Swift re­sponse is hit and miss

REP­U­TA­TION TAY­LOR SWIFT (UNIVER­SAL)

Herald Sun - - HIT TV - with CAMERON ADAMS

Global pop su­per­stars have an im­pe­rial phase. Any­thing they re­lease sells in wild quan­ti­ties. Ed Sheeran’s in his im­pe­rial phase. So is Tay­lor Swift.

That mo­men­tum means it’s go­ing to break records but

Rep­u­ta­tion is no 1989. Even 1989’s sev­enth sin­gle, New Ro­man­tics, was bet­ter than

Rep­u­ta­tion’s first. The al­bum is no dis­as­ter and does ev­ery­thing it needs to, but does feel like go­ing through the mo­tions at times.

Part of this is due to Swift col­lab­o­rat­ing with mod­ern pop hit­mak­ers Max Martin and Shell­back. They’re not hav­ing their best year — see Katy Perry and Pink‘s al­bums.

Iron­i­cally Martin’s most 1989 mo­ment, the synth eu­pho­ria of

Danc­ing With My Hands Tied is Rep­u­ta­tion’s peak.

See also Get­away Car — writ­ten with Jack Antonoff, no stranger to retro-synth-pop. He’s also on the breathy elec­tro of Dress, some of Swift’s most bla­tantly bed­room-bound lyrics

Don’t Blame Me and its big cho­rus is a fu­ture hit — think Rag & Bone Man gone EDM — while Del­i­cate is all vocoder and wan­der­lust.

End Game has an un­ex­pected soul feel over hip-hop beats, but with Fu­ture rap­ping maybe Swift and Ed Sheeran should have just sung.

The ten­der acous­tic closer New Year’s

Day is a flash­back to Swift’s sim­pler coun­try days, be­fore the celebrity dudes and celebrity feuds.

Swift now lets ev­ery­one else an­a­lyse her lyrics, but there’s enough strate­gic (yet de­lib­er­ately still vague) clues lit­tered here to make Hansel and Gre­tel look sub­tle.

Maybe it’s be­cause Swift has al­ways been so stealthy with her fear­less cre­ativ­ity that some of Rep­u­ta­tion dis­ap­points. The old Tay­lor may be dead, but she was a lit­tle more fun.

VER­DICT Still much bet­ter than Wit­ness

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