Once our days start to get shorter and our sleepless nights get longer, sometimes the only thing you need is a good rotation of Taylor Swift songs. For those of us who need new music to obsess over, or the people who still think Swift’s whole catalogue sounds like “Shake it Off,” I’ve compiled 13 of her best songs for a gray November.
1. white horse (Taylor’s Version)
Starting off this playlist with one of my favorite songs off Fearless, “White Horse” is a perfect sad girl song for fall. Yet another emotional track 5 from Taylor, this won a grammy for Best Country Song for a reason. It’s been on my fall playlist for years and I will simply never get tired of it.
2. Come In With The Rain (Taylor’s Version)
This song has been a recent favorite of mine and I am obsessed with it. It was originally on the platinum edition of Fearless, so I think it missed a lot of the love that it deserves. “Come In With The Rain” ties into the other references to rain she makes on this album, creating an invisible string between her songs and her relationship. Their relationship starts with dancing “in a storm in [her] best dress” in “Fearless,” progresses by “screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain” in “The Way I Loved You,” and ends with Taylor hoping her lover would apologize and “Come In With The Rain.”
3. Haunted (Taylor’s Version)
While October might be over, there’s never a bad time for one of the best songs off Speak Now. “Haunted” strays from the typical indie-folk vibe for autumn, but this song bottles up the feeling of a gloomy, autumn day. To make this track even better, I am required to share the swiftie theory that Taylor wrote this song about the Twilight love triangle for the New Moon soundtrack, but it got pulled when Swift and Taylor Lautner broke up, ruining what arguably could’ve been the greatest cultural moment of the year 2009.
4. State of Grace (acoustic Version) (Taylor’s Version)
As much as I love the regular version of “State of Grace,” I will never fail to be amazed at the ability of every Taylor Swift song to seamlessly become an acoustic track. Like with the surprise song section of the Eras Tour, Taylor showcases how all of her songs deserve a chance at being appreciated for the lyrical masterpieces that they are.
5. All too well (Sad Girl Autumn Version) – Recorded at long pond studios
Only Taylor Swift could make one of her most devastating songs even more devastating. If you have 10 minutes to spare, this version of “All Too Well” is quite literally the best Taylor song for autumn. Her layered vocals echo in the back and you somehow come out of it even angrier at Jake Gyllenhaal than you were before.
6. Safe & Sound (feat. Joy Williams and John Paul White) (Taylor’s Version)
If Taylor Swift herself is able to reunite The Civil Wars for one last song, I truly believe there is nothing this woman cannot do. Since she randomly dropped this Taylor’s Version this past March, I have been listening to it on repeat. Originally recorded for the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, this song has long been a fall favorite of mine. If they don’t secretly include this song in the soundtrack for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, I plan on rioting and will take any volunteers to join me. (Honorable mention: the Safe & Sound music video featuring Taylor wandering through a foggy forest and old house in a flowy white dress… folklore-coded much?)
7. epiphany – the long pond studio sessions
My life was actually changed the day I witnessed this song play in the opening scene of season 2 of The Wilds and I have never been the same since. Every time I hear this song I relive finding out it wouldn’t be renewed for a third season and it only worsens how emotional this song is. Combined with her stripped down vocals, the long pond studio sessions are an incredible example of Taylor’s songwriting prowess . By letting her voice shine, you get a chance to truly listen to her lyrics.
8. Hoax – the long pond studio sessions
With one of my favorite bridges of Taylor’s discography, “hoax” is always a showstopper for me. The note changes during the chorus make this song perfect for a dark autumnal day. The parallels between this song and others – “don’t want no other shade of blue but you” from “hoax” and “never seen that color blue” from “Delicate” – makes all of her music truly feel like a connected body of work like no other artist does.
9. exile (feat. Bon Iver) – the long pond studio sessions
Bon Iver has been in my top artists every Spotify wrapped for the past few years, so you can imagine my excitement when “exile” came out. Bon Iver’s timeless indie-folk sound combined with Taylor’s angelic voice is literally unbeatable. It ended up in my top 5 most streamed songs last year because of how life-changing this duet is. Not only do I love how Taylor is able to show off her vocal range, but she just sounds so good singing with Bon Iver that I can’t help but love this song.
10. Cowboy like me
One thing I love about Taylor’s lyricism is how she tells stories in her songs that take you a second to truly understand how she relates to them. She intertwines her own experiences with that of the characters she takes on, and that is absolutely evident in “cowboy like me.” This song is like the other side of the “Blank Space” coin, poking fun at and playing into the media’s perception of her. She sings about making rich people think she’s in love with them to pay her way through life and the old men she conned into thinking she was “the 1.” The more you listen to the lyrics, the more you find references to her other songs, and the more you fall in love with this one.
11. evermore (feat. Bon Iver)
If this song isn’t the epitome of a gloomy dark day, I don’t know what is. Even though “gray November/ I’ve been down since July” are perfect lyrics for this month, that’s not the only thing that makes this song amazing. Yet another gut-wrenching feature from Bon Iver, their voices together create such a distinct sound that I haven’t heard from any other artist.
12. the great war
“The Great War” isn’t exactly a true autumnal song, but it makes up for it in sheer quality. I think this song is one the best written songs on Midnights, but it never gets enough credit for it. The imagery she includes in this song is what makes it stand out from the others on this album. The second verse and bridge is truly one of my favorite sections of any Taylor Swift song and it deserves more love.
13. The alcott (feat. taylor Swift)
Okay, maybe this isn’t an actual Taylor Swift song, but it is one of my favorite Taylor features. If you loved folklore and evermore, this track is for you. The National was partly founded by Aaron Dessner, who produced and cowrote much of folklore, evermore, and even some of Midnights and Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). I like to think of “The Alcott” as like a vault track for the “folkevermore” era because of how reminiscent it is of Taylor’s sound at the time. She also cowrote this song, and you can hear her signature lyric style by the time you reach the bridge.
“autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place”
As a long-time swiftie, I might be a little biased in saying that Taylor Swift has a perfect song for every occasion. However, I will always stand by the belief that Taylor has written about every feeling or situation, which is exactly what makes her music so relatable. So if you need new music for this month or don’t know how to get into Taylor Swift’s discography, you can listen to this playlist here.