Ranking Every Taylor Swift Album By Personal Preference

As should be obvious by now, I love Taylor Swift, like, a lot. Every album is better than the last, evolving sonically and lyrically with each passing year. Her talent has only improved with age, and her ability to constantly reinvent herself and her sound is one of the reasons why she remains one of music’s top artists. That’s also what makes it so difficult to rank her albums, because each one fits a different period of my life and hers. What follows is a ranking I’ve come to after MUCH agonizing, and a ranking that fits my personal favorites, not the albums I think are actually her best.

  1. 1. 8. Taylor Swift (2006)

    Honestly, I just don’t like country music. Plus, this album came out when I was six, so I’m not exactly super well-versed in every single song. That’s not to say this album is without its charms. “Tim McGraw,” “Should’ve Said No,” and “Our Song” still go just as hard today as they did when I was six. And it will always have a special place in my heart for being the album that gave the world Taylor Swift.

  2. 2. 7. folklore (2020)

    I can’t believe folklore has ended up in the bottom two. I love that album and she has created a Vibe. Two of my top five favorite Taylor songs are on folklore!! Plus she swears! August really did slip away! But at the end of the day, it’s just not my style of music. About half the songs are incredible, but the other half are skips. (Just because of the melody...I’M SORRY TAYLOR.) While I can appreciate the songwriting genius and talent that went into creating the album (and it totally deserves Grammy album of the year), it just doesn’t do it for me the way the rest of them do. 

  3. 3. 6. Speak Now (2010)

    Taylor’s only album to be entirely self-written, Speak Now has a song for every occasion. “Long Live” is always a tour highlight, dedicated to her band and her fans. This album also marked the first (but sadly not the last!) time Kanye West gets a song about him. “Dear John” is a scathing rebuke of men who date much younger women, but “Never Grow Up” is a beautiful reflection on what it means to move on from childhood. In short, she has the range. 

  4. 4. 5. Lover (2019)

    I am a pop girl at heart. Though I love the sweeping ballads of albums like Speak Now, the more upbeat sound of Lover makes it more of an everyday album. According to Taylor, the album is a celebration of all kinds of love, and that shines through. The eponymous single “Lover” stands out as an all time career best, and it’s obvious that she’s writing from a place of real emotion rather than imagined emotion. Plus the album closer, “Daylight” includes a callback to “Red,” so what’s not to like?

  5. 5. 4. 1989 (2014)

    This album sounds good live, stripped down, and as is. I don’t feel like it’s an overstatement to say that nearly everyone in the world knows a song from 1989. I mean, maybe it is, but also, maybe not? “Blank Space,” “Style,” “Shake it Off,” “Bad Blood,” AND MORE were everywhere in 2014. It is pop perfection from start to finish. If you’re interested, I would highly recommend hunting down her performance of “Out of the Woods” from the Grammy Museum. It will change you. In many ways, this album represents the peak of her career and I will listen to it at any given moment.

  6. 6. 3. reputation (2017)

    This album marks Taylor’s triumphant return after three long years of drought. Her pen is sharper and her beats are heavier, but don’t let the synth or the celebrity gossip distract you. Like Lover, reputation sees a Taylor that is in love, but this time, she’s afraid of how the world will ruin their relationship. I’ll be the first to admit that “Look What You Made Me Do,” as a song, is a little bit lackluster, but the music video? A cultural reset. Dance-y beats hide deeply personal lyrics, and the fact that the snarky “I Did Something Bad” and quiet confessional “New Year’s Day” are at opposite ends of the album, literally and tonally, show her harried state of mind.

  7. 7. 2. Fearless (2008)

    “IN A STORM IN MY BEST DRESS, FEARLESS” is basically the thesis statement of every Taylor Swift album ever, combining rain, romance, and resiliency into one pithy line. Fearless is the album that gave us such literal classic hits such as “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story,” but that also has excellent non-singles. “The Best Day” is the Mother’s Day song of my dreams, and “Fifteen” perfectly encapsulates what it is about high school that’s so very… high school. “In your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team,” she sings. And so she has. 

  8. 8. 1. Red (2012)

    Okay, I know I said I didn’t like country music, but does Red even really count?? This is the album that actually marks Taylor’s famed shift from country to pop, a transition she makes flawlessly. The album is song after song of emotional highs and lows, without a single miss. “All Too Well” is Taylor’s best song ever (although not my favorite!) and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is one of her best lead singles. Where would the world be without Red? What would our autumns look like, without mourning the loss of a love that was “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” or fantasizing about the romances of Ethel Kennedy, for some reason? “Holy Ground” sounds good as a pop song and it sounds good on piano, and “State of Grace” is an incredible album opener. Loving him really was like "driving a new Maserati down a dead end street!!” (Who?) Red showcases the heart of the reason Taylor is famous and successful (aside from her privilege, of course), and that is her ability to write extremely personal songs that everyone can relate to, while also writing hit after hit. Red is top tier material start to finish. 

These rankings are pretty much in flux constantly, and will probably change with the release of TS9. If you have any kind of opinion on this at all, please discuss this with me, so that my friends and family can have some peace. Taylor, if you’re out there, thank you for soundtracking the past 14 years of my life.

Bonus: My top three songs are “invisible string,” “Lover,” and “peace.” See? That’s two from folklore.