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Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ album review

The production level has enhanced, with little nuanced sounds throughout the album

Image Credit: Mert & Marcus
"Reputation" is the new album by Taylor Swift.

If you’d stop thinking about her reputation, you’d actually appreciate the musicality of Taylor Swift’s Reputation.

Sure, she named the album that so there will be blog posts and essays deciphering the lyrics — was that about Kanye? Calvin? — but listen to the music, and you’ll discover pure pop magic.

On 2014’s 1989, Swift showed she could deliver great pop songs. On Reputation, her sixth album and second pop effort, she has mastered it.

The production level has enhanced, with little nuanced sounds throughout the album — including use of the vocoder — giving the tracks additional appeal. A good number of the 15 songs are bass heavy and beat-laden, while Swift tells the story of her life in the last two years — going from tabloid drama to falling in love.

She’s striking on the exceptional End Game, veering into contemporary R’n’B territory. Co-stars include rap hitmaker Future and Ed Sheeran, who is sing-rapping in the style he performed before you fell in love with Thinking Out Loud.

Like the singles ...Ready for It? and Look What You Made Me Do, other tracks on the album have similar flair and a big sound, including Don’t Blame Me, Getaway Car, Dancing With Our Hands Tied and King of My Heart.

Riding those big beats are the lyrics — Swift’s speciality. Some of the words hit hard like gunshots.

On the thumping and theatrical This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, her target is crystal clear.

“And therein lies the issue/Friends don’t try to trick you/Get you on the phone and mind-twist you,” she sings. “But I’m not the only friend you’ve lost lately/If only you weren’t so shady.”

But the album isn’t all boom boom pow and big beats. Closing track New Year’s Eve is soft, stripped and slowed down, reminiscent of some of Swift’s earlier work. Gorgeous and Call It What You Want also even out the gigantic sound of the album, produced with Jack Antonoff, Max Martin and Shellback.

Reputation also showcases a more sensual side of Swift. The performer with “that good girl faith and a tight little skirt” sings about scratches on her lover’s back on So It Goes..., and a man’s hand in her hair on Delicate, one of the brightest spots on the album. On the falsetto-heavy Dress, another winning song and R’n’B-flavoured gem, Swift is tipsy and spilling a drink in the bathtub.

“Only bought this dress so you can take it off,” she coos.

This album’s got an outstanding reputation.