Review: Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Reputation’ – The old Taylor is definitely dead!


“The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now – cause she is dead.” This is what Taylor Swift is singing in her first single from the new album ‘Reputation’. And after listening to all 15 tracks, people can definitely confirm that the old country-pop singing Taylor is dead – for real!

On November 10, 2017, Swift released her 6th studio album ‘Reputation’, which is so different to her previous albums that you might ask yourself “Is that really her?!” Up until now Taylor Swift was always a little country girl who writes great love songs that many teenage girls could identify with.

In her last studio album, ‘1989’, listeners could already recognize that her sound had changed quite a bit, but ‘Reputation’ is the cherry on top of this significant change.

After the release of ‘1989’, Swift got into some fights via Twitter with, among others, Nicki Minaj or Katy Perry. Plus, there was a fight with various streaming platforms, like Spotify, about royalties, which was why people couldn’t stream her music for quite some time. And please do not forget the perhaps stupidest celebrity fight in the last few years with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. All those problems and fights left its traces on Taylor Swift.

And how is she handling such difficult times? Exactly! She writes songs about all that (and about a couple of new ex-boyfriends of course). Just by listening to the first song ‘…ready for it?’ you can hear someone is clearly pissed and has put all the frustration into a song (or even the entire album?).

‘…ready for it?’ is a very aggressive song with a sustained blast of distorted bass. Before the very techno-popish pre-chorus rings out, Taylor performs a kind of rap (just like in ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, which was torn apart by the critics). This song more or less completely follows the US-mainstream with its trap-rap and EDM influences, making the song, in the end, pretty boring.

But let us talk about some of the musical highlights on the album. For example, the song “Getaway Car”, which has great potential to become a severe earworm. Especially after listening to the first refrain, you won’t be able to escape the earworm. You might be asking yourself now “Why is that?”, and I can give you the answer. The reason for that is that Taylor was smart enough to ask the extremely talented producer Jack Antonoff for help. Everything that Antonoff is involved in becomes a big success. The man is real cash cow when it comes to the music industry. So, you can’t deny that this was a clever move that Taylor made by getting him into the boat.

But the positive influence of Jack Antonoff also left its traces on some other songs. For example, ‘Dress’, which can be described as sexy love song (“Only bought this dress so you could take it off”), or ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’, which is a song about a former friendship; and some people say that this song could be about Kanye West, about that very short time they didn’t fight publically about things that have been already forgotten. But these two songs with their playful beats could also remind the listener of New Zealand pop star Lorde. And why is that? Once again, the answer is Jack Antonoff, who also produced Lordes latest album ‘Melodrama’.

All in all, this album is an expression of a very bad mood and actually has more lowlights than highlights. Plus, it has nothing to do with the old Taylor anymore. So, the only thing that’s left to say is: Thank you Jack Antonoff for making this album not a complete failure.

Ann-Christin Ruhm

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