In honor of my queen, Taylor Swift, for announcing the release of her sixth album, “Reputation,” out November 10th, I’ve decided to share my top 10 Taylor Swift songs. I’ve been wanting to do this post for awhile and I finally decided to bite the bullet once I heard we’re getting new music (!!!!) tomorrow.
Taylor will be releasing the lead single off of “Reputation” tomorrow, on Thursday, August 24 (11pm CST and 12am ET) and I am so ridiculously excited (and so anxious) to see what’s next!
If you’re curious to see how the rest of Taylor’s catalog ranks for me, check out my ranked playlist on Spotify. Nothing is too finalized except the Top 20 or so!
1. “Out Of The Woods”
Released: Released as a promotional single on October 14, 2014, album on October 27, 2014
The first time I ever heard OOTW, I was at a point in my life where the lyrics matched EXACTLY what I was going through and the song will forever be significant to vey emotional parts of my life – which definitely influences why I think it’s my favorite T.S. tune. Taylor notes in a Rolling Stone interview that the song refers to “A romance in which every day was a struggle. Forget making plans for life – we were just trying to make it to next week.”
Not only does it have one of my favorite bridges of all time (lyrics below), it was produced by Jack Antonoff, another one of my favorite artists. I think it’s a song that sums up Taylor Swift’s music to a tee and will forever be important to me.
Remember when you hit the brakes too soon / Twenty stitches in a hospital room / When you started crying / Baby, I did too / But when the sun came up / I was looking at you / Remember when we couldn’t take the heat / I walked out, I said, I’m setting you free / But the monsters turned out to be just trees / When the sun came up / You were looking at me
2. “All Too Well”
Release Date: October 22, 2012
While so many people argue with me that this song should be Taylor’s best on my ranked list, it basically is my first favorite tied with Out Of the Woods. They are honestly interchangeable for me because I would argue that both songs are Taylor’s best songwriting. “Out Of the Woods” is number one for me because I think it encapsulates Taylor as an artist, like I stated above.
However, I think that All Too Well is on a different level with the rest of her catalog because although it’s pretty much confirmed that the song is about Tay’s ex boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal, I think that there are aspects of the song that can be relatable to anyone who has gone through a bad breakup. I also feel like this is the song that got people to actually start appreciating Taylor’s songwriting abilities.
Maybe we got lost in translation / maybe I asked for too much / And maybe this thing was a masterpiece ’til you tore it all up / Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well / Hey, you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest / I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here / Cause I remember it all, all, all too well / Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it / I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it / After plaid shirt days / and nights when you made me your own / Now you mail back my things and I walk home alone
3. “Holy Ground”
Release Date: October 22, 2012
Let me start off by saying #JusticeForHolyGround. I feel like this song was totally swept under the rug and I truly think it’s fascinating that Taylor never made it a single. It is still to this day one of my FAVE Taylor songs (obviously because I listed it as my third favorite) and even though a lot of people (including myself) have argued that Red is not a sonically cohesive album compared to other T.S. albums, I think that “Holy Ground” is THE perfect Red song.
Looking back at this song now, I recognize a connection between the styles of “Holy Ground” and “Out Of The Woods:” a sense of urgency, nostalgia and lyrics about a lost love. Before you say that Taylor only writes about love (and I could tell you why that’s not true), I think that she particularly does best writing about love looking back on it with more of a longing, sadness or desire to go back: her songs that are more aggressive or blame-y are the once I tend to like less (you’ll see based on the rest of this list that this idea is pretty accurate).
We had this big wide city all to ourselves / We blocked the noise with the sound of ‘I need you’ / And for the first time I had something to lose / And I guess we fell apart in the usual way / And the story’s got dust on every page / But sometimes I wonder how you think about it now / And I see your face in every crowd
4. “State of Grace”
Release Date: Released as a promotional single on October 16, 2012, album on October 22, 2012
Can I just say that once Taylor Swift released “State of Grace” as a promo single for Red I was SO hopeful that she was taking it in a indie pop direction? While I was sadly mistaken, I was left with one of my fave T.Swift songs EVER. I get total “Dreams” by The Cranberries vibes and I really do think that if Taylor ever decided to make an album with more folky, indie pop vibes, she would totally succeed.
I feel like this song, along with “Holy Ground” isn’t really considered one of Taylor’s best songs and I really don’t know why it doesn’t get more hype. Whenever I hear it, I just want to dance around in a field full of flowers while simultaneously looking up at huge city skyscrapers. While something like that may be pretty unrealistic, that’s what Taylor’s music does to me!
You come around and the armor falls / Pierce the room like a cannon ball / Now all we know, is don’t let go / We are alone just you and me / Up in your room and our slates are clean / Just twin fire signs, four blue eyes / 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
5. “New Romantics”
Release Date: October 27, 2014
One of my Taylor’s best qualities as musician and overall superstar is her ability to flip the narrative on how she is perceived as the public and just own it, which is something that I think we will see a LOT with her new album. Along with “Blank Space,” Taylor did this perfectly in her song, “New Romantics.” Although the song was on the deluxe edition of 1989, I think it is one of her best tunes and really catapulted her into superstardom of straight up POP music.
The song was definitely different than anything else she had ever released and I think the track, although very fitting for 1989, stands alone on its own. I really love the electric pop feel that is embedded into the song and I get so many Carly Rae Jepsen vibes with the sass of Stevie Nicks.
I would definitely love to see this sort of attitude in her next album – but only time will tell.
We need love / But all we want is danger / We team up / Then switch sides like a record changer / The rumors / Are terrible and cruel / But, honey most of them are true / ‘Cause, baby, I could build a castle / Out of all the bricks they threw at me / And every day is like a battle / But every night with us is like a dream
Release Date: October 27, 2014
Can we really go wrong with a collab ft. Taylor and Imogen Heap? Probably not. When I was really young and still engulfed in my Myspace phase, I so clearly remember hearing an Imogen Heap song for the first time and being so unbelievably intrigued and blown away by her uniqueness and artistry and have always had a weird attachment to her music. Once I heard the news that she was going to be featured on a Taylor Swift track, I was SO excited.
Like I said a few paragraphs ago, I really prefer Taylor Swift songs about love where she’s looking back in a way that’s not petty or mean in nature, which I think perfectly describes “Clean.” I do think that this song is about a rebirth of sorts and having closure on a certain time or event in your life – and although I’m sure many people relate to this as losing a romantic relationship, I think you can apply the message of the song to a variety of situations, which is really beautiful.
I remember when Taylor performed “Clean” at the 1989 Tour stop in Chicago and I felt so overcome with emotions, even though I was only 19 and never really went through my first heartbreak (it came soon after). I still appreciated the song and how I felt like Taylor was able to relate with her fans – and she really spoke about it beautifully and gave a motivational speech of sorts. It was a great moment and I think her songwriting ability really shines through this song.
10 months sober, I must admit / Just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it / 10 months older, I won’t give in / Now that I’m clean I’m never gonna risk it / The drought was the very worst / When the flowers that we’d grown together died of thirst / Rain came pouring down when I was drowning / That’s when I could finally breathe / And by morning gone was any trace of you / I think I am finally clean
Release Date: November 11, 2008
There is absolutely no way that this song wouldn’t end up in my Top 10, because it’s definitely the first song of Taylor’s that made me a die hard fan. Although I’ve continued to struggle deciding on my favorite Taylor Swift album, it always seems to come back to Fearless…but I’m still not sure if it’s my favorite or not. Anyway, I’ll never forget the feelings I felt when I was becoming a fan of hers (I was 12 or 13 when I stated listening to her and 14 when this album dropped), and her fearlessness (no pun intended) and honesty in her music really inspired me.
I think it’s important for young girls to have some sort of role model to look up to, regardless of the occupation or the status or whatever, and I really built my love for her as an artist after this album – and this song. The idea of being fearless in a relationship, on a first date, in a career, whatever the case is, I think it’s a lovely message and I will forever be so grateful for the feelings this album gave me when I was younger. This song is on my list because it is SO TAYLOR SWIFT. Everything about it – falling in love too fast, the stupid cheesy dance on a first date – all of it is so amazing and I totally hear these qualities in her music – even songs from 1989.
And I don’t know how it gets better than this / You take my hand and drag me head first / Fearless / And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance in a storm in my best / dress / Fearless
8. The Story Of Us
Album: Speak Now
Release Date: October 25, 2010
I will admit with no issue that when I was in high school I would JAM to this song even though I could NOT relate to it or its message whatsoever. I always loved it a lot for some reason and it always stuck in my head, even to this day, as one of her best songs. Looking back and listening to the song now, I can TOTALLY relate to the lyrics based on what I’ve experienced since the song’s release, and I love that I can listen to it and feel what she’s feeling in the song 7 years later.
Taylor has been praised for her ability to tell stories in her music – and “The Story Of Us” is literally a story. It’s perfect. I can hear the beginning, the middle, the climax, and the (lack of) conclusion, which is just how it can work out in life. The inability to have closure after a relationship (romantic or friendly) and wondering if the other person is feeling the same way – and not being able to just ASK them – is so freaking relatable and honest and raw. Psst – this concept of wanting to talk to someone about your relationship with them is totally harder to do with our culture’s heightened obsession with social media and always being able to see what someone’s doing – do you agree?
This is looking like a contest / Of who can act like they care less / But I liked it better when you were on my side / The battle’s in your hands now / But I would lay my armor down / If you’d say you’d rather love than fight / So many things that you wish I knew / But the story of us might be ending soon / Now I’m standing alone in a crowded room / And we’re not speaking and I’m dying to know / Is it killing you like it’s killing me?
Release Date: October 22, 2012
As I write this, I wonder why “Treacherous” isn’t higher up on my list, and it’s because all of her best music is SO good it’s truly so hard for me to rank them. But “Treacherous” totally, without a doubt, deserves a spot in my top 10 and I will forever be impressed with this song.
I love Taylor’s ability to explain and analyze her own experiences with love and being able to relate it back to a bigger picture – which is why I think she has created and maintained such a big fanbase. People feel like they can relate to her experiences, even though she is pretty much entirely different than every other girl (or boy) her age (or younger) due to the fact that she’s literally one of the biggest superstars on the planet.
You can say what you want about her persona, controversies, etc, but I think her songwriting can stand on its own and she can create music that’s separated from those things (not always, but she can do it!) Anyway, I’m going on a rant now for sure, but I think that this song is a freaking fantastic example of her phenomenal songwriting abilities and the way that she can make the concept of falling love and the fears that come with it into a beautiful song. I really wish it was talked about more and TAYLOR, PLEASE PERFORM THIS LIVE ON YOUR TOUR 20 YEARS FROM NOW when all of your fans grow up and see you back on the road for a reunion tour (she literally has never played Treacherous live on a tour).
I can’t decide if it’s a choice / Getting swept away / I hear the sound of my own voice / Asking you to stay / And all we are is skin and bone / Trained to get along / Forever going with the flow / But you’re friction / This slope is treacherous / This path is reckless / This slope is treacherous / And I, I, I like it / Two headlights shine through the sleepless night / And I will get you, and get you alone / Your name has echoed through my mind / And I just think you should, think you should know / That nothing safe is worth the drive / And I will follow you home
10. “Wildest Dreams”
Release Date: October 27, 2014
I started listening to this song as I got to the final song in my top 10 and I realized that honestly, I am SO sick of this song. It was totally one of my favorites when 1989 was released but it got TOO much radio play for me and I listened to it way too much. But that definitely doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of my favorite songs and for SURE one of her best.
I really love the vibes in “Wildest Dreams,” I feel like it’s Lana Del Rey esque without losing that special something that makes a Taylor Swift song just that. I also just imagine scenes from “The Great Gatsby” playing on a screen as the song soundtracks it. I love the dreamlike quality that is in the song and the idea of missing a moment while you’re still in it is how this song makes me feel. Nostalgic for something that is still happening. It also doesn’t hurt that the track is very likely to be about Harry Styles.
If you’re curious to see the songs that ALMOST made my top 10, the next ten are:
11. “All You Had to Do Was Stay” – 1989
12. “Forever & Always” – Fearless
13. “Breathe” – Fearless
14. “White Horse” – Fearless
15. “Last Kiss” – Speak Now
16. “Blank Space” – 1989
17. “Dear John” – Speak Now
18. “Long Live” – Speak Now
19. “Mine” – Speak Now
20. “Wonderland” – 1989
So out of my Top 20,
- 7 are songs from 1989
- 4 are songs from Red
- 5 are songs from Speak Now
- 4 are songs from Fearless
- 0 are songs from Taylor Swift
Props to you if you read this entire thing. I am just SO excited to hear new music – and I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile. New music TOMORROW – I can’t believe it’s been three years since new stuff from Taylor. #Shook