Reputation Shouldn’t Be Taken Literally. But It’s Also True.
Every song on Rep so far is a mix of truth and drama.
1. Look What You Made Me Do
No wonder we were completely confused when this song came out. On one hand, we thought it was about Kim and Kanye, but also maybe Katy. But then, as many people have noted, it could also be about how the way the media treats her.
Any of those theories could be true because the song is about all of it. The song is her “re-birth”. She pulls a phoenix rising from the ashes:
“Honey, I rose up from the dead I do it all the time”
This is her truth. She got smarter and got harder from all of the drama and publicity she’s received over the past few years. But then…
She plays the mean girl.
“I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red underlined”
Taylor Swift has better things to do than sit around and write down a list of people she wants to get revenge on. But also, if that did exist, I don’t think she’d really want to admit it.
“The world moves on, another day, another drama-drama.
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma.”
Again, people do genuinely believe she never moves on from drama and actually manufactures it so she can sell it in her music.
“Look what you made me do”
She strategically makes the song about what other people did to her, not how she got herself into this mess. Essentially portraying her as girl who people say is always playing the victim.
2. …Ready For It?
This song is fascinating because it tells the story of meeting a guy for the first time and knowing that, going in, there are a lot of things that could cause problems.
“Wonder how many girls he had loved and left haunted”
“Stealing hearts and running off and never saying sorry”
The song captures, in its rap-sung verses, the intensity of a relationship just beginning. The questions, the curiosity and also each person’s reputation. However, this is probably her most interesting truth:
“Touch me and you’ll never be alone”
This is a fantastic lyric because it shows us the chaos of starting a high-profile relationship. Especially if you’re dating one of the world’s most renowned songwriters.
We start out, right from the get-go with images of thieves and robbers.
“Me, I was a robber first time that he saw me”
Now, this is exactly the line that sticks out to me because she’s directly addressing her reputation. She’s essentially saying that the man in question probably saw her as a man-eater (an insult she’s often associated with)
“Let the games begin.”
Taylor is seen as a girl who dates for fun. Always on to the next guy. Playing games with people’s hearts so she can write another song about it.
There’s a very clear story here. It should be fairly obvious at this point. From the Sunset and Vine reference to this pretty defining lyric:
“And I got a boyfriend, he’s older than us”
Or this iconic line that describes my flirting strategy:
“That I got drunk and made fun of the way you talk”
Not even to mention going home to her cats.
I’ve heard people say this song can’t be satire, camp or a character because it’s “about Joe”. That’s ridiculous. Truth and satire can exist in the same song. We should know this well from Blank Space.
And I mean, c’mon:
“You’ve ruined my life by not being mine”.
The media likes to think of her as a control freak, right? Manipulative and always looking for another man to date, she plays into this reputation perfectly.
“I feel like I might sink and drown and die”
Her phrasing should clear up any doubt here. Not to mention she’s probably drunk while she’s thinking this. This line is a comment on the public perception of how dramatic she is. It’s no secret that she sometimes seems to overdramatize the real-life events of her songs.
Now, THE ALBUM COVER BRINGS IT TOGETHER
There have honestly been great interpretations of this and I think they’re all pretty much true. But also, think about the songs in relation to the editing here.
The album exists halfway between the real her and the media’s perception of her, just as every song has demonstrated so far. It’s a fascinating trick for anyone who wants to take these songs as fully the truth or fully satire because neither is right.
So no, we can’t take these songs literally.
But yes, we can take parts of them seriously.
Why? Because there’s always a little truth to our reputation.
Please reblog and send me your thoughts!