A Taylor Swift Trifecta (Part 2)
Here's the second installment of me basically just speaking on the mastery of three Taylor Swift albums. In the first, I talked about 1989. This blog post will be all about Reputation, Taylor's sixth studio album. I'm settling into this whole blogging thing, so I doubt I'm going to be as formal as the first part of the trifecta. This is a good thing. Hm, how should I go about this. I think I have to first mention that I'm writing this after watching the Miss Americana documentary and re-listening to Reputation, because it really made a difference in how I heard and interpreted the songs.
I won't speak much on the documentary, other than it really does shed light on a lot of things most people don't know (or care to think about) Taylor Swift and many many women go through. I recommend checking it out, it's relevant to so much. Now, back to Reputation. Of the albums, this one is my favorite. Two reasons.. 1. This album shows a very different side of Taylor Swift. 2. I favor the style of pretty much all of the songs. They're poppy, but edgy, a little hip-hop, with some EDM and R&B mixed in. A great mix in my opinion. Of the 15 tracks, there are only 3 that I don't love. I like them, they're good songs, but they don't captivate me the way that the rest do. Those 3 songs are: Don't Blame Me, This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, and New Years Day. I'll talk about them more, as I go through the entire album. So... here we go. 1. Ready For It - Such a strong track to start an album. The beat... sick. The lyrics... sick. The video... sick. It shows of the storyteller we all know T. Swift to be, but we also get tons of symbolism or "Easter eggs" as well. This song shows a transition/transformation of the artist even in the contrasting yet melding soft and dynamic parts of the song. Solid, powerful start to an album. She also appropriately used repetition of the chorus, "Are you ready for it?" and "Baby let the games begin" to begin her Reputation tour. Solid choice. 2. End Game - It sucks that this song could in no way be used for Avenger's End Game, except maybe if Tony was playing it in his car or something, then mentioning how we're lucky T. Swift was spared from the Decimation . That would've been great. Oh well. Anyway, llooooooooovvvvee this song. It's truly my favorite on the album. Even with my lack of love for Future, having Ed Sheeran on this crazy-perfect beat is everything. While Ed is no J. Cole, his rap skills are highly underrated. He and Taylor always do well together.
Every line of the hook is captivating. "I don't wanna touch you, I don't wanna be, just another ex love, you don't wanna see. I don't wanna miss you, like the other girls do. I don't wanna hurt you, I just wanna be, drinking on the beach with, you all over me." Excuse me Taylor, who gave you the right to make me feel like this? It's really not okay. Though, I do think the final line here could've benefited from adding the word games. "I ain'tt tryna playayayayay games. I wanna be your end game." Then the bridge... I'm always in my car yelling "BIG REPUTATION! BIG REPUTATION!" Yeah, Taylor. I feel you, girl.
Her verse is solid. She's no rapper, but certainly a witty writer, pulling off lines like, "I swear I told love the drama, it loves me." or "You've been calling my bluff on all my usual tricks, so here's the truth from my red lips." Those lines are her. They're real, which is why this song is so damn good. Okay, I'll move on now. Geez... so good. 3. I Did Something Bad - Crazy how true to her the lyrics are for this one. No question here that Taylor decided to own all of the drama, and do exactly what she does best. "They're burning all the witches even if you aren't one. So light me up." Here's another great beat, even with the rattling "dat-da's." It feels like this song more than most was a sign of empowerment. 4. Don't Blame Me - I think this one was just to much of a departure from the previous songs. It's not out of character or unfitting, just not favored by me. Still, lyrics like "My name, is whatever you decide. I'm just gonna call you mine." are very note-worthy. 5. Delicate - Another favorite here. It's not a powerful departure like the first few tracks, but it's so honest and reminiscent that we know it's true to T. Swift. The captivating poppy beat also doesn't hurt. Great lyrics and hook here, as well. - "We can't make, any promises now can we babe, but you can make me a drink." - "Do the girls back home touch you like I do?" - "Is it cool that I said all that? Is chill that your in my head?"
I was a bit disappointed in the video, only because this beat has such an island feel that I was hoping for the same in the visuals, but nonetheless, a fitting video for the message of being able to be herself. How fun it must've been to dance around the city like that. I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why, but this song makes me think of a friend, Suzanne D. She's cool and stuff. Band. (Inside joke) 6. Look What You Made Me Do - So, the new Taylor is back. I really don't see how some people hated this song. It's sooooo catchy. Shoulders instantly start shuffling, feet tapping. It's just good. I will say though, the choreography scene was rough to watch. There are some bomb coreos to this though. Check out this one by Kyle Hanagami.
Heavy symbolism in this one but also, a very blunt, likely purposeful, declaration that the old Taylor is dead. After seeing the Miss Americana documentary, it's likely she's referring to the girl who lived for approval, applause, and affirmation.
I'll close this song by just saying it's a favorite and not going into it too deeply, because the symbolism would be a novel to discuss. Great job on this one, Taylor. 7. So It Goes... Listen to me when I say, this one is soooo underrated. The second it starts it paints a picture as bright as moonlight. It's the crazy high of new attraction, that period where everything seem so perfect it's frightening. Have you ever felt so captivated by someone that every single encounter is a bit of an out-of-body experience? That's what this song is about. The hook is dynamic as hell, "I'm yours to keep, and I'm yours to lose. You know I'm not a bad girl but I... do bad things with you. So it goes..." Bruh... catch me before I hit the floor. Not to mention there are so many great lyrics around. - Pretty much the entire first verse comparison to a magic show - "Cause we... break down a little... but when you get me alone it's so simple" - "I'm so chill but you make me jealous... but I got your heart... skippin... skip skippin when I'm gone" The bridge.... perfection. Point being, this song arguably has the best writing on the album. Top 3 as far as best song but #1 as far as lyrics. 8. Gorgeous - The best thing about this song is how easy it is to relate to. 99.999% of people have probably experienced this for at least 5 seconds. It's no surprise that it's well-written, but I love the change in perspective in that it's complimenting with "negatives." It plays with the cliche that kids usually have a crush on those they are mean to. So... you should take is a compliment. Also, Taylor is definitely channeling her inner Fabolous on the bridge.
9. Getaway Car - This one sits you down like, "It's story time folks!" And it does it well. I won't list all of the solid lyrics in this one, cause... I'd just be typing the whole song. But, if you want to catch a glimpse of this one being written, check out the Miss Americana documentary. 10. King Of My Heart - What I like about this song (I mean, I love the whole song, but individually and specifically) is how it serves as a confession that they guy she's in love with truly helped change her perspective on things. It's vulnerable but so powerful in it's composition. It's odd, because it's very similar to Are Ready For It, yet on a totally different spectrum. And again, this one reminds me of Suzanne. The vibe just reminds me of her energy. Anyway... 11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied - I'll try to be succinct, because I could spend forever talking about this song. Definitely my second favorite on the album, and so close to End Game for the top spot. The simple fact that it's a dance song won me over on the first listen. This beat does me in every. single. time. But then all of the lyrics, lawd... "My love had been frozen. Deep blue, but you painted me golden." "Could've spent forever with your hands in my pockets. Picture of your face in an invisible locket." "You had turned my bed into a sacred oasis." Every single word in the whole entire second verse. Same with the bridge. Like... come on Taylor, why you gotta write so well? Okay, I think I'm done. But also, there's an acoustic version of this that she performed that's solid, as well.
12. Dress - It's no secret that Taylor Swift doesn't often make music that's sexual, which is fine. Then she made this. Bruh. The first time I heard it, my jaw truly dropped. I thought, "Oh.... oh shit. Yeah... the old Taylor is definitely dead." But it really is cool to hear how she chooses to write about this part of her life. It's not raunchy or explicit, but still sexy and intimate. Tons great lyrics, of course, but one of my favorite here is, "I woke up just in time. Now I wake up by your side. My one and only, my lifeline." Also, the psuedo ad-lib gasps for air. Solid. 13. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things - Sigh... this song led me on in the worst way. On the first listen, I was pumped. The beat during the verses is so good. And then comes the chorus.... I'm not a fan, but the attempt at forgiveness at the end of the bridge where an uncontrollable laugh comes through is great. Hella funny. This title had more potential. Oh well. You can't love em all. 14. Call It What You Want - Love this one, too. It's really the humblest way to say, "Fuck off, cause we're good." It's a hit. Composed perfectly. And the lyrics in the bridge are such a testament to understanding what a relationship is about. 15. New Year's Day - I feel so indifferent (it isn't love, it isn't hate, it's just...) about this one. It oozes Ed Sheeran, which works for me, but it's such a departure in tempo and tone from everything else on the album that I can't enjoy it with the rest of the songs. It does nicely symbolizes her thoughts in the aftermath of all that is the 14 songs before, but still a very different vibe. So there it is. Part 2 of A Taylor Swift Trifecta. I'll try not to wait to long before closing out the trilogy, but that's relative so... Thanks for reading. #TaylorSwift #ATaylorSwiftTrifecta #Reputation