Critics circle Swift hit
TAYLOR Swift is either a master manipulator or an astute cultural architect, depending on your level of fandom.
As her sixth album Reputation catapulted straight to No.1 on its release on Thursday, there was no questioning the loyalty of the Swifties legions.
They prepared the way for her triumphant return with pre-orders of more than 400,000 copies in the US alone, double the number they ordered for Swift’s inexhaustible 2014 album 1989.
It appears likely Reputation will assist Swift, right, to boost her collection of 10 Grammys and sales of more than 40 million albums and 130 million singles worldwide.
But the multimillion-dollar question is how long can Reputation stay in the upper reaches of the charts and does the 27-year-old singer, songwriter, actor and social media puppetmaster still have the cultural clout to feed her fan machine and win more worshippers?
Reputation’s arrival was preceded by two more singles Gorgeous and Call It What You Want, both of which appear to be inspired by and reference her romance with British actor Joe Alwyn. And that is perhaps why the backlash drums have beaten so loud this year.
Everything she does is calculated for maximum, multiplatform saturation and when she achieves that goal, Swift attempts to act like there was no master plan.
Perhaps the greatest disappointment in the run-up to Reputation’s release was its predictability. Hit-maker Diplo took a cheap shot at her again this week, labelling Swift more marketable than relatable.
“That music doesn’t relate to (kids) at all,” he said. “I don’t think it ever did. They were only given that by radio and marketing budgets.”
While he may be discounting the millions of people who relate to Swift and her navigation of matters of the heart, it is unlikely Reputation is going to win her millions of more fans.