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A Comprehensive Ranking of Taylor Swift Songs

Love her or hate her, Taylor Swift is truly a music icon. Known for writing her own songs and witty lyrics, Taylor Swift is also known for dramatically changing musical genres. From her country roots to becoming a pop princess to her recent alternative records, Taylor Swift’s discography boasts an impressive nine albums and countless singles. While her music career is only 14 years old, Taylor Swift has music that spans multiple genres, numerous accolades, two documentaries, and six concert films- folklore: the long pond studio sessions is both a documentary and a concert film. She is one of the most versatile artists in the music industry and her discography reflects this.

With her rerecorded music coming out in 2021, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and relisten to all of her albums and rank the songs in each one. After three weeks of non-stop Taylor, here’s what I’ve discovered. 

Author’s note: All of the albums listed are the deluxe edition with the exception of Taylor Swift (2006) and reputation (2017)-for which there were no deluxe editions- and Fearless (2008) which is the Platinum edition. 

Taylor Swift (2006)

Ah her debut album. What a trip down memory lane. Taylor Swift wrote this when she was sixteen. I don’t remember what I was doing at sixteen — studying for the SAT probably. Her age is reflected in her simple lyrics, but it doesn’t hold back from her storytelling abilities. This album alludes to the many features that define Swift’s following albums: her witty lyrics, her ability to capture a particular moment or feeling.

Listen to Taylor Swift on Spotify and Apple Music

1. Tim McGraw

2. Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)

3. I’d Lie

4. Picture to Burn

5. Teardrops on My Guitar

6. A Place in This World

7. Cold as You

8. The Outside

9. Tied Together with a Smile

10. Stay Beautiful

11. Our Song

12. Should’ve Said No

13. I’m Only Me When I’m with You

14. A Perfectly Good Heart

15. Invisible

Fearless (2008)

Fearless may have been written by a teenaged Taylor Swift but the lyrics still resonate, even a decade later. At the first listen, it’s easy to skip the album over for a more recent one in Swift’s discography, but after a few plays, her lyrical mastery and timeless nostalgia grow on you. As always, her lyrics perfectly reflect her frame of mind — naive and full of hope. The backing instrumentals are incredible and reinforce the mood that each song conveys. 

Listen to Fearless on Spotify and Apple Music

1. White Horse

2. Untouchable

3. Hey Stephen

4. Come In With The Rain

5. Love Story

6. Fearless

7. SuperStar

8. Fifteen

9. Breathe (feat. Colbie Caillat)

10. You Belong With Me

11. Jump Then Fall

12. Change

13. Tell Me Why

14. Forever & Always

15. The Best Day

16. Forever & Always (Piano Version)

17. You’re Not Sorry

18. The Other Side Of The Door

19. The Way I Loved You

Speak Now (2010)

Entirely self-written, Speak Now is my favorite “old Taylor” album. As always, the lyrics evoke deep yet clear meanings, the country undertones are much more pronounced and realized, and the song variety on this album is *chefs kiss*. Following the naïveté of Fearless, Speak Now alludes to several eye-opening experiences. The songs are no longer about longing for an unrequited love but rather a look back at previous relationships and experiences. The album itself is also more cohesive, acting as a journey through memory lane, rather than a collection of songs. 

Listen to Speak Now on Spotify and Apple Music

1. Back to December

2. Long Live

3. Haunted

4. Sparks Fly

5. The Story of Us

6. Better Than Revenge

7. Enchanted

8. Last Kiss

9. Ours

10. Mine

11. Innocent

12. Mean

13. If This Was A Movie

14. Superman

15. Speak Now

16. Dear John

17. Never Grow Up

Red (2012)

Going through a breakup? Catch feelings for the wrong guy? Are you done with men for the absolute final time? Red is the album you listen to when you want to feel all of your feels. It deals with heartbreak, nostalgia, and more heartbreak. Yet it also highlights the beauty of beginning a new relationship and the highs when you think your relationship is untouchable. That’s on growth, people. 

Listen to Red on Spotify and Apple Music

1. Red

2. Holy Ground

3. The Lucky One

4. State of Grace

5. I Knew You Were Trouble

6. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

7. All Too Well

8. Begin Again

9. Treacherous

10. 22

11. Starlight

12. Girl at Home

13. Sad Beautiful Tragic

14. I Almost Do

15. The Moment I Knew

16. Come Back… Be Here

17. Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran)

18. Stay Stay Stay

19. The Last Time

1989 (2014)

Ms. Swift took a risk and boy did it pay off. 1989 isn’t your conventional bubblegum pop but rather more synthesized. The 1989 era was truly iconic, with seven (7!) lead singles, each one showing a different side of the album. With her shift in music genres, Swift’s lyrics also change. The lyrics are about a more mature, wistful revisit of past relationships. There is less blame and more reflection, giving the album an even more pronounced transition from her previous records. 

Listen to 1989 on Spotify and Apple Music

1. Style

2. Welcome to New York

3. Wonderland

4. New Romantics

5. Clean

6. Wildest Dreams

7. Blank Space

8. You Are In Love

9. Out of the Woods

10. Shake It Off

11. I Know Places

12. This Love

13. How You Get the Girl

14. Bad Blood

15. I Wish You Would

16. All You Had To Do Was Stay

reputation (2017)

The OG surprise album, reputation continues with the synth-pop of 1989 and amps up the bass, a lot. The album is intimate, showing Swift’s innermost thoughts while starting a new relationship. These aren’t the loud proclamations of love and heartbreak she sings about in her previous albums but rather a hopeful trepidation. Amid the acoustics and percussion, reputation tells of a blossoming love story that slowly emerges from the uncertainty of life. 

Listen to reputation on Spotify and Apple Music

1. Call It What You Want

2. Getaway Car

3. New Years Day

4. So It Goes…

5. King of My Heart

6. I Did Something Bad

7. Delicate

8. Look What You Made Me Do

9. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

10. Dancing With Our Hands Tied

11. Dress

12. Don’t Blame Me

13. Gorgeous

14. …Ready for It?

15. End Game (featuring Ed Sheeran and Future)  

Lover (2019)

Lover is an interesting album. Unlike reputation which shows the odyssey of falling in love, Lover shows both the bliss and realities of being in love. Lover is a journey of the experience Swift writes about in her previous songs. It also celebrates all the different facets of love — self, familial, platonic. Some of these songs are absolute fire (heart eye emoji) and some of the songs I cannot stand. Lover’s hodgepodge collection of songs shows that love isn’t perfectly uniform, but rather a journey with twists and turns. 

Listen to Lover on Spotify and Apple Music

1. Cruel Summer

2. Ms. Americana & the Heartbreak Prince

3. The Archer

4. False God

5. London Boy

6. Daylight

7. Cornelia Street

8. Death By A Thousand Cuts

9. Lover

10. You Need To Calm Down

11. The Man

12. Paper Rings

13. ME! (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco)

14. Afterglow

15. Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. The Chicks)

16. It’s Nice to Have a Friend

17. I Forgot That You Existed

folklore (2020)

The surprise no one saw coming. folklore is unlike anything Taylor Swift has ever done before. It’s soft, nostalgic, and gets you in your feels. folklore and evermore are sister albums but while it was released first, folklore gives little sister vibes. The lyrics are soft and youthful, almost childish. This is the first venture into a new genre, and this album reflects that. Unlike other Taylor Swift albums that need replaying and marinating before I could get into it, this one instantly clicked. Ranking the songs, on the other hand, required lots of ruminating because they are all perfect in their own way. 

Listen to folklore on Spotify and Apple Music

1. exile (feat. Bon Iver)

2. my tears ricochet

3. this is my trying

4. mad woman

5. the last great american dynasty

6. illicit affairs

7. hoax

8. the 1

9. august

10. mirrorball

11. peace

12. betty

13. invisible string

14. the lakes

15. cardigan

16. epiphany

17. peace

evermore (2020)

If folklore is the younger sister, then evermore is the older sister. The music undertones of the album and more sophisticated word choice convey a more mature frame of mind. There are also more mature subjects — failed engagements, ending relationships, and even murder. While folklore deals with resolving a situation, evermore is about the resolution. These songs provide an ending, a closure if you will, that ties perfectly into the sister records and Taylor Swift’s discography.  

Listen to evermore on Spotify and Apple Music

1. champagne problems

2. no body, no crime (feat. HAIM)

3. gold rush

4. coney island (feat. The National)

5. evermore (feat Bon Iver)

6. tolerate it 

7. marjorie

8. ivy

9. cowboy like me

10. right where you left me

11. happiness

12. willow

14. ‘tis the damn season

15. long story short 

16. closure

17. dorothea

18. it’s time to go

The next time you’re going through your feels-whether it be love, sadness, or rage- put on some Taylor Swift. She really has a song for every mood. 

I am a senior at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Biology and minoring in Biochemistry. I am from Monterey, California where you can find me kayaking, surfing, or baking!
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