Why did Taylor Swift create her album Reputation? Exploring singer's remarks as she reveals what it means to her

Reputation, Taylor Swift's 2017 album, encapsulates a transformative chapter in her life, boldly addressing public controversies, romantic intricacies, and marking a resilient evolution in her musical narrative.

Published on Dec 07, 2023  |  01:56 AM IST |  147.1K
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Taylor Swift (Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Taylor Swift's 2017 album Reputation emerged as a compelling musical narrative, offering fans a window into the tumultuous chapters of her life. Amidst publicized feuds and romantic entanglements, Swift boldly expressed herself, particularly addressing the Kanye West and Kim Kardashian controversy. The album also delved into her whirlwind romance with Joe Alwyn, capturing the intricacies of love. As anticipation builds for Reputation (Taylor's Version), set to coincide with her Eras Tour in 2024, fans eagerly anticipate a renewed exploration of the album's mysteries, showcasing Swift's unapologetic storytelling and emotional authenticity.

Why did Taylor Swift create her album Reputation?

During an exclusive interview with Time, pop singer Taylor Swift opened up about revisiting her 2017 album Reputation. She spoke about the making of her album and shared the story behind it. It was because of the infamous feud between Swift and Kanye West which reached its peak when West wrote a song with explicit lyrics about her, alleging Swift's consent, a claim she vehemently denied. Kim Kardashian, West's then-wife, escalated the drama by releasing a video conversation that suggested Swift's prior knowledge of the song. The tabloid frenzy media painted Swift as a "snake," a moniker she resented, calling the episode as a career-altering blow. Swift expressed the profound impact, stating, "Make no mistake—my career was taken away from me," highlighting the personal and professional toll of the highly publicized controversy. In this regard, Swift said, “You have a fully manufactured frame job, in an illegally recorded phone call, which Kim Kardashian edited and then put out to say to everyone that I was a liar. That took me down psychologically to a place I’ve never been before. I moved to a foreign country. I didn’t leave a rental house for a year. I was afraid to get on phone calls. I pushed away most people in my life because I didn’t trust anyone anymore. I went down really, really hard.”

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Taylor Swift's 2017 album Reputation prominently featured snake imagery, symbolizing the perceived betrayal she endured during the Kanye West feud. The music video for Look What You Made Me Do took a dramatic turn, depicting Swift metaphorically killing off younger versions of herself. Despite the uproar and skepticism surrounding Reputation, Swift said, “I thought that moment of backlash was going to define me negatively for the rest of my life.” Additionally, having fulfilled her record deal with Scott Borchetta, Swift felt constrained by the creative limitations of her old label, leading to her decision to seek a new musical direction. She said, “The molecular chemistry of that old label was that every creative choice I wanted to make was second-guessed. I was really overthinking these albums.”

ALSO READ: How long have Taylor Swift and Beyoncé known each other? Exploring their relationship as the Anti-Hero singer attends Renaissance movie premiere

Who were Taylor Swift’s Reputation song’s subjects?

Ready For It? – Originally assumed to be about Harry Styles, Taylor Swift clarified it's an ode to Joe Alwyn through hidden references in the music video, including Alwyn's name in Chinese characters and a quote affirming their private relationship.

End Game – Swift's desire for a lasting connection with Joe Alwyn is evident, reflecting her commitment to keeping their relationship private, making it clear this song is dedicated to the actor.

I Did Something Bad – A self-deprecating response to being labeled shady and "a snake" in 2017, Swift takes a playful jab at herself, addressing past relationships with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Calvin Harris, and Tom Hiddleston.


Don't Blame Me – A tongue-in-cheek love song about Joe Alwyn, Swift acknowledges past romantic entanglements but emphasizes that her connection with Alwyn during challenging times is the real deal.

Delicate – Beginning after her feud with Kanye West, Swift references her evolving reputation, with details like "dark jeans and Nikes" aligning with moments shared with Alwyn, affirming their connection.

Look What You Made Me Do – A direct response to the feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Swift addresses their actions and predicts karma, asserting her resilience against their attempts to tarnish her image.

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So It Goes  – Though not explicit, Swift hints at the intimacy with Joe Alwyn, describing wearing him "like a necklace" and suggesting that their pieces fell into place during challenging times.


Gorgeous – Despite initial assumptions, the flirty lyrics reveal Swift's attraction to Joe Alwyn, aligning with fans' insights from private listening sessions, emphasizing Alwyn as the subject rather than ex Tom Hiddleston. 

Getaway Car – Focused on her relationship with Tom Hiddleston, Swift's lyrics suggest a failed romance, referencing the Met Gala and their jet-setting adventures, portraying Hiddleston as the primary subject.

King Of My Heart – With references to Alwyn's name in ". . . Ready For It?" and Swift's wish to keep love secret, the lyrics indicate a genuine connection with Alwyn amid mentions of boys with expensive cars.

Dancing With Our Hands Tied – Likely about her under-the-radar romance with Joe Alwyn, though references to being 25 years old might also allude to her past relationship with Calvin Harris.

Dress – Despite initial assumptions about Ed Sheeran, the lyrics, mentioning a buzz cut and bleached hair, align with Joe Alwyn, whom Swift reportedly met in May 2016.

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things – A direct shot at Kanye West, Swift references their tumultuous friendship, the Famous lyrics controversy, and West's falling out with JAY-Z, labeling him "shady."


Call It What You Want – Offering a closer look at her relationship with Joe Alwyn, Swift's lyrics reflect on the private nature of their romance, with nods to specific moments, including the screening of Alwyn's film in November 2016.

New Year's Day – Expressing a desire to stay with someone "forevermore," the song hints at the significance of the holiday for Swift and Joe Alwyn, suggesting they spent the December to January period together.

ALSO READ: How did Taylor Swift make 2023 her year? Exploring highlights of Anti-Hero singer's success as she tops the list of Most Intriguing People

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