As one of the super powers in music over the past few years, of course it’s big news when Taylor Swift releases a new album and droves of fans will have shot out to buy the album today, or at least sat at home and streamed it anyway. ‘Reputation’ is Swift’s sixth studio album, released across an already thirteen year career and not just any career as she currently sits atop the music mountain as one of the most successful and recognisable mega stars in the whole entire world, and all by the age of 27. You’d have to live under some sort of sound proof rock to not have heard (and even enjoyed) at least one if not more of Swifty’s hits and with the amount of radio play, media attention and social media promotion she receives, it’s not a wonder. Now me telling you that Taylor Swift is successful is not news, neither is the fact that she’s released a new album, as it has been widely covered and the hype and build up has been ever present.
However what I do want to say, is that I really don’t care.
In a world of everyday narcissism and self obsession, whether this be on social media or in the real world, if you can call it that anymore, this sort of edgy for the sake of being edgy gimmick doesn’t inspire or evoke any emotion from me whatsoever, and the self indulgence of her new “persona” is just infuriating. Now I’m not daft, I’m fully aware that there are millions of devout Taylor Swift fans that would not only strongly disagree with me here, but would also like to see me suffer for my sacrilegious words. However my problem is, we’ve seen this all before, this evolution of Taylor Swift from princess of pop to absolute badass, who apparently died and therefore she’s not taking anybody’s calls just seems like a desperate media plea and an attempt at widening an already respectable fan base. It isn’t like we haven’t seen it before, as she was a bonafide country sensation before broadening her sound out to the more commercially palatable and radio friendly pop style. I’ll be straight with you here as well, I didn’t particularly like either of these guises either but at least they didn’t infuriate me as much. Now every month for the past few years we’ve had to endure the tabloids force feeding us all the gory details about either or end of Taylor Swift’s most recent relationship, and again as someone that gives zero credence to the goings on of the celebrity world, I couldn’t care less, and the fact she’s had multiple public partners in recent history really doesn’t interest me at all either, you go for it girl, but the fact that on the first day of release, all the other music news publications have immediately detailed the laundry list of enemies and rivals in the celebrity world that she’s used as cannon fodder throughout her latest record. It’s layered with digs at Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston which to me just sounds so petty and playground-esque. Is the world really bothered enough about her love life to spend £10.99 on iTunes? I would actually assume yes. Would the world seriously be that interested in how she feels about other useless reality TV robots like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West? Absolutely they would. That’s the world we live in now, and we all need to get used to it, apparently.
I haven’t got tons to say about the music side of it as I feel so drained and demotivated by the aura and essence of not only the album but the latest presentation of Taylor Swift. It’s clearly darker and a lot more brooding and vengeful, fuelled by anger of past events and sending a message of imminent comeuppence but in doing that all she appears to have done is join a long list of names, who’s musical presentation solely revolves around them telling you how bad ass they are, how great they are, and normally having a pop at every one else. Just listen to DJ Khaled, Rhianna, Drake or even new girl on the block Cardi B and you’ll see the pattern form. It’s ego over art, presentation over substance and hype over credibility. It gathers a wide audience and who am I to ever say they’re doing it wrong, but what I can say is that I’m not impressed and as much as I can’t get on board with the selfie every second way of life, I also can’t get on board with the representatives and the faces of this generation.
As this is a music publication, I’ll give a brief run down of how I feel about the album from a musical point of view:
‘Ready For It’ is a great opener but she doesn’t half draw out that metaphor about stealing some blokes heart.
‘End Game’ sounds like every other song on Radio 1 at the minute but does feature your obligatory featured artists in Ed Sheeran and Future, so yeah.
‘I Did Something Bad’ beats that same drum that many others have about stuff feeling soooooo right when it should feel wrong, etc, whatever.
‘Look What You Made Me Do’ is one of my least favourite tracks of 2017. It sounds like ‘I’m Too Sexy’ by Right Said Fred, and that was shit as well.
‘King Of My Heart’ and ‘Gorgeous’ both seem to have more positive connotations generally and may even hint towards a new man in her life. OMG.
‘New Years Day’ is my favourite track on the album for two reasons, it’s stripped back and more organic. The current presentation and gimmick seems to have been dropped and some honesty and normality appears to have been regained. It’s actually very beautiful and it’s minimalistic style is such a welcome treat by the time you’ve dealt with the rest of the album. Without a doubt, this track is the highlight and I wonder what Swifty Dog’s next incarnation will be like, and I partly hope she falls this way into a more acoustic, singer songwriter based forum, because with the vocal talent she has and the clear work ethic she’s always possessed, there’s no reason she couldn’t take on artists like Laura Marling, Norah Jones or Katie Amelia and beat them at their own game. The other reason I love this track is because it’s the last one on the album and it’s over and now the pain can stop.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)