Will Swift Live Up To New “Reputation”?

Taylor Swift has returned to the music world. On Aug. 21, after abruptly deleting everything from all her social media outlets, Swift posted a flickering video on Instagram of what appeared to be the tail of a snake.

It was a long-awaited announcement for Swift fans like me who were used to getting albums every two years from her.

Like clockwork, since 2006, Swift has released an album every two years – until 2016. Fans wondered when Swift would return after dealing with attacks from the media and her detractors.

Back in 2009, more people felt sorry for Swift than they do now. Her MTV VMAs appearance was infamously interrupted by Kanye West when he stormed on stage saying that Beyoncé deserved to win Best Female Video over Swift’s ‘You Belong With Me.’

The world along with a mortified Swift watched this happen and there was nothing she could do to stop it. For a brief moment, the world sympathized with her.

2009 was a simpler time for Swift fans like me. Up until that point, the only thing we had to defend about her was that she couldn’t sing live, which I still disagree with, but I digress.

Fast-forward eight years later: things aren’t as easy to defend. Fans watched as Swift grew to become a top selling female artist in the music industry. Her rise in fame brought forth new attacks on her reputation, which Swift has stayed silent about until now.

The next barrage of attacks came for her being a serial dater who dated boys just so she could break up with them and write songs about them. Swift, who has publicly had eight boyfriends since 2006, has been attacked for her love life since early in her career.

Both male and female celebrities are continually in and out of relationships, but Swift has been especially notorious for it. Why is it that no one else in the music industry who writes songs about love, relationships and heartbreak, is criticized like Swift? Some of the questions I ask myself are why has everyone always loved to hate Taylor Swift since she became so successful? Are people that threatened by a successful woman who writes her own songs and plays multiple musical instruments? Why are so many constantly rooting for the downfall of Swift?

In August, Swift was in court for her sexual assault case against former radio host David Mueller. According to NPR, Swift won the case and had countersued Mueller for just one dollar. I was surprised by the lack of response to Swift winning the trial. If it had been any other female artist in the business, a lot more people would have been celebrating a victory against an incident that happens far more than it should, but not many talked about it.

Swift has been under attack for her feminist and political viewpoints in the last two years. People attacked her for her silence during the 2016 election, as well as her lack of participation in the women’s march in early 2017 that drew other celebrity women to march for women’s rights. I wonder if that’s where the silence came from after Swift’s victory, but I don’t believe it has anything to do with that. I think of it as a lack of support when Swift needed it the most.

While celebrities in the music business have much influence in the political world, politics isn’t their job. As someone who is an avid music fan, I believe politics has no place there most days, so I don’t understand the criticism Swift’s silence received. Had she chosen to speak up about current political events, she would have surely been condemned by the media and others for whatever opinion she gave.

The next two videos Swift posted on her Instagram completed the image of a snake. Fans and those who dislike her knew what the video was about. It was a reference to the second infamous Swift and West feud, the one that had kept Swift silent for over a year.

Swift announced she would be releasing a new album titled “Reputation,” due on Nov. 10. The album cover is a direct response to media scrutiny over the last ten years. It appears to be dozens and dozens of newspaper headlines with nothing but ‘Taylor Swift’ in print.

Swift posted another picture on Instagram with the caption, “There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation.” Wow, I thought the ‘Shake it Off’ era Taylor Swift was tired of how others treated her, but this was another side of Swift I was ready to see. This Swift is going to take up for herself in the never-ending hate that she constantly receives.

“Look What You Made Me Do” was the first single off the new album released on Aug. 24. On first listen to the song, my reaction was that it was catchy, but not the deep lyrics that we had heard from Swift from songs like ‘All Too Well’ off the “Red” album.

Swift stayed within her newly adapted pop music genre, and I don’t mind it. She’s fierce. She’s ready to show the world just how strong she is and how much she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her anymore.

The new single has already broken multiple records in a short time span. The video reached 100 million views in less than four days on YouTube, according to “Forbes”.

For someone who has been a Swift fan for 11 years now, the video made me very emotional. Although there has been speculation that different scenes in the video are about other people, I think this one is all about Swift. It’s about her past and present self in a literal sense. Swift recreated all her looks from different album eras over the last decade, and viewers saw the past Swifts that have been in the public eye.

In the last 38 seconds of the video, there is a scene showing 14 different versions of Swift. In conversation with herself, Swift makes references to all the negative things that have been said about her. It’s proof she isn’t afraid to stand up for herself and that she isn’t going to let the negativity keep her down.

In “Look What You Made Me Do”, Swift says it herself; “Honey I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time” along with another one of my favorite lyrics from the song, “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because she’s dead.”

I’m already a big fan of the new Swift and glad the wait for her sixth album is almost over.

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