Maybe it's because I'm not in Taylor's demographic or a real fan of hers. Taylor's the type of Artist I hear about through her domination of the news, songs breaking music channels repeat buttons & becoming embedded into the head, and Google Play giving away '1989', which I happily snapped up.
The message for this album seems to be that Taylor, for better or worse, has a reputation in the media. It's one she's taking head on, and creating her own narrative. Unfortunately I can't tell exactly what that narrative is, because her songwriting skills still leave much to be desired.
This is an album that she has completely co-written, and you can very much tell. 'Look What You Made me Do' was great in its visuals, and that very much made up for the songs lack of complete depth. Unfortunately 'Ready For It', the albums second single, doesn't have said visuals to cover up whatever Taylor's babbling on about.
I'd say 'Call It What You Want' is even worse, but the whole album in general is awful lyrically. The only thing that saves it from being completely abysmal, is the music.
It's actually a travesty that such great music is wasted on such empty lyrics. Take 'getaway Car' for example. Musically it has the makings of a power ballad. Some strong lyrics + a powerhouse voice, and that songs ripping the roof off your house. Instead the chorus is half-decent at best and the rest of it is just awful.
That's not helped by the song seemingly referring to her short-lived relationship with Tom Hiddleston. Or to be more precise, leaving Calvin Hariss for Tom Hiddleston, fully in the knowledge that she didn't have any real feelings for Tom & he was just an excuse for the break-up. From Taylor this type of message in a song is standard. Her relationships, in all their ups and downs, is what she's been writing about since she first came onto the music scene.
But she's not a teenage girl anymore. She's a grown adult, and songwriters are supposed to get better as they grow older, not worse. Jack Antanoff doesn't get off scot-free here either. He shares writing credit with Taylor on the track, and given the depth of his discography, he should've been able to point out the lyrics are terrible & done a better job helping her transform them.
'This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things' is a song that after multiple listens, I still refuse to believe is actually real. The title's just too childish. 'End Game' which features Ed Sheeran and Future is admittedly the one track from the album I haven't subjected my ears to. The only thing I care for less than today's stereotypical rap drab is Ed Sheeran.
The only song out of the whole album that walks away with any credibility & really should be a single at some point is 'Don't Blame Me'. Musically it's perfection, the chorus is catchy as hell and the rest of the lyrics? Not too bad. Again, in different hands this song would be a powerhouse.
Which I suppose brings me to another issue I have with Taylor - the girl really can't sing well. Whenever she attempts the high notes, it's like an off-key cat is torturing you. This is a comment I have seen a lot of people make, with questions of why she doesn't take some singing lessons.
Her voice is perfectly suited for Country music, but she's decided Pop is her thing now. In theory that's fine, plenty of Artists change their musical styles as they evolve, but they usually have the voice to back them up.
'Reputation' will obviously be a massive hit. Taylor has the dedicated fan-base to make that so. But in every other way, this album is a massive failure and I will forever be weeping for how badly this music has been wasted.