Why Taylor Swift’s New Album is a Masterpiece

OPINION PIECE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Her Campus Agnes Scott.


           Taylor Swift has had her issues. Between fights with Kimye, drama with Katy Perry, and questionably motivated tweets at Nicki Minaj, not to mention everything with Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston, she’s had a rough couple of years. There’s no denying that she can be somewhat of a problematic fave. However, with the release of her new album, reputation, Swift has proved that she’s back, bigger and better than ever before.

Image via Wikipedia Commons

           The lead single of the album was “Look What You Made Me Do”, receiving somewhat mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. Certainly, it was a sound we’d never heard from Taylor before, and yes, it came off a little whiny. But as her first new music in three years, it served its purpose well. The Taylor we’d known was dead, long live the new Taylor. Yet fans nervous about what this meant for the quality and content of her 2017 music shouldn’t be.

           Reputation’s opening track is “…Ready for It?”, also released prior to the album. While it’s a good song, it is not, in my opinion, the best song off the album. That honor belongs to “I Did Something Bad”, an absolute banger of a tune, including the lyrics “if a man talks shit then I owe him nothing”, and “they say I did something bad, then why’s it feel so good?”. This is the listener’s true introduction to the New Taylor— songs grounded in pop, alternating between her not bothered by anything attitude and the more familiar love songs.

           Track ten, “King of My Heart”, is another standout. Taylor sings sweetly about the man she found herself falling in love with “all at once”, in such a way that the listener can’t help but sigh. She’s always done romance well, and despite the synth instead of guitar strings, it clear that this hasn’t changed. “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is also one of my newest jams. It echoes Red’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” when she stops singing to laugh at the idea that she could sing that “forgiveness is a nice thing to do” with a straight face. This is snarky Taylor, condescending Taylor, amused Taylor, tones which are clear to the listener and make the music even better.

           The album’s closer, "New Year’s Day", is the most familiar, a quieter track with only piano and guitar. It serves as a cool-down of sorts from the flashy sounds of the rest of the album. It’s peak Taylor Swift, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. She sings about wanting to spend the time after the party with someone, rather than the actual party, and of course, she’s found her someone.

          Taylor Swift maintains all of her signature honesty and lyrical genius, but in a much more adult, pop-oriented manner. Far from being self-pitying, it’s a collection of songs meant to tell the world that she is happy and doesn’t give a damn about what the rest of us think. A calculated move, perhaps, but one that’s effective. We’ve come a long way from the 16-year-old girl in a sparkly dress, shocked because people actually came to see her perform.

           reputation is out now wherever music is sold.

(thumbnail image via Flickr)