Taylor Swift's Reputation Review Roundup: Does It Show Her Storytelling Prowess?
We're not surprised that Taylor Swift's sixth studio album, Reputation, has become an instant hit among fans but it remains to be known whether critics share the same opinion.
Swift's new LP, a follow-up to her 2014 release 1989, is a compilation of 15 songs including a collaboration with Ed Sheeran and Future, "End Game," in addition to the four previously released tracks, "...Ready For It," "Look What You Made Me Do," "Gorgeous" and "Call It What You Want."
"I Did Something Bad," "Don't Blame Me," "Delicate," "So It Goes...," "Getaway Car," "King of My Heart," "Dancing With Our Hands Tied," "Dress," "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" and "New Year's Day" are the remaining tracks on the album.
Reputation, whose pre-orders already crossed the 400,000 mark in the first week of November, was available for download across digital platforms such as iTunes overnight and immediately started trending on social media with positive reviews.
Music reviewers from various publications such as the New York Times, The Guardian and Us Weekly among others also shared their views on the Grammy winner's latest album. Here's what the critics had to say:
The New York Times
"'Reputation is fundamentally unlike any of her other albums in that it takes into account - prioritizes, actually - the tempo and tone of her competition. Reputation is a public renegotiation, engaging pop music on its terms, not hers...She still has adversaries in her sight; there are jabs at Kanye West, and also at an ex-boyfriend or two. But here, too, she turns the magnifying glass around. Some of the most caustic and aware songwriting on this album is about herself."
"[Jack] Antonoff's work on this record is essential. His love of Eighties synth-pop is the perfect counterbalance to Max Martin and Shellback's dance and electronic touch; the album's structure alternates between the two....One of Swift's greatest talents as a songwriter is to encapsulate those small moments, often in a new relationship, that you as a listener cannot."
"Reputation offers a rare, but sometimes manufactured, insight into Swift's personal life. In the months leading up to the highly anticipated release, she opted to skip promotional interviews and even managed to dodge the paparazzi whenever she stepped out. This time around, she's letting the music speak for itself - and that's OK because it's one of her most solid and cohesive efforts thus far."
"Swift is a smart cookie. She's smart enough to write lyrics far better and wittier than the average pop fare, inverting the cliche of the love 'em and leave 'em Romeo - 'I'll carve your name on my bedpost,' she snarls - and admitting defeat when her chat-up lines fail with a sigh of 'I guess I'll stumble home to my cats - alone.' And she's certainly too smart to put all her eggs in one basket...there's more to Taylor Swift than dropping hints and creating drama."
"Even though the record has its fair share of lyrical swings-and-misses, not limited to the groan-worthy, 'I want to wear his initial on a chain round my neck ... Not because he owns me, but 'cause he really knows me' on 'Call It What You Want,' Taylor's exploration of new, interesting and more out-of-character sounds helps keep things interesting."
"The album does have its lulls, oftentimes when Taylor's floating sky high on love of her 'ocean blue'-eyed beau, Joe Alwyn, and if you listen in one sitting, you may lose track of the journey from 'King Of My Heart,' through 'Dancing With Our Hands Tied,' to 'Dress.' With all that said, Reputation avoids being boring, thanks in large part to an almost complete abandonment of sanitized lyricism."