Hey guys! I’ve told you before that I’m a writer so this is a hella long post because it’s track-by-track. Unapologetically so. Hope you guys enjoy x
TRACK 1: “… READY FOR IT?
This song is a battlecry. The thumping bass brings to mind the heavy thud of wolves paws as they race towards their prey, seeking the trail left by a girl who used to leave her heart open and on her sleeve, ready to be snatched at any moment in a snap of their jaws. But no more. From the moment she clears her throat, we learn this battle will be on Taylor’s terms. It is her fight to win.
This is the first love song she’s released and had complete artistic ownership of in three years. It is no coincidence then that there’s reference to the tortured passions of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. They were a couple hopelessly and dangerously in love with many scars carved on their hearts by the other’s knife. This reference is a throwaway to the long list of ex lovers the girl who bathes in diamonds has had but also a reference to the flickers of hope Taylor feels for longevity no matter what with Joe. Their road may be complicated at times but they will get there because the game is hers. The constant question of ready for it and in response baby let the games begin is so obviously a call of warning to Joe for what lies ahead but perhaps more subtly it is the call of Taylor’s inner voices and heart to her razor sharp self awareness. Is she ready for the games to begin? Is she ready to open her heart and give Joe a chance to be a better man?
TRACK 2: “END GAME” ft. Ed Sheeran & Future:
This song starts off with Taylor’s declaration that she wants to find a forever. It sounds sincere, gentle, wearied, the tone of the too often heartbroken. But then it shifts, it’s like the rose coloured glasses have come off and she’s reminded of her reputation. Then it’s all tongue in cheek sarcastic satire to keep the smile in place so that we don’t see how much it hurts. She has to weigh up every interaction in the context of her reputation. The addition of Ed & Future speaks volumes; one is a time trusted friend who has finally found a bright love of his own but that was not without heartbreak and the other gives her an edgier attitude that makes her self awareness all the more powerful.
There has been a further loss of innocence in this sharpening of her self awareness, gone are the wistful days of “say you’ll remember me”, that’s all I want. Now it’s all “I don’t wanna touch you, I don’t wanna be just another ex love you don’t wanna see.” She can see the fall right from the start but this time she opts out and says unless I’m your end game… because I don’t want to pick up any more pieces of my broken heart.
Also: Shoutout to Ed for his Cherry inspired verse. It made me feel many emotions too. SWEERAN THRIVES.
TRACK 3: “I DID SOMETHING BAD.”
The girl with the long list of ex lovers is back. However with the casually explicit twist, this narrative seems layered with perceptions and recognition of self-worth, “If a man talks shit, I owe him nothing.” This is drip-feeding the media exactly what they want, she’s stoking the fire herself. But in feeding the fire herself, she’s sending the burning embers back at them. Did you really think the girl who you used as an international rod for slut shaming would stay quiet forever? Nope. She doesn’t care if you burn her like a witch at the stake because she’s already done it. She’s burnt away all of the misplaced guilt and is now revelling in how good they felt in the moment. In fact, watch out she’s blazing with all the fire of a phoenix reborn and you might just get turned to ash.
TRACK 4: “DON’T BLAME ME.”
This & “I Did Something Bad” sound like sister tracks. The girl who jetsets around the world collecting men isn’t quite finished with her tale yet. She reminds us that defining her relationships by their headlines and paparazzi shots is a foolish move because those things are one-dimensional. Taylor believes in love and this is her way of reminding us that there was love in every escapade of her heart up until now, at least at some point. She’s talking about the heady rushes head spinning intoxication of first glances and hands on skin and it doesn’t matter what the media says about the way she handles relationships because they forget love and that makes you crazy. Maybe in their minds the drug she refers to is not a singular identity but a collective “baby” and to them love will always be something she “uses”. But the heart wants what it wants and Taylor knows that so it doesn’t really matter.
TRACK 5: “DELICATE.”
This is the kind of song that happens when you cut the cord that is the boy crazy perception of yourself. You step back into the shadows and disappear so that they can’t find you. You close your heart, lock your doors and rebuild. And then he shows up. This is a cautionary songpp because Taylor can obviously feel sparks but… she’s just started to rebuild and if they find out the wolf hunt begins again. With delicate disbelieving vocals, we see Taylor start to realise that he can’t possibly want to gain anything from her reputation because it’s so bad… The wheels turn in her head. I imagine the realisation, “Wait so he must like me for me?” With the beat drop comes hope. Details are slowly given and then he stays. He doesn’t run so Taylor gives him pieces of herself; confessions thoughts and then her brain catches up with her mouth and the wheels come to a grinding halt: Her inner monologue screams it was too much too fast. We’ve all been there. It’s too delicate. No going back now. It’ll break and I’ll be left alone. Maybe one day I’ll find someone who doesn’t walk away, one day too.
TRACK 6: “LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO.”
The world tore a girl to shreds, made her play the fool on tilted stages. She retreated and rebuilt. Now the fool is dead. From here on out, she only trusts her army. With high heeled boots, red lips and words as sharp as daggers, she’s cutting herself a path. She is taking no prisoners and she’s accompanied by a savage snake because she and her army will always be better at the game. When she’s finished hunting down your asses, she’ll sit back on her throne with a high pitched giggle and say, “oh look what you made me do.”
TRACK 7: “SO IT GOES…”
When people are watching, you have to be careful. Cover your tracks. Taylor doesn’t leave her heart open or on display anymore. But then they leave. The door shuts. You lock it with a key and the crashing chemistry you’ve been trying to deny slams into your ribs, knocking the breath out of you. It’s stolen kisses, careless touches, reckless chasing of the high. Body language is a fluency all its own. But a quick reminder before you unlock the door and venture out again; wash the lipstick off your face. *clears throat* you got a little caught up in the moment and you don’t want to blow your cover!
TRACK 8: “GORGEOUS.”
The childish proclamation of the title to begin this next glimpse into Reputation is hinting at the satirical inner monologue that this song is , reminiscent of the times you write your crush’s last name instead of your own to see how it fits. It’s all giggles and late night phone calls, the kind Taylor most likely had with Abigail where they talked real slow because it was late and their mamas didn’t know (: However, it could also serve as a projection of the runaway daydream that fills Taylor’s mind from that very first night when she stumbles home alone to her cats, of what a possible future might look like (with kids one day) The lazy liquor loosened rhythms of Taylor’s thoughts tell us things she hasn’t admitted fully yet but will soon on nights at 4am staring at her reflection in the bathroom mirror, telling herself the bravest thing she ever did was run - that this gorgeous swoonworthy British boy with his careless touches and drawling accent has awakened the possibility of something better. This realisation rattles Taylor as she contemplates the gaps in her current relationship. *cue wistful sighs of frustration and enchantment, set to the dialogue of every teenage movie where the girl thinks the boy is just too good looking, how unfair is that?
TRACK 9: “GETAWAY CAR.”
The thing about any movie that has a getaway car scene is that they inevitably crash…. And that’s exactly what happens here. Except, the carnage is human hearts. She was running. There was a person she crashed into. It gets all blurred and tangled, she thinks she’s free but the thing about those movies is that the thing you ran from in the getaway car catches up to you particularly if there’s a track you can follow. Oceans of distance weren’t enough, darling. You needed to disappear. And I think she realises that but she tries to pretend innocence and will the sunset closer. Unfortunately the only real way to untangle yourself is to disappear crying in the back of a getaway car in the dead of night. Without a word. That must have hurt a lot.
TRACK 10: “KING OF MY HEART.”
This song happens in tandem with Delicate. She’d sworn off love. Joe turned up. The British boy with the heart of gold who made his American queen believe. He made behind closed doors a paradise of rooftop nights. Before she knows it, he is every love story Taylor has ever daydreamed of. The line “is this the end to all the endings” made my heart swell because it’s clear Taylor hopes he’s the one. Please let there be no more heartbreak.
TRACK 11: “DANCING WITH OUR HANDS TIED.”
Dancing is supposed to be a joyous thing and maybe it was in the beginning. You can reassure with every beat. Sometimes your gut instinct shouldn’t be ignored though because it does raise red flags. The door only needs to be fractionally ajar for the hunters to find a way in and set your paradise aflame. It sometimes doesn’t matter how much you dance to escape the flames, they will catch you. You will get tired. Dancing is a bliss that is euphoria swimmimg through your veins if the beat enters your bloodstream in the right moment; you feel like you could live forever. And in the end no matter how much it might hurt to walk away again, you would still dance for just another kick of that rush.
TRACK 12: “DRESS.”
Taylor’s caught up in the chemical rush. Every syllable drips with lust and the glory of the high when your hearts crash into each other, slamming the breath from between your ribs. It’s hands in hair and I don’t care what they think. It’s seeing the worst (hi bleachella) and still wanting. It’s realising you made mistakes before this and why didn’t you just do this from the beginning because it feels so good now you can’t ever have imagined wanting anything else. But every mistake is a marker in the roadmap and you woke up just in time to find where you needed to be.
TRACK 13: “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.”
I think everyone’s been in this situation, right? Someone burns you and it hurts but in the fun of a party, you click and connect again and it all starts to feel like water under the bridge. Maybe there was over-reacting happening. You throw them a second chance. Redemption. You’re the nice girl and you make excuses. But then they do it again, maybe it takes a couple of things and suddenly it’s too much. You lock the gate for your own safety. But they still expect you not to care. To flash a smile and forgive. I’m sorry. That’s not happening. You get hurt when I push back. I guess I should forgive you because we both threw stones. But… that would require me to mean it. Whoops, *laughs manaically* I can’t even say it with a straight face!!!
PS: It’s not too obvious I have personal experience with this song is it? Thanks KS x.
TRACK 14: “CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT.”
This song is difficult for me to process because I never thought it would actually happen. I seem to remember somewhere along the way, a couple of years back, Taylor expressing frustration that she couldn’t seem to write happy songs about being in love like Ed Sheeran could. Well, I wish you could go back Taylor and tell yourself what you know now.
This song is a three minute ode to happy love. It’s smiles so wide you might split your face in half at the thought of that person. It’s blushing and shy giggles and bursts of song and twirls and all caps texts from your girls as they collectively lose their minds over how happy you are. This is every love story and fairytale Taylor has ever wanted but the wolves are always waiting, not so easy to outrun.
Taylor says it herself in the opening lines. She was done. The castle had crumbled. The bricks left bruises blooming on her exposed skin. People were tearing her down and she was hurting. Her heart had been shattered but so had her soul, again and again, relentlessly. And then she retreated, went silent and rebuilt. What she didn’t count on was love. A man who saw all the bruises and broken pieces and said it’s OK, I can still find the real you under all that. Taylor like so many of us looked in the mirror and saw all the danger for herself and for Joe, tried to push him away, keep him safe. That’s a very noble action but breaking your own heart so it doesn’t hurt as much when you feel like the other shoe is going to drop requires apathy from the other person. And Joe, god bless you, you didn’t let her push you away. You broke down her walls and showed you that starlight love does still exist. You loved her for Taylor. The person. You got her to give love a chance when she swore never again so thank you so much for that. I can’t really express how much that means to all of us.
This is an anthem of hope for every person who has ever been broken and is in the process of putting pieces back together. It can be done. We will find love. We will be radiantly happy again. We will be the strongest we’ve ever been.
PS: *leans over to whisper in Taylor’s ear*
I think you’re finally clean…
TRACK 15: “NEW YEARS DAY.”
Piano on the final track… This is an ode of pure hope and happiness, a fitting final chapter to a remarkable story. Everyone wants the glory of the midnights and the lover who will be in their bloodstream like the party. But what we all hope for is someone who stays long enough to help us clean up the bottles on New Years Day. Someone who makes us feel like the messy unfiltered parts look like a highlight reel. Good times and bad times and all in between. They won’t leave. You found him. Forever.
This album is fucking brilliant Taylor. I love you. Proud x.
do not get mad at pet owners for making small mistakes. don’t say ‘just give your pet away since you can’t take care of them’. as long as the pet owner catches their mistake in time and fixes it timely, it’s okay to make mess up. sometimes prior research doesn’t prepare owners for everything. every pet is different and sometimes what works for previous pets won’t work for a new one. im not saying animal abuse should be excused, but yelling at children for getting a 340 square inch cage instead of a 360 square cage one isn’t the right way to go. as long as the mistake has been caught on time and the animal is fine, it’s okay to live and learn.
You don’t know passive aggression until you’ve been in Jack’s car when she’s pissed off with Geoff. Jolts and jerks and sudden brakes, hairpin turns and sickening spins, her face utterly blank as she tunes out their screaming. And there is always screaming, hardened criminals or not there is no fear like rocketing through incoming traffic at top-speed while the driver fumes in silence, no equivalent feeling to the alarm when she takes a sudden unplanned detour off road, bouncing overs hills and into ditches with reckless abandon, always right on the edge of losing control.
It’s a rare occurrence, thank the gods, Jack’s temper is usually loud and fleeting when it’s aimed at a crew-mate, but on the occasions when they really butt heads Geoff has always had a special ability to wind her up. Always had trouble admitting when he was in the wrong, refusing to just apologise, mocking any argument she comes up with rather than talking it out like an adult. So eventually Jack stops talking and Geoff, like a fool, always thinks it’s a victory.
Which eventually leads them here, crammed on top of each other and held captive by child locks and the inability to survive leaping from the speeding car, clutching at handles and handguns, at any part of each other they can reach, caught between fearing the end and praying for a speedy death. Because of course Geoff can’t help himself, has to press on open wounds even when the fight is over, has to poke the bear even when the bear is driving. Even when the bear has proven time and time again that at this point she’s prepared to drive them all straight into a grave rather than back down.
There is no pleading with Jack when she gets like that, not for the rest of the crew anyway, so when they’re caught in the crossfire it is always Geoff who catches their ire. As though sitting next to Jack in an arctic fury, being rattled around inside a little tin on wheels isn’t bad enough, Geoff inevitably finds himself dealing with a mutiny from the back seats. They make up for Jack’s silence tenfold, nauseous and unsettled their ultimatums are always particularly vicious, demanding his apology under threat of the unimaginable. Michael and Jeremy swear all kinds of bodily harm, Ryan has gotten halfway through upholding his promise to push Geoff out the window of the moving car, and once Gavin leaned forward and actually threw up on him.
When he does eventually give up, thoroughly disgruntled, legitimately worried for his life and snarling about the lack of respect in his shitty excuse for a crew, Geoff’s apology doesn’t lack sincerity. Jack, having not said a word throughout this whole exchange, lets him stew for a minute, speech rambling along with a distinct note of panic before she gives in, slows down, and laughs.
You stood on a cliff overlooking
the sea towards Westeros. You were riddled with worry. Drogon and your sister
were out to battle. Most of the Dothraki were gone and so was Tyrion. You were
worried…so, so worried. Anything could go wrong with Daenerys—so much has
already gone wrong.
You were wringing your hands
together hoping that she would return already. It has been no more then a day
or two and she should’ve been back already. What was taking her so long? Had
she been injured? Had Drogon been injured?
Your mind was a wheel of bad
“Any closer and you’ll fall off.”
Jon’s voice startled you.
You look over your shoulder to
peer at the King of the North. His dark eyes seemed to be concern for your
well-being. You clear your throat and take a few steps back from the edge of
the cliff, “I am just worried about my sister.” You tell him truthfully.
He was wearing his cloak…the same
one he had given to you so many days ago. You had missed the warmth it gave you
almost immediately. You were almost envious that Jon had such a warm and
wonderful cloak. You had your own draped over your shoulders with your house
sigil and in your house colors.
You were well-protected from the
“I don’t doubt it,” Jon stood at
your side, “I am sure she is fine. Your sister has Drogon…she’s as safe as can
be.” He tries to soothe away your worries.
“What if an arrow struck her while
she was on Drogon? She wasn’t even wearing armor, Jon. Killing a dragon isn’t
impossible.” You were worrying yourself too much and Jon could tell. He was
hesitating on how to comfort you.
the sudden attack would stun the archers long enough for Drogon to burn them.”
Jon tried again.
your lips and sigh, “I must seem silly.” You say with blushing pink cheeks.
his head, “You do not. Your worries are not silly.” You were beautiful in his
eyes…not silly. With the wind blowing your silver hair and your violet eyes
gleaming with worry…you looked so somber and Princess-like. He couldn’t take
his eyes off of you…Ygritte…Gods, he missed her but when he looked at you…even
Ygritte seem to fade.
your sister…of course you would be worried for her.” Jon says quietly. He
remembers the nights when he would think of Robb during the war…how worried he
was every night. He also remembers the night when Castle Black received word
that Robb Stark had been murdered.
his head to get rid of the dark thoughts.
You are quiet
as you stare out into the ocean. You are hoping for even the slightest sign of
Greyjoy ships on the horizon. You could hear Viserion and Rhaegal on the shores below the cliff. They seemed on
edge…no doubt missing their mother and brother. You never knew such fear and
you didn’t like it.
“I should’ve gone with her.” You mumbled.
Jon caught your words, “You know she’d never allow it.” Deep down, he
wouldn’t have allowed it. Even though he knew he had no place to say anything.
You were too innocent for the likes of war. Jon couldn’t and wouldn’t imagine
your pale flesh covered with blood…or the look of horror in your violet eyes as
they look at the aftermath of a battle.
No, he shook his head, he couldn’t bear the thought.
“I should be helping her.” You try again with a frown. You didn’t want
to be some helpless damsel. You knew how to fight…you had Viserion!
“Your place is here.” Jon says softly.
You turn to glare at him, “My place is with my sister!”
Jon stares at you, “Your sister needs you here…to hold down the castle.”
He repeats more clearly, “She can’t risk something happening to you, Y/N.”
You huff because his words are true. Your sister was only at war because
of you. She wanted a better life for you. You sniffled as tears began to well
up in your eyes. You felt at fault every time something went wrong…the Greyjoy
attack…Highgarden being taken…and now this? If something were to happen to your
sister…you weren’t sure what you would do.
“Hey…hey,” Jon was right there cradling your face with his hands, “Why
are you crying?” He murmurs using his thumbs to wipe away your crystal tears.
His heart was aching at the sight of you.
“This is my entire fault, Jon,” You say through a thick voice, “My
sister is only doing this because of me and I feel so guilty. Everything she’s
gone through was because of me. I was the one that was meant to be married off
to the Dothraki Lord but she convinced our brother that it should be her.
Everything is my fault.” You cry.
You felt so guilty…
Jon is at a loss…He knows of the stories and he knows of the rumors of
how Daenerys came into the Dothraki hold but he hadn’t known that it was you who was meant to take a Dothraki
Lord. He brought you into his arms and cradled you against his chest. His heart
was trembling as he held you afraid that you would reject him.
You were surprised.
You weren’t sure what hold Jon had over you but…you weren’t going to
fight it. You buried your face into his chest in an effort to make yourself
disappear. Thought it was rather silly and impossible but being in his arms
was…was almost enough. He was so warm…despite being so pale. He smelled better
then his cloak.
His arms felt strong and firm like castle walls. His chest felt like a
warmth hearth on a cold, winter day.
He strangely…felt like home.
“Nothing is your fault,” Jon murmurs quietly over the soft howling of
the wind and the crashing of water down below the cliff, “Daenerys made her
choice and no one forced her to take it. She is doing this out of her own free
will. Yes, you are the reason why she fights but nothing is your fault. Do not
blame yourself for the errors that have been made.” He feels as if he isn’t
making sense and he isn’t really comforting you but from the decrease in tears
and sniffles, he hopes he’s doing okay.
“If you hadn’t been her reason to fight…so many people would’ve lived
their lives as slaves.” He tells you.
Your thoughts spin onto Missandei, Grey Worm, and so many others. They
were practically your family. Without you or Daenerys…they would be what they
hated being…slaves and kept in cages like animals.
“I sometimes blame myself for leaving my home and going to the Wall…”
Jon looks at you as you stare up at him with wonder, “My brother went to war
and he was murdered and I wasn’t there…I still blame myself because maybe I
would have been able to stop his death.”
“But these things happen for a reason…as much as they hurt…they happen
and for the most part, it isn’t anyone’s fault.”
He is holding your face tenderly…delicately. He holds you with care
because he feared he would break you. He knew why Daenerys fought so hard
now…he knew why she had called her army and flown to Westeros.
He gently rubs his thumbs against your rosy cheeks, “Promise me you
won’t forget that. You are not at fault and never will be.” He whispers.
You stare up at this man and feel your heart almost burst from such
intense emotions. You came to realize that in such short time you were falling
in love with Jon Snow…the King of the North. It was shit timing…you would
But did you care?
So, you stretched up towards him and kissed him.
Just as a sudden roar shook the ground and a large shadow fell over you
and Jon. You broke away from Jon and were both thrilled and scared to see that
it was your sister and Drogon. Jon was frozen because the last ten seconds were
too hard to believe.
You had kissed him…
And now Drogon and Daenerys stood behind him.
“You’re back.” You breathed a sigh of relief as you detached yourself
from Jon’s warm arms. Your sister, on the other hand, didn’t look too happy.
Drogon suddenly roared a terrible sound in an attempt to scare Jon.
“Drogon!” You sighed and glared at your sister.
The Queen merely cocked an eyebrow at you and slightly smirked.
She would test him because you deserved
the best man alive.