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The Taylor Swift Calendar: What Time of Year to Listen to Each of the Albums for the Full Experience

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bowling Green chapter.

Everyone knows that Red (Taylor’s Version) is the ultimate fall album— though I don’t think the original album was as fall-coded as the re-recording thanks to the vault tracks— and many, including myself, agree that evermore belongs on the same pedestal. But have you ever considered Taylor Swift’s discography as a calendar year? Swifties, we can’t acknowledge the fall albums (though fall is the best season, no contest!) without discussing the seasonality of all of her music! Follow me for just a few moments on this (somewhat crazy, I know) journey through the seasons of the year and which of our Blondie’s songs showcase them best. 

reputation: January 1- February 14

The month of January belongs to reputation, which Taylor herself must agree with, as the closing track is titled “New Year’s Day.” The album has a stone-cold exterior, presented as a revenge album, like the bitter cold of January and February. This is the only album that I’ve designated actual dates for, because true fans know that rep is probably Taylor’s most romantic work- definitely more so than the equally misleadingly titled Lover. As a romantic myself, this album will always be in my top 3. For newer Swifties or those who aren’t quite fans of this album, here are the tracks I think best represent the true heart of reputation: 

  1. Dancing With Our Hands Tied
  2. Call it What You Want
  3. Delicate

Speak Now (Taylor’s Version): Late winter-early spring

This album is beautiful for so many reasons, but I think one of its best features is the way it encapsulates growing up. I became especially in love with Speak Now toward the end of my senior year of high school when I started having all the “lasts.” That might be a major reason why I think this album fits with the end of winter and the beginning of spring, but the tracks just make sense as well. “Sparks Fly” is a perfect song for the trees starting to look green again, and as a Pisces, so many of the songs just SCREAM Pisces season (Timeless, Haunted, Enchanted… Taylor was in her dreamer era and I am always here for it). This may be my most controversial of all the takes in this article, but I stand by it!

Fearless (Taylor’s Version): Rainy spring

Let’s be honest: before we had sister albums folklore and evermore, we had Fearless and Speak Now, which are almost two sides of the same coin. Personally, I tend to favor Fearless, especially because the re-recording was released at a time when I really related to the subject matter. I also think that April was the perfect time to release Fearless (TV); to me, the songs all work together to paint a picture of the rainy part of spring, jumping in puddles for old time’s sake and love in the air. If you’re wondering what I mean, just listen to these tracks:

  1. Fearless
  2. Jump Then Fall (my personal favorite from the album)
  3. The Other Side of the Door

Lover: May and early June

Taylor basically gave us this one with the recent smash-hit “Cruel Summer.” But you can’t tell me you can listen to “Paper Rings” or “I Think He Knows” without thinking of the time of year when the flowers all bloom, everything is beautiful, and it’s finally warm outside again. Plus, c’mon prom season! I would’ve done anything to slow dance to “Daylight” or “Lover” at my senior prom (as opposed to the interesting choices my high school went with… please tell me I wasn’t the only one who had to withstand “Big Green Tractor” as one of three slow songs each year). The entire album just emanates spring and growth, though many of the tracks are more somber than the album cover would imply, I think the beauty of Lover is that it acknowledges the darker parts of life with grace and compassion.

1989 (Taylor’s Version): Vacation Season

If the new covers for 1989 told us anything, it’s that 1989 Taylor’s job is beach. Even the New York aesthetic of the original era screams mid-June; the time when people go on lavish vacations, to beaches and big cities and islands and mountains. 1989 is also a crowd-pleaser as far as road trip albums go- not many people can say they don’t love singing along to “Style” with the windows down. This is the fun part of summer, where it feels like nothing matters except for you and the people around you. In lieu of this article being written a mere few days before we all hear the vault tracks for the first time, I’ll skip my list of titles that I think best encapsulate the feeling- I wouldn’t want to skip over a brand-new favorite once I hear the much-anticipated five songs.

folklore: Humid Summer

I think this is one we can all agree on. To get the full folklore experience, it’s almost necessary that it be disgustingly hot outside and humid enough to un-straighten anyone’s hair. (My evidence here is that Taylor’s best performances of the folklore era were on nights when the humidity took control of her hair. Argue with the wall.) The album has a certain nostalgia about it that only the later parts of summer can compare to, and in my mind, the fictional stories within the album exist in the months of July and August… again, I think Taylor sort of gave us this one. To get the full dog days of summer experience, listen to my abridged version of folklore in this order (minus some of the more heart-wrenching parts):

  1. seven
  2. illicit affairs
  3. august
  4. mirrorball 

Taylor Swift (Debut): The First Day of School until it gets cold at night

Blondie’s first album finishes out the season of nostalgia that folklore exudes perfectly. I’ll admit that it may be one of my less-frequently listened-to albums, but I find myself queuing it up more often in the last days of summer, when school starts again, but the nights are still warm. It recalls a feeling of, at least for me, everything starting but ending at the same time, which is exactly how it feels to start a new school year, both as a kid and in college. I truly hope that this feeling sticks around once she releases her version of the album! To get the picture in just three songs, here’s my quick introduction to debut:

  1. I’m Only Me When I’m With You
  2. Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)
  3. A Place In This World
  4. Honorable Mention: Tim McGraw. I just think Mary’s Song is a little bit less well-known and deserves the same amount of love!

Red (Taylor’s Version): Early Fall, right when the leaves first start changing

I’m going to say this and a lot of people aren’t going to like it: Red is in my bottom 3. I love it, I love all of her albums and I would never say anything bad about any of them, but I listen to it almost exclusively in the fall with the exception of my favorite few songs. Red is an album about change, in my opinion, and it fits right into the mix of my favorite fall albums (think Stick Season). I have yet to meet someone who disagrees with Red as a fall album. As there are 30 songs on the full re-recorded album, it’s hard to pick just a few to portray the vibe I’m going for here, but these are my general fall favorites:

  1. State of Grace
  2. The Last Time
  3. Begin Again
  4. Better Man

Midnights: Late October, specifically

I think Midnights was another album that was released with truly impeccable timing. The vibe of the album perfectly grasps the feeling of the air getting colder and drier. However, I do think this is her album with the greatest range: a true mosaic of her career thus far. This one was probably the hardest to place somewhere because there are tracks on this album that fit just about anywhere in the year. “Maroon,” “The Great War,” and “Sweet Nothing” are the best examples in my mind of why this album works for the colder part of fall. It sort of splices right between Red season and evermore season and overlaps with both, because it’s so wonderfully versatile that it hardly fits into just one category.

evermore: “Grey November”

The album cover alone just radiates stick season- the actual season, not the album, which I just recently learned was a real thing! For those who also didn’t know this was a real season and not just a masterpiece by Noah Kahan, stick season is the time between Halloween and the first snowfall (shoutout to my best friend for learning that with me!). Going home for the holidays, braving the wind and the chill outside, the trees becoming bare, hot apple cider. That’s evermore in a nutshell to me, in all its wistful glory. Every single track on this album could paint such a picture- it’s one of the most cohesive I can think of, but these are the best for imagery:

  1. ‘tis the damn season
  2. evermore (featuring Bon Iver)
  3. dorothea 

There’s a Taylor Swift album for every season of the year, and in my experience, at least one song for every season of life. I think this is part of the reason we all love her music and relate to it so much, and as a long-term Swiftie, I am so curious to see what she does next. Personally, I would love a rock album or something a little more edgy, after hearing her raw vocals in the live performance of “illicit affairs” at the Eras Tour. If you appreciated my take on this, check out the Spotify playlist I made! It’ll take you through all 365 days as I imagine Taylor would.

Bella Pinto

Bowling Green '25

Bella is a second-year at Bowling Green State University, studying Forensic Science with a specialization in DNA Analysis and a minor in Chemistry. She is a self-proclaimed theatre kid, lover of dance and music, especially Taylor Swift, and huge fan of the color pink. You might find her around campus tabling as an Honors Ambassador, at the Wolfe Center for any of the theatrical events throughout the year, going to hockey games with her bestie, or working as a tutor in the library.