Taylor Swift drifts into forgettable pop sound with new album


photo courtesy of Moxie Music

Alex Toth, Entertainment Editor

Taylor Swift has had a sizable career as not only a musician but as a public figure who isn’t a stranger to criticism and constant scrutiny from the public. This is the basis for her newest album, “Reputation.” It’s not the first time she’s tried to revamp her image. With “Red” and “1989” she solidified herself as a pop star. But it really wasn’t too surprising seeing that even though she had been more country oriented before that, her sound has always had a pop appeal.

The direction she goes on “Reputation” felt a little forced though. The whole “don’t mess with me I’m Taylor Swift” schtick is only extremely non-threatening but laughable at the same time. The lyric “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now, why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead!” is so eye rolling-ly bad that it really gave me a bad impression of the rest of the album before I actually had a chance to listen to it.

But that’s just the concept behind it, right? If I can get past that and just enjoy the music I shouldn’t have any problems with it. At least I could blindly enjoy Swift’s old material. Songs like “You Belong With Me” or “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” are fun pop songs and really nothing else, and that’s really what she’s good at doing: making innocent pop songs with no real depth to them.

“Reputation” doesn’t have that same appeal. None of these songs stuck in my head for longer than a minute, and once I finished the album for the first time, I struggled to remember any of the songs even a little. Nothing sticks out at all and it mostly comes across as filler.

However, all of the songs on here are perfectly fine, but none of it managed to catch my attention whatsoever. It’s all just really passable pop music that doesn’t stick out at all. “Look What You Made Me Do” would probably be my least favorite of all of them, as it pushes her new image the most.

The song “End Game” (feat. Ed Sheeran & Future) wasn’t necessarily bad, but Future’s feature felt really unneeded. It just seems like an easy way for Taylor to ride the whole trap-rap wave and Future’s horrible verse doesn’t help at all with that attempt.

Upon a second listen I found myself lightening up on a few of the songs. At best, any given song has an enjoyably catchy chorus with a couple of throw away verses to tie it all together, and at worst I’m annoyed at how hard Taylor is trying to look cool or threatening.

I honestly don’t have too much to say about “Reputation.” It’s decent and really not much else. It’s concept is annoyingly pushed in it’s marketing material and when it show’s up on the album, it feels not only forced but very thinly veiled and lazy. Most of the songs don’t catch my eye at all, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Fans of Taylor Swift will like it, but for everyone else, I’m not sure you’ll get anything out of it. I’ll most certainly forget about this album in a week and I don’t think I’ll ever return to it.

It’s not the worst thing in the world, and for that matter it’s really not bad at all, but while it’s not doing anything wrong, it’s not doing anything right either.