"There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation."
Unless you've been living on some other planet (and honestly, probably even then), you know that Taylor Swift's highly anticipated album reputation has officially arrived. It's been three years since Grammy award-winning1989 marked Taylor's official debut as a full-fledged pop star, and now she's back bigger and better than ever.
Reputation is full of crisp, hard-hitting pop goodness that presents some of Swift's best work to date. This album sees the return of the perfectly-crafted pop we loved from Taylor's pop debut, courtesy of "Two Swedes and a Swift" (Max Martin and Shellback), as well as production assistance from Taylor's friend and 1989-collaborator Jack Antonoff.
After a year-long hiatus from the public eye, Swift returned with the tongue-in-cheek "Look What You Made Me Do," an anthem calling out anyone who's ever had beef with her. The song marked a shift for Taylor; she was taking back the control of her own narrative. Sure, "Blank Space" poked fun at the media's obsession with her love life, but this was a direct callout, proving she's holding nothing back this era.
Sticking to that theme of being in control and writing her own narrative, reputation is Taylor's most mature album to date. Reputation is the older, cooler sister to 1989. She's been through more, she's loved harder, she's felt bigger emotions. Reputation contains the same emotiveness of Speak Now, the lyrical clarity of Red, and the stadium-ready pop beats introduced by 1989, all while pushing further into a brand new territory for Swift.
I've decided to rank each track from this iconic LP, though each song deserves recognition as some of Taylor's best work yet. This is merely my opinion, and it's constantly changing. If you agree, or disagree, let me know in the comments. I want to know your favorites!
15. So It Goes...
I want to start by saying that the "lowest ranking" song on this album is still one of Taylor's best. There are no "bad songs" here. Only good songs, great songs, and AMAZING SONGS...this one just happens to be one of the "good" songs. Honestly, none of these songs belong in this spot, but one of them had to do it, so this is it.
Favorite lyric: "I'm so chill, but you make me jealous."
This song is cute. It really is. And I promise I don't hate it. However, when compared to the other tracks from the album, this one doesn't seem to fit, lyrically or sonically. This is Taylor's most grown-up album, and the lyrics seem a bit immature in comparison to the other tracks. It doesn't fit the dark reputation vibe either. It feels like a leftover cut from 1989 that didn't make the album, so it's mixed into the middle of this one.
Favorite lyric: "You've ruined my life by not being mine."
13. Call It What You Want
I love everything about this song....except the chorus. I don't get it. The lyrics of the verses and bridge are some of the best Taylor's ever written, no doubt. But the chorus doesn't seem to fit. Maybe I'm wrong. Sue me.
Favorite lyric: "I want to wear his initial on a chain 'round my neck (chain 'round my neck.) Not because he owns me, but 'cause he really knows me. Which is more than they can say."
12. King of My Heart
This song feels like the perfect transition from 1989 to reputation. It's equal parts old Taylor and new Taylor and is a total bop.
Favorite lyric: "You move to me like I'm a Motown beat."
11. Look What You Made Me Do
I still remember hearing this song for the first time and literally GASPING audibly when she uttered the iconic line, "The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, because she's dead." Say what you want about this song; it's a certified BOP and has broken all kinds of records. Also, I'mma let you finish this article, but the music video was her best of all time.
Favorite lyric: "The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now."
10. End Game
This song is MASSIVE and will definitely be released as a single. Not only is it the only track with a feature, but it features Ed Sheeran AND Future. Literally the perfect formula for pop radio gold.
Favorite lyric: "Reputation precedes me, they told you I'm crazy. I swear I don't love the drama, it loves me."
9. New Years Day
Following tradition, Taylor closes the album with a ballad (the only true ballad on the album) about the end of an era. This time, it's a love letter to her beau, promising to stay with him even when the glitz and glamour fades away from the relationship. "New Years Day" both represents a clean slate, a concept mentioned in other Swift songs, as well the simple romantic act of sticking things out with the one you love. It's like "Enchanted" and "Clean" combined and I am HERE for it.
Favorite lyric: "Please don't ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere."
8. Dancing With Our Hands Tied
This song is Taylor's "Dancing on my Own." An emotional confessional turned into a dance floor bop. The lyrics alone are some of Taylor's best. Add in that drop, and you've got a certified banger.
Favorite lyric: "I'm a mess, but I'm the mess that you wanted."
7. This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
This song is the shady anthem I never knew I needed, but am so glad that I finally have. If "Look What You Made Me Do" was Taylor's clap-back moment, "This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" is her K.O.-finish-him move. This song is everything and it deserves a music video NOW.
Favorite lyric: "Friends don't try to trick you, get you on the phone and mind-twist you."
6. ...Ready For It?
This is probably Taylor's best album opener. That deep, heavy "wah-wah-wah" in the beginning. The little throat clear before diving into the crisp, punching verses. The drop in the second pre-chorus. Everything about this song is a banger.
Favorite lyric: "He can be my jailer, Burton to this Taylor. Every love I've known in comparison is a failure."
5. Getaway Car
The first time I listened through the album, I declared this my least favorite track. I was mistaken. This song is oozing with Jack Antonoff's pop genius, making it a classic. The only reason this song isn't higher on this list is because it almost has too much of Jack's influence and sounds a bit like Taylor covering a Bleachers song.
Favorite lyric: "Don't pretend it's such a mystery. Think about the place where you first met me."
This song is amazing simply for the line, "Only bought this dress so you could take it off." Like, HELLO adult Taylor. We all know Tay loves singing about dresses, but never has she sang about taking off said dress. Iconic, truly.
Favorite lyric: "Only bought this dress so you could take it off."
3. I Did Something Bad
This song is "Blank Space" Taylor AFTER she snapped. She's taking on that persona again, and this time she went off - and I'm living for it. This is probably the biggest song on the album, and it absolutely deserves the single treatment. I'm still scalped.
Favorite lyric: "This is how the world works. You've gotta leave before you get left."
2. Don't Blame Me
What makes this song so great is that she's never done anything like it before, and there's no other song like it on the album. This is Taylor's "Take Me to Church" moment, and it's honestly an anthem. This is gonna be THAT song on tour and I can't wait to hear it live. (I'm shook just thinking about it.)
Favorite lyric: "My name is whatever you decide, and I'm just gonna call you mine."
Let's be honest. This track is one of Taylor's best songs she's ever written and if you disagree, you're wrong. I'm not the only one who feels this way. The way her voice is soft and delicate, reflecting the message of the song proves that no detail is too small for her to think about. From the way she asks "Is is cool that I said all that?" to the syncopation of "I pretend you're mine all the damn time" in the bridge, every simple little thing comes together to make this song beautiful and honest and delicate.
Favorite lyric: "My reputation's never been worse, so you must like me for me."
reputation is now available on iTunes, as well as streaming services Spotify and Apple Music. The Target exclusive magazine and album can be purchased here.