Reputation Just Might Be Taylor Swift’s Best Album Yet

Three years appears to have been well worth the wait for new Taylor Swift music. In what might be her best album to date, Swift has not so much departed from the sound of her earlier works as evolved astonishingly while still keeping true to her lyrical prowess. Any and all skepticism I had about this album faded the minute I delved into the work as a whole. At first, I couldn’t believe the fans who came out and claimed this to be her best work, but truly, the pre-release singles can’t hold a candle to the rest of this album. For the first time ever, Swift is firmly in control of her own narrative—and she’s making sure you know it.

 

Despite all her hyping up 1989 as “sonically cohesive,” it’s this album which really fits that description. Though I can’t claim to enjoy every song, I do know for a fact that this is the album with the least number of songs I dislike. “Getaway Car” had me absolutely floored from my first listen, and I still feel like I have an out-of-body experience every time I hear the last 30 seconds. “Delicate” got under my skin without my even noticing and most definitely stayed there. “I Did Something Bad” is quite possibly her most open and honest portrayal of pain and anger ever. Even now, after all the times I’ve played all the songs, I’m still discovering new moments and elements which just further heighten the genius of this album.

In all my years as a Taylor Swift fan, I’ve never seen her shrouded in as much drama as she has been in the past year. To be quite honest, after the release of “Look What You Made Me Do,” I was worried this would be an album full of anger and bitterness. I could not have been more wrong. Although at least three songs could be potential references to past dramas, there is no victimization here. No revenge. The majority of this album is taken up with describing the ins and outs of her current relationship. Swift has delivered some of her best love songs and best lyrics to date, with not a “classic” breakup piece in sight. She’s found a love to be fully comfortable and content in, a romance she obviously cares an immense amount about preserving (see: “Dancing With Our Hands Tied”), and she has not left any room for speculation. She has asserted herself fully and will not pay any mind to the gossip and contrary opinions bound to follow.

 

Already, articles have been circulating criticizing Swift’s decision to remain apolitical on this album. But, she can’t fix the problems of an entire government in a song, and maybe looking to celebrities to guide our political opinions is what got us into such a mess in the first place. Though I do desperately wish she could send a single tweet claiming to not be involved with any neo-Nazis or that she voted for Hillary Clinton in the past presidential election, in the eyes of the media, she can do nothing right. But even then, this album is her most sex-positive yet, and will likely show all the young women listening that being confident in your body, your decisions, and your feelings can never be anything but good.

Swift has chosen to focus this new era on connecting with fans instead of the press, allowing the media to do what it will inevitably do without her input. She is caring for herself first and foremost, and that’s something to be admired.

 

There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation.

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