Taylor Swift’s music: Then and Now

After waiting three long years, we are just hours away from TS6. Taylor Swift’s newest album, Reputation, will be released this Friday. And in true Taylor Swift fashion, she’s playing pretty coy about the album until its release. Luckily, she has released a few songs for her fans to preview. So far, fans have heard four song and seen two incredible music videos from the Reputation era.
It’s been three years since Swift released her Grammy Winning album, 1989. 1989 was a breakthrough for Swift, who until then, was known primarily as a country artist. But with the release of 1989, Swift began to classify herself as a pop artist—and a brilliant one at that. Her first album that was entirely pop music, 1989 dominated music charts and award shows, and showed Swifties a new side of their beloved Taylor.
Whether it’s from her early country music beginnings or her successful introduction to the pop genre, Taylor Swift has obviously evolved with each album she releases. To celebrate the release of Reputation, we’re taking a look at Taylor’s newest song and comparing them to her previous hits to examine just how much she’s grown in her music.

“Look What You Made Me Do” — The new “Blank Space”

This was the first song released from Reputation, and came on the heels of Taylor announcing a sixth album. So naturally, it broke records for its number of listens and views. Much like Blank Space, LWYMMD was written about the media’s portrayal of Taylor. In both songs, Taylor plays several parts—parts that the media and people in the industry have imagined her to be. And with both songs, Taylor has taken the “If you can’t beat them, join them” approach by playing an over-the-top, villainous version of Taylor Swift. In Blank Space, Taylor played a version of herself that the media portrayed as villainous to each of the several men she dated. In LWYMMD, she was villainous not to her famous ex-boyfriends, but to everyone in Hollywood that she has “feuded with.” But this release wasn’t about the song, it was about the video. Yes, the flawless music video that got over 42 million views in one day. The music video that told fans (and haters) that the old Taylor is dead. The music video that ended with 15 different versions of Taylor, side-by-side, calling Swift out on all the critiques that she’s faced. LWYMMD followed the formula of Blank Space of characterizing a devious Taylor, but with a bigger, more Taylor-focused twist.

“Call It What You Want” —The new “Mine”

Taylor’s latest ballad may be the most romantic song she’s ever composed. Many speculate that the song is about Taylor’s rumored boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. This song is proof that Taylor’s relationship with Joe is different than any relationship she’s had before.
Although Taylor and Joe spent almost a year keeping their relationship underwraps, this song gives fans a peek into the couple’s relationship, including their time in London where Taylor hid from the paparazzi to write most of her album. Just like Taylor’s best love songs, like “Mine” and “Ours” from her Speak Now album, this song brings out what makes their relationship unique. Taylor’s romantic songs in the past were written almost like fantasies, fairy tale stories that make listeners dream of a happy ending. But with “Call It What You Want,” the song is much more subtle. It is equally as sweet, but almost simple in a way. There’s no show, no characters, no fantasies. Just Taylor, sharing how happy she is with her new love.

“Gorgeous” —The new “Enchanted”

In true Taylor fashion, this song is Taylor’s inner monologue when she sees a gorgeous guy for the first time. This emotion isn’t new for Taylor, as she’s often gotten inspiration from meeting new beaus (Enchanted, Hey Stephen, Sparks Fly, to name a few). But this time, instead of meeting her beau in the rain or in another romantic setting, she’s meeting him over drinks on Sunset and Vine.

Perhaps the most fearless of her love songs, “Gorgeous” is more upbeat than her previous love songs. And just like her new relationship, this song is much more fast-paced than her previous songs. When fans listen to “Enchanted,” they can hear Taylor’s longing for the man across the room. She even says in the song, “This was the very first page/Not where the storyline ends.” It’s almost as if Taylor is a princess in a story book, meeting her prince for the first time. There’s jitters and butterflies and nervous feelings that everyone goes through when they meet a new special someone. But now, Taylor is done with playing coy and leaving insecurities behind. She begins the song talking directly to her subject, being blunt and direct for the first time. In a way, she’s almost bitter, telling this new man that he has “ruined her life” by not being hers. She’s taking a risk by talking to this new man, and she’s taking a risk with this song (and I’m sure it will pay off). If there’s anything Reputation will introduce, it’s a Taylor who is done with hiding in the background and will openly be her strong self from now on.

“Ready For It”

This song perfectly sums up the Reputation era—as this song is truly unlike anything we’ve heard from Taylor before. There truly is no other song by Taylor that is anything like it. For one, this song has many rap elements — a genre that Taylor has yet to experiment with. Again, this is a risk for Taylor, but as fans have shown by supporting the single, this is another risk that will pay off for Ms. Swift. “Ready For It” is the first song on the Reputation, and is a perfect way to start the new album. It’s a fresh start and a new start for Taylor — something she makes clear from the very first clearing of her throat before she starts to sing. It may be different from any song that Taylor has sang before, but that’s a good thing. For a career that started over ten years ago, Taylor is continuing to grow and evolve—an achievement that isn’t just great for her fans, but for herself as well.

“Reputation” by Taylor Swift is available Friday November 10th.