A Definitive Ranking of All of Taylor Swift’s Albums

It’s no secret that Taylor Swift is one of the most successful and influential artists of all time. As a self-proclaimed Taylor Swift stan, I have spent a lot of time over the years listening to Taylor’s music. Between being labeled the “Taylor Swift girl” at school and having the privilege of attending three of her concerts, I have done my fair share of analyzing her albums' themes, lyrics, and underlying meanings. Read below for my ranking of her first seven studio albums!

7. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, her debut album, explores themes of being in high school, becoming famous, and finding your first love. While I loved these themes as a child, they no longer resonate with me and make the album seem childish -and the exaggerated country accent doesn’t help. This album kickstarted Taylor’s career and helped grow her following through radio hits like “Teardrops On My Guitar” and “Our Song.”  Her first album portrayed Taylor as a country sweetheart and helped earn her a spot among country musicians which would eventually lead to the well-established name she has today. I can’t say that I listen to this album often, but when I do, I am filled with nostalgia. 

Taylor Swift Fast Facts: 

Release Date: October 24th, 2006

Concept: Growing Up

Vibes: Guitar, blue jeans, high school

Favorite Song: Should’ve Said

No Least Favorite Song: A Perfectly Good Heart

Stars: 2/5

 

6. 1989

1989 was a risk for Taylor in the fact that it was her first completely pop album. The concept of this album was flawless between 80’s synth-pop beats, New York imagery, and vintage feelings, yet I always find myself forgetting this album exists. When it came out, I loved the album due to its catchy radio songs like “Shake It Off” and “Style” and its slow lyrical songs like “You Are In Love,” but soon found that this album did not stand the test of time in my mind. The songs are beautiful but not memorable.  This album is a transition for Taylor from adolescence to adulthood while detailing her short-lived relationship with Harry Styles. I feel that the reason that this album has not stuck with me is that I don’t relate to it personally because it centers around a toxic relationship and finding yourself in a big city. This album is not bad by any means, but it just doesn't live up to the excellence of Taylor’s other albums. 

1989 Fast Facts: 

Release Date: October 27th, 2014

Concept: Adulthood

Vibes: 80’s, New York, polaroids

Favorite Song: You Are In Love

Least Favorite Song: Bad Blood

Stars: 3/5

 

5. Fearless

Fearless is the first Taylor album I ever owned. This album took me from a casual fan of her radio hits to a diehard fan, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Fearless is the album where we really got to see Taylor’s personality shine as it explored the idea of love as a fairytale in songs like “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me.” This album also transitioned Taylor into a mega-superstar with long-lasting radio hits that still generate lots of streams and airplay. It is a coming-of-age album that became career-defining. The flaw I found in this album is that a lot of the songs sound the same and don’t explore many different concepts. 

Fearless Fast Facts: 

Release Date: November 11th, 2008

Concept: Fairy Tales

Vibes: Rain, confetti, castles, ball gowns

Favorite Song: The Other Side Of The Door (Deluxe Edition)

Least Favorite Song: Change

Stars: 3/5

 

4. Reputation

Reputation was a highly anticipated album due to the circumstances around it. Reputation was her first album in three years which broke her previous cycle of two years between albums. It was also her first album since dating Calvin Harris, Tom Hiddleston, and Joe Alwyn and her first album since the Kim and Kanye drama.  She also announced she wouldn’t be doing interviews/media for the album, coining the phrase “There will be no explanation, there will just be reputation.”   The songs on Reputation are some of Taylor’s darkest songs with electro-pop and underground influence with songs like “End Game” and “...Ready for It.” This album explores the drama in her life and her public perception to create a masterpiece about falling apart and growing from it. It ends with “In the death of her reputation, she felt truly alive,” which sums up the album perfectly. It shows that in darkness, there is light and that is my favorite album theme yet. The flaws of this album would be that the songs stray away from Taylor’s usual style and explore genres that are not her forte. 

Reputation Fast Facts:

Release Date: November 10th, 2017

Concept: Reputation

Vibes: Snakes, thigh-high boots, black, thrones

Favorite Song: Dancing With Our Hands Tied

Least Favorite Song: Dress

Stars: 4/5

 

3. Speak Now

Speak Now is Taylor’s only album that is entirely self-written. She wrote this whole album herself as she was criticized in the media for having co-writers on previous albums. This album is good but the fact that all of the lyrics and concepts were decided by her singlehandedly make it one of her most impressive.  Speak Now seems to explore the concept of love in an expectation vs. reality format. The album covers the fantasy aspects of relationships in songs like “Enchanted,” the reality of relationships in “Ours” and breakups in “Last Kiss.” This album fully explains the cycle of how a relationship can begin and end with both beauty and pain. Taylor celebrates love and all of its successes and failures. The flaws of this album would be that it can seem aggressive through songs like “Better Than Revenge” and “Speak Now” which can both be interpreted as attacks against other women. 

Speak Now Fast Facts:

Release Date: December 20th, 2010

Concept: Honesty Vibes: Ribbon, candles, birdcages

Favorite Song: “Long Live”

Least Favorite Song: “Superman (Bonus Edition)” 

Stars: 4/5

 

2. Lover

Lover is Taylor’s newest album and most conceptually cohesive to date. At first, I thought all of the songs were just centered around her relationship and that they all sounded similar. However, upon further listening, this album has aged like a fine wine.. From songs about double standards in the music industry like “The Man,”to songs celebrating the LGBT community with “You Need To Calm Down” and addressing the current political climate with “Miss Americana And The Heartbreak Prince," this album is her most daring body of work to date. She confronts hard-hitting topics through a combination of slow and upbeat songs, all containing lyrics with hidden messages. Lover exemplifies how Taylor has grown as an artist and aims to use her platform for good,  securing this album as one of her best to date. 

Lover Fast Facts:

Release Date: August 23rd, 2019

Concept: Love

Vibes: Wedding, glitter, sunshine

Favorite Song: “Lover”

Least Favorite Song: “ME! (ft. Brenden Urie)”

Stars: 4/5

 

1. Red

Anyone who knows me knows that Red is the album that has shaped my life. Red is an album centered around breakups, the season of fall and new beginnings. Through sad breakup ballads like “Sad Beautiful Tragic” and upbeat girl power anthems like “2, Taylor masters the complexity of emotions experienced in the cycle of a breakup. This album also contains some of the best lyrics of her entire career, especially in the songs “All Too Well” and “Red.”  It really proves the point that I’ve found to be true over and over again: artists write their best music when their heart is broken. This album is a flawless mix of pop and country that transitions Taylor from the country album of Speak Now to the pop album of 1989. This is the perfect album to listen to on a fall day walking to class with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. The only thing this album is lacking is the 2012 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Red Fast Facts:

Release Date: October 22nd, 2012

Concept: Breakups

Vibes: Fall, maple lattes, leaves

Favorite Song: “All Too Well”

Least Favorite Song: “The Last Time (ft. Gary Lightbody)”

Stars: 5/5

 

In the end, all of Taylor’s albums are masterpieces that teach complex lessons about life and love. With eloquent lyrics, daring music videos and political undertones, Taylor has secured herself a spot as the most influential singer and songwriter of our generation.