Diary entries, as a rule, don’t constitute art. Songs do.
That’s what drew me in to Taylor Swift and her music upon the release of her 2006 debut album, “Taylor Swift,” and that’s what has kept me closely tracking the remarkable arc of her career since then, up to and including today’s release of her sixth album, “Reputation.”
From the beginning, Swift — then a precocious, uncommonly smart, gifted and ambitious teenager — has written deeply personal songs that often sound like they’re ripped directly from the pages of a diary.
That hallmark of her songwriting has nurtured an especially close bond between Swift and her fans, along with her savvy use of social media from the outset. It’s also given her detractors no shortage of ammunition with which to attack her for everything from a new hairdo to her choices of dates to the logistics of selling tickets to her concerts.
The double-edged sword of success — and the fame and fortune that have accompanied it to stratospheric levels for her — inform many of the songs on “Reputation,” possibly the most anticipated album of the always-intensive fall season.
As one of a small handful of music writers offered an early listen to the new collection, I’ll venture to call it her most focused, most cohesive album yet.