In a year of exceptional pop releases (Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, P!nk and Kesha all missed out on our top-10), one release seems to have taken everyone by storm: Taylor Swift‘s Reputation. Guys: look what you made her do! It’s not hard to see why. On the one hand, its been an exceptional commercial success. Not only did it top the UK Albums chart this November, as well as spanning two top-10 singles and chart-topper ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, it became the biggest selling album in the US within a week shifting an astonishing 1.23 million copies. Within six weeks, it has shifted 3 million copies worldwide.
But it’s not just its commercial performance that makes it deserving of a top-10 finish. The musicality and artistic direction of the album are extremely accomplished, leading to it achieving a 4* review from us earlier this year. With a strong theme of power through heartbreak running through, Swift delivers a powerful message. At the same time, however, she sustains that sweet vulnerability on tracks such as ‘Delicate’ which deploy a dreamer backing to reminisce on how easily love can break apart (“Is it cool that I said all that?/ Is it chill that you’re in my head?/ ‘Cause I know that it’s delicate”). In ‘Ready for It?’ though she switches back to her dominant assertiveness that sees her powerfully declare that she will take no fools. Its an album that takes you on a journey: from its softer more caressing moments to its powerful “bitch get out of my way” numbers.
And, then, the ominous quote that shows Taylor Swift is ready to declare her artistry in new and exciting ways: “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now/ Why?/ Oh, ’cause she’s dead!” The world of 21st-century pop music can’t say they weren’t warned…
Reputation was released on November 10 via Big Machine Records