Does the New Taylor Swift Album Suck a Bag of Ding Dongs?
By Jaime Lees
Fri, Nov 10, 2017
I think I’m breaking up with Taylor Swift and she hasn’t even written a song about me yet. We’ve been together for a long, long time. Everybody said it would never work between us but that’s the beginning of every great love story, right?
We were first introduced when I heard “Teardrops on My Guitar.” Dang. It was so well-executed that I felt like I’d heard it before. Everything about it was just perfect. I stalked her online for a bit before taking the next step and admitting that I wanted us to be together. The very next song of hers that I heard was “Our Song” and wow. Just wow. I hadn’t had so many feelings about a screen door slamming since “Thunder Road.”
I was way into her. I thought about her constantly. I introduced her to my friends and family right away. Most of them didn’t understand our love. They said that she was too young for me but we still made plans for the future. We moved quickly, but she always does. We spent the holidays together. We traveled together. We logged countless hours of driving and singing in unison. With her talent and my support, there was no bridge that we couldn’t cross. Each new album was a new chapter in our book.
Our entanglement wasn’t without complications, however. In many aspects it was an open relationship. I knew that she was seeing other people but I figured that it all just helped her art. It was her songwriting that most impressed me, anyway, so anything that fed that was okay with me. And as Taylor once sang, “This love is difficult, but it’s for real.”
But she started doing odd things. First, her sound got a little weird. Then she seemed to pick fights with everyone out of nowhere and she would rarely admit that she was wrong. It appeared that she wanted the spotlight at any cost and some aspects of her personality started feeling very fake. This was not the woman that I fell in love with… or was it?
Her issues had always been there, but in the beginning they came across more as charming quirks or precocious sassiness. Playing with the press is just fine — even cute sometimes — but constant manufactured drama is another thing entirely.
The thing is, I didn’t want her to be a drama-chasing celebrity. I thought she should leave that for the people with no talent. I wanted her to be the powerhouse baby-genius that she is. She was better than pointing fingers and playing gossip games. But maybe she’d always been like this and I was too blinded by my love for her. After all, wasn’t it all the way back in “Teardrops On My Guitar” that she used a specific dude’s name in the song? The drama began early.
And somewhere along the way, she just turned into the queen of petty. It was totally unnecessary. Why would she do that when she could just write songs that rule the world? I wanted her to just slay so hard that others have no choice but to kneel before her. I mean, Katy Perry vs. Taylor Swift was no contest. Katy’s voice sounds like a yawning elderly bullfrog, but Taylor’s voice is wonderfully expressive. She knows just when to pause a bit or how to let her words drop at the end of a sad line. She has a natural talent for presentation along with songwriting. She has the full package. Everybody loves a partner with a full package.
Because of all of this, I was willing to stick it out. I was willing to do my part to work on our relationship. I’d already figured out that she might be a psychopath, but I almost respected her for it. And to be honest, I didn’t really care much what she did out in the streets as long as she brought the hits back home to me. But after hearing all four of the singles on her new album, Reputation, I figured there was no hope for our future and I began untangling our lives. These songs make me feel like we’ve already grown too far apart.
First came “Look What You Made Me Do.” I was so excited about it being released but then I played it and… meh. I think parts of it are supposed to be an attempt at a sexy club song but it comes across as just a sad attempt at making a statement. Even her layered vocals make me feel nothing.
“Gorgeous” is just repetitive, and not in the good pop song way. The verses are okay but the chorus is weak as hell. It had a couple of good old-school Taylor lines (“You should take it as a compliment that I’m talking to everyone here but you”) and the elevator ding noise was a nice touch, but the weird reggae singing pattern plus some terrible lyric choices didn’t do it for me.
And “…Ready For It?” is mostly a mess. It starts off with, like, super heavy, apocalyptic weirdness and then it’s almost saved by the chorus, which is the one chorus from these four songs that is most likely to get stuck in my head. And then the last 40 seconds of the song, it all just lifts into a really beautiful, dreamy bit. Why couldn’t it be like that all the way through?
And “Call It What You Want” was such a snoozer. It seems to be all about her trying to convince us that when she completely lost control of her image and went into hiding that she was fine with it because she was loved-up with some dude. Barf. It was immature and just uninteresting. Given the choice, I’d never listen to it on purpose again.
Reputation is out today, but it’s being held from streaming services for a week. I feel like she’s just trying to delay our inevitable break-up. I’ll for sure get it next week on Apple Music but until then I’ll be damned if I put $9.99 more into this failing relationship. I’ve already given her plenty but lately she keeps letting me down. I just don’t know how to have any kind of faith in our future, so my bags are packed. Give me something grand, Taylor, and I’ll give us one more try.
But if the singles are representative of the album then, well, I don’t give a damn about your bad Reputation.