I'm so happy that you enjoyed my last Music Meets YA post, so I'm thinking I'll continue to post these with tons of new artists. If you missed the first one, check out Harry Style's Fine Line Meets YA.
Today, I'm pairing Taylor's sixth album, reputation, with a handful of my favorites reads. It's an album that really explored themes of coming back from hard situations and finding love when it feels impossible. She also comes to realize that perfect is impossible, which is a topic that comes up a lot in YA. I've tried to match some of my favorite books with songs off the album that share a similar theme or vibe.
Are you a Taylor Swift fan? What do you think of these pairings? Do you have ideas for your own? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Permanent Record ( Delicate)
Pablo's life in Permanent Record is full of uncertainty. He doesn't know where he's headed in life after dropping out of college. He's constantly anxious and lost about every aspect of his life. Getting into a relationship with Leanna Smart, international pop star, doesn't help the matter. They are both struggling with their identities and the future. While their relationship may not last for more than a couple moments, it leaves an impact. "Delicate" is a song that breaths New York City like Permanent Record and is swirling with just as much uncertainty. "We can't make/Any promises now, can we, babe?/But you can make me a drink".
They Both Die At The End (Dancing with Our Hands Tied)
"Dancing With Our Hands Tied" tells the story of a couple who is doomed by their situation but choose to love each other anyway. This also pretty accurately sums up what happens in They Both Die at The End. Mateo and Rufus connect on the Last Friends app after learning that it's their death day. They make the best of a horrible situation, a theme that comes up a lot on Rep. "I, I loved you in spite of/Deep fears that the world would divide us/So, baby, can we dance/Oh, through an avalanche?"
Emergency Contact (Call It What You Want)
A lot of the reputation album is about someone loving you at your lowest and most lost. The songs are about finding a support system. Emergency Contact follows Penny and Sam who are both facing their own struggles from bad relationships to hard life transitions. They bond through texts back and forth as their relationship evolves into murky territory. "Call It What You Want" talks about a healing relationship based on support that doesn't have to answer to the world. I absolutely love this book, and I definitely think there needs to be more like it. "I recall late November, holdin' my breath/Slowly I said, "You don't need to save me/But would you run away with me?"
You Asked For Perfect (Look What You Made Me Do)
While this isn't a perfect fit, I feel like LWYMMD works as a dark call out to what the college admissions process makes a lot of seniors feel and go through. As Ariel struggles between the impossible perfection required to go to Harvard and actually having a healthy life, there is a temptation just to let everything fall apart in retaliation. I feel like the song captures that feeling when you realize that you're never going to be able to meet everyone's expectations. The world has torn you down, but you can still come out stronger on the other side. "But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time".
Reputation is an album that looks one way from the singles but is entirely different when you listen to all the songs in order. It's actually a tentative love story, just held against a dark backdrop. I think it's still my favorite of Taylor's albums (though 1989 is a close second). Like before, I didn't get to pair any of my favorite songs with books. My top three are "New Year's Day", "Getaway Car", and "So It Goes".
More Music Meets YA...
Links of Interest: