1. When Taylor began writing and recording this album, the goal was to “kill” 1989 and create something entirely different.
2. In fact, she says that attempting to replicate any part of 1989 would have been “ineffective” since that album was its own entity.
3. To achieve this goal, she specifically narrowed her pool of producers, from the 12 she worked with on 1989, to just three on Reputation.
4. She chose Max Martin, Shellback and Jack Antonoff – all of whom she’d worked with on 1989 and believed possessed the versatility to create something new.
5. The first time Taylor felt she was really “onto something” with this album was after laying down “I Did Something Bad.” She and Max Martin were both in agreement that it sounded nothing like anything on 1989.
6. Speaking of “I Did Something Bad,” the song was originally written using just a piano, although you’d never guess that based on the final result.
7. And that sound effect after the chorus that goes: “Durrrlatatatata duh duh,” is actually Taylor’s real voice.
8. Taylor says she woke up from a dream with the sound in her head, and decided it was so “hooky and catchy” that it needed to be in a song.
9. She then made the noise to Max Martin and asked what instrument they could use to replicate it. He told her that no such instrument existed, but that they could record her voice and pitch it right down so it became unrecognisable.
10. This instance wasn’t the first time Taylor has woken up from a dream with a sound in her head that made it onto an album. The same thing happened during the1989 era when she woke up hearing the operatic “Stay!” that went on to be used in “All You Had To Do Was Stay.”
11. Believe it or not, “Look What You Made Me Do” was originally an emotional poem that Taylor wrote. In fact, the verses in their entirety exist in the poem, but the chorus came during the recording sessions.
12. She and the producers loved the spoken refrain of “Oooh, look what you made me do” so much that they decided to strip away any other words.
13. There’s a recurring theme of crime and punishment across the album, which actually starts in the opening song, “…Ready For It?” In this track, the theme is explored through the notion of finding a romantic partner so similar to you that they could be referred to as your “partner in crime.”
14. However, the metaphor is used to different effect on other songs. For example, “Getaway Car” uses criminal imagery to depict a relationship destined to fail.
15. Historically, the fifth track on any Taylor Swift album is emotional and vulnerable, and she upheld the tradition on Reputation.
16. In fact, “Delicate,” is the first moment of real vulnerability on the album.
17. The inspiration for the song was born from Taylor realising that her “fake” reputation could have a real impact if it led to someone she wanted in her life deciding against getting to know her.
18. In fact, while the first few tracks on the album have a bombastic and carefree approach to her reputation, “Delicate” is about recognising that perhaps it does carry some weight.
19. This track is also the first instance of the auto-tune style vocal effect that is then repeated throughout the album. The sound was achieved using a vocoder, which splits a singer’s voice into chords that can be rearranged.
20. Taylor says the sound had a “sad and vulnerable” vibe that was perfect for the track.
21. This album is the first to contain a song in which Taylor swears. While she’s used “damn” and “hell” before, she actually drops the “S” bomb on “I Did Something Bad.”
22. It’s also the first time Taylor references alcohol, and repeatedly at that. In fact, there are 13 references to drinking across the 15 tracks.
23. And despite never having used the phrase “my baby” in her discography before, it appears 17 times on Reputation.
24. Taylor wrote the lyrics to “Dress” a full year before recording it, and then “cherry-picked” her favourite lines when it came to recording.
25. She’s particularly proud of the hook in “Dress” – “I only bought this dress so you could take it off” – because while it sounds like a pickup line, it actually masks the “deep and tender feelings” in the song.
26. And while some people speculated that the song was about Ed Sheeran thanks to the reference to a “best friend” in the chorus, he has confirmed that he did not inspire the track.
27. The baby voice at the start of “Gorgeous” belongs to Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ daughter, James.
28. How the voice came to be used remains unclear though, because Taylor told several different versions of the story during her Secret Sessions with fans.
29. We do know, however, that she came up with the lyrics over the course of two weeks back in September last year.
30. We also know that Taylor changed several of the lyrics to “Gorgeous” between writing and recording it. One such lyric was: “My reputation precedes both of us,” which went on to be repurposed on “End Game.”
31. Taylor included many of the lyrics from Reputation in graffiti on the walls in the video for “…Ready For It,” which was released before the album came out. Some of these lines, such as “They’re burning all the witches,” and “I loved you in secret,” were noticed by fans.
32. However, there was one piece of graffiti that pretty much everyone missed – a crown with a heart beneath signifying the song “King of My Heart.”
33. Taylor had a specific goal for this song. She wanted to convey the definitive phases of a relationship, and the specific moments a couple realise they’ve transitioned into a new phase. Speaking about the song, Taylor explained: “I’ve always wanted to structure a song where each individual section sounded like a move forward in the relationship while still being listenable. I wanted the verse to seem like its own phase, the pre chorus to have its own phase and chorus to have its own phase. I wanted them to have their own identity but seem like they were getting deeper as the song went on.”
34. You may have noticed the repeated mention of things being “gold” or “golden” across the album. Well, back in 2012, Taylor wrote in the liner notes of Red that she thinks “real love shines golden like starlight,” and that she might “write a whole album” about that kind of love if she “ever found it.”
35. Taylor says the album is “very linear” in its timeline. It starts out with “rebellion and anger and angst” before she falls in love and changes her priorities. She says the final tracks are representative of her current emotional state.
36. Taylor and Jack Antonoff wrote “New Year’s Day” in his apartment and the whole process came together so unbelievably quickly that they texted each other the next day to “check it wasn’t a dream.”
37. She was inspired to write the song after thinking about how New Year’s Eve kisses are romanticised, and yet the notion of a person “dealing” with you on New Year’s Day by “handing you Advil and helping you clear up the house” is arguably a more romantic statement of permanence.
38. There are two lyrics in the song that Taylor says she wrote “a really long time ago.” Those two lines lines are: “Please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognise anywhere,” and “Hold onto the memories, they will hold onto you.” She says she was saving the lines for the right song and felt they fit perfectly on the final track.
39. And, finally, Reputation has now become Taylor’s fourth album to sell a million copies in its first week.