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Taylor Swift shapes her “reputation”

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After a three-year long hiatus in music— but not in celebrity gossip—Taylor Swift has returned with the Nov. 10 release of her sixth studio album, “reputation.” Despite the album not being accessible on streaming services such as Spotify, it sold a whopping 1.216 million copies within its first week, making Swift the only artist in history to achieve four million-selling weeks. “reputation” is already the best-selling album of the year.

Not only does “reputation” achieve this phenomenal personal milestone for Swift, but it marks a revolutionary change in her music style. The country-crooner-turned-pop-star has fully embraced the pop trends that have arisen in previous years, such as synth beats and bass drops, that she first experimented with in “1989.” Long gone is the young girl who sang about love and vulnerability; in her stead, an outspoken and fearless woman fights back against the haters and negative media that attacked her reputation.

Representative of the theme of the whole album, the first track, “Look What You Made Me Do,” received mixed reviews. While avid listeners were overjoyed to hear Swift’s voice again, many criticized the seemingly petty nature of the subjects she alluded to in the song and music video.

The now-iconic line, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cuz she’s dead,” quickly became a meme. This song and its video effectively set the tone for “reputation”—that is, how she’s letting her reputation from the past go and shaping a new one, regardless of what the public thinks.

Despite the new sound, this new era of Swift still showcases her didactic and powerful writing style. With lines ranging from “Here’s a toast to my real friends,” to “Please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere,” Swift covers a multitude of subjects ever so effortlessly.

From fluttering yet daring compliments sung in “Delicate” and “Gorgeous,” to villainous yet sardonic lines in “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” and “I Did Something Bad,” there is nothing left to be desired—Swift sings about it all. Nonetheless, the push and pull of her album ends on a sweet, acoustic note with the song “New Year’s Day.”

It’s a stark contrast to the rest of the songs, but the painted imagery she portrays leaves listeners with a warm feeling in their hearts.

Although I have been an avid fan of Taylor Swift since her country days, I can’t say I’m entirely on board with this album.

After watching her perform live on the “Red” tour, I’ve been disappointed by her subsequent albums.“1989” didn’t appeal to me as much as I would have liked–I thought she should stick to the in-between genre of pop-country that she excelled at in “Red.”

Still, there’s no denying what an effective lyricist she is, and transitioning into a genre she’s never explored before, like modern pop, as well as she did is something I can’t complain about.

Album: “Reputation”
Artist: Taylor Swift
Release: Nov. 10
Rating: 4/5

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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source
Taylor Swift shapes her “reputation”