November 10, 2017
Table of Contents
Background and Release
“Look What You Made Me Do”, released after a year of hiatus from public spotlight, is considered as one of pop music’s most memorable moments, bolstered by its music video, which gained over 43.2 million views during its first day on YouTube, breaking the record for the most-viewed music video within 24 hours. Among many other things, throughout the video Taylor is seen as the not-so-benevolent leader of a huge squad of models lined up like an army, a baseball bat-wielding robber of a streaming company, and a controlling dancer leading a group of eight ex-boyfriends wearing shirts that read “I TS”. “If everything you wrote about me was true,” Taylor said in a behind-the-scenes look at the music video, “this is how ridiculous it would look.” The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three consecutive weeks and instantly found a place in cultural ubiquity.
On September 2, Taylor teased a second song during ABC‘s “Saturday Night Football” telecast and on Instagram, titled “…Ready for It?” The song was released on September 3, 2017 as a promotional single. On October 20, 2017, Taylor released a third song titled “Gorgeous” at midnight as a promotional single. A track named “Call It What You Want” was released on November 2, 2017 as a promotional single with an accompanying lyric video.
Taylor also partnered with AT&T to produce a multi-part behind-the-scenes series chronicling the making of reputation, titled “The Making of a Song“. The online series started on November 1 on AT&T‘s YouTube channel.
A month before the album’s release, Taylor hosted the exclusive “reputation secret sessions” in London, Rhode Island, Los Angeles and Nashville. A total of 500 fans were chosen from around the world, for whom Taylor played the entire album. None of them leaked any music. The behind the scenes footage for the sessions was released on November 7 on ABC‘s “Good Morning America”. On November 9, a performance of the song “New Year’s Day” was premiered during the broadcast of an episode of ABC‘s “Scandal”. It was filmed in one of the secret sessions, held at Taylor’s home in Rhode Island on October 18, with an audience of 100 fans.
On November 7, Bloomberg reported that reputation would be kept off streaming services upon release for an undetermined amount of time and would only be available to purchase in digital and physical formats. Later that same day, Taylor posted the album’s track list to her social media accounts. reputation was finally released on November 10, 2017. According to Taylor’s father, Scott Swift, it was supposed to come out months before it did, but her sexual assault trial in Denver pushed it back. The album became available to streaming services on December 1, 2017.
Writing and Production
Taylor started recording reputation in Nashville in September, 2016. Perhaps for the first time in her career, she decided to chase pop’s zeitgeist rather than boldly reinventing it. The actual sonic construction of reputation is extremely of its time, in that it’s split almost evenly between Max Martin’s long-reigning maximalist pop machine and the thornier, more intimate work of Jack Antonoff. The vibe on this record is clamorous, vaguely goth-y, and synthetic in a way that allows for some startling intimacy. Taylor explained that she decided to work with a much smaller group on reputation than on 1989, and picked these producers to work with because she “felt like they would be versatile enough to kill 1989, and make something new.” As a result, 1989 feels like a party where everyone is invited. reputation, with its inward focus, feels just the opposite: VIP only.
Taylor has called reputation her most cathartic album, something she had wanted to make for “years and years”: “After I finished it, I was like, ‘Now I can go back to writing regular songs again.'”
On September 2, 2017, Taylor teased on Instagram that the first track off reputation, titled “…Ready for It?”, was going to be released as a promotional single. Upon release, the song landed inside the top-10 of singles charts worldwide, including its entry at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. On October 24, “…Ready for It?” was upgraded into the album’s second single, impacting US rhythmic contemporary radio; its official music video premiered three days later. “End Game“, featuring Ed Sheeran and Future, was released to French radio on November 14, 2017 as the album’s third single. The song’s music video was released in January 2018 after Sheeran confirmed its existence in early December 2017. “New Year’s Day” was serviced to American country radio as the album’s fourth single on November 27, 2017.
“Delicate” was sent to contemporary hit and adult contemporary radio as the album’s fourth international single on March 12, 2018. Its music video premiered at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards. It was the second single from reputation to enter the top 10 of Billboard’s Radio Songs chart (peaking at No. 2), after lead single “Look What You Made Me Do”. A strong radio success, “Delicate” topped the Billboard Pop Songs chart, and was reputation‘s first No. 1 single on the Billboard Adult Pop Songs and Adult Contemporary charts. It became the biggest single from reputation on the US radio. “Delicate” peaked at No. 12 and spent 35 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, the longest-charting single from the album as well. It was one of the 10 most successful songs on US airplay of 2018, culminating 2.509 billion radio audience impressions. “Getaway Car” was the album’s final single in Australia and New Zealand.
reputation also topped the charts in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. As of 2021, reputation has sold over 5 million copies in the US and over 8.5 million worldwide.