New Year’s Day
Label: Big Machine Records, LLC
Bottomlessly dense with sound and verbiage, schizophrenically shifting between bombast-busy and a cappella-spare, technologically infused with drops and beats and robo-effects out of dubstep and drum‘n’bass and electro, endlessly addicted to her own myth as she turns insults upside-down, Swift’s sixth album is probably both her artsiest and least eager to please. The old Taylor can’t come to phone because she died, the Right Said Fred-sampling “Look What You Made Me Do” reports. But she’s always been vicious with vendettas; here, her scheming side is just more in your face, and voiced with more flattened, rounded, elasticized vowels of 21st Century r&b. Nearly every song smacks you with a cleverly vernacular line or two – often about good girls doing bad things, lying to liars, and leaving before they’re left because that’s “how the world works.” "End Game" has Ed Sheeran and Future. “Gorgeous,” conceivably about a woman, really is. And in almost-country-like-the-old-days finale “New Year’s Day,” Taylor helps whoever she spent the Eve with clean up bottles.