Taylor Swift’s Reputation is here: ‘I Did Something Bad’ but ‘Don’t Blame Me’

It’s only been a few hours since the album dropped, but we already have some thoughts on it. We take a closer look at some of Swift’s new lyrics.

#reputation is out. Let the games begin.

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After months of teasing Swifties with singles from her sixth studio album, Taylor Swift has finally ‘come to the phone’ (sorry – this probably isn’t going away anytime soon) to tell the world her full side of the story that has become her notorious Reputation.

Overall, we’d say the album is pretty damn good – especially if you’ve only been a fan of the 27-year-old singer since her previous album release, 1989. Why? Well… far less Country, way more Pop, so expect a continuation of the direction Swift decided to adopt as of 2014.

Reputation opens with ‘…Ready For It?’ because, well, are we ready for it? Yes, we are; we’ve been waiting. And though this is Swift’s second single (after ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, now officially the sixth song on the album), it definitely sets the tone for what’s to come. As the song proclaims: ‘Let the games begin!’ We see you Tay, we always see you. Nice.

So, things really kick off with ‘End Game’ featuring Ed Sheeran (#bestie, duh) and Future. The only collaboration on the album, Swift sings about having a ‘big reputation’ and having ‘some big enemies’. But it’s okay, because her love interest (‘You and me / We got big reputations’) does too.

Wait. Has Swift found her equal manipulator? Unlikely, since Joe Alwyn doesn’t really have much of a reputation at all. So, we’re going to say this is about an ex. Tom Hiddleston? The interwebs is still debating.

‘I Did Something Bad’ is where it gets really interesting – especially if you’re a critic of Swift, who is often accused of playing the victim. Is she finally owning up to something? Sorta. That said, the song starts with ‘I never trust a narcissist / But they love me / So I play ‘em like a violin / And I make it look oh, so easy’.

Tell us something we don’t know – or – is she finally taking at least some ownership of her games, and not by parodying herself? This probably isn’t going to satisfy those who’ve been calling out Swift. The song continues ‘If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothing / I don’t regret it one bit, ‘cause he had it coming.’ Blame game? You decide. The song is super upbeat so we can’t hate it if we tried.

Speaking of blame, the next song on the album is called – wait for it – ‘Don’t Blame Me’. But, don’t let the song title put you off. The lyrics show a more vulnerable Swift, with a chorus accompanying a church-y kind of sound: ‘Don’t blame me, love made me crazy / If it doesn’t, you ain’t doin’ it right’ / Lord save me, my drug is my baby, I be using for the rest of my life.’

And for those hoping for it, a confession of sorts: ‘I’ve been breaking hearts a long time, and / Toyin’ with them older guys / Just playthings for me to use / Something happened for the first time / In the darkest little paradise, shakin’ / Pacin’, I just need you’.

‘She’s gone too far this time,’ she later admits.

The high pace of the album continues with a kind of bittersweet track called ‘Delicate’ that has Swifties’ hearts melting. (Ours, too. Maybe. Just a little.) Plus, the song addresses what most of us have to face when it comes to millennial dating: uncertainty. Ever feel like your constant questioning makes you seem crazy? Tay’s got your back.

‘Is it cool that I said all that? / Is it chill that you’re in my head? / ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate / Is it cool that I said all that? / Is it too soon to do this yet? / ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate / Isn’t it? Isn’t it?…’

Another confession: ‘My reputation’s never been worse, so you must like me for me.’

The intensity slows down just a little with ‘So It Goes…’, which apparently hints at Swift’s relationship with Alwyn. Again. This continues with ‘Gorgeous’.

Things quickly pick up again with ‘Getaway Car’ – another song likely about Hiddleston, Calvin Harris, or both. What we love most about this song (apart from the incredible production) is that Swift opens up about her high profile relationships that have always centred around drama.

With lyrics like ‘I was lying to myself’ and ‘Shoulda known I’d be the first to leave’ and the cringeworthy ‘But with three of us, honey, it’s a side show / And a circus ain’t a love story’. Basically: don’t do the rebound thing because ‘nothing good starts in a getaway car’.

‘King of My Heart’ and ‘Dress’ appear to be more love songs, with ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’ a track about the pains of heartbreak. Again, these are less blaming, more vulnerability (‘I’m a mess but I’m the mess that you wanted’).

‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ is another diss track, probably aimed at the likes of Katy Perry and Kanye West, with mentions of ‘shady’ friends backstabbing and such. Swift even fake forgives, for like a hot second, before breaking out into laughter. Think of this as ‘Bad Blood’ 2.0.

After ‘Call It What You Want’ – yet another ode to Alwyn – the album ends with ‘New Year’s Day’, a very mellow love song: think more along the lines of Swift pre-1989. We already see this track as an acoustic performance on Swift’s next tour.

While the star has received high praise from the likes of the New York Times and The Guardian, commercial success is yet to be determined by airplay and those pesky charts that Swift will no doubt continue to climb.

#reputation is out. Let the games begin.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

The post Taylor Swift’s <i>Reputation</i> is here: ‘I Did Something Bad’ but ‘Don’t Blame Me’ appeared first on GQ South Africa.