Taylor Swift's 'reputation' is pure pop magic to some, an untimely disruption to others
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&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, which are Swift's specialty. Some of the words hit hard like gunshots.
"If a man talks sh-- then I owe him nothing/I don't regret it one bit 'cause he had it coming," Swift sings on "I Did Something Bad."
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, reminisicent 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.
But not everyone is not in love with Swift's "reputation" or the three-minute performance of "New Year's Eve" that aired during an episode of the last season of "Scandal."
Many fans of the hit Shonda Rhimes show took to social media to question ABC Network's thought process behind the mini-concert.
This Swift promo is too damn long. It's about a seasoned as boiled chicken. Get off our TV. Please n thanx #scandal— SanTara (@TheGorgeousBlog) November 10, 2017
But why Taylor Swift just have a whole concert during Scandal. You ain’t Beyoncé..— Crown of Laurel (@TheeBoogieDown) November 10, 2017
Whoever gave the go ahead to have Taylor Swift song in between #Scandal needs his next pay check withdrawn. Wth was that?— Aziz Bakare (@Backarray) November 10, 2017
Aside from a little disappointment over the seemingly mistimed showcase, the album drop was a major success for Swift.
"Reputation" breaks the internet and is set to break major records
As fans rushed to iTunes to download Swift's sixth studio album, Apple ran into more than 99 problems.
The company's server started to lag after more than 800,000 people tried to get the album.
Fans were not happy.
One girl tweeted, "It just took 30 minutes to download reputation. I feel personally attacked."
Another fan, Caitlin tweeted, "Surely I-tunes should be better prepared for an album release. We all knew reputation was going to be huge. Hurry up and let me listen to it already!
"Reputation" is projected to become the fastest-selling album, ever. It's first week of sales are expected to reach two million.
Letter to Swifties
A booklet included in the long-awaited album includes a heartfelt letter to Swift Nation, "Here's something I've learned about people." It's love letter of sorts that gives a Swift perspective of love on different levels from different points of view.
"We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us," Swift wrote. "We know our friend in a certain light, but we don't know them the way their lover does. Just the way their lover will never know them the same way that you do as their friend. Their mother knows them differently than their roommate, who knows them differently than their colleague. Their secret admirer looks at them and sees an elaborate sunset of brilliant color and dimension and spirit and pricelessness."
"And yet, a stranger will pass that same person and see a faceless member of the crowd, nothing more. We may hear rumors about a person and believe those things to be true. We may one day meet that person and feel foolish for believing baseless gossip. This is the first generation that will be able to look back on their entire life story documented in pictures on the internet, and together we will all discover the after-effects of that."
The letter goes on to describe the us we are in photos on social media versus the us we see when we look in the mirror; versus who the person who chooses us forever will see, and still accepts flaws and all.
"Despite our need to simplify and generalize absolutely everyone and everything in this life, humans are intrinsically impossible to simplify," the opus said.
What fans are calling the perfectly penned love letter ends in a classically Swift way: "There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation."
In addition to the revealing letter, "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&B-flavored gem, Swift is tipsy and spilling wine in the bathtub.
"Only bought this dress so you can take it off," she coos.
This album's got an outstanding reputation.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press/KPRC