For The Haters: Taylor Swift's 30 Best Songs That Are Not About A Relationship

It’s 2019, and people that still think hating Taylor Swift is a personality type continue to spam comment sections with complaints over the subjects of her songs, rotting my brain with cries of “all she sings about are her ex-boyfriends” and “don’t say anything bad, she’ll write a song about you too!” 

Give me a break. 

Change has me ready to riot as soon as the opening chord strikes, and Soon You’ll Get Better had me crying on the bus to work exactly 17 seconds in (and the fear and raw hope are so palpable that I haven’t been able to listen to it again since). The words she chooses to describe situations so insanely specific to herself are so clever that I can take them and apply them to an entirely different situation for myself - can you say, hello, talent? 

Common counter-argument aside (that every artist out there sings songs about their relationships: see every male artist… oh, and female artist… and band, ever). Here’s some cold hard proof: our 30 favorite songs written by Taylor Swift that are not about a relationship. 

Get to listening!

  1. 1. Ronan

    Okay, so technically this one is about a boy - 3-year-old Ronan Thompson. Taylor was a follower of his mother’s blog, and after he died of cancer she penned the song based on those blog entries, donating all of the proceeds from its sale to cancer charities. 

  2. 2. Never Grow Up

    I cried to this song the first night alone in my dorm room, wishing I could go back to the yellow-walls of my childhood room. Then, I cried to it again the first night I slept in the big ‘ol city I moved to. And then I cried to it again when I danced with my 3-year old niece.

  3. 3. Tied Together With A Smile

    This is a pretty intense song, lyrically. Written for a friend with an eating disorder, it focuses in on someone who conceals their emotions behind a mask. We can probably all relate, and Taylor magnificently writes about this.

  4. 4. Soon You’ll Get Better

    Taylor’s mother is battling breast cancer for the second time, and she wrote this song about her own struggles with her mother’s disease. It hit so unbearably close to home for me, particularly with the lyrics, “And I hate to make this all about me, but who am I supposed to talk to? What am I supposed to do if there's no you?” There’s an immense feeling of guilt that comes with thinking about yourself in the face of someone else’s illness, but you can’t help it.

  5. 5. The Best Day

    Growing up kind of sucks. It’s filled with uncertainty and blow after blow to your self esteem, and The Best Day captures that perfectly before thanking her mother for always standing beside her.

  6. 6. A Place in this World

    Can I say just once more, growing up sucks! Everybody is constantly asking what you want to be and where you want to go, but can’t we just have a little bit of time to figure that out on our own?! Taylor Swift thinks so! We’re all just trying to figure out what our place in this world is, one day at a time. 

  7. 7. The Outside

    We’ve all been on the outside of something. Taylor wrote this song when she was in school, feeling like she was stuck on the outside. As always, she masterfully explores just how isolating the outside can be. 

  8. 8. Miss Americana + the Heartbreak Prince

    Ms. Swift knows her way around a metaphor. Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince has found itself on a lot of Best of 2019 lists, thanks to its political undertones woven into a high school setting. (Lyric shout out: "Boys will be boys then/Where are the wise men?")

  9. 9. Clean

    Clean is one of Taylor’s many tracks that are open to interpretation over the specific subject, but at its heart it’s about overcoming what’s dragging you down and acknowledging how, even once you’re past it, you still miss it. 

  10. 10. The Man

    Despite the title, what is perhaps Taylor’s boldest song to date isn’t about a man. It’s about all men, and what it would be like to be one. Opening her AMA Artist of the Decade performance, she sang, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can.” And we are too. On behalf of everyone who isn’t a man, we’re all sick of wondering if we’d get there faster if we were a man. 

  11. 11. Shake It Off

    An instant classic. This isn’t our favorite Taylor song by any means, but the message shines through in a lighthearted way. And for the record, Taylor doesn’t go on too many dates. 

  12. 12. I Forgot That You Existed

    The perfect opening song to bring us out of the reputation era. This song hones in on a feeling everyone’s experienced - the beautiful moment when you wake up and the person or thing that has had a hold on you, simply no longer does. 

  13. 13. Welcome to New York

    Taylor opened the 1989 tour by letting the audience know that the story begins in New York. To me, this song is about new adventures, new beginnings and diving head first into the unknowns. It’s scary and it’s thrilling, and there are so many bright lights ahead.

  14. 14. Speak Now

    Superficially, Speak Now tells the story of a wedding crasher looking to put a stop to the nuptials, but at its heart, the song encourages us not to wait when we know what needs to be said. Who knows what will happen if you wait?

  15. 15. You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home

    Written by Taylor but recorded by Miley Cyrus for the Hannah Montana movie (something I’m dying to hear her perform herself someday), we’re reminded that it doesn’t matter where we go or what we do, we’ll still always be us.

  16. 16. Safe and Sound

    Recorded for The Hunger Games soundtrack, this haunting track provides a sliver of hope for better times in an otherwise scary environment, advising, “Just close your eyes, the sun is going down. You'll be alright, no one can hurt you now.” 

  17. 17. Eyes Open

    Also from The Hunger Games soundtrack, Eyes Open warns about watching out for yourself in a world where everyone else is waiting for you to fail - an excellent summary of the film as well as the world’s constant scrutiny of Taylor. 

  18. 18. The Lucky One

    As one of the biggest celebrities of our time, Taylor is no stranger to the negatives that come with being famous, and records her hopes here that she’ll recognize when her time in the spotlight has come, over losing track of who she really is - because they'll tell you that you're lucky but you're so confused, 'cause you don't feel pretty, you just feel used.

  19. 19. You Need to Calm Down

    She *clap* took *clap* back *clap* the *clap* narrative. This song, and more importantly, the video, celebrates inclusion and love. Boys and boys, and girls and girls (see: Welcome to New York).  

  20. 20. Innocent

    Written after the infamous Kanye debacle, Innocent is a track of forgiveness, acknowledging that we are more than our mistakes and that they do not define us, but instead offer us opportunities for growth. Too bad Kanye never took it to heart. 

  21. 21. This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

    Hi, Kanye. Part 2.

  22. 22. 22

    Without any research or proof, we’re going to venture to say that the line, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22” has been used to wish everyone a happy 22nd birthday since Taylor released Red. This song celebrates being young -- in all of its happiness, freedom, confusion and loneliness at the same time. 

  23. 23. New Romantics

    We’re all bored and, oh, so tired of everything. Relatable. Taylor takes it up a notch and shares her strength; she’s built a castle out of all the bricks they threw at her. A castle where she’s Artist of the Decade. We love it.

  24. 24. Mean

    Haters, beware. It’s one thing to provide constructive criticism and it’s another to relentlessly attack every action a person takes. We’ll get over it and move on with our lives, but all you’re ever gonna be is mean. 

  25. 25. Change

    The final track off of Fearless, Change is an anthem for picking yourself back off of the ground and pushing forward, even when things aren’t looking up just yet. Bring down the walls. Start the revolution. It starts with us! 

  26. 26. Look What You Made Me Do

    This song hasn’t been a fan-favorite, but LWYMMD has earned a place on this list. Especially looking at the recent Big Machine/Scooter Braun drama. If you’re still unsure about it, put it on and run on the treadmill. It. Slaps. On. A. Treadmill. 

  27. 27. Fifteen

    Fifteen is famously about Taylor’s best friend from high school, Abigail, and her story. It’s a powerful reflection on our teen years and how every emotion felt is valid, but not the end of the world. 

  28. 28. The Archer

    Another song open to interpretation, I think The Archer sees Taylor at war with herself, recognizing her part in past conflicts (“I cut off my nose just to spite my face, then I hate my reflection…") and opening up about her insecurities (“who could ever leave me, darling, but who could stay?”).

  29. 29. Fearless

    To open the Fearless Tour, Taylor told us that she didn’t think that fearless was the absence of fear, but rather diving head first into something in spite of that fear. Under the guise of the anticipation of a first kiss, Fearless encourages you to go after the things that scare you.

  30. 30. Long Live

    This song, wow, it makes me cry. This is a song for us, the fans, and we will scream it at the top of our lungs until we die. 

So, what was that about writing the same song over and over again?