“We are mosaics of our worst selves and our best selves,” Taylor muses on Reputation’s “Prologue.” “We are all a mixture of our selfishness and generosity, loyalty and self-preservation, pragmatism and impulsiveness.”
In past releases, Taylor has seemed to only show us half of her truth, masking some of her feelings with coy metaphors. On this album though, for better or worse, Taylor offers her whole self (or at the very least, a whole self), allowing herself to feel victimized while owning up to, and even reveling in, moments where she plays the villain.
And while it’s hard to imagine this album living up to the larger-than-life impact of its juggernaut predecessor, 1989, it’s really when Taylor goes smaller that Reputation feels, in some ways, like her most satisfying work to date.
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