Ready for it? – Reputation

Carly McWilliams, MVC Features Editor

“There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation.” These are the words that preceded the release of Taylor Swift’s sixth studio album, “Reputation,” which came out on November 10, 2017.

The former country star made her official transition to pop with 2014’s “1989,” but the electronic and and darker influences of “Reputation” make it feel like Swift has rewritten her style yet again. No song on this album is like anything she has ever put out before, yet every track feels authentic to the Taylor Swift that the world has known since 2006. It is a feat she continues to pull off album after album, constantly reimagining and shifting her style to cement her own place in the music industry.

Like the album’s title would suggest, Swift’s reputation plays a big role in the themes of her new songs. From the self-proclaimed death of the old Taylor in “Look What You Made Me Do,” to the biting and theatrical “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” Swift makes it clear that the dirt on her name no longer rules over her life. She shows that she is self-aware of the narrative that she has been written into, but she will always get the last word, and probably make a couple hit songs out of it.

While Swift displays a newfound sharp-edged attitude in some tracks, she shows another new side of herself in synth-pop love songs. It is true that Swift’s most famous chart-toppers are somber or scathing breakup tracks, such as “Red”’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Speak Now”’s “Back to December,” so “Reputation” almost feels incomplete without a single tear shed or fist raised in defiance of an ex-lover. However, “Reputation’s arsenal of chilled-out love songs like “Call It What You Want” and “Dress” show that yes, Taylor Swift can still have a career in songwriting when she is in a long-term, happy relationship.

Though Swift has a great record of giving back to her fans throughout the years, she made it clear that the fans were her focus this time. She organized “Secret Sessions” in four different cities around the United States and United Kingdom, in which her management team scouted fans on social media and invited them to an intimate gathering with Swift to listen to “Reputationbefore its release. Swift also included a collaboration with Ed Sheeran on the album as a nod back to their duet “Everything Has Changed” on “Red, and released a set of magazines with the album that included personal photos and poetry she created during the making of “Reputation.

“I believe this album is the strongest lyric-wise and vocal-wise. I love how she incorporated Ed [Sheeran] in the album and how she truly found love,” said Sammi Henderson, 11.

Despite the mixed reviews from critics, Swift’s focus on her fanbase shows in the glowing remarks longtime fans give of the album.

“I believe that ‘Reputation is one of Taylor’s strongest albums yet. She is the best artist, and is so because she knows how to tell a story in a song and manipulate words into the most beautiful ways. Not to mention how she is finally happy and defying what the media says about her,” said Emma Sweet, 10.

Denouncing her reputation, shamelessly in love, and 100% herself, Swift really is at her best in the electropop masterpiece that is “Reputation.” Swift puts her current situation best in her poem “Why She Disappeared,” which closes with the words, “And in the death of her reputation, she felt truly alive.”