If you have been following my writing over the past four years, you know that I have done album reviews (reputation, Lover) and album rankings, but taking on Taylor’s 117 song discography is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. So here it goes, every Taylor Swift song ranked (from her 7 studio albums), from my least favorite to my favorite and the reasons to match. Some of the factors taken into consideration were overall sound, lyrical complexity, placement on albums, amount of times skipped, musical composition, and tone. Since this list is clearly extensive, I’ve taken the time to split it up into multiple different articles linked below so you are not scrolling forever.
20.) “Look What You Made Me Do”—reputation
LWYMMD is probably the greatest diss-track of our generation. Not only does this song have a killer beat, but the music video is fantastic as well. There are so many iconic references to what has happened throughout her career and I think it was the perfect way for Taylor to launch reputation. It is absolutely one of my favorite Taylor songs and I think it was a turning point in her songwriting abilities.
Favorite Line: “‘I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Oh, ’cause she’s dead!’ (Oh!)” (Still the most iconic line in songwriting history)
19.) “Begin Again”—RED
This song is THE best finale song on any album. Taylor has always been great with song placement, but this one is the perfect way to end. Not only does it take the emotional energy level down to wrap things up nicely and start over with a potential hope for a new love, (after talking so much about loss), it also maintains and even, arguably, elevates the emotional weight of her lyrics that Swift is showing on this album. This song is simple, but its simplicity highlights the purity of a new, budding romance that breaks prior patterns and constructs new, healthier ones.
Favorite Line: “Walked in expecting you’d be late // But you got here early and you stand and wave // I walk to you // You pull my chair out and help me in // And you don’t know how nice that is // But I do”
18.) “The Man”—Lover
I know, everyone is going to be very surprised that this song is ranked where it is, but here’s why. “The Man,” while maybe not one of her best songs lyrically, goes somewhere a lot of artists are afraid to go. Yes, Taylor is successful, but that success didn’t come from sitting back and doing nothing. This song embodies a lot of the things that are wrong with the patriarchy, and justifies the feelings of women all over the world who seem to get passed over for their male counterparts. I mean, just look at the United States Women’s National Soccer Team for example. They’re paid significantly less than the men’s team, and they have brought home WAY more trophies than the men ever have. (Women’s World Cup Wins = 4 and Men’s World Cup Wins = 0; Women’s olympic medals = 4 and men’s olympic medals =2; among other trophies for reference).
Favorite Line: “They’d say I hustled, put in the work // They wouldn’t shake their heads and question how much of this I deserve // What I was wearing, if I was rude // Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves”
17.) “New Year’s Day”—reputation
This song is so soft, and is the perfect ending for reputation. While the whole album is about taking charge of who you are as a person and accepting that others will always try to attack you, this song is a transition out of the album and into Lover. The seamless transition between the two is important, because this song sheds the armour reputation built around Taylor and allows us to step forward into a new year, and a much softer music style.
Favorite Line: “Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you // Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you // Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you // And I will hold on to you”
16.) “Call It What You Want”—reputation
This song is one of reputation’s best, because it opens up the hard exterior of the album, as it gives us a soft beginning of love. This song keeps with the feeling of reputation (as this is of course her most cohesive and well laid out album) while still giving us the love song we love from Taylor. So Call It What You Want, but I’m a big fan.
Favorite Line: “My castle crumbled overnight // I brought a knife to a gunfight // They took the crown but it’s alright // All the liars are calling me one // Nobody’s heard from me for months // I’m doing better than I ever was”
15.) “Tied Together With A Smile”—Taylor Swift
This song will always hold such a special place in my heart. For a long time I have struggled with anxiety and depression, and this song was here for me before I even knew the names for the mental illnesses I have. While most people won’t agree that this song should be ranked so highly, this song acknowledges a feeling of coming undone, and for anyone who doesn’t have mental illnesses, this is the best example that I can provide to explain what my mind feels like 95 percent of the time.
Favorite Line: “Seems the only one who doesn’t see your beauty // Is the face in the mirror looking back at you // You walk around here thinking you’re not pretty // But that’s not true ’cause I know you”
14.) “Out of The Woods”—1989
If you think that OOTW is not the best song on 1989, you are wrong. First of all, every single performance I’ve seen of this song—live in-person, or on TV—has been absolutely flawless. Also, can we talk about the literal giant paper airplanes Taylor had flying around the stage during the performance on the 1989 world tour? It deserves to be noted. This will always be one of my favorite live performances, and is one of the few songs on 1989 that I will never in a million years skip over.
Favorite Line: “Remember when you hit the brakes too soon? // Twenty stitches in the hospital room // When you started cryin’, baby, I did, too // But when the sun came up, I was lookin’ at you // Remember when we couldn’t take the heat // I walked out and said, “I’m settin’ you free” // But the monsters turned out to be just trees // And when the sun came up, you were lookin’ at me”
13.) “I Did Something Bad”—reputation
Song number 13, huh? No other than “I Did Something Bad.” This song is powerful, since it helped in breaking the image that Taylor so carefully constructed for herself over her career. While everyone was busy calling her a snake, Taylor took charge and stopped caring what people thought. So what if she did something bad? Everyone else in the world is excused for their bad decisions—so why shouldn’t she be too?
Favorite Line: “I can feel the flames on my skin // Crimson-red paint on my lips // If a man talks shit // Then I owe him nothing // I don’t regret it one bit // ‘Cause he had it coming”
12.) “Ours”—Speak Now
Wait???? Another cute love story?? How could you have known? Clearly I have two personalities, the one that loves reputation and the one that loves Taylor’s songs about cute love stories. This one is no different. “Ours” is just so pure and about how much spending time with another person means. Also, have you seen the music video? It’s so cute!
Favorite Line: “You never know what people have up their sleeves // Ghosts from your past gonna jump out at me // Lurking in the shadows with their lip gloss smiles // But I don’t care ’cause right now you’re mine”
11.) “Enchanted”—Speak Now
At this point, you should not be surprised that another love song is appearing. This song is so magical. There is just an aura around it that makes me feel calm and like I’m walking through a garden filled with fairy lights and lanterns, maybe because it says the night is sparklin’, but this song just makes me feel light. If Taylor hadn’t sung “Delicate” in the chariot of light on the reputation stadium tour, this is the only other song she could have sung from that lift. Oh—not to forget the “Wildest Dreams” / “Enchanted” mashup from the 1989 world tour—which is still Taylor’s best mash-up to date. No matter what you say, you can’t change my mind.
Favorite Line: “This night is sparkling, don’t you let it go // I’m wonderstruck, blushing all the way home // I’ll spend forever wondering if you knew // I was enchanted to meet you”
Tune in again soon for the final instalment in this series: Songs 10-1!