You know that feeling when you fall in love with an album and can’t stop listening to it on repeat for months? That was Taylor Swift’s Red for me. I’m not a fan of country, but her foray into pop was gold for me. I enjoyed 1989 when it released, but it didn’t live up to Red for me.
Now we have Reputation. I wasn’t the biggest fan, or really a fan at all, of either of Taylor’s leading singles for this album. They actually made me nervous for what the entire album would sound like.
If I had to summarize Taylor’s Reputation in one word, it would be “um-what-did-I-just-listen-to-and-who-thought-this-was-a-good-idea-oh-it’s-because-she’s-dead.” I’m all for artists trying to reinvent themselves and experimenting with new sounds and ideas. I think it’s bad for an artist to stay in the same place just to please people. But sometimes artists make missteps; sometimes artists fall off a cliff and never hit the bottom.
Reputation is like someone thinking that getting on a train to collide with a jet head-on will cure her cancer. It’s just a bad album and I don’t think I’m saying that from a subjective perspective. Almost every song is dripping with an abnormal amount of pretentiousness that takes over even the instrumental backing tracks. Some of the melodies are pleasant, but they’re never consistently that way. Some songs are trying really hard to be good, but they quickly nosedive into the nothingness of mediocrity.
The lyrics themselves may resonate with with some people, but the level of depth they have is in the negative. I’m not asking for a philosophical manifesto on the meaning of life. Despite being a writer, I don’t need lyrics to be incredibly meaningful to enjoy them. The fact is that almost all the lyrics on this album are trying too hard to be edgy and it comes across like a whiny teenager from a rich family who didn’t get her yearly $10,000 birthday present.
Turn Your Face From the Music
It’s a shame. There are some solid ideas and sounds on this album, but they’re drowned out by all the useless white noise. I can’t and won’t recommend this album to anyone. It borrows too much from what I like to call “trash-pop” and ends up like a rotten animal on the road: putrid and stinking.
P.S. New Year’s Day is the exception on this album. It’s a beautiful, heartfelt song that doesn’t belong on this album.
Reputation Score: 3/10