by Kyle Bray
With her fifth studio album 1989 grabbing a Grammy Award for album of the year, and her dramatic feud with Kanye West, Taylor Swift’s next project was highly anticipated.
After the overwhelmingly negative response to the release of the album’s first single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” expectations for her sixth studio album plummeted. However, reputation is surprisingly a solid pop album with radio-ready hits.
In a way, the album itself has two different sonic identities. Producers Jack Antonoff, Shellback, and Max Martin experimented with trap beats on most of the tracks. Songs like “…Ready for It?,” “End Game,” “So it Goes…,” and “King of My Heart” feature trap drums and booming bass lines. Other songs like “Getaway Car,” “Delicate,” and “New Year’s Day” all take a much calmer and subdued approach, featuring soothing synthesizers and more laid back drum beats.
The album’s second track, “End Game,” includes an unexpected feature from popular rapper Future as well as Ed Sheeran. All three artists reiterate the message of the title of the album: that they all have a reputation that precedes them and don’t care what people think.
“Delicate” stands out amongst the tracks as one of the most emotional moments on the album. Swift details how she tries to find love after all the drama she’s faced in recent years, over a minimalist beat from Shellback and Max Martin. With lines like “My reputation’s never been worse, so/You must like me for me…” and “Is it cool that I said all that?/Is it chill that you’re in my head?/’Cause I know that it’s delicate,” Taylor is cautious and nervous when engaging in a relationship now, despite her reputation as a quick dater.
On the track “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” Swift goes after her haters directly. With a radio friendly trap beat from Jack Antonoff, Taylor calls out all the people around her that caused drama in her life, addressing “fake friends” and “backstabbers.” The bridge is a salute to her real friends, her lover, her mother, and the listener, all for sticking with her through the hard times and not listening to the lies about her in the media.
The album is not available on streaming platforms such as Spotify as of the initial release, but will be available within the next week. For now, it can be purchased on iTunes or in stores.
reputation certainly has all the marks of a solid pop album. Taylor’s experimentation with more typical hip hop beats fits well with her melodies, making it an enjoyable listen.