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Album Review: Taylor Swift’s “Reputation”

Jeromy Mackey, Staff Writer

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Though Taylor Swift’s music and public interaction continue to be polarizing, none should forget to commend her boldness. While her new album “Reputation,” has many, many, many, missteps, it’s a huge leap of courage and originality for an artist who always seems dissatisfied or confused with her own cultural identity.

Her biggest mistake with this album was releasing the album’s two weakest tracks, “Look What You Made Me Do,” and “Ready For It,” as singles. It made many of her fans, including myself fear the release of the full album.

There are hidden gems on this album like “Don’t Blame Me” and “New Year’s Day” whose impact was marred by the choices for single tracks. The album as a whole is a complex compilation of great, meh, and downright awful, so it is more fair to analyze some of the best (and worst) works.

…Ready For It?

Unfortunately, we weren’t. The hardcore rap style, along with the obnoxious bass blasts, in the verses destroys what enjoyment could be salvaged by the pretty chorus. The lyrics are simply awful in these verses too.

End Game ft. Future and Ed Sheeran

This is a track that grew on me. First off, the collaboration with these two artists at the top of their genres was a great artistic decision. Future’s verse is lyrically interesting, and Sheeran’s voice is unsurprisingly a joy to experience. Swift’s verses and bridge at first put me off because it was so different for her, but if you look at this song as an isolated piece, it really is quite good.

Don’t Blame Me

This is my favorite track from the album, and may be my favorite song Taylor has ever released. Its catchy, sexy, and an auditory wonderland. Taylor returns to where she is strongest with a love ballad but begins to distinguish herself from her genre with the original cadences and infectious melody. Hopefully Swift sticks to this style and keeps releasing art in this vein of music, for her the sake of her career and the pleasure of our ears.

Look What You Made Me Do

This song is just bad. From the not it is shallow, hollow, and unpleasant. There’s a glimmer of hope with the harmonized pre-chorus, but honestly, I wish this tease didn’t exist because it makes the contrast of the horrendous chorus even that more jarring. There’s no excuse for this track. Taylor and her producers wanted to be edgy and instead created an absolute mess of a song.

This Is Why Can’t Have Nice Things

After a completely forgettable middle, the album nears its end with this catchy song. For me, it’s the track most like Swift’s masterpiece 1989. Its tween bop lacking only the lyrical substance of her former album. It’s a bit repetitive and could’ve used some variety.

New Year’s Day

Thankfully, the album ends with one of its strongest tracks. It’s the most acoustic sounding song that Taylor has released in years, and it made me realize just how different her style is from even her Red days. Not only is it simply gorgeous, Taylor also addresses a relationship with mature and meaningful lyrics. This is Taylor’s growing up song, and let’s hope she continues this path with her next album.

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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania
Album Review: Taylor Swift’s “Reputation”