In a surprise to absolutely no-one, Taylor Swift’s Reputation is an instant smash hit with Swifties. Well, guess what? The critics have also been kind.
Reputation, Swift’s sixth album, arrived as expected on download services overnight and immediately began dominating social media chatter, the vast majority it overwhelmingly (fanatically) positive. Music reviewers from Rolling Stone and USA Today to the U.K.’s The Independent and The Guardian and other titles also gave a warm reception to the new release.
Even before Reputation released in full, the album had more than 400,000 pre-orders, according to the Associated Press (as Nov. 3), and Swift's label Big Machine Records was predicting sales 2 million in the first week. Will it be a commercial and critical success?
Check out what the critics said below:
'Reputation' is fundamentally unlike any her other albums in that it takes into account — prioritizes, actually — the tempo and tone her competition. 'Reputation' is a public renegotiation, engaging pop music on its terms, not hers…She still has adversaries in her sight; there are jabs at Kanye West, and also at an ex-boyfriend or two. But here, too, she turns the magnifying glass around. Some the most caustic and aware songwriting on this album is about herself.
The New York Times
Swift is a smart cookie. She’s smart enough to write lyrics far better and wittier than the average pop fare, inverting the cliche the love ’em and leave ’em Romeo – “I’ll carve your name on my bedpost,” she snarls – and admitting defeat when her chat-up lines fail with a sigh “I guess I’ll stumble home to my cats – alone”. And she’s certainly too smart to put all her eggs in one basket…there’s more to Taylor Swift than dropping hints and creating drama.
The Guardian, 4/5 stars
Jack] Antonf’s work on this record is essential. His love Eighties synth-pop is the perfect counterbalance to Max Martin and Shellback’s dance and electronic touch; the album’s structure alternates between the two….One Swift’s greatest talents as a songwriter is to encapsulate those small moments, ten in a new relationship, that you as a listener cannot.
The Independent, 4/5 stars
There are shades Robbie Williams’s swagger and melodrama in the way Swift co-opts and confronts a persona the media has created for her. Another (and actually more interesting) strand emerges under the cover all this ironic bombast, on a series sensual synth-pop songs questioning whether love can survive in the unrelenting glare the modern media.
The Telegraph, 4/5 stars
The world was expecting 'Reputation' to be a celebrity self-pity party, after her September single “Look What You Made Me Do,” airing her grievances about getting mistreated by other famous people…Instead, she's playing for bigger emotional stakes – this is an album full one-on-one adult love songs. That's a daring swerve from a songwriter who's scored so many brilliant hits about pursuing the next romantic high. Taylor might love the players, but nowhere near as much as she loves the game.
Rolling Stone, 4/5 stars
Don’t let the album title fool you — Taylor Swift doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation…'Reputation' is largely a look at an artist in love, and not the kind flash-in-the-pan romance or tragic heartbreak that populated her previous releases. For the first time in her career, Swift has written an album about a successful relationship, while she’s still in it, finally sharing the story the new relationship that she’s so fiercely kept away from the cameras.