On November 7, 2017, I made a stupid bet. A photo of the alleged tracklist for Taylor Swift’s sixth studio album Reputation made the rounds on Twitter and I said “No way.” “Has to be fake,” I told anyone who would listen. No way would Swift, master of metaphor, be behind the following song titles: “I Did Something Bad,” “Don’t Blame Me,” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” This was supposed to be her most scathing album yet, why ruin it with these spectacular flops of titles? I was so convinced and I was so, so wrong: The next day, Swift’s camp confirmed the tracklist was real. I ate my words (but I did not pay my coworker Shawn the money that I bet him, upon realizing we should work Swiftly to curb workplace gambling.)
The main reason I really thought that tracklist was fake was because the second song listed was a collab between Tay, Atlanta rapper Future and the world’s most enigmatic pop artist Ed Sheeran called “End Game.” Couldn’t be real! It had to be fake! I’d bet $50 that it’s a prank!
You—like a younger, less knowledgable version of myself—would be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that this song is too bizarre a combination of musicians and genres to work, or even be real. It’s nuts. I am here to show you the error of my ways, and give you a bit of life-changing magic: “End Game” goes.
It makes so much sense to me now that Swift would make this the second song on her album, after the album opener “...Ready For It?”, which is fine if you’re in a SoulCycle class and the instructor plays it to warm up. By contrast “End Game,” (which is so good) boasts of a stadium-ready beat and anthemic production transforming it into a song you could listen to over and over on repeat (and you will want to.) Future is in top form on his verse, which he could have really phoned in if he wanted to just play nice and collect on his royalties. Sheeran doesn’t rap so much as rhythmically sing and fits in perfectly in the song, too.
Conclusion: It’s just good! Trust me! I’d bet money on it.