As promised, Taylor Swift released another song, the fourth, from her upcoming reputation. Gorgeous was a crush song about Joe Alwyn. Call It What You Want is straight up a love song about Joe Alwyn. Taylor Swift is so in love.
And what she’s doing with her love is relating it to her previous love songs. Call It What You Want calls back to Love Story about the princess and the prince, who needed to be saved then who doesn’t want to be saved now. It’s also a callback to Clean. Do you know Clean? From 1989? It’s a great song. And I love that album. I loved that album hard three years ago, exactly around this time. I want to love reputation. No matter how frustrating she can be, there’s never a moment when I say to myself, I really hope I hate Taylor Swift’s songs and that she doesn’t produce amazing music anymore.
To me, Ready For It was an improvement on Look What You Made Me Do. And Gorgeous was an improvement on Ready For It. And Call It What You Want is an improvement on Gorgeous. So maybe she’s doing what I wrote she might be doing last week - getting out the weakest songs early in the cycle and banking the strongest material for when the album comes out. That said, Call It What You Want still isn’t hitting me where I need it to hit me. It’s better…but it doesn’t go to the place I’m hoping it will go after the beginning. I’m into the beginning. When the castle crumbles. And the melancholy and regret off the top. By the time she gets to the chorus though and she’s singing about her baby being “fit like a daydream”, it’s like biting into something that tastes completely different from how it looks.
When reputation was first announced, with the release of Look What You Made Me Do, we were all wondering, with that title and the grudges she was drilling into on the song, if the album would be devoted entirely to Girl Sh-t. Now that Ready For It, Gorgeous, and Call It What You Want are out though, was LWYMMD her answer to Kim and Kanye and Katy and the rest, like let me just get that business out of the way first because what I really want to do is sing about the great love of my life?
I guess that would mirror what we’ve seen of her over the last year – or what she’s trying to convince us of. After Kim Kardashian showed her the receipts, and she ended her relationship with Tom Hiddleston, Taylor went into full retreat. We now know that that’s when she and Joe Alwyn started dating. That she instead of being heartbroken over Tom, and hiding out of embarrassment because her petty sh-t blew up in her face, she was actually, in “late November”, running away with Joe. And for many months, they were hanging out alone, holed up at her place in Rhode Island, while she painted, rode horses, and he built fires:
You can see it in her face. Or she wants us to see it in her face. She’s super into whoever she’s looking at on the other side of that camera phone. So into Joe that she hasn’t been wasting any time worrying about her feuds.
What is reputation then? When Taylor was promoting 1989 she talked a lot about sonic cohesiveness. Is there such thing as thematic cohesiveness? 1989 was a pivot for Taylor, her first album that was pure pop. And at a time in her life when she was new to New York, establishing the Squad Life, single and looking back at her romantic disappointments. Bad Blood was the worst song on 1989 – not only because it sounded sh-tty but because it didn’t seem to belong in that space. Is Look What You Made Me Do the Bad Blood of reputation? Is the rest of reputation then about Joe Alwyn?
Reputation is due out next Friday. Or Thursday night, depending on how eager you are to listen to it. Next Wednesday it’s the CMA Awards. I talked to two sources working in Nashville in the music industry yesterday and both think that Taylor will win Song Of The Year for Better Man, which she wrote for Little Big Town. Some wonder if she might show up. She was the surprise final presenter last year at the CMAs. And the timing would be excellent considering it’ll be a final push before the album release. Get ready for a LOT of Taylor next week.