Riggin Bippus, CSU student and Taylor Swift super fan, listens to ‘Reputation’ in his idol’s living room

Nate Day

Riggin Bippus and pop singer Taylor Swift hug
Bippus and Swift at her LA home (photo courtesy of Riggin Bippus)

Riggin Bippus is an average student.

He goes to Colorado State University every day to study mechanical engineering, he hangs out with friends after class and stresses over midterms.

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What’s different about Bippus is that he’s a huge fan of Taylor Swift. In fact, he’s such a big fan that last month, Bippus, a sophomore, was invited to Swift’s home to give her latest album “Reputation” a listen before it was released to the public.

Bippus said wasn’t always a superfan. His interest in Swift peaked in 2012 with the release of the album “Red.”

“I’ve been a fan for a while now,” Bippus said. “Back in high school was when it really hit with her album ‘Red,’ but I didn’t really unleash it until her album ‘1989,‘ because during high school if you’re a guy, you’re not supposed to like Taylor Swift.”

That didn’t stop Bippus from becoming a superfan, following fan pages on social media, liking all of Swift’s posts, listening to all of her music and reblogging everything he possibly could on Tumblr.

All of his hard work as a fan paid off, when Taylor Nation, the official fan page for Taylor Swift noticed his dedication.

Man stands holding Taylor Swift merchandise.
Sophomore Riggin Bippus is a Mechanical Engineering student and was one of the 500 fans chosen by Taylor Swift to listen to her new album, Reputation, before it was released. These listening sessions were held at each of Swift’s homes in London, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Rhode Island. Bippus was invited to the Los Angeles session that was held October 22, 19 days before the album was released to the public. (Jenny Lee | Collegian)

“I got a notification on Tumblr one day, and it was from (Taylor Nation),” Bippus said. “They sent me a message asking for some personal information. They said that they’ve noticed I’m a really big fan, and later that evening I got a call from them and they said that if I could make it out to Los Angeles, I could go to this secret Taylor Swift event.”

Bippus said he traveled to Los Angeles, where he was invited to attend an event called a “secret session,” where Swift herself would listen to her upcoming album with a handful of dedicated fans before its release.

On Oct. 22, Bippus and the others invited to participate went through several rounds of security, including a secret password that he was supposed to share with Swift’s staff and a non-disclosure agreement. Bippus said he had to hand over his cell phone before being shuttled to Swift’s home, where he got to hear her new music.

“When they took us up into her living room, you could tell where she was going to sit,” Bippus recounted. “So I was able to get a spot pretty close to the front.”

Next, Swift herself joined the party, walking the audience through each song on the album, detailing that it’s about her relationship with the media and her desire to reclaim her reputation, according to Bippus.

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The evening included Swift dancing with her fans, including Bippus during his favorite segment of “Look What You Made Me Do,” the lead single from her latest album.

Bippus said he was given the opportunity to talk with Swift one-on-one.

“This is probably the best moment of all of our lives tonight, so I asked her what hers was,” Bippus said. “She said that when she walks out on stage at the beginning of herconcerts, seeing everyone there really hits home for her.”

For Bippus, his fandom is about more than just the music. As a dedicated fan, he knows Swift’s story and has truly come to admire her as a person. 

“She’s just an awesome person,” Bippus said. “I had pretty high expectations of who she was already, and she still exceeded those.”

“She’s just an awesome person. I had pretty high expectations of who she was already, and she still exceeded those.” -Riggin Bippus

Bippus’ opinion of Swift and her music aren’t necessarily shared by other CSU students.

“‘Love Story’ was great,” said Codie West, a senior studying geophysics. “I used to sing that shit all the time, but I haven’t really listened to her new stuff, because I think it’s kind of crap.”

Alex Gist, a senior studying business, shares a similar opinion.

“I think she’s backpedaling as a musician,” Gist said. “Her old stuff used to be more genuine, and her lyrics were more sophisticated, but her new stuff is trash.”

Even Jensen Woods, a senior studying interdisciplinary liberal arts who was previously a big fan of Swift’s doesn’t like the new material.

“I do not like it,” said Woods in reference to Swift’s new music. “I think it’s pretty bad, to be honest, and even listening to (“Look What You Made Me Do”) once was difficult.”

The Collegian’s own Alec Erickson reviewed the album, calling it “an ok Taylor Swift album.

Regardless of how many students dislike Swift’s new music, Bippus and other “Swifties” will certainly make up for it with their adoration.

 

  • “Reputation,” Taylor Swift’s newest album, was released on Nov. 10, 2017. 
  • The album is available for purchase now and will be available for streaming on Friday. 
  • Singles: “Look What You Made Me Do,” “Gorgeous,” and “…Rady For It?”

 

Collegian reporter Nate Day can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @NateMDay.