Reputation, the sixth studio releas by country turned pop star Taylor Swift, is quite possibly one of my least favorite records in her discography. However, I don’t find it productive to dwell on and talk about things that I don’t enjoy and honestly, it’s really not even that bad. I would definitely prefer something else but there are plenty of moments on here that are actually well put together and thought out. Taylor is an amazing musician and lyricist which at this point is an obvious thing. And as much as I don’t listen to many of these songs as a whole, almost all of them have some really great aspects about them whether it be the chorus melodies or the lyrics in a verse, or just some random effect. Today, that’s what I wanted to bring attention to, and so we’re doing things a little differently for this one. Ordinarily, I would choose three of the most outstanding songs on a record to talk about but with this one, I’ve chosen five and broken them down into certain pieces to discuss.
“Call It What You Want” / First verse
The first verse details Taylor’s life during this time where her world was falling apart. “My castle crumbled overnight / I brough a knife to a gunfight” is an interesting phrasing of the things she was struggling with (which we are all aware of at this point). But despite that, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel where she says “I’m doing better than I ever was”, which is a glimmer of positivity in a rather negatively aimed record. Besides that, this song is just so perfectly produced, and I know that’s been said numerous times already but it really is one of the most standout songs on this project.
“Dress” / Pre chorus & Chorus
Taylor Swift’s songs are never very sexual and this may one of the first where it’s obviously about sex. And I don’t think it could have been any better. The way the relaxed pre chorus builds up to the sparkly chorus is so perfect, and the vocal “ahs” are so smooth and add a marvelous touch to the song. Its dreamy and senusual, perfectly balanced and refrains from being overbearing.
“I Did Something Bad” / Chorus & hook
The best part about this song is simply how aggressive it is. It almost sounds military inspired with stomping and machine gun sounding noises during the hook. I’m not sure if this was the intention but it worked out nicely, especially considering the meaning of the track.
“Look What You Made Me Do” / Bridge
In my opinion, this song could have been better produced but not much on this record gets better than the instrumental and lyrics than this part right here. “I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams” and “the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now…cause she’s dead” layered on top of the Halloween sounding music is very well executed. This song garnered some negative reviews upon release but if we’re being honest here, it’s undeniably one of the better single choices.
“Getaway Car” / Chorus
The chorus melodies are infectious and so pretty. That’s all I wanted to say.
“Gorgeous” / Second verse
Lyrically, I like the way this was written about her going back and forth about a boy she likes. The entire thing is one giant contradiction, with lines like “You should take it as a compliment that I’m talking to everyone here but you” and “If you’re single, that’s honestly worse”, which brings out the reliability of Taylors lyrics that we’ve come to enjoy so much. The 1989 sounding production is a nice touch too, which keeps the song bright among the rest of the darker toned tracks.