Following "End Game", Swift dives back into the sci-fi soundscapes with heavy synthesizers and beat drops. "I Did Something Bad" is dark and heavy, with sounds reminiscent of gunshots. The fourth track on the album seems to directly reflect upon the third track. After admitting that she did something bad, she asks for listeners not to blame her. "Don't Blame Me" brings us back to her older music through its lyrics. It's a slower song with a lot of build-up, showing off her vocals and high range. Unfortunately, the build-up leads to a duller song. "Delicate" would have probably fit in well on 1989, but it's a bit of a bore on Reputation.
After five tracks, we finally get to the track that made the world crazy. When "Look What You Made Me Do" came out, there was a lot of mixed emotion going around. This was a completely new sound for Taylor Swift fans to enjoy or hate. I'll admit that I originally hated everything about this song except the pre-chorus. Somehow, that hate has grown into enjoyment. I find it hard to take the song too seriously, but it is still a fun song to move around to. The pre-chorus leads to a weak chorus, but the rest of the song is heavy and intense. There are five songwriters credited for this song, including one of my favorites. Jack Antonoff's influence probably added a lot of layering to this song, making it a big stadium hit.
The second half of the album strays away from the darker tones in the first half. "Gorgeous" creates a dreamy soundscape with tropical instrumentals. There is an interesting video online about the making of "Gorgeous" that I would recommend watching. It really shows off some of the struggles that songwriters go through during the writing process. After "Gorgeous", we get a song that is reminiscent of an old Bleachers release. "Getaway Car" has a lot of similarities to "Rollercoaster" from Strange Desire. Sure it's not a copy of the song, but you can definitely hear the Antonoff influence whenever Swift says the word "shotgun".
The rest of the album is more pop-oriented and less experimental than the first half of the record. "Dancing With Our Hands Tied" brings us another heavily layered pop song that is in constant motion. We get funky rhythms with "Dress" and then we go straight into the last three tracks of the album.
The last three tracks on the album are some of my favorites. "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" is a total dance track, using heavenly strings and stadium drum tracks. The track is all-out fun for the listener, balancing a heavy message with head-bobbing instrumentals. This leads the listener straight into the catchiest tune on the whole album. "Call It What You Want" displays the superb writing and collaborative skills of Swift and Antonoff. Solid writing and clever rhymes make the penultimate track on the album the best track.
Finally to soothe our minds and ears, Swift leaves us with a calmer piano ballad. "New Year's Day" is emotional and retrospective. This is the old sound that Swifties might miss, but finally get to hear again at the end of the album. Overall, Reputation is another solid outing for Taylor Swift. Although it is vastly different from her previous discography, the experimentation adds a new backbone to the familiar writing style of the full-hearted artist.
Favorite Tracks: "Look What You Made Me Do", "Getaway Car", "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things", "Call It What You Want", "New Year's Day"
Least Favorite Tracks: "End Game", "Delicate"