The ‘Reputation’ release day is finally here and the net is swarming with “Swifties” freaking out and losing their cool all over the world. Let’s be honest, the songs she released before the album dropped (‘Look What You Made Me Do, Are You Ready for It?, ‘Gorgeous’, and Call it What you Want”), sound much different from her past albums, including 1989. (This isn’t a bad thing though, because I absolutely adore ‘Gorgeous’) So, if you are thinking of buying the album, you probably are wondering if the entire album lives up to all our expectations and I am going to go a song-by-song review to give you an idea of what to expect.
Before I review each song, let me give you a general review of the entire album and a couple of things I noticed.
- The album has a much more “darker” and “good girl gone bad” tone to it.
- Not as kid-friendly as all her other albums. (Don’t worry, it’s still squeaky clean for the most part)
- No epic ballads this time around.
- Definitely has plenty of catchy single-worthy songs.
- Excellent song writing, as expected.
- The music production includes a lot of new sounds we haven’t really heard from Taylor before, such as many of the songs have a hip-hop influenced sound, auto-tune, and vocal effects.
- She mentions alcohol a lot (not that it matters, but it definitely it stuck out to me)
- Definitely a confident album about being yourself, not caring what others think or say about you, and moving on when people hurt you with class and sass.
Alright, so here is a song-by-song review in the most honest way possible:
1. Are you Ready for It?
This song wasn’t my favorite at first. I actually thought like it sounded like she was trying too hard to be even more mainstream. I still think that a little bit about the album in general, but that doesn’t mean the song/music isn’t good! This song has the entire package, catchy lyrics, catchy music and will get stuck in your head all…damn…day. It is a song that I never knew that I was ready for.
2. End Game
This song is one of the more “Hip-Hop” sounding songs, up=-tempo, and her voice sounds almost un-recognizable but that isn’t a bad thing, it just is pretty different. This song features Ed Sheeran and Future, with Future opening up the song with a rap number, and Ed Sheeran singing the second verse. The chorus is probably my favorite part! Very catchy, especially the end of the song where she sings “I swear I don’t love the drama, it loves me”.
3. I Did Something Bad
This one is one of my favorites on the album, and boy oh boy it is ADDICTING to listen to. You will literally listen to it “over and over and over again”. The song is a little bit like a song of revenge/playing with the minds of deceitful men. The chorus explains how doing something bad can feel so good with the catchiest beat you can imagine. This song correlates with the title of the album by mentioning being done with anyone who drops her name. Lots of electronic sounds in this song, as well as vocal reverbs, and an epic build up to the chorus at the end. Oh and Taylor does something bad in this song: she says the ‘s’ word. Perfect song for working out to get that booty 3D, or just dance around careless. OH.MY.GOSH. I LOVE THIS SONG. Can you tell?
4. Don’t Blame Me
Being crazy in love, when your drug is your baby, is exactly what this song is about. It sounds as if it is meant to be a “Whatever, it is what it is” kind of songs, in regards to being madly in love and bat-sh*t crazy One of the things I noticed about this song (and the album in general), is that she uses much more of her lower register, which is really pretty sounding in my opinion. I also hear a little dubstep influence in this song. I can see this song being performed live with a gospel choir in the background because of the way the chorus is sang at the end, plus the pre-chorus saying “Oh Lord Save Me”. This song isn’t religious at all but that is what I immediately imagined when I was listening. Let’s document this prediction: I think Taylor will perform this live one day with a choir in the background, with perhaps some tambourines accompanying some sick dubstep beats. If I am wrong and this never happens, please, do not blame me. 😉
This song is about a guy liking you for you, despite him knowing about your not-so-good reputation. This song has a lot of obvious auto-tune effects that are almost distracting, but other than that the song is pretty decent. If you take out all of the effects, you can see this song definitely being a leftover from 1989. This song isn’t my favorite, but because nothing really sticks out about it, besides, of course, the mesmerizing trance the chorus puts you in. I would also say this song is a little bit monotone because there isn’t really a climax of the song. In other words, this song is actually, delicate itself. It is one of the softer songs on the album.
6. Look What you Made Me Do
Catchy, fierce and on fire. We have all heard this song and have grown to love it (well, most of us). When I first heard this song, I remember it leaving a bad taste in my mouth, yet found it oddly satisfying, like a strong ass glass of harsh whiskey. Once you get used to the taste though, you start to find it to be quite delicious, you keep drinking it, and eventually you feel good, confident about yourself, and will tell people how you really feel, just like this song does. Taylor Swift, if you ever read this, just look what you made ME do: compare one of your songs to booze, which is pretty bad ass, just like this track.
7. So it Goes
I can’t listen to this song without thinking about the line in ‘Style‘ where she literally says ‘So it goes…”. Anyways, this song is about feeling open and free to flaunt those feels and smudge lipstick all over your lovers face and scratches on his back. Another chill-sounding track, trance-influenced with a splash of hip-hop and a little twinkle of dubstep. This song did quite a number on me, but who’s counting? One of the songs highlights: When she actually counts in a whisper after asking who is indeed counting.
I may be a teeny bit biased about this song, only because it is probably one of my all-time favorite Taylor Swift songs. It is the a mid-tempo song that has a flirtatious and fun sound throughout the whole thing. This is probably the most pop-sounding song on the album. If you have a lot of crushes on people like me, then you will love this song, because Taylor sings about all the things we all actually think when we see a 10. Most of us can relate to the bridge of this song the most, because, well, let’s face it, most of the time we don’t tell our crushes how we feel, and instead of scoring that fine stack of honey, we end up stumbling home to our cats.
9. Getaway Car
Opening up with that heavy auto-tune, but quickly gets chill . When you jump into an exciting yet ‘bumpy’ relationship and it ends quickly. This song captures how those relationships feel in the beginning by making you reflect on all the times you were riding free in that ‘Getaway Car” with that guy you don’t talk to anymore, but at the time, you felt as if you both could take over the world together. This track makes pretending to be in that moment again for about 3 minutes and 45 seconds), feel quite endearing and nostalgic. This song gives you a teeny bit of 1989 feels too.
10. King of my Heart
If you like snapping your fingers to beats, then this song is for you. It gets quite electronic/trance/techno/dubstep sounding as Taylor describes the royalty that is involved in finding the right person who you’ve been waiting for your whole life. The bridge is adorable because it mentions school-girl crushes and drinking beer out of plastic cups. This track sounds like a fancy love story that has some major beats going on throughout the song, and of course, some major vocal effects that give the song an even more extra kick of that electronic sound. The pre-chorus has some beautiful guitar in it that stuck out to me for some reason. Overall, not my favorite song, only because of the over-use of vocal effects.
11. Dancing with our Hands Tied
The first verse ends with a build-up to the chorus and yes, it is also very trance-inspired, which I love. This is a sweet song about having a close connection with someone and being in the moment. The beat in this song is absolutely sick and I really dig the trance-sounding instrumental.
A flirty, sexier song about being head over heels for someone. The song is called ‘Dress’ but she only bought it so that he can take it off. This song highlights and celebrates the feelings that are involved in an intimate relationship, the kinds of relationships where you spill wine together in the bathtub and carve each others names in your bed-post. To me, this isn’t the catchiest song, and it is a little too slow for me since it is not a ballad, but it does have an interesting accompaniment, as if it was inspired from an early 80’s David Bowie movie or vintage video game.
13. This is Why We Cant Have Nice Things
This song is awesome because I think we have all been told this from our parents at a young age. Of course, in this song she isn’t talking about material things, but a nice friendship or relationship. Taylor makes it clear that shady people who ruin a good thing aren’t worth your time. The song is upbeat, fun and has some cool sound effects in it and a gorgeous high-pitch piano playing during the chorus and bridge, that I adore. She even gives a shout out to her momma in this one. Definitely a favorite. It reminds me a teeny tiny bit of ‘Bad Blood’. I also enjoyed the little tidbit where she laughs trying to give those shady folks an offer of forgiveness.
14. Call it What you Want
The first time I listened to this one, I was like “Meh”, but after a few listened, I realized that how amazingly chill and relaxing it is. It can be described smooth, relaxing and care-free. Call it what you want but whoever she is singing about sparks up her dark sky. The chorus is absolutely brilliant because it is addictive and it absolutely perfect for listening to while driving with the windows down on a hot summer night.
15. New Years Day
Important note first: She mentions glitter, so it makes the song automatically remarkable. Okay, kidding aside though, this is a beautiful song, and it is the only real ballad on the album. The song is mainly her soft vocals, some acoustic guitar, and piano. The song isn’t as incredible as her other ballads like “All too Well”, “White Horse” or “Begin Again”, but it has a different sound to it that is soothing to it and makes for a great closing to the album.
Overall album Score: 8.3/10
Okay so the best songs on the album, in my opinion are ‘Are you Ready for It?’,’Don’t Blame Me’, ‘I did Something Bad’ and ‘Gorgeous’ Overall the album is good enough that it is worth the money, but just know that some of the songs take multiple listens to be appreciated. Sure, a couple of the songs on the album sound like fillers, but the good songs definitely make up for it.
Is it my favorite Taylor Swift album? No. But that is sort of unfair to ask because this album is a totally different style, as she has been slowly transitioning to pop over the years. I think that one of the best things about this album are the moments in it that are “classic Taylor”, such as some of the lyrics that expose her awkward/dork-like persona. I hope that she never loses THAT part of her reputation. Her song writing skills are still on-point in every single song, and that is one of the greatest things about her music.
If you enjoy upbeat, pop/electronic/dance music, then you should find this album very fulfilling. I must also add, that I am loving the darker side of Taylor, which to some may be subtle, but she just makes anger/disappointment/sadness sound so good!