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Released: 2017

Label: Big Machine Records, LLC

Featuring: Ed Sheeran, Future

“reputation” (2017), the sixth studio album by pop powerhouse Taylor Swift, represents a fascinating shift in the songstress’s musical and lyrical journey as she bats away her wholesome “girl-next-door” image in favor of an edgier, more assertive persona. A daring exploration of the darker aspects of fame and the fallouts of public shaming, the album is packed with genre-blurring tracks that dive deep into themes of love, defiance, betrayal, and redemption.

This album showcases Swift swerving dramatically from her earlier sonic palette and lyrical innocence. Instead, she now paints a picture of a woman who’s seen the harsh glare of the spotlight and responded to her detractors with a mix of vulnerability and venom. From the cyber synth-pop of ‘…Ready For It?’ to the mournful piano ballad ‘New Year’s Day,’ each number is a testament to Swift’s resolve to reclaim her narrative, no matter the reputation.

Alongside this stylistic rebirth runs Swift’s lyrical finesse – her uncanny knack for simultaneously serving up relatable heartache and pointed jabs at her critics. Within these bold tracks, hidden in plain sight, is a compelling narrative of personal growth, resilience, and the struggle for authenticity in a world that thrives on judgement.

So let’s get into it. From ‘…Ready For It?’ to ‘New Year’s Day,’ here are the Delving into the Lyrics on ‘reputation’ album by ‘Taylor Swift.’

1 …Ready For It?

The lyrics are ripe with metaphoric exploration of identities. Swift portrays herself as a phantom, a robber, taunting her lover into this high-stakes game of love. She teases, “touch me and you’ll never be alone,” hinting at the irresistible allure she holds. The scheming, rebellious Swift is a departure from her usual romantic plaintiveness, packing a punch that’s both surprising and delightful. The recurring phrase “Let the games begin”, encapsulates the thrill and uncertainty of a new relationship. The song is an audacious proclamation of Swift’s readiness to take on a new, perhaps more mature, lover, wrapping up the complex, ever-evolving narrative of Swift’s love life with a brazen exuberance.

2 End Game

Features: Ed Sheeran, Future

Built around the theme of wanting to be a significant other’s ultimate destiny, it displays Swift’s maturation as she grapples with the weight of infamous reputations. The lyrics echo the dichotomy of fame’s allure and its burdens, with Swift accepting the complexities of her public persona and romantic relationships. The line “Reputation precedes me, in rumors I’m knee-deep. The truth is it’s easier to ignore it, believe me” is particularly striking as it hints at the media’s role in shaping her narrative. Here, Swift is more self-aware than ever, embracing her notoriety while simultaneously aiming for a genuine connection amidst the noise. “End Game” conveys a desire to transcend superficial judgments and achieve a lasting, meaningful relationship in an unforgiving spotlight.

3 I Did Something Bad

Swift embodies a femme fatale character, twirling narcissists and playboys around her fingers with a nonchalant ease. The prodigious line, “If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothing,” is a glorious clapback, laying the groundwork for Swift’s unapologetic narrative. The lyrics hint at her intense public scrutiny, embodied in the witch trial metaphor, “They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one.” Swift declares that the actions that make her feel powerful and in control are painted as bad actions by the media – yet she revels in them. The song, with its pulsating beats and Swift’s biting delivery, becomes a celebration of turning the tables, a consistent theme throughout ‘reputation’.

4 Don’t Blame Me

Through this gospel-infused pop banger, Swift isn’t afraid to admit her vulnerabilities and head-over-heels infatuation. With lyrics like, “Lord, save me, my drug is my baby. I’ll be usin’ for the rest of my life,” she tells us love is the ultimate addiction that she’s ready to devote her life to. But hold your horses, Swifties! The real showstopper here is the metaphorical evolution from “poison ivy” to “your daisy,” a transition showcasing her transformation brought on by this heart-throbbing love. It’s all types of crazy, and Tay-Tay is asking not to be blamed for this madness. So, grab your headphones and let’s fall into this lovestruck whirlwind that T-Swizzle has laid out for us.

5 Delicate

Riding on a subdued electro-pop beat, Swift navigates the precarious early stages of a relationship amid a tarnished public image. Her lyrics, “This ain’t for the best/My reputation’s never been worse, so/You must like me for me,” embodies an audacious authenticity, self-awareness, and a hint of playful irony. The repeated phrase “Isn’t it, isn’t it, isn’t it?” echoes her questioning apprehension, yet there’s a yearning for genuine connection, epitomized in the piercing line, “Sometimes when I look into your eyes/I pretend you’re mine all the damn time.” The song encapsulates Swift’s navigation of vulnerability and excitement, glittering with hope amidst the fear of fuelling the rumor mills all the more.

6 Look What You Made Me Do

Echoing with shadows of her feuds, Swift unabashedly presents the narrative of an underdog rising, armed with resilience and grit. Her lyrical prowess stands out, especially in lines like “I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time / Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time”. This verse bears the signature of Swift’s lyrical dexterity – it’s biting, it’s confident, and it’s unabashedly sassy. At the same time, the lyric “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me / I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams” is poignant, reflecting the isolation that stems from being enshrined in the public eye. Look what she made us do – sit up and dissect her lyrical depth.

7 So It Goes…

Here, we see a nuanced portrayal of both vulnerability and power as Swift navigates complex emotions and dynamics of a relationship. The lyrics are filled with artful metaphors, the “gold cage, hostage to my feelings” symbolizing the constraints of public scrutiny while also admitting to feeling trapped by her own emotions. Swathed in synthetic beats and an ambient atmosphere, it’s a track that intricately portrays the intoxication and complications of love. Swift declares, “You know I’m not a bad girl, But I do bad things with you,” a poignant admission that reveals the transformative power of intense relationships, and the lengths one might go to, willingly or not, while in its grip. “So It Goes…,” ultimately is Swift at her most seductive, exploring the grey area where desire, love, and identity intersect.

8 Gorgeous

Tinged with a layer of smooth, yet unmistakable sarcasm, the lyrics wrestle with the complexities of desire and its far-reaching implications. A stark standout line, “You’re so cool, it makes me hate you so much”, distills this internal battle succinctly, echoing the tug-of-war between rage and admiration, a sentiment we can all relate to on some level when faced with an elusive object of desire. Swift channels her sharp wit into creating a portrayal of a heart in turmoil, painting a vivid tableau of love’s sweet agony. It’s quintessential Swift – whimsical, charming, and utterly relatable.

9 Getaway Car

Notoriously coy about her subject matter, Swift doesn’t give away who the characters in the high-drama are but the lyrics bleed with regret and revelation. “No, nothin’ good starts in a getaway car” she laments, using her favorite metaphor – a car – to symbolize the start of a love marked for disaster. The line “Should’ve known I’d be the first to leave” is emblematic of Swift’s ability to infuse biting self-awareness in her lyrics, a quality that sets her apart in the pop music pantheon.

10 King Of My Heart

The lyrics paint a portrait of a woman who’s grown comfortable in her independence before being swept off her feet by an exceptional suitor. Swift’s wordplay here is utterly tantalizing, stringing together metaphors of royalty and luxury to the rhythms of a throbbing electronic beat. The standout line, “Your love is a secret I’m hoping, dreaming, dying to keep. Change my priorities. The taste of your lips is my idea of luxury,” blends vulnerability, desire, and the sweetness of surrender. Proving once again, she hasn’t lost her knack for creating earworm hooks with emotional depth, Swift showcases an evolved sense of self and emerging romantic clarity.

11 Dancing With Our Hands Tied

The verses are steeped in secrecy and uncertainty, echoed in lines like “I, I loved you in secret. First sight, yeah, we love without reason.” This clandestine love is further fleshed out in stunningly poignant lyrics such as, “I, I loved you in spite of/ Deep fears that the world would divide us.” The chorus captures a bittersweet defiance, a determination to keep dancing even when they’re “dancing with our hands tied.” The hypnotic refrain underscores the inescapable tension between desire and the dread of inevitable disaster. Swift takes us on a lyrical rollercoaster of love in the time of scrutiny, artfully revealing the tribulations of a romance under the public gaze.

12 Dress

Wrapped in an electro-pop setup, the song is a major departure from the sweet-toned narrations Swift had seemingly trademarked. It delves into the thrilling secrecy and pining of a clandestine romance, chronicling a deep, passionate relationship, viscerally captured with lyrics: “My hands are shaking from holding back from you.” Callbacks to past imagery are employed – an echo of her bleached hair phase from the ‘1989’ era and a buzzcut, tumbling into a whirlpool of secret moments and golden tattoos. And the repeated line, “Only bought this dress so you could take it off,” demonstrates a newfound boldness for Swift, embracing her sexual maturity without flinching. As intoxicating as the relationship it details, “Dress” represents an evolution in Swift’s lyrical craft, pulling no punches and leaving an indentation in our minds, much like the golden tattoo referenced.

13 This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

The manor-born partying, nodding to F. Scott Fitzgerald, is juxtaposed with the heartbreak of betrayal. As the bassbeat rattles the chandelier, Swift bluntly demonstrates her disillusionment with a friendship gone sour. A standout lyric, “But you stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand”, encapsulates this dichotomy. The song is an anthem of resilience and cutting ties with toxicity, punctuated by Swift’s signature sass. The sarcastic toast to her real friends, loved ones, and haters, carries the weight of her disappointment and resolve. Truly, it’s an infectious reminder of Swift’s evolving, risk-taking narrative abilities, marking a notable departure from her country roots.

14 Call It What You Want

The track, tinged with a lo-fi synth and pulsating beat, served as a reflective anthem in Taylor’s ‘reputation’ era. A creative departure from the revenge-laced anthems strewn throughout the album, this song is the sonic equivalent of truce flags. Taylor unveils her vulnerability, singing of a love that hills her amidst a public feud. The recurring chorus ‘My baby’s fit like a daydream…Loves me like I’m brand new’ resonates with the motif of rebirth and resilience. The standout line, ‘I brought a knife to a gunfight. They took the crown, but it’s alright,’ metaphorically captures her struggle against media backlash, asserting her ability to bounce back. It underlines her starkly human, nuanced exploration of fame’s burdensome mantle, wrapped around a love that rejuvenates her.

15 New Year’s Day

It’s Swift’s love letter to steadfast commitment, fragmenting post-party vignettes with a quiet, piano-driven melody that’s as delicate as the first day of the year itself. The lyrical prowess shines in the line: “I want your midnights, But I’ll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year’s Day.” It encapsulates a willingness to endure not just the glittering highs of a relationship, but its messier, less glamorous realities too. It’s a poignant reminder of Swift’s unrivaled storytelling knack, grounding larger-than-life experiences in intimate minutiae, ensuring they resonate with listeners on a universal level.

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