Today, November 10th, marks exactly one year since Taylor Swift released Reputation. Wow, it’s been a long year. Remember when every week we had a wild new Taylor Swift video to make fun of? When the album came out, I didn’t have the kindest things to say. Honestly, I’ve never had the kindest things to say about Taylor or her work, and I have no regrets. However, not everyone at Betches shared my thoughts about Reputation. Obviously, Taylor has lots of fans, and some of them are even smart, well-rounded adults. Go figure.
So how is my relationship with Taylor, one year after she released what was supposed to be her magnum opus, full of shade and hip hop influences? Well, as I would have said on Facebook back in 2010, it’s complicated. I still don’t love her, and at this point I probably never will, but what can I say, 2018 has been a weird f*cking year.
The biggest point I have to bring up is Taylor’s recent foray into political activism. After years of showing absolutely zero interest in using her influence as a force for good in the political sphere, Taylor finally spoke up about the Senate race in Tennessee. While her condemnation of Republican Marsha Blackburn probably got a lot of young voters out to the polls, it was ultimately too little too late. So, at least now we know that Taylor isn’t a secret Trump fan, but I’m gonna need her to keep this political streak up.
Musically, Taylor hasn’t done anything since Reputation came out, so I’m still gonna judge her on that. Honestly, it’s not like I hate the whole album. My review from a year ago was just my first impressions, and certain songs have definitely grown on me since then. I’m glad “Gorgeous” was a successful single, and I really do like “I Did Something Bad,” but I stand by my disdain for “Look What You Made Me Do.” It’s just, like, not a good song.
So yeah, I don’t hate Reputation, but I really don’t think it’s some groundbreaking musical statement, or even one of Taylor’s best albums. A lot of the songs already sound dated, and no one is really talking about it anymore. It’ll probably get some Grammy nominations this year, because the Grammys are obsessed with Taylor, but I’ll be shocked if it really competes for any of the biggest awards.
So what do I think about Taylor these days? Honestly, I don’t think about her much. Sure, it’s fun to analyze her artistic choices and make fun of her for thinking she’s the world’s biggest badass (she’s not), I’m not like, obsessed with her or anything. Next year, we can look forward to Taylor’s appearance in the movie version of Cats, which will surely be just the right combination of cringeworthy and kind of good. Until then, I probably won’t have much to say about T-Swift, unless, you know, she gets political or drops new music or wears a really bad outfit.
Sometime in the new millennium it got really cool to shit on everything popular. Sure, it’s very easy to take the “that’s because everything popular is shit” stance. I’m going take a stance in this article that some may consider a #HotTake, but I’m going to fucking stand by this shit and admit that you can like something that’s popular unironically, even if that something is, in fact, Taylor Swift. Dun dun dunnnnnnn.
Let’s take it back a few years, say, 2006. Taylor Swift was new on the scene. She was writing country music songs and just being generally genuine AF. She had that curly hair that’s literally impossible to get. Seriously, no real human has Taylor circa ’06 hair. Anyway, Tay was building a pretty solid fanbase of lovesick teenagers and country music fans, aka middle America types who are just real salt-of-the-Earth people. Remember that Nashville loved Taylor first, long before L.A. and New York caught on.
No one really had that big of a problem with Nashville Taylor. The problems really started after she started crossing over into pop… orrrr it could be when she started dating hot celebrity dudes and feuding with their exes. Yeah, that’s probably more like it.
So let’s examine what made you start hating on Taylor initially: the fact she could date dudes who would never be interested in you. Was that it? Are you secretly jealous of Taylor Swift? That’s so desperate and weird of you. It’s not her fault that Jake Gyllenhaal and Joe Jonas and a motherfucking Kennedy fell for her. That has nothing to do with you, honey. So calm down.
And sure, you could argue that she was putting down other women for stealing her men—*cough* Camilla Belle *cough*—but think about this: Taylor has never confirmed who any of her songs are about. It’s kind of fucked up to vehemently hate someone based on conjecture, right? What if her songs are about random non-famous people? I mean, they’re probably about famous people, but it simply can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Ok, you’re probably not buying all this Psychology 101 explanation of “why you really hate Taylor” shit. So let’s get to this before I have a legit Chris Crocker meltdown in her defense.
If you’ve ever cried in your teenage bedroom to “Teardrops on My Guitar”, if you held a weird dorm dance party to “22”, if you’ve ever blasted “Blank Space” on repeat, you need to step off your Taylor hate for a minute and reflect on all the good times she gave you. I’m not saying you need to bust out an “I heart T.S.” shirt, but you can calm your shit on the hate for a minute.
Sure, you could argue “I can hate the person and still like the music”, but can you? Really? That seems like bullshit to me. And if you really hated her, truly, you’d never listen to her again, because every time you do, she’s laughing all the way to the bank. Suck on that for a second.
I feel like most of this hate comes from the fact that millennials think hating things is cool. And if you’re ruling that reason out and you hate her for no reason in an Anne Hathaway-type way, I can’t help you.
Yes, I get that it’s hard to get behind an adult who wears Keds, but face it, you’ll give Reputation a chance. You still follow her on Insta to see what she’s up to. You’re sipping a lot of Haterade for someone you’re so obsessed with.
If you hate her because you’re still mad about the Kanye/Kim feud, step back and realizing you’re standing your ground in defense of the Kardashians. That’s also a weird stance to take. Those people do not need you on their side, they don’t even know who you are.
On that note, neither does Taylor and you’re going to keep buying her music, so it probably doesn’t matter to her whether you hate her or not. Which is kind of like, the betchiest thing one could do—she keeps on making money off her haters and not changing anything about herself no matter what. I’m into it.
After deleting her entire social media presence and replacing it with cryptic snake-based messages, it’s pretty safe to say that Taylor Swift is planning something. Something huge. Something…musical. Today, we got the final piece of the T-Swift puzzle when Taylor released the album art for what will be her sixth album, which we now know will be called Reputation. So yeah, I think it’s safe to say the snake emojis bothered her. A lot. And yeah, 2016 was not the best year for
America Taylor Swift. Between the over-saturation and love-turned-fiery-hatred of her “squad,” shade from exes and Katy Perry alike, and the now-infamous (alleged) dragging of Swiz by Kimye on Instagram, one can see why the word “reputation” would be on Taylor’s mind. But the real question is…how do we feel about it? Is this going to be the savage clap back against the haters that Taylor is clearly positioning it to be, or will it be a desperate attempt by the world’s least chill celebrity to try and seem above it all?
Honestly, either scenario is equally likely, so let’s
speculate wildly about an album we haven’t heard yet break down the cases for and against this album.
FOR: Remember “Blank Space”?
The last time Taylor Swift used a song to respond to a negative media image of her, it was the song “Blank Space”, and it was fucking amazing. I remember the first time I heard it. I legit started crying. That’s true. It’s also true that I was balls deep in a breakup with a fuckboy and not 100% sober but still—I cried. If this next drop is anything like “Blank Space”, I think it’s safe to say drunk
white girls will be screaming and hissing along to this tune for the next year and a half.
AGAINST: Remember The “Bad Blood” Video?
Ugh. I still have PTSD from the campaign for this video. The last time Taylor revved up her social media hype machine this much, it was the unfortunate introduction of her “squad” via the “Bad Blood” video, aka “Supermodels With Stupid Names Green Screened In Front Of Fire In A Weird Attempt To Intimidate Katy Perry”. Taylor gathered every model she could find and Mariska Hargitay for what was supposed to be a badass girl power anthem, and turned out to be a bunch of awkward non-actors in leather and Lena Dunham smoking a cigar. If the word “squad” makes your stomach churn, you can trace that feeling back to this fucking video. If Taylor’s latest social campaign is anything like her last, Swifties will ruin the concept of “snakes” so fast Satan will have to re-brand.
^ Anytime I feel underdressed, I think about Lena Dunham in this photo and feel instantly better.
FOR: I Mean, It’s Taylor Swift
Say what you want about Taylor—that she’s a snake (she is), a delusional dater (oh honey yes), and just like kind of annoying (yup), but homegirl has never released a bad album. Never. Red? That shit was jam. Speak Now? Yes please. Literally the entirety of 1989? Iconic. If literally every album Taylor Swift has ever released is any indication, this one will probably be good.
AGAINST: The Lady Doth Protest Too Much
Sorry to get all
Cliff’s Notes Shakespeare on ya, but this all feels a little desperate, doesn’t it? It’s like, the girl who tries to prove she’s over her ex by talking about how over her ex she is every second. At this point, I think the only thing that is 100% clear about this album is that Taylor Swift did not appreciate the snake memes, and would like to be excluded from this narrative, but also wants to control the narrative with an iron fist. Like, is this an album, or a pity party? Also just like, take a shot and get over it girl, you’re still a fucking millionaire.
So there we have it. It’s a draw. This album is either going to be the best fucking drop of 2017 (likely) or a cringe-worthy Pinterest board of cliché comebacks set to a mediocre club beat (**cough* “Swish Swish”**cough**) that will make us miss the days when she was filling our newsfeeds with pictures of her and Cara Delevigne and using white feminism to boost record sales. If there’s one thing the we do know, however, it’s that this new Dark Taylor is definitely coming for Kim Kardashian, and I literally cannot wait to see how Kim responds.