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The Most Underrated Songs on Taylor Swift’s Albums

It’s already been established that I am a die-hard Taylor Swift stan and have been since I was a kid. Because of this, I’ve been around to see which songs are the most popular, both when they’re released and years later, and I have some thoughts about this. I stand by the fact that Taylor has never written a bad song, but I also think that some fans focus on a couple of her hits while completely overlooking the other masterpieces she's created. I want to share the songs on each of her albums that I think are the most underrated and deserve some more recognition.  

Debut 

I firmly believe that people tragically sleep on Taylor’s early albums. I’m not the biggest country fan, but her country era is still amazing and should be recognized for that. On debut, people tend to focus on songs like “Picture to Burn” and “Should’ve Said No” and don’t give enough love to others. The first is “Cold As You.” This song shows that Taylor had such a wonderful grasp on breakups even at such a young age, and you can tell both through the lyrics and the hurt you can hear in her voice when she’s singing. Some of my favorite lyrics are, “And you come away with a great little story/ Of a mess of a dreamer with the nerve to adore you” and “You never did give a damn thing honey but I cried, cried for you/ And I know you wouldn't have told nobody if I died, died for you.” This song was the birth of the famous Taylor Swifts Track 5’s, and it deserves much more recognition than it gets.  

Fearless 

On this album, everyone seems to focus on “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me.” Those are great songs, but if you’re looking to listen to some of her tracks that are less well known, I recommend checking out “The Way I Loved You.” In this song, Taylor is singing about missing the passionate aspects of past relationships, and it’s amazing. “You're so in love that you act insane/ And that's the way I loved you” and “He can't see the smile I'm faking/ And my heart's not breaking/ 'Cause I'm not feeling anything at all” are some of my favorite lyrics from this song. “Come In With The Rain” is another from this album that needs more attention. The lyric, “And I, I’ve got you down, I know you by heart/ And you don’t even know where I start” is wonderfully heartbreaking and relatable. 

Speak Now 

In my opinion, this is Taylor Swift's most underrated album of all time. This is her only completely self-written album, and it is the one that affirms that she is truly the best songwriter of our generation. The most popular songs on this are “Mine”, “Mean” and probably “Back to December,” but this album is full of songs that deserve the recognition that those got. First, “Dear John” is, in my opinion, one of Taylor's best songs ever. This song gets some attention, but honestly, no amount of attention will be enough to show how amazing this track is. This song is about her short relationship with John Mayer and conveys how frustrated she was at the relationship and him. It is full of some of her best, most heart-wrenching lyrics. Some examples are, “You paint me a blue sky/ Then go back and turn it to rain,” “But I took your matches/ Before fire could catch me/ So don't look now/ I'm shining like fireworks/ Over your sad empty town, yeah”, and “Well maybe it's me/ And my blind optimism to blame/ Or maybe it's you and your sick need/ To give love and take it away.” Honestly, I would copy and paste all the lyrics to this song if I could because it’s that good. It’s one to check out. Others on this album that deserve some love are “Last Kiss”, “Enchanted”, “Haunted” and every other song on the album so just go listen to it.  

Red 

My favorite album of Taylors changes depending on my mood, which one I listened to last, what’s going on in my life, and other factors, but Red is constantly in the top three. I’ll admit, I am guilty of overlooking other songs on this album to immediately listen to “All Too Well”, but after talking to UNT’s resident Taylor stan (shoutout to Hannah), I went back and was reminded how amazing all the other tracks are as well. While “All Too Well” is the most well-known on the album, and probably one of the best songs Taylor has ever written, I think this song overshadows some of the other hits on the album. One of these is “State of Grace.” The pre-chorus in this track has some of my favorite lyrics, “So you were never a saint/ And I've loved in shades of wrong/ We learn to live with the pain/ Mosaic broken hearts/ But this love is brave and wild.” Another underrated song on Red is “The Moment I Knew”. This song, about a boyfriend (Jake Gyllenhaal) who stood her up on her birthday, is another track where you can hear the pain in Taylor’s voice as she is singing. I’m not going to lie to you the lyrics, “And what do you do/ When the one who means the most to you/ Is the one who didn't show?” kind of makes me want to punch Jake in the face. Other underrated songs on the album are “Treacherous”, “Come Back Be Here”, and “Holy Ground.” 

1989 

I’ll be honest, 1989 is among my least favorite albums. It’s still good, but I just find myself gravitating toward other albums more. However, “New Romantics” is one of my favorite songs of Taylors, and it does not get the attention it deserves. This song is a wonderful take on how young people deal with love and relationships now. It’s amazing, and I recommend it. “You Are In Love” is also one that deserves more love 

Reputation 

This is another one of my favorite albums, and so many of the tracks are overlooked. “New Year's Day” is one of those I can never bring myself to skip because it is so beautiful. This song uses the illustration of the day after a New Year's party to sing about holding on to memories and staying with someone during the good and bad times. The lyrics in the chorus, “Don't read the last page/ But I stay when it's hard or it's wrong or we're making mistakes/ I want your midnights/ But I'll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year's Day” are some of my favorites in the whole song. Other on this album you should give a listen are “Don’t Blame Me” and “So It Goes”. 

Lover 

Like 1989, Lover isn’t among my favorite of Taylors albums, but there are still some amazing songs that are underrated in my opinion. “Paper Rings” is one of those. It’s a happy song, and I think that is why people don’t like it. It doesn’t have the kind of lyrics that rip your heart out like her sad songs do, but it is still such a bop and a good song about love. “I Think He Knows” is another that is so good but does not get enough attention.  

folklore 

This is absolutely the best album of Taylor’s career thus far. Songs like “cardigan”, “exile”, and “august” are getting the attention they deserve but let me talk about the masterpiece that is “illicit affairs.” I can’t even put into words how amazing this song is. It’s my favorite song of hers, and I think it needs some more recognition. The bridge of this song, along with part of the outro, rival “All Too Well” for the best bridge out of all of her songs. Some of the lyrics are, “Don't call me "kid," don't call me "baby"/ Look at this idiotic fool that you made me/ You taught me a secret language I can't speak with anyone else/ And you know damn well/ For you, I would ruin myself.” Others on this album that should be talked about more are “mad woman” and “this is me trying” 

 

Again, the artist of the decade has never released a bad song. Her songwriting is some of the best in the music industry, and this is why she continues to remain at the top of the charts even 14 years into her career. Her incredible ability to relay the feelings and emotions that accompany love, heartbreak, and life in such a poetic way, even from such a young age, is unmatched. These songs, as well as others I did not mention, are some of those that are so amazing but are maybe a little less well-known that her other hits, and I hope you’ll give them a listen. 

Hey! I'm a senior at UNT majoring in Integrative Studies with fields in Political Science, International Studies, and Public Administration. I am also double minoring in Communication Studies and Women and Gender Studies. I love reading, writing, hanging out with my friends, and serving my community. I hope to graduate with honors from UNT in May of 2021 and then head to law school in the fall.
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