Reputation – A Review of Taylor Swift’s Music

taylor swift

Whether you’re a fan of her pop-single bops or her more introspective ballads, there’s something to enjoy in Taylor Swift’s vast musical catalog. From her early country music roots with Big Machine Records to her exploration of synth-pop, rock influences, and electronic experimentation, her ability to connect with her audiences has made her a cultural icon in the 21st century. This book traces her evolution as an artist, examining how she has successfully reinvented herself throughout her career to become the multifaceted pop star we know and love today.

When Taylor Swift was 12 years old, a computer repairman showed her how to play three chords on a guitar, inspiring her to write her first song, “Lucky You”. Soon after, she won a national poetry contest and secured an artist development deal with RCA Records, but left the record label at age 15 in order to gain greater control over her creative output.

Swift’s next album, Red (2012), continued her focus on the vagaries of young love while reflecting a deeper perspective on her own experiences. The album was a commercial success, and its lead single, the gleeful “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, gave her her first number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Following a brief hiatus from the public eye and social media, Swift returned in 2022 with her sixth studio album, reputation. It was a massive hit, and the single “Look What You Made Me Do” broke several streaming records in its first day of release.

This song, about a girl’s fear of losing her best friend to another boy, is a great example of how Swift can take an otherwise trite topic and make it entirely her own. She uses the metaphor of a diamond ring to illustrate how her friends are her precious gems, and she also adds a slinky groove that wouldn’t have been out of place on 1989.

In many ways, this song is a typical Swift love anthem, and it’s still as affecting today as it was when it was first released in 2008. However, the most important aspect of the song is its message: that even if we aren’t perfect, we should always try to be our best selves.

While not one of her most popular songs, this is a moving tribute to a high school classmate who passed away after suffering from a terminal illness. The lyrics capture the lingering grief that can come after losing someone close to you, and Swift’s vocal delivery is heart-wrenching.

Swift sometimes reaches for platitudes when addressing matters of the heart, but she’s never more earnest than on this heartbreaking ballad. She enlists the help of Bon Iver for this piano ballad that speaks to the heartbreaking loss of someone you loved more than yourself, and her achingly sincere delivery gives this song a depth of emotion that few can rival.