties were hyping it up to be. Honestly, my biggest complaint is that of false advertising. I expected an album of track after track of vicious takedowns towards Swift’s rivals in the music industry, and songs like that did show up, most notably on “Look What You Made Me Do”, one of my least favorite songs on the album due to its overly minimalistic music, inexplicable Right Said Fred sample and Swift going into edgy, dangerous femme fatale mode. Swift tries to come across as such multiple times on the album, but every time she does, I felt like it fell flat, seeming less dangerous and more annoying and immature. It was also hampered by Swift seeming to not want to stick to that image; whereas some songs embrace her as mother Taylor, our dark lady of destroying other celebrities with well-placed insulting lyrics, on others she seemed to back down from the dangerous Taylor side and portray an innocent portrayed the wrong way by the media. This felt odd to me, in a “having your cake and eating it too” way, and honestly I wish she had stuck to one or the other. The only song out of the dangerous Taylor songs on the album I really enjoyed was “I Did Something Bad”, and that was mostly just because of the catchy, booming electronic instrumentation and not Swift herself.
Oddly enough, only about a third of the album had angry takedowns of celebrities Swift clashes with. The other two thirds of the album were love songs, and I much preferred these songs to the others. Were they anything revolutionary? Maybe not, but they were generally more upbeat and fun to listen to than the angry takedown songs; the one I most enjoyed was “King of My Heart” or “Getaway Car”.
This album was not what I was expected, and that both helped and hurt it. I doubt that I would be able to get through an hour of diss tracks connected to celebrity drama I barely know or care about, so the more standard love songs were joyously welcome breaks from the songs about whatever beef Swift has with Kanye West or Katy Perry. But the diss tracks seemed to be what the album was hyped up as, and people might be disappointed in the lack of them. Did I enjoy Reputation? Sometimes, mostly when Swift was avoiding the songs involving her feuds. Would I listen to Reputation again? Probably not, but I cannot speak for everyone, and I am sure that many others would place this album in their top 10 favorite albums of all time list.