When I wiped out my entire Twitter feed to exterminate my fangirl past before I could follow any Penn people, of course, no one noticed. But on August 18, 2017, when country–turned–pop juggernaut Taylor Swift wiped everything from all of her social media, it was as if the entire internet was turned on its head. This was the single biggest publicity stunt Taylor did to promote her sixth studio album Reputation. Such is the power of Taylor Swift.
The hype that Taylor so handily built up intensified the debate after Reputation was finally released. Some hailed it as Taylor’s best album to date, while others thought it was a steaming pile of shit. As it has always been with Taylor, the negative opinion got much more traction than the positive.
So, is Reputation really that bad? To answer that question, let’s break it down track by track. This album has 15 of them, so buckle up.
"…Ready For It?"
Pros: Taylor plays a sort of devilish ringmaster in this song; that’s always fun to think about! Also, the way she says “Taylor” in “And he can be my jailer / Burton to this Taylor” ruins my life.
Cons: The song can feel a bit overproduced at times, especially the buzz drop after the chorus and before the verse. Zach Schonfeld of actually called this one “a flailing cocktail of grinding synths and faux–rap delivery that's as gratuitous as the ellipses in the title.” Yikes.
"End Game (feat. Ed Sheeran & Future)"
Pros: Taylor has been a known rap fan for some time now, and she finally shows us what she’s got! She actually fits in quite well with Future, seemingly even more so than Ed Sheeran. That’s a nice surprise none of us would have expected just a few years ago. Lyric of choice: “I bury hatchets but I keep maps of where I put ‘em,” and "I swear I don't love the drama, it loves me." (Ed. note: Okay Taylor, we'll pretend we believe you.)
Cons: Ed Sheeran is a lovely teddy bear and deserves all the love in the world, but including him in this song might actually have been a misstep.
"I Did Something Bad"
Pros: Taylor admitting to having toyed around with “narcissists” in the past! Her swearing in a song for the first time! I can still tell you where I was when I heard the gunshots in this song: walking past the halal food truck on Spruce. That beat is burned into my brain.
Cons: The title. I was so afraid for what this song might be when the tracklist came out.
"Don’t Blame Me"
Pros: A Taylor Swift song with gospel influence! Sign me the fuck up. Also, her low notes are so underappreciated.
Cons: Apparently, some people thought the drug metaphor was trying too hard.
Pros: While she really asserts herself in the first four tracks, Taylor turns to her biggest strength on "Delicate": vulnerability. The way she murmurs “Is it cool that I said all that? / Is it chill that you’re in my head?” reminds us that she’s a person with doubts and insecurities, too, and that’s what keeps her relatable even when she’s come so far from “Teardrops On My Guitar.”
Cons: Is there anyone who really hates this song? I have yet to find anyone. This is one of the lesser–known songs that fans are really attached to but haters don’t really know, much like “All Too Well."
"Look What You Made Me Do"
Pros: All the memes we got from “the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.” And it’s actually kind of catchy if you keep listening to it!
Cons: It’s a sample of “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. Also, “I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined” might be a little too much for the drama–averse.
Pro: She rhymed “drama” with “karma.”
Con: She rhymed “drama” with “karma.”
"So It Goes…"
Pros: “But honestly, baby, who’s counting? / Who’s counting? / (One, two, three).”
Cons: “You know I’m not a bad girl but I / do bad things with you” might be a little too cliché.
Pros: The bells and whistles! The bubbly feel of this song is such an accurate representation of the early stages of a crush. Also, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' baby is featured on the track!
Cons: It's probably the worst song on the album and the general flirty nature of the lyrics turned some people off (“Guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats / alone / unless you wanna come along / ding!”).
Pros: Why in the world isn’t this a single? This song has an amazing hook, and the '80s beat and imagery make it even better. It seems like ages since we’ve heard Tay telling a structured story in “Love Story” style, which makes it so much more special.
Cons: It’s not a single for some reason.
"King of My Heart"
Pros: The way she says “luxury.” Damn.
Cons: Some people really hated “You move to me like I’m a Motown beat” for going too meta on the music industry. The song also sounds like it should be on Red rather than on Reputation.
"Dancing With Our Hands Tied"
Pros: She’s always been good at churning out melodic syllables in quick succession (see “New Romantics”) and this truly shines in the pre–chorus.
Cons: The difficulties of maintaining a romantic relationship in the spotlight is kind of a tired topic for her.
Pros: TSwift tries to be sexy and it WORKS! “I only bought this dress so you could take it off” made Swifties’ eyes roll to the back of their head. Sorry not sorry. Fans have called it “Wildest Dreams” but better. Amazing bridge, too!
Cons: Some critics have said that it feels too much like FKA Twigs (Ed. note: it doesn’t).
"This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things"
Pros: If passive aggression morphed into song form, this would be it. This diss track throws subtlety out the window. The break in the song where she feigns forgiveness then dismisses it is a great parallel to “Innocent” (throwback to Speak Now).
Cons: I take back what I said about "Gorgeous," this is my least favorite song on the album. Also, she could have been subtler. Did she really have to mention “receipts?”
"Call It What You Want"
Pros: Taylor brings the narrative to her current state of being: she’s over the drama and happier than ever with her boyfriend. You go, girl.
Cons: Constantly mentioning that you’re over the drama might not be the best way to suggest that you are.
"New Year’s Day"
Pros: This beautiful ending to the album is Taylor at her best: zooming in on an intimate moment and making the world revolve around it (“There’s glitter on the floor after the party”). Plus, “Please don’t ever become a stranger / whose laugh I would recognize anywhere” is a real punch to the gut. I don’t believe anyone has a bad thing to say about this song. Even country fans who are mad at Taylor for leaving country seem to love this song. 10/10.