When Taylor Swift released the first single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” off her new album, “Reputation,” fans and critics alike questioned the new sound. My girlfriend and I have both been huge Swift fans for years and even she questioned the chorus and whether she liked the new side to Swift or not. I was in the minority, instantly loving the song and the message behind it. Maybe it was because, once again, she had a way or writing exactly how I was feeling, or maybe it was the way the entire song exuded a causal middle finger to her haters. I listened to it on repeat while others had to let it grow on them.
However you felt about the song itself, it certainly did its job as a first single release. Everyone was eager to hear what else of this “new Taylor” we would hear. When “…Ready for It” dropped a few weeks later it kept that gritty new feel Taylor had been cultivating. It truly looked like the old Taylor was dead and I was loving it. I wasn’t huge on the rap in “…Ready for It,” but it’s grown on me and it is defiantly in my top 5 songs right now.
Whether you’re a fan or critic it’s hard to ignore the way Taylor Swift is taking the world by storm with her new look and new sound. She’s come a long way from the shy country singer I remember seeing on her Fearless Tour when I was 16. But the I’ve grown as a fan, too.
Some of the songs keep her old sound alive such as “New Years Day” and “Gorgeous” and as a fan that’s grown up with Taylor Swift since I was in middle school, avidly begging my parents for her merch and writing the number 13 on my hand the exact way she did it, these songs feel like a nostalgic nod to her past. They add a nice soft buffer to the gritty punk and rap she’s been experimenting with, but still, keep a newer sound that’s almost evolved from her old stuff.
We’ve seen Taylor Swift evolve a lot since her first hit “Tim McGraw.” Her first two albums kept her country roots, but when she wrote “Speak Now” we got a bit more pop that continued into “1989.” I think this could just be another evolution of her style. Critics of her work are not for it saying it doesn’t sound like her at all and that she’s being fake. My response would be that artists recreate themselves all the time. Madonna is super famous for doing this, and more modernly Lady Gaga, but even artists like Beyoncé have done it in more subtle ways over the years. I think it’s a natural reaction to creating art.
All in all, I love “Reputation.” The new content is fresh and keeps you on your toes, and once you’ve listened to the songs a few times they defiantly grow on you. I don’t think we’re losing the old Taylor Swift, we’re just getting more of her as she grows up and we grow with her as fans.