The old Taylor is dead. She told us, she warned us, and with the release of reputation, she's proving it.
Taylor Swift's long-awaited sixth album has just hit stores, and like any Swift recording, it's generating countless theories over who, exactly, Ms. Swift is singing about. But she did not come to play on reputation; in many ways, she's come to fight. The scathing Taylor Swift lyrics on this album underscore the singer/songwriter's evolution from bubble-gum pop's It Girl to a startling young force of nature: defiant, self-assured, messy, and in charge.
None of this, however, explains with 100% certainty who Swift is taking aim at on the album. The revealing lyrics from reputation reveal enough to pique our interest and fuel our speculation without spelling it out in plain English. Swift surely knows this creates more discussion of her work, even if it does leave us slightly obsessed with figuring out who she's pissed off at in her songs.
One thing, though, is clear. Taylor Swift is not messing around, and reputation's shadiest lyrics are proof of that.
It Was So Nice Being Friends Again, There I Was Giving You A Second Chance, But You Stabbed Me In The Back While Shaking My Hand
This line comes from the song "This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things," which is maybe the album's most clear-cut reaction to the ongoing Kanye West drama. After the major uproar over Kanye's hijacking of Swift's 2009 VMA Awards acceptance speech, the two eventually made up and became friendly... only to be ripped apart again by Drama with a capital D. When Kim Kardashian West leaked a recording of Kanye and Swift, the conversation made Swift look like a liar. And that, my friends, is why we can't have nice things.
The World Moves On, Another Day, Another Drama, Drama, But Not For Me, Not For Me, All I Think About Is Karma
"Look What You Made Me Do" was reputation's first single, and it is brimming with vengeance and recrimination. Obviously, Kanye figures into this equation; the "tilted stages" reference is a giveaway. But Swift is also addressing the ways the press and the public attack her, or, at the very least, don't understand her. But to prove she's not a total wet blanket, Swift also seems to be making fun of herself a bit too, making her image the punchline before others can.
I Don't Like Your Perfect Crime, How You Laugh When You Lie, You Said The Gun Was Mine
These lyrics from "Look What You Made Me Do" could refer to any number of feuds or relationship woes Ms. Swift has been through. One theory, however, stands out: this line is about Swift's legal battle with deejay David Mueller. After he groped her, she sued him…and won. Wasn't such a perfect crime, huh, Mueller?
I've Got A List Of Names And Yours Is In Red, Underlined, I Check It Once, Then I Check It Twice
Also from "Look What You Made Me Do," this lacerating line could be aiming straight at Katy Perry. The two have been engaged in a very public feud, and Perry has said that Swift is like the character of Regina George from Mean Girls. Regina, for those who haven't seen the movie, has a book in which she documents - in red pen - her hateful thoughts about her classmates. Watch out, Katy; looks like your name has been entered and underlined.