Introduction:

Arguably the biggest pop star of the century, Taylor Swift’s highly-anticipated sixth studio album has finally dropped. Coming off of massive success, both critically and financially, with 2014’s 1989, all eyes are on Taylor as she looks to top her previous successes. Having been criticized for her seamless transition from country (Taylor Swift, Fearless) to pop (Speak Now, Red), she’s also been praised for it; she is one of the only artists to successfully do it. Her new album, Reputation, is set to focus on just that and deal with media persecution and celebrity feuds. Are we ready for it?

1. …Ready For It?

The opening song of the track is much more aggressive than 1989. The song is really well produced and Taylor’s vocals are really well mixed. The lyricism is solid as ever. The song about what it’s like to love Taylor, it’s presumedly written about her current boyfriend, .

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

2. End Game (ft. Ed Sheeran and Future)

The second song directly references the name and theme of the album and Taylor’s reputation. It’s a similar theme to the last song, but with a better package. Future isn’t my favorite rapper but he does a really solid job on this track. Ed Sheeran is very welcome addition and he absolutely kills it. The two are references to rumored lovers of T-Swift, despite those rumors being dispelled. This song is very well produced and written. The performances from the features actually outshine Taylor. It’s a really good song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

3. I Did Something Bad

Taylor is very aggressive and in-your-face, while also emulating a playful and ominous tone, dropping her first expletive in a Taylor Swift song. The lyricism is actually really good this track, with the production. Taylor’s performance is really interesting and fun to listen to. The bridge is haunting and might be the highlight of the standout lyricism of the song. 

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

4. Don’t Blame Me

The R&B and Gospel-style song is actually really well done. Her songwriting is impeccable, once again talking about losing a lover. It’s a really cool song that sounds great and features a really nice performance from Taylor. This could be my favorite from this album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

5. Delicate

Opening with really crisp and nice vocals, this is a little more in-line with the Taylor we knew from 1989. The song about new love is really clean sounding, which is really nice to hear on a primarily aggressive album so far. However, this isn’t really any substance to the pretty, gentle sounds.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A

6. Look What You Made Me Do

The striking lead single is very straight forward in its intentions. Its impressive production and standout performance make for a scary number. It’s really intense and pushes the aggressive nature of the new album to the highest heights. It’s not bad, but she’s made better songs

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B

7. So It Goes…

Things are slightly lighter at the outset, but it’s still not letting up fully. Things get more anthemetic. It again sounds more akin to 1989 then the rest of the album. In fact, the vocals are at their best this song. The production is pretty good. The lyricism is spotty, but it’s not bad. It’s one of the highlight tracks of the album overall.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

8. Gorgeous

A love song that again sounds more like the Taylor we are used to. It’s a much lighter song than some of the others off of Reputation. It’s a playful song about loving someone so much that you hate them. The lyricism is excellent, with outstanding production and stellar vocals. This might be my favorite off the album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. Getaway Car

The vocals are solid from the outset. The production isn’t the highlight of the album, but it’s subtle and good. The lyricism is the focus of the song and it’s great, serving as a happy encore  to what we just heard. It’s another good Taylor tune. While the song itself isn’t happy, it’s a very nice treat, with “Gorgeous”, that are reminiscint of 1989 Taylor. The performance is great and her lyricism is wonderful.
Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

10. King of My Heart

The production is good and the lyricism is solid. Her vocals are solid. This marks the third song that feels like it belongs more on 1989 than Reputation. It’s not a Taylor classic nor a bad song. It’s fine.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B

11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied

The groove is new and original for Taylor. It’s actually really good. The production is more in keeping with a Calvin Harris song than a Taylor song. Her vocals and lyricism are great. It’s a close second to “Gorgeous”.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

12. Dress

It’s a weird shift tonelly to go from dark songs to brighter songs that feel like they belong on a different album. This is a very adult song for even Taylor. While the production suggests a brighter song, it’s still mature. However, it just doesn’t fit fully with the style of the album.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B

13. This Is Why We Cant’t Have Nice Things

The Katy Perry clapper is a genius song. It features her best performance of the album and some of the best lyricism. The production is great. It’s a banger with attitude. This fits with the style and tone she was going for with the first single.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

14. Call It What You Want

This one falls flat for me. While it works like an aftermath of anger following the last song, it falls flat lyric-wise, production-wise, and performance-wise.

Track Rating: 6/10

Grade: C+

15. New Year’s Day

With light pianos and gentle feel of a party that’s ended. It’s a beautiful ending for this album. It feels like it belongs on Red or Fearless. It is gorgeous vocally and lyrically, with production that brings it all home for the last song.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion:

I think Taylor had a good idea of what she wanted the album to be initially, but she loses the emotion warranted for the kind of project she wanted to make. The first half of the album is mediocre and is filled with the fire needed to make an angry pop album. It’s aggressive and in-your-face music, which isn’t for everyone. The second half is a traditional Taylor Swift album, like 1989. It has a hard time deciding what it wants to be. There are some good songs in there, but there’s more mediocre music. Overall, this might be Taylor Swift’s worst album.

Album Rating: 7/10

Grade: B-

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