After three years that have been full of personal and professional highs (multiple Grammy wins, a huge world tour and plaudits from some of the biggest names in the industry) and lows (high-profile break-ups and feuds with Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian, not to mention her social media faux pas), Taylor Swift is finally back with the follow-up to her hit album, ‘1989’.
Announced earlier this year, ‘Reputation’ sees Taylor addressing the latest developments in her personal life and as the critics are pointing out, the album is less about addressing her stumbles from grace and more about her romantic life, which seems to be going better than ever.
And while album cuts like ‘…Ready For It?’ and ‘Gorgeous’ didn’t exactly get a unanimous thumbs up when they were first unveiled the reviews for ‘Reputation’ are, perhaps surprisingly, rather glowing…
“On this album though, for better or worse, Taylor offers her whole self (or at the very least, a whole self)… and while it’s hard to imagine this album living up to its juggernaut predecessor, ‘1989’, it’s really when Taylor goes smaller that ‘Reputation’ feels, in some ways, like her most satisfying work to date.”
“America’s Sweetheart is also a heavy sash to bear, and on her new sixth studio album, Swift seems determined to abdicate the throne, or at least retreat. And yet even at her most Darth Taylor, those sentiments… don’t quite ring true.”
“‘Red’ and ‘1989’ were, for sure, far more instantly likeable. And while some will find the endless exploration of her own notoriety a cutting slice of social commentary… others will find it perhaps solipsistic and galling.
“Either way, ‘Reputation’ proves once again that Swift is still – at her peaks – one of the best pop lyricists and melodists of a generation.”
“Over the course of ‘Reputation’, Swift takes ownership of her narrative in a way listeners haven’t heard before. She’s the predator, the person holding all the control, the gatekeeper to her own heart… This time, Swift is the troublemaker, and over the course of the album she finds someone who can handle her newfound power.”
Us Weekly (3/4)
“In all, ‘Reputation’ offers a rare, but sometimes manufactured, insight into Swift’s personal life. This time around, she’s letting the music speak for itself — and that’s OK because it’s one of her most solid and cohesive efforts thus far.”
The Guardian (4/5)
“Swift is a smart cookie. She’s smart enough to write lyrics far better and wittier than the average pop fare, inverting the cliche of the love ’em and leave ’em Romeo… at the heart of ‘Reputation’ lies a sequence of songs that chart the rise, fall and fallout of a fleeting relationship and offer a masterclass in pop songwriting along the way.”
Rolling Stone (4/5)
“‘Reputation’ is her most intimate album – a song cycle about how it feels when you stop chasing romance and start letting your life happen. She’s she’s trying something new, as always… But because she’s Taylor Swift, she can’t stop being her own turbulent, excessive, exhausting and gloriously extra self.”
The Independent (4/5)
“When she explored those different ‘versions’ of herself in the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video it was less about ‘eras’ of Swift than how she has been portrayed by the outside world…. Swift isn’t denying any of those facets of herself. She’s not excusing them. She’s just saying there’s more than one.”
The Telegraph (4/5)
“‘Reputation’ is a big, brash, all-guns-blazing blast of weaponised pop that grapples with the vulnerability of the human heart as it is pummelled by 21st-century fame.”
“There are shades of Robbie Williams’s swagger and melodrama in the way Swift co-opts and confronts a persona the media has created for her.”