Taylor’s Reputation is biggest seller of the year
Taylor Swift introduces her latest album Reputation, this way: “We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us. There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation.”
And Taylor’s reputation these days is that of a marketing savvy pop artist able to channel her emotions into creating a huge moneymaking machine. It is the general belief among her fans and non-fans that Taylor’s usual inspirations for her songs are events in her personal life. Reputation is no different. She has once more laid all her feelings bare for the world to enjoy in another excellent collection.
Reputation, which hit the stores last Nov. 10, sold a whopping 1.216 million copies on its first week of release. This makes Taylor one of the most consistent No. 1 charters in pop music history. In consecutive order, her last four albums 1989, Red, Speak Now and Fearless all reached the top of the charts. And please note that Taylor has chosen to keep Reputation out of streaming sites during its first three weeks of release.
Of course, this number is not as big as record-holder Adele’s who also kept her 25 album out of streaming for several weeks two years ago. But it still sold 2.43 million units after only four days in the market. Reputation also did not surpass Taylor’s own 1989 which sold 1.29 million copies within seven days. But it is the biggest for 2017. That means it is bigger even than Ed Sheeran’s ÷ Divide, which has already scored a huge over-all sales figure of 919,000.
Taylor is no big seller by chance. She works hard on her music and Reputation is a well-thought out package. The album’s most important accomplishment, aside from the huge sales, is how it completes Taylor’s transition from country music princess to a full-blown pop diva with every genre at her disposal. And how she has learned to use every one of them to her advantage.
Celebrity is no easy place to inhabit. Others in the same predicament should take a cue from Taylor on how to use one’s talent to get even the most difficult, most painful messages across. So although panned by the critics and welcomed with raised eyebrows by the media, first single Look What You Made Me Do did a great job preparing the market for Reputation.
There are 15 cuts in Reputation and Taylor as co-writer and co-producer confidently led those to where she had decided she wanted to go on her sixth studio release. It is to a dark place of unnatural voices, synths and pounding beats. But I must say well-suited to the confessions, recriminations and bravura sounds that fill the album.
The main goal is electronic pop as in Ready For It, Don’t Blame Me and Call It What You Want, with liberal dashes of R&B and hip-hop as in the fluid End Game where she raps about “big reputation” with pretend suitors Ed Sheeran and Future.
Taylor gets cocky in the opener, …. Ready For It. The hook-filled I Did Something Bad gets her into a sneering bad girl mood. Dress is, a female view of Versace On The Floor. So It Goes…is sexy about scratches on the skin. And how she gloats in This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. Wow! Reputation is slapping the media, the bashers and haters and even ex-friends around.
But nobody is complaining. Everybody is listening to the great sounds and fantastic mix of the album. And discovering its other joys. Reputation is also fun, as in the tongue-in-cheek Gorgeous, the losers’ love triangle in Getaway Car, in the teasing Call It What You Want and in the flirtatious Dancing With Our Hands Tied.
Note that description, flirtatious. Remember Reputation is an album by Taylor, a writer who can come up with the strange but also so real analogies in romantic situations. (Aside please. I am still in awe of how she said “I am available” in Blank Space.) And she has a few of those in Reputation like Delicate and King Of My Heart.
While she may resort to a lot of experimentation to keep her music on trend, it remains a fact that this girl is at heart a romantic songwriter. And here it is in her lovely, piano-based closer New Year’s Day. It paints a very real morning-after picture, which I have a feeling will sell more than all the other songs in Reputation.