Sweater, shorts, necklace, and sunglasses from Molly and Zoey | shoes from Charlotte Russe
Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, breaks down like this — 67% love songs about her current partner, 20% shade thrown at Kanye West and the hater media in general, and 13% about past exes.
That’s a different than what I was expecting. The vindictive lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” and the aggressive snake symbolism led me to expect an album of nothing but shade, anger, and revenge, full of songs similar to “Picture to Burn”, “Better than Revenge”, “Bad Blood”, and the occasional “Teardrops On My Guitar.” Instead, it’s filled with songs that sound like more grown-up versions of “Enchanted”, “Fearless”, and “State of Grace” — embracing infatuation, lust, admiration, and companionship while finding out who your real friends are.
If you think that I’ve been exclusively listening to this album since it dropped on November 10th, you’d be totally right. I’ve been a Swiftie since I was in middle school. Taylor Swift has been a pretty huge style influence in my life — she inspired me to start wearing red lipstick and the sweet, girly sundresses she wore during the Speak Now era made me want to have my own collection. I also find her fascinating as both an artist and a businessperson — I’ve read almost every single thinkpiece out there on her, ever. Taylor Swift strikes me as someone who is deliberate and intentional; the high amount of creative control she exerts over her music and her image is less because she is an evil mastermind and more because she wishes the world to view her as she views herself.
I can relate (albeit on a much smaller scale), and obviously, I have a lot of things to say about Taylor, including the themes she includes in her music, her influence as a pop-culture icon, her rise and fall in the eyes of the media, her aesthetic changes with each album cycle, et cetera. Like, hello! These are things I’ve been thinking about since I was in middle school. Except back then I didn’t have a blog, and now I do, and so I proudly announce my first style-related blog series: the Reputation Lookbook.
Contents of the Reputation Lookbook
I’ll be styling and shooting a look for each of the fifteen songs on Reputation. The look featured in this post was inspired by her album cover.
I will be talking in-depth about the individual songs on the album in their respective posts, too, but if you’re not a fan of song analysis, feel free to just look at the outfit photos.
This is what I do when I’m not working or socializing — I grab a nice drink and read thinkpieces about my favorite artists: the longer, the better. 😛
Here’s the tracklist (I’ll most likely go in order):
… Ready For It?
I Did Something Bad
Don’t Blame Me
Look What You Made Me Do
So It Goes …
King of My Heart
Dancing With Our Hands Tied
This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Call It What You Want
New Year’s Day
A special shout-out goes to Molly and Zoey Sarasota for providing all the edgy pieces that I don’t own in my preppy-ass wardrobe!
Reputation Album Review
Reputation-era Taylor Swift is as we have never before seen her. She exclusively co-writes with Max Martin, Shellback, and Jack Antonoff, sings about drugs, alcohol, and sex, and has a grunge-inspired aesthetic. The old Taylor — may she rest in peace — wrote the majority of her own songs, was famously chaste (at least with her lyrics), and embraced a prim and proper look. It’s not that I don’t like the new Taylor, but she’s doing something so different that listening to her new music gave me a bit of culture shock, at least at first.
As Pitchfork eloquently put it, “… in committing to a more conventional form of superstardom, Swift has deemphasized the skill at the core of her genius.” That skill is lyricism — her natural gift of telling stories through her music, reproducing memories and emotions through words and melodies. Lines such as “You call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest” and “Loving him was like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street / Faster than the wind / Passionate as sin / Ended so suddenly”, gems from her previous works, are replaced by verses that sound like something a twelve-year-old would write in an AIM message in the mid-2000s: “You’re so gorgeous / I can’t say anything to your face / ‘Cause look at your face”, “Ooh! Look what you made me do / Look what you made me do / Look what you just made me do”, “And all at once / You are the one I have been waiting for / King of my heart, body and soul.” Yikes.
In the moments that Taylor does employ her natural songwriting talent, she hits the mark. “Call It What You Want” is one of the greatest tracks on the album because it’s simple, straightforward, and vulnerable: “All the liars are calling me one / Nobody’s heard from me for months / I’m doing better than I ever was,” she sings. Here, her voice takes the lead and evokes a cozy, intimate mood: it’s as if the you, the listener, have met up with her for drinks, one-on-one, and she’s assuring you that yes, despite the shit that she’s gone through, she’s actually doing better than she ever was, and have you seen her new man? He’s fit as a daydream.
(By the way, check out this sweet acoustic version of “Call It What You Want” that Taylor performed on SNL. Is the old Taylor really dead if the new one is perched on a stool with a guitar?)
After about the tenth run-through of the album, I found myself singing along to End Game (“Big reputation! / Big reputation! / Ooh, you and me / We got big reputations AAAAAAHHHH / And you heard about me OOOOHHHH / I got some big enemies”) while awkwardly dancing at a red light, and knew that the inevitable had happened — the songs, written with Max Martin’s mathematically correct formula, had wormed their way through my consciousness simply by sheer force of catchiness.
Thus, I concede. Reputation is a pretty damn good album, both melody- and production-wise. With the possible exception of New Year’s Day, every single song could be on the Top 40. They are an acquired taste when judged by Taylor Swift standards; as regular pop songs, they would be instant anthems.
Tl;dr it’s … different, but there’s lots to love about Reputation. I’m a fan. Be on the lookout for new lookbook posts coming out!