Taylor Swift held secret sessions for some lucky fans prior to Reputation’s release. Here’s what she revealed to them.
1. ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ started out as a poem that Taylor wrote about her feelings
It’s hard to imagine Taylor’s lead single as anything other than the anthem that it became, but it actually began as a simple poem that Taylor had written about what she was feeling, at the time. “It had all the verses in it just as is,” she told the lucky attendees of her “secret sessions.” “When the beat hit we were like, ‘Oooh! Look what you made me do! Look what you made me do!!’ and we were just like, ‘Oh my God, we need to edit out the rest of the words. Just do that.'”
2. ‘…Ready For It?’ introduces one of Taylor favorite themes from the album
There’s a lot of imagery that’s consistent throughout Reputation, and one of these components is the idea of thieves and heists. “‘…Ready For It?’ kind of introduces a metaphor where it talks about robbers, thieves and heists and all that. I found that to be a really interesting metaphor, but twisted in different ways throughout the album,” Swift said, about the song. Another prime example of this theme is “Getaway Car.”
3. Taylor picked her producers for ‘Reputation’ very carefully
Taylor Swift worked with a huge group of people to bring 1989 to life. For Reputation, she was far more selective when choosing her team. She told her attentive audience, “this group of producers is a lot smaller than on 1989. I picked people who I’d worked with on 1989, but I felt like they would be versatile enough to kill 1989 and make something new.”
She went on to explain that there were two groups involved in Reputation. There was the pairing of herself and Jack Antonoff, and the “two Swedes and a Swift” team of Taylor, Max Martin and Shellback.
4. Taylor’s goal was to make something completely different from ‘1989’
If it wasn’t already clear with the now infamous, “the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now,” line, Taylor reiterated that her goal was to make something that was very different from her previous works. “There would be no way for me to make something even similar to 1989 and have it be effective. It had to be completely different because that album was its own thing,” she said of the transition.
5. The legendary ‘Track 5’ status was given to ‘Delicate’ by accident
Taylor Swift fans know that Track 5 on her albums always packs a big emotional punch, and is always a fan favorite track. Former “track 5s” include “All Too Well,” “Dear John,” “White Horse,” “All You Had to Do Was Stay,” and “Cold As You.” It makes complete sense that the coveted spot was given to Reputation’s “Delicate,” but Taylor didn’t even realize what she had done!
“I didn’t even do it on purpose,” she confessed. “When I finally was like, this is the final tracklist, I was like…oh, I did it again.”
6. ‘I Did Something Bad’ started out as a very different song
“I Did Something Bad” is one of the most produced songs on Reputation, so it might be difficult to believe that Taylor actually wrote this song on piano! “I wrote this song on piano,” she said, of the track, “it’s not going to sound like it though…you’re not going to say that after you hear it. It’s not that kind of song.”
The production aspects sprang from a dream that Taylor had. “I had had a weird dream,” she explained. “I had woken up with this sound that was a sound that was so hooky and so catchy that I knew it had to be in a song. It was that annoying, it wouldn’t stop going around in my head. The sound was “La da da da da da DA DA.”
7. ‘King of my Heart’ helped Taylor fulfill one of her songwriting goals
One of the best things about Taylor Swift’s music is that it usually goes so much deeper than the lyrics. She plays with instruments, sounds, tempos, and tones to create a far broader story than you might realize, upon the first listen.
With “King of my Heart,” she used both the lyrics and the tempo to create a piece of art that mimics the stages of a relationship. “There seem to be these very definitive phases,” she said, of love stories. “It doesn’t matter how long that phase lasts, there seems to be a moment where you know it transitioned to the next phase.”
“I always wanted to structure the song where each individual section of the song sounded like a move forward in the relationship, while still being listenable.” She finally achieved it with “King of my Heart,” saying, “I wanted the verse to seem like its own phase of a relationship, the pre-chorus to sound like its own phase of a relationship, and the chorus to sound like its own phase of a relationship. I wanted them to all have their own identity but seem like they were getting deeper and more fast paced as the song went on.”
8. ‘Dress’ is a compilation of some of Taylor’s favorite lines
Save those diaries and doodle pages, folks. They could turn into an amazing song, someday! Taylor went into her own collection of notes to write Reputation’s “Dress.” “Almost every line is something I came up with like a year before, and then when I was writing the song I just cherry picked, and I was like, ‘like that, like that, like that, like that.'”
9. Two lines in ‘New Year’s Day’ have been a long time coming
“New Year’s Day” is the beautiful closer to Reputation. It turns out, Taylor has been hanging onto two of the song’s best lyrics for quite some time. Can you guess which ones? If you picked “hold onto the memories, they will hold onto you,” and “please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere,” you’ll keep all your New Year’s resolutions this year!
10. ‘Call It What You Want’ reflects where Taylor is now
Taylor has said that she views Reputation as having a very linear timeline. With that said, it makes perfect sense that “Call It What You Want,” the album’s penultimate track, would be a good reflection of where Taylor is as the album is being released.
“This last part of the album feels like settling into where I am now,” Taylor confessed before playing “Call It What You Want” for the session attendees.