Arts & Style

Swift’s Reputation builds rebranding off artist’s previous work

Taylor Swift’s new album Reputation released on Nov. 10 and was predicted to break records since its release announcement. The album, which is Swift’s first in three years, has been causing a buzz on social media and is reported to have sold 717,000 albums on its first day. The album marks Swift’s full embrace of modern pop.

Swift kept her fans in the dark leading up to her new album, declining interviews and limiting her online presence to cryptic Instagram posts. Her single “Look What You Made Me Do,” which was released in August, gave listeners a preview of what was to come from Swift in the future, claiming that the “old Taylor is dead.”

The following album was long-awaited, which added to the excitement and anticipation of fans leading up to its release. In a letter she shared with her fans, Swift wrote, “We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us. There will be no further explanation. There will only be reputation.” According to the pop singer, her album focuses on revealing the real her to the world.

Swift’s new songs are much edgier than her old ones. The singer has been trying to break away from what people expect of her, to go against what her reputation, so to speak, demands from her. For one, Swift has never sworn in her music before, and she sings her first curse word in “I Did Something Bad,” saying “If a man talks shit/Then I owe him nothing.”

Swift embraces electronic and rhythm and blues tropes much more than she has before. The sweet and pure pop side of her is dead and in her place is a colder pop and R&B player.

Swift’s new album is vengeful and aggressive, and she focuses a lot on lust, loss and revenge. Though Reputation is much darker than her usual style, the same passion and narrative Swift has always put in are present. Each song is still about an experience that Swift has had and fans are trying to decipher each one.

The songs in this album focus on Swift’s rivalry with Kanye West, as well as ex-boyfriends Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston. The album focuses on Swift as a person and how she deals with people’s expectations of her. Before, she seemed reliant on the numerous boyfriends that she had and written about.

In her new work, the singer is the one in control. “New Year’s Day” is the last song in the album, with this track signaling that Swift has found herself through the process of trying to come to terms with and understanding her reputation.

Swift and her team have done away with the clean lines and stiff beats of the singer’s previous album 1989 for the most part, replacing them with songs with loud clashes, as well as trendy production elements.

The ballad-style that Swift usually sticks to is forgotten on this album and is replaced with more mainstream pop elements. The shift toward synthetic pop that Swift began in 1989, is in full force with Reputation.

This album is definitely more risqué than any of Swift’s previous works. She sings about topics such as cheating on her boyfriend with lyrics such as “I only bought this dress so you can take it off,” which is part of the song “Dress.”

The album features some of Swift’s friends as well. “End Game” features Future and Ed Sheeran. Additionally, the voice of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ daughter is featured at the start of “Gorgeous.”

Although Swift’s new style is radically different from what it used to be and is catchy, what many really admired and enjoyed about the singer’s music is how it was unlike anything else on the radio. This element was lost in Reputation.

Also, fans enjoy her ballads and there were none of these on the new album. The record was extremely overhyped, and was only so because of the large gap of time between her last album and her new one.

Reputation sounds like a typical pop album, not unique to Swift and the style people have come to know and love from her. The album lacks the emotions and substance that Swift’s songs usually have.

Reputation includes 15 songs and was not available for streaming the first week that it was released. Industry experts are anticipating 1.5 million copies of Reputation to sell in the first week, presuming the album to potentially be the year’s best-selling album in only one week. Reputation did not just earn a huge sum; it has already collected the largest sales week of 2017.

The album was only available in physical copy, iTunes and on iHeartRadio within the first week of its release, which may be extended. This is Swift’s sixth album and it is her fifth album primed to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

November 20, 2017

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Estelle Saad


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