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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fearless in a new image

Graphic by Kaitlyn Patterson ’20.

Taylor Swift evolves in “reputation”

Taylor Swift is back with a vengeance.

Swift released “reputation” on Nov. 10, and for those who thought she couldn’t completely reinvent herself any more than she did on “1989,” welcome to her sixth album.

On this 15-track record, Swift not-so-subtly calls out shady former friends, slimy ex-boyfriends and the public’s obsession with her private life. It’s not all negative feelings though, as she references her refreshing new relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn on multiple tracks.

“reputation” is cohesive, with tracks woven together to create the full picture of Swift’s life in recent years: a pop star who’s fallen from grace, taken some time out of the spotlight to contemplate her next move and is now unapologetically reborn.

The musical journey begins with “…Ready for It?,” one of four singles debuted ahead of the album’s release. This first single sets the tone, with a mixture of dark sass and sweetness. Next is “End Game,” which features Ed Sheeran and Future, an unusual collaboration that actually works, with its upbeat, catchy bridge and chorus.

“I Did Something Bad” is about a love gone sour, but doesn’t play as an angry song. Swift revels in being the heartbreaker rather than being the one heartbroken, seen in the lyrics, “They say I did something bad/Then why’s it feel so good?”

Despite the vengeful theme, it’s a feel-good song, one only the “new Taylor” could truly pull off. This same attitude is reflected in the 13th track, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” in which Swift almost explicitly disses Kanye West for manipulating her when she thought they’d repaired their friendship.

“Delicate” shows Swift’s lyrics are just as relatable as ever, as she croons about a new relationship she is nervous to ruin by moving too quickly: “Is it cool that I said all that?/Is it chill that you’re in my head?/’Cause I know that it’s delicate.”

“So it Goes…,” a title which could be a reference to author Kurt Vonnegut, is a dreamy club beat. Swift delves into love triangles in “Getaway Car,” in which she sings of the shaky foundation of a relationship formed by using this new man to leave her former boyfriend, possibly a reference to her relationships with Calvin Harris and then Tom Hiddleston.

“Dancing With Our Hands Tied,” a smooth pop song with an EDM-reminiscent beat drop, was one of the standouts of the entire album. I wouldn’t usually comment on the ‘beat drop’ in a Taylor Swift song, but then again nothing about this album is usual.

“New Year’s Day” is the pared-down, sweet melody we all needed at the end of this whirlwind album; just Swift and her piano, hoping the object of this song will always be around for the small moments, like cleaning up after a party.

While her lyrical prowess is as strong as ever, Swift’s voice doesn’t truly get the chance to shine on this album except for a few tracks, what with the heavy, 80s-inspired production on most of her songs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because what Swift has created is a genuinely good pop album that fans will listen to all the way through.

The overall sound of this album is totally different from what listeners may have learned to expect from Swift. The songs are upbeat pop, with a pinch of rap here and a hint of EDM there, and lend more toward a dance party than a heartbroken crying session like some of her previous albums. Unlike all of her former releases, there isn’t one song on “reputation” that’s a slow, sad tearjerker, as this album is unapologetically triumphant. Regardless of the media’s image of her, Swift knows who she is now and her music reflects that.

Whether the public will embrace “new Taylor” still remains to be seen, but she has made a strong statement and is waiting to hear a response. The only question now is, are you ready for it?

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