Song of the Day #3,418: ‘Call It What You Want’ – Taylor Swift

I’m pressing pause on the Random Weekend in progress to peck out a few thoughts on the new Taylor Swift album, which I received in the mail Friday and have given a few listens.

Reputation is pretty much what I expected based on the mostly disappointing pre-release singles. The good news is the rest of the album is a step up in quality, even if the subject matter is disappointingly more of the same. Dis tracks, love songs and meditations on what it’s like to be as famous as Taylor Swift.

The album gets off to a very bad start, with a quartet of too-loud generic pop songs. Swift co-wrote almost every track with Swedish hit-makers Shellback and Max Martin and too often they bring modern pop to her rather than the other way around. The chorus of opening track ‘Ready For It’ is Swift-ian brilliance, but it’s a brief oasis in a sea of murk.

But things pick up after that. ‘Delicate’ has a silky, sadly romantic vibe I could listen to for days. Swift says that this is where the album shifts from bombast to vulnerability. She’s better at vulnerability.

That shift is interrupted by lead single ‘Look What You Made Me Do,’ and the less said about that one the better.

Tracks seven through 15 are all good to great, including album highlights ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’ and ‘New Year’s Day.’

On ‘Dress,’ Swift delivers her sexiest track yet (“only bought this dress so you could take it off”) on a song that sounds like an outtake from best pal Selena Gomez’s last album.

‘Call It What You Want To’ is the best of the pre-release singles. Co-written with the album’s other principal collaborator, Jack Antonoff, it’s a slinky, mid-tempo love song over a bed of seductive synths and percussion.

‘Getaway Car’ sounds like the sleepier second cousin of 1989‘s fabulous ‘Style,’ especially in its chorus.

‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ is supremely catchy (and catty), though a song that’s such an obvious shot at Kanye West feels ill-timed given his troubles. Yes, he went low… why not go high?

Album closer ‘New Year’s Day’ is the best song here by far, and not coincidentally it’s the one that sounds the most like “Old Taylor.” A gentle piano ballad about finding lasting love, it’s the album’s most emotional and affecting moment.

If this album is a snapshot of Swift’s life over the past few years, I suppose ‘New Year’s Day’s placement suggests she emerged from the tumult in a much better place.

That makes Reputation a transitional album… not the “New Taylor” she teased, but a real-time look at the messy metamorphosis.

[Verse 1]
My castle crumbled overnight
I brought a knife to a gunfight
They took the crown, but it’s alright
All the liars are calling me one
Nobody’s heard from me for months
I’m doin’ better than I ever was
‘Cause

[Chorus]
My baby’s fit like a daydream
Walking with his head down
I’m the one he’s walking to
So call it what you want, yeah
Call it what you want to
My baby’s fly like a jet stream
High above the whole scene
Loves me like I’m brand new
So call it what you want, yeah
Call it what you want to

[Verse 2]
All my flowers grew back as thorns
Windows boarded up after the storm
He built a fire just to keep me warm
All the drama queens taking swings
All the jokers dressing up as kings
They fade to nothing when I look at him
And I know I make the same mistakes every time
Bridges burn, I never learn
At least I did one thing right
I did one thing right
I’m laughing with my lover, makin’ forts under covers
Trust him like a brother
Yeah, you know I did one thing right
Starry eyes sparkin’ up my darkest night

[Chorus]
My baby’s fit like a daydream
Walking with his head down
I’m the one he’s walking to
So call it what you want, yeah
Call it what you want to
My baby’s fly like a jet stream
High above the whole scene
Loves me like I’m brand new
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
So call it what you want, yeah
Call it what you want to

[Bridge]
I want to wear his initial on a chain round my neck
Chain round my neck
Not because he owns me
But ’cause he really knows me
Which is more than they can say, I…
I recall late November
Holdin’ my breath, slowly I said
“You don’t need to save me
But would you run away with me?”
Yes (would you run away?)

[Chorus]
My baby’s fit like a daydream
Walking with his head down
I’m the one he’s walking to
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
So call it what you want, yeah
Call it what you want to
My baby’s fly like a jet stream
High above the whole scene
Loves me like I’m brand new
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
So call it what you want, yeah
Call it what you want to

[Outro]
(Call it what you want, call it)
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
Call it what you want, yeah
Call it what you want… to

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,418: ‘Call It What You Want’ – Taylor Swift

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Though I think you are a bit too harsh on the lead single and “Are you ready for it,” I generally agree with your review from what I have heard so far. The pop electronic sound is just not my thing and I find it fairly soulless, which is particularly disappointing given how great Swift’s songwriting chops are when she leans toward the more earthy sound. “New Year’s Day” is my favorite as it is most definitely “old Taylor.” I’m hoping that this closing track foreshadows a more acoustic offering in the wings for her next release.

  2. Amy says:

    I agree of much of what you say here, including that this album is a snapshot of where she has been and where she hopes she’s going. I like the pop electronic stuff here, though I am certainly not the audience for whom it is meant. My favorite of the early singles is the playful “Gorgeous” — curious what you think of that one. It gets stuck in my head for hours. And, of course, there is no old or new Taylor, but she has clearly taken the lessons from the past and emerged a more cynical, less trusting version of the always evolving Taylor. If she is truly able to leave all the drama behind, I, for one, anticipate some truly special and intimate songs in the years ahead.

  3. Maddie says:

    I agree that I’m more impressed by vulnerable Taylor, but I think she’s one of the best bombastic songwriters out there as well. I love this album so far and the only track which didn’t hit me completely from the start was “So It Goes…” I’m excited to listen to all of these songs an insane amount of times in the coming weeks. So far “Don’t Blame Me,” “Delicate,” “King of My Heart,” “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” and “New Years Day” are my highlights.

  4. Amy says:

    Interesting. Daniel has declared “King of My Heart” the album’s worst song, so I’ll have to pay close attention to it on next listen to see on which side of the spectrum I fall. Thus far, I’m not a fan of “End Game.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s