Taylor Swift‘s direct address to her fans for her new album, Reputation, comes in the form of a heartfelt prologue letter – included with physical copies of the LP – which encourages fans not to believe everything they hear or see when it comes to rumors.
“Here’s something I’ve learned about people,” the singer began. “We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us. … We may hear rumors about a person and believe those things to be true. We may one day meet that person and feel foolish for believing baseless gossip.”
“This is the first generation that will be able to look back on their entire life story documented in pictures on the internet, and together we will all discover the after-effects of that,” she continued. “Ultimately, we post photos online to curate what strangers think of us. But then we wake up, look in the mirror at our faces and see the cracks and scars and blemishes, and cringe. We hope someday we’ll meet someone who will see that same morning face and instead see their future, their partner, their forever. Someone who will still choose us even when they see all of the sides of the story, all the angles of the kaleidoscope that is you.”
Swift’s sixth studio LP, which dropped Friday, includes personal anecdotes and lyrics ranging from her well-documented feud with Kanye West to her low-key romance with boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
But, Swift’s open letter warns, reading too much into her lyrics is falling right back into the trap of satisfying “our need to simplify and generalize absolutely everyone and everything in this life.”
“I’ve been in the public eye since I was 15 years old,” she wrote. “On the beautiful, lovely side of that, I’ve been so lucky to make music for a living and look out into crowds of loving, vibrant people. On the other side of the coin, my mistakes have been used against me, my heartbreaks have been used as entertainment, and my songwriting has been trivialized as ‘oversharing.'”
Her resolution, of sorts, is to therefore remind her fans that there are more layers to her truth than what she displays on social media and through her music.
“Let me say it again, louder for those in the back,” she concluded. “We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them that they have chosen to show us. There will be no further explanation. There will be just reputation.”