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My Favorite Lyrics From Every Taylor Swift Album

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 Cal State Chico chapter.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a (sometimes annoyingly) dedicated Taylor Swift fan. She is a fantastic entertainer, a great singer, and undoubtedly a multifaceted and talented artist. Her intelligence, creativity, work ethic, and ability to bounce between musical genres is surely admirable. What I appreciate most about her, however, is her lyrics.

To me, music has always been an outlet. I truly am convinced there is no better feeling than finding a song that matches exactly how you feel and can be applied to whatever is going on in your life, whether that be a major life transition, changing family dynamics, growing up, embarking on a self-love journey, or a nightmare of a situationship (we’ve all been there). Almost every time, Taylor Swift knows exactly what to say.

Whether I’m at a low point or a high point in my life, I always find myself searching for music that tells me what I need to hear and validates my own experiences. While every Taylor Swift album has a plethora of meaningful lyrics that never fail to resonate with me, I’ve compiled a collection with a lyric from each album that has impacted me in some way, whether that be serving as my self-love motto or helping me through a rough patch.

Debut: Lyrics from “Tied Together With a Smile”

“I guess it’s true that love was all you wanted
‘Cause you’re givin’ it away like it’s extra change
Hoping it will end up in his pocket
But he leaves you out like a penny in the rain”

At just seventeen years old, Taylor Swift already put into words what every person with an anxious attachment style goes through. The desire to be loved, and this driving you to give someone everything when they’re giving you absolutely nothing.

Fearless (Taylor’s Version): Lyrics from “The Best Day (Taylor’s Version)”

“And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side
Even when I was wrong”

I am a family person all the way, so this song from her sophomore album hits especially different. This part of the song shows her own reflection about how as she gets older and starts to understand more about life, she realizes that her mom’s love for her has always been unconditional, even in the midst of her mistakes or when she wasn’t in the right. As I get older, my appreciation for this song only continues to grow and it makes me want to go home and give my parents a hug.

Speak Now (Taylor’s Version): Lyrics from “Innocent (Taylor’s Version)”

“Time turns flames to embers
You’ll have new Septembers
Everyone of us has messed up too, ooh, ooh
Minds change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never too late to be brand new”

In a society that feeds into cancel culture, these lyrics speak out because they remind you that life is full of second chances and it’s never too late to do better. Holding yourself accountable and then actively trying to make a positive change is what really matters.

Red (Taylor’s Version): Lyrics from “Better Man (From the Vault) (Taylor’s Version)”

“And I see the permanent damage you did to me
Never again, I just wish I could forget when it was magic”

In just the first stanza of this gut-wrenchingly beautiful song, Taylor Swift puts into words the experience of knowing someone doesn’t treat you the way you deserve and that you have to walk away. Yet simultaneously, she also validates the feeling of not being able to fully let go of the parts of a toxic person and relationship that were good, and that you know you’ll miss.

1989: Lyrics from “Clean”

“Rain came pouring down
When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe
And by morning
Gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean”

Metaphorically, I would argue this is one of Taylor Swift’s best songs. The way she explains having to feel like you’re drowning in order to fully cleanse yourself of someone resonates for anyone who’s had to get over someone they thought they never could. The song in its entirety also speaks to the idea that time heals all, and moving on isn’t a linear process.

Reputation: Lyrics from “Call It What You Want”

“All my flowers grew back as thorns
Windows boarded up after the storm
He built a fire just to keep me warm”

What I love most about this song and this part specifically is that it exemplifies what love, whether platonic or romantic, should be. In times of life where you might find yourself feeling betrayed or done wrong in some way, it’s hard not shut out the people you love. Yet, this part reminds you that there are still people who will love you at your lowest, want you to feel safe, and will stay with you as you heal.

Lover: Lyrics from “Daylight”

“I’ve been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night
And now I see daylight, I only see daylight”

While I found it challenging at times to choose between lyrics from every other album, this was a lyric and a song I immediately knew I needed to feature. This song is undoubtedly a love song, and for me, I apply it more to my relationship with myself than to any romantic interest I’ve had. As a twenty-one year old who’s struggled with ongoing mental health challenges for as long as I can remember, this lyric feels like a hug. It’s a reminder that there’s always light, and you will find it again, even when things feel dark and heavy.

folklore: Lyrics from “mirroball”

“I’m still trying everything to get you laughing at me
I’m still a believer but I don’t know why
I’ve never been a natural
All I do is try, try, try
I’m still on that trapeze
I’m still trying everything
To keep you looking at me”

This song is for those of you who constantly feel like you’re bending over backwards to fit in. This lyric is a perfect explanation of being terrified of people losing interest in you, so you’re constantly morphing into the version of yourself that you think they’ll love most. If you resonate with this song, you’ll also love “Nothing New (From the Vault) (Taylor’s Version)” which features Phoebe Bridgers.

evermore: Lyrics from “’tis the damn season”

“You could call me babe for the weekend
‘Tis the damn season, write this down
I’m stayin’ at my parents’ house
And the road not taken looks real good now
And it always leads to you in my hometown”

If you are one of the many who left a relationship back in your hometown to come to school, this one goes out to you. This ballad hits especially different during the holidays, not just for the title’s clever play on a popular catch phrase, but also for the mere fact that listening to it as you head back home for break can bring the memories flooding back and can often drive you to resort back to old habits, and people.

Midnights: Lyrics from “You’re on Your Own, Kid”

“I hosted parties and starved my body
Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss

The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money
My friends from home don’t know what to say
I looked around in a blood-soaked gown
And I saw something they can’t take away”

It’s no secret that one of Taylor Swift’s specialties is her top-tier bridges, and this song is no exception. As she reflects on her struggles with an eating disorder, with romance, with bullies, and with betrayal, she also mentions “something they can’t take away.” I love this song and this part specifically because there’s a way for it to apply to everyone. Whether you’ve struggled with body image issues, basing your self-worth off of someone else loving you, with trust issues, or all of the above, this part challenges you to reflect on your own life and identify the parts and the people that nobody can take away from you.

Marisa Cala-Keck

Cal State Chico '24

Marisa is the Founder of the Her Campus chapter at Chico State and served as the 2023-2024 President and Editor-in-Chief. Equally passionate about mental health and writing, she graduated from Chico State in May 2024 with Honors in General Education and a 3.9 GPA. She served as the 2022-2023 President of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and was on the Dean's List eight out of eight semesters. Marisa worked in a variety of mentorship roles on campus, including as an Academic Advising Intern. In her free time, Marisa loves spending time with her family and best friends, being around animals (especially her 3 cats and 2 dogs), binge-watching her comfort shows (the current top two include Pretty Little Liars and Gilmore Girls), reading novels, traveling, and singing! She loves Taylor Swift, spicy foods, Trader Joe's, Pinterest, and all things chocolate. Her next step is following her dream of moving to New York City and pursuing her Master of Education in School Counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University! She is excited to join the field of education, through which she aspires to reframe health and sex education programs to be more inclusive and to open in-school conversations surrounding mental wellness.