Taylor Swift reinvents her image with “reputation”


Swift’s “reputation” album cover provides a much darker aesthetic than that of her previous albums. Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons.

Angela Mammel, Copy Editor

When 10-time Grammy-winning artist Taylor Swift deleted all of the posts on her social media accounts this summer, it would be an understatement to say that her fans became suspicious. Self-proclaimed “Swifties” continued to lose their minds on the internet when she replaced the blank space of her social media presence with GIFs of a snake, a common insult hurled at the performer. Little did her fans know what a transformation they would soon witness in the star- with the release of “Look What You Made Me Do” on August 24th, the once country sweetheart’s uptempo pop was quickly replaced with an edgy new sound that is unlike anything she has released before.

Through releasing four singles leading up to the Nov. 10 release date and dropping the track list in advance, fans of Taylor and hit music as a whole became intrigued by her drastically new image. If you asked any Swift fan where they would think she would take her music in the future mere months ago, very few would guess she would branch into the electronic/hip hop realm, or that such a sound would fit with her style. However, the first two singles she released for this album proved her versatility and sense of unpredictability as an artist. Along with “Look What You Made Me Do”, the song “…Ready For It?” included heavy synthesizer and rap verses, providing a surprise for dedicated fans while broadening her music to draw new listeners into her sound. In contrast with these titles, the upbeat and playful love song “Gorgeous” showed a side to the artist we’re more familiar with, and Swift matured into her classic pop sound and revealed personal emotion through “Call it What You Want.” These four singles drew a variety of strong responses from her fans and haters alike, and many counted down the days to Nov. 10 to see what this new era would bring for the artist.

Swift carries her theme throughout all of the tracks on this album, starting with the repetition of “big reputation” in “End Game”. This track brings in Ed Sheeran, with whom she had previously collaborated in her classic love song, “Everything Has Changed”. Sheeran shows his new sound through providing a rap verse into this heavily-synthesized anthem, and the vision of Swift as a “bad girl” combined with this rap sound adds to her new and edgy feel. Tracks like “I Did Something Bad” continue this feel while being catchy and danceable, and more mature pop songs like “So It Goes…” draw listeners into the versatility of this exciting new sound. Swift exudes a mature edginess throughout this entire album, straying far away from her country girl roots to swear and allude to intimate relations in many of her songs. “Dress” is by far the slow jam that has everyone talking, and its lighter sound and sauve lyrics make this song a hit while further propelling the artist into her new image. While experimenting with a darker theme, Swift still provides some jams that harken back to her 1989 days, like the upbeat and fun “Getaway Car”, and the title “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” which fans have lovingly coined as “Bad Blood 2.0”. The album begins with the artist letting out her angst and emotion, and slowly transitions into calmer and heart-melting love songs that close out the album. “New Year’s Day” is a personal favorite track, and a soft and beautiful end to such a rollercoaster of a record.

Although the majority of the songs on the album are great, when listening to the record as a whole, the overuse of synthesizer and heavy repetition characteristic to pop can make the songs blend together and bore listeners. In addition to this, those that go to Swift’s music for poppy pick-me-ups will be unpleasantly surprised by her new and darker image that exudes through the titles in this album. The variety of music on the record could make up for this, however, and it’d be a struggle for anyone to not find at least one enjoyable track on the album.

As a whole, this album marks a genius reinvention of a star that people love, or love to hate. The transition between “Red”, “1989”, and “reputation” is flawless in the way the artist expands her music style, and the catchiness of many of the heavy pop tracks on the album are sure to have anyone singing along. This album gets a solid 9/10, as its only drawbacks are the repetition in the tracks, and way the songs can blend together while listened to as a whole record. I’d highly recommend this record to Swifties and fans of the top hits alike.