reputation Era 2017-2018 When a musician’s career spans more than a decade, the media tends to perpetuate a number of different narratives. Around July 2016, it became an almost universal trend to hate Taylor, as a direct result of a Snapchat video posted by Kim Kardashian, the then-wife of rapper Kanye West. She dubbed Taylor a “snake,” resulting in the #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty which became a No. 1 trend on Twitter worldwide.
November 10, 2017
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Taylor’s rising popularity with 1989 turned her into a fixation onto which the media imposed questions regarding cultural issues of race, gender, and politics. Tabloid media publicized her romantic relationships with Scottish producer Calvin Harris and English actor Tom Hiddleston, and a feud with rapper Kanye West and media personality Kim Kardashian over West’s song “Famous”, in which he claims he made Taylor a success (the lyric “I made that bitch famous” was particularly controversial). Although Taylor said she never consented to the said lyric, Kardashian released snippets of a phone recording between Taylor and West, in which she seemingly consented to another portion of the song. Taylor told Rolling Stone in 2019:
Recording sessions with Jack Antonoff mostly took place at his home studio in Brooklyn, with several trips to Atlanta and California for him to incorporate ideas from other producers. He wanted Taylor to capture her emotions at a particular time when “you can feel like you can conquer the world, or you can feel like the biggest piece of garbage that ever existed”, resulting in a “very intense” record. He spoke of his work experience with Taylor on Entertainment Weekly:
Lyrics and Themes
Release and Singles
The lead single, “Look What You Made Me Do”, was released a day later on August 24. Released after a year of hiatus from public spotlight, it is considered as one of pop music’s most memorable moments ever, 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. The single opened at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the biggest single-week sales and streaming figures of 2017 in the US and was Taylor’s first No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. Shortly after the single’s release, UPS announced a partnership with Taylor, which included reputation-branded trucks and award-winning contests promoting the album across US cities. Other corporate tie-ins were a Ticketmaster partnership for a concert tour; an AT&T deal for a behind-the-scenes series chronicling the making of reputation; and a Target partnership for two deluxe album editions, each featuring an exclusive magazine with poetry, paintings, handwritten lyrics, and behind-the-scenes photography. Taylor also collaborated with ESPN to preview the second single, “…Ready for It?”, during a college football match on September 2; it opened at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Prior to the album’s release, the tracks “Gorgeous” and “Call It What You Want” were released for download and streaming as promotional singles, and “New Year’s Day” premiered during the broadcast of an episode of ABC’s Scandal.
reputation was finally released on digital and physical formats on November 10, 2017, by Big Machine Records. Although the streaming provider Spotify initially promoted the album on its playlists and commercial billboards, Taylor and her label kept the album off streaming platforms until December 1. Throughout late 2017 and early 2018, a string of other singles were released to support the album: “End Game” was released to French radio by Mercury Records on November 14, “New Year’s Day” impacted US country radio on November 27, and “Delicate” got sent to US pop radio on March 12, 2018. The last of which was the album’s most successful radio single, peaking at No. 1 on three Billboard airplay charts: Pop Songs, Adult Pop Songs, and Adult Contemporary.
reputation Stadium Tour 2018 “Taylor Swift’s reputation Stadium Tour” was Taylor’s fifth world concert tour, in support of her sixth studio album, reputation (2017). It began on May 8, 2018, in Glendale and concluded on November 21, 2018, in Tokyo, consisting of 53 shows. The tour received 2.55 million attendees and grossed $345.7 million in revenue.
The production received mixed reviews. Slant Magazine‘s Sal Cinquemani called it a good pop album but found it blemished at times by “tired, repetitive EDM tricks”,and Pitchfork‘s Jamieson Cox lamented how Swift’s lyrical craftsmanship was overshadowed by what he deemed a conventional and unoriginal production. The Boston Globe‘s Terrence Cawley and Billboard‘s Jason Lipshutz identified some stylistics missteps but said the experiments were worthwhile and made an enjoyable listen. The Associated Press‘s Meskin Fekadu and Variety‘s Chris Willman hailed reputation as an outstanding pop album; the latter lauded the balance between Taylor’s singer-songwriter lyrical strengths and the “up-to-the-second rhythmic pop” of mainstream music.
reputation topped the albums charts in many European territories including Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland. The album was certified Platinum in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden. In the wider English-speaking world, it topped the albums charts of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, and Canada. The record was certified Platinum or higher in the first three countries, being certified 3-times Platinum in both Australia and New Zealand. In Asia-Pacific, reputation was certified Platinum in Singapore and Gold in Japan. It sold over one million units in China as of August 2019, becoming one of the best-selling digital albums of all time there. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), reputation was the world’s second-best-selling album of 2017, with 4.5 million copies sold.
At industry awards held in 2018, the album won an American Music Award for “Favorite Pop/Rock Album”, a Billboard Music Award for “Top Selling Album”, a Libera Award for “Independent Impact Album”, and a Japan Gold Disc Award for “Best 3 Albums (Western)”. It received nominations including an ARIA Music Award nomination for “Best International Artist”, a Billboard Music Award nomination for “Top Billboard 200 Album”, and a Juno Award nomination for “International Album of the Year”. At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards held in 2019, reputation was nominated for “Best Pop Vocal Album”. The album’s packaging and design won two awards from the American Advertising Federation.
Impact and Legacy
The promotional campaign of reputation, specifically Taylor’s “social media blackout” set a precedent for other pop stars to emulate. Commenting on the album rollout cycle, music scholar Jadey O’Regan remarked how Taylor used “the art of pop in the best way” for utilizing “the way she’s been stereotyped in popular culture”. Film director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson cited reputation as an inspiration for her 2022 teen comedy film Do Revenge.
Overall, reputation is a case study in pop history and a prime example on how to make a successful comeback in mainstream music.