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All 274 of Taylor Swift’s Songs, Ranked

From teen country tracks to synth-pop anthems and rare covers, a comprehensive assessment of her one-of-a-kind songbook

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift the celebrity is such a magnet for attention, she can distract from Taylor Swift the artist. But Swift was a songwriter before she was a star, and she’ll be a songwriter long after she graduates from that racket. It’s in her music where she’s made her mark on history — as a performer, record-crafter, guitar hero and all-around pop mastermind, with songs that can leave you breathless or with a nasty scar. She was soaring on the level of the all-time greats before she was old enough to rent a car, with the crafty guile of a Carole King and the reckless heart of a Paul Westerberg — and she hasn’t exactly slowed down since then.

So with all due respect to Taylor the myth, the icon, the red-carpet tabloid staple, let’s celebrate the real Taylor — the songwriter she was born to be. Let’s break it down: all 243 tunes, counted from the bottom to the top. The hits, the flops, the deep  cuts, the covers, from her raw 2006 debut as a teen country ingenue right up to Midnights and The Tortured Poets Department. 

Every fan would compile a different list—that’s the beauty of it. She’s got at least 5 or 6 dozen songs that seem to belong in her Top Ten. But they’re not ranked by popularity, sales or supposed celebrity quotient — just the level of Taylor genius on display, from the perspective of a fan who generally does not give a rat’s nads who the songs are “really” about. All that matters is whether they’re about you and me. (I guarantee you are a more fascinating human than the Twilight guy, though I’m probably not.)

Since Taylor loves nothing more than causing chaos in our lives, she’s re-recording her albums, including the outtakes she left in the vault before. So far, she’s up to Fearless, Red, Speak Now, and 1989 For the Taylor’s Version remakes, both versions count as the same song. It’s a tribute to her fierce creative energy — in the past couple years she’s released an avalanche of new music, with more on the way. God help us all.

Sister Tay may be the last true rock star on the planet, making brilliant moves (or catastrophic gaffes, because that’s what rock stars do). These are the songs that sum up her wit, her empathy, her flair for emotional excess, her girls-to-the-front bravado, her urge to ransack every corner of pop history, her determination to turn any chorus into a ridiculous spectacle. So let’s step back from the image and pay homage to her one-of-a-kind songbook — because the weirdest and most fascinating thing about Taylor Swift will always be her music.

From Rolling Stone US


“Picture to Burn” (2006)

The dawn of Petty AF Tay, as she serves her ex beatdown threats. Every boy who ever complained when Taylor wrote about him – this is where you officially got fair warning.Best line: “Watch me strike a match on all my wasted time.”


“Carolina” (2022)

A Southern Gothic folk ballad in the Folklore/Evermore mode, from the movie Where the Crawdads Sing. It’s the story of a girl on her own in the North Carolina marshland, guarding secrets she’ll never share with anyone but the night. In many ways, “Carolina” feels like a sequel to “Cruel Summer,” but with bloodier secrets and a darker night.Best line: “Carolina pines, won’t you cover me? / Hide me like robes down the back road.”


“The Best Day” (2008)

Her tribute to Mama Swift. A weapons-grade tearjerker and not to be trifled with in a public place. NSFW, unless you are a professional crier.Best line: “You were on my side/Even when I was wrong.”


“The Story of Us” (2010)

You could credit this song with single-handedly driving John Mayer out of the pop heartthrob business and into the Grateful Dead – which is just one of the things to love about it. Along with the Joey Ramone-style way she says, “Next chapter!”Best line: “See me nervously pulling at my clothes and trying to look busy.”


“Invisible String” (2020)

“Cold was the steel of my axe to grind for the boys who broke my heart / Now I send their babies presents” — let the record show that Taylor dropped this line into the world two days after Joe Jonas became a dad. It’s official: she plans literally everything. “Invisible String” revisits some of the places she’s traveled, with a color and a memory for each one, over acoustic finger-picking.Best line: “Green was the color of the grass where I used to read at Centennial Park.”


“How You Get the Girl” (2014)

A seminar on girl hearts and the wooing thereof, with Coach Taylor offering a pep talk to girl-curious boys everywhere. She busts out her trusty acoustic guitar, teardrop stains and all, just to turn it into a beatbox.Best line: “Stand there like a ghost shaking from the rain / She’ll open up the door and say ‘Are you insane?’”


“Hey Stephen” (2008)

Loaded with classic girl-group flourishes, right from the opening “Be My Baby” drum beat. Plus, it begins and ends with her finest humming solos. If she wanted to hum on every song, she could make that work.Best line: “All those other girls, well, they’re beautiful/But would they write a song for you?”


“Mr. Perfectly Fine” (2021)

The opening act of Mr. Casually Cruel, a guy Taylor has kept meeting in her songs ever since. How did she possibly leave a song this strong off Fearless? Because she clearly figured that she needed to save “casually cruel” for an even better song a few years down the road. (One Mr. Casually Cruel wears “a well-pressed suit,” the other wears plaid shirts.) Poor Joe Jonas—now all her exes know that when Taylor sends their babies presents, it means there’s a song on the way. “Mr. Perfectly Fine” was the song that truly proved her Taylor’s Version project was for real—the outtakes from her vault weren’t leftovers or juvenalia, but bona fide Swift songs. Never be so casual you forget to be cruel; never be so cruel you forget to be casual.Best line: “Sashay away to your seat/It’s the best seat in the best room.”


‘The Manuscript’ (2024)

A pensive piano ballad at the end of The Anthology, celebrating the kind of inquisitive young romantic Swift can never stop singing about. This heroine re-reads the story of her life, pondering her “torrid affair” with a charismatic older man, wondering if she was the archer or the prey. As she sing, “He said since she was so wise beyond her years / Everything had been above-board / She wasn’t sure.” But she’s the author of this manuscript, telling her own life story as she goes along.Best line: “She rolled her eyes and said, ‘You’re a professional’/He said, ‘No, just a good Samaritan.”


“You Belong With Me” (2008)

One of her most pop-friendly early hits, singing in the role of a high school geek crushing on her best guy friend. When he comes out in college, they’ll have a few laughs about this. And never let us forget the wisdom of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless: “Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.”Best line: “She wears high heels, I wear sneakers/She’s cheer captain, and I’m on the bleachers.”


“Babe” (2021)

Taylor wrote “Babe” with Train’s Patrick Monahan, but tossed it to the babes of Sugarland. She sang lethal back-up vocals on their 2018 hit version — not to mention playing the femme-fatale supervillain in the Mad Men-style video. But it was worth the wait to get her own version on Red (Taylor’s Version), with Tay lingering over the “promises, promises” hook.Best line: “This is the last time I’ll ever call you ‘babe.’”


“Renegade,” With Big Red Machine (2021)

Good question, Taylor: “Is it insensitive for me to say, ‘Get your shit together so I can love you?’” She joins her kindred spirits Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon in their band Big Red Machine, in this highlight from their album How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? “Renegade” is a love story where she’s trying to brighten the world of somebody who’s in love with the darkness. It could be her answer song to the Eagles’ “Desperado,” except with a bit more in the human compassion department.Best Line: “Is it really your anxiety that stops you from giving me everything? Or do you just not want to?”


“Love Story” (2008)

Romeo meets Juliet: Proof that star-crossed teen romances never go out of style. But changing the plot of Romeo and Juliet so these two crazy kids end up together — now that’s some endearing Taylor hubris. She keeps going back to the well of Shakespearean tragedy, quoting Julius Caesar in the “Look What You Made Me Do” video. It’s never been clear what the line, “I was a scarlet letter,” is doing in this song, but now it’s a hint that Tay was just a few years away from going Full Hester Prynne in “New Romantics.”Best line: “Just say yes.”


“Don’t Blame Me” (2017)

She tries on the moody “bad girl goes to church” vibe of Madonna circa Like a Prayer – addicted to love, falling from grace, going down on her knees to beg for one more kiss.Best line: “My name is whatever you decide.”


“Should’ve Said No” (2006)

A pissed-off highlight of the debut, with an Oasis-worthy chorus. Savor the perfect Liam Gallagher way she milks the vowels of “begging for forgiveness at my fee-ee-eet.”Best line: “It was a moment of weakness, and you said yes.”


<strong>“Vigilante Shit</strong>” (2022)

A love triangle that gets lowdown and vicious: “I don’t dress for women / I don’t dress for men / Lately I’ve been dressing for revenge.” The hint of this sexual vigilante seducing her lover’s wife adds a bit of spice, as does the idea of using cosmetics as a fatally glam murder weapon.Best line: “Draw the cat eye sharp enough to kill a man / You did some bad things but I’m the worst of them.”


‘The Black Dog’ (2024)

“Old habits die screaming”? Sometimes they don’t die at all, as in this cleverly crafted ballad, where Swift satirizes her post-breakup phone-stalker tendencies. Her ex forgot to stop sharing his location, so Taylor watches his movements from thousands of miles away, dreaming up a scenario where she imagines him walking into a London pub and trying to pick up a new girl. But she’s too young to recognize that song by the Starting Line. Best line: “You said I needed a brave man / And proceeded to play him / Until I believed it too.”


“White Horse” (2008)

Teen Romantic Tay meets Bitter Adult Tay in a superbly disenchanted breakup ballad that gives up on princesses and fairy tales. “White Horse” has a new resonance since she updated the story for “The Tortured Poets Department,” changing the small-town high school to the Chelsea Hotel.Best line: “I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet/Lead up the stairwell.”


“Come Back…Be Here” (2012)

A yearning prayer for a rock & roll boy on tour, weak in the knees as she pleads for him to jet back on any terms he chooses.Best line: “I guess you’re in London today.”


“Teardrops on My Guitar” (2006)

One of her defining early smashes – and the one that marked her crucial crossover to the minivan-mom adult audience, where country stars do most of their business. It also inspired the first anti-Taylor answer song – Joe Jonas sang, “I’m done with superstars/And all the tears on her guitar” in 2009, on the JoBros’ instantly forgotten Lines, Vines and Trying Times. She added a P.S. years later in “Invisible String,” after she and Joe became friends again — proof that her songs just go on rewriting themselves.Best line: “Drew walks by me / Can he tell that I can’t breathe?”


“It’s Nice to Have a Friend” (2019)

The most divisive track on Lover — but for those of us who cherish this song, it’s a tiny little haiku miracle. That harp. Those steel drums. That creepy Lost Boys choir. That “Moonlight Mile” guitar. The childhood vibe evokes the White Stripes’ “We’re Going to Be Friends,” but it’s all her. Also, love how this story starts with a lost glove — seven years after the lost scarf in “All Too Well.” Best line: “Call my bluff / Call you ‘babe.’”


‘But Daddy I Love Him’ (2024)

Taylor goes back to the “Love Story” scenario, where daddy doesn’t approve of her Romeo. In most of her songs, that’s the least of her troubles—what usually infuriates her is how her dad likes her boyfriends TOO much, from “Last Kiss” to “The Way I Loved You” to “All Too Well (10-Minute Version).” Buried in all the romance, a sharply sad self-own: “Growing up precocious sometimes means not growing up at all.”Best line: “All the wine moms are still holding out, but fuck ‘em, it’s over.”


“I Did Something Bad” (2017)

Wait, she fell in love with a narcissist? Who saw that coming? Despite the Eurodisco bleeps and bloops, this is a total Nineties grunge-rock rager – she switches into Eddie Vedder/Scott Weiland mode when she growls that “over and over and over again if IIII could.” This is just waiting for her to turn it into a head-banging live guitar monster.Best line: “I never trust a playboy but they love me / So I fly ’em all around the world and I let them think they saved me.”


“The 1” (2020)

The one Folklore track that sounds like a continuation of Lover, with its languid finger-snapping Motown slink. “Roaring Twenties, tossing pennies in the pool” — Taylor’s long-term relationship with The Great Gatsby just keeps on giving. She closes the book on her twenties, while kissing off this “not exactly roaring at the moment” decade. On the Eras Tour, she adds an extreme shake of salt to the line “You meet a woman on the internet and taaaake her home,” and makes the song twice as painful.” On the Eras Tour, she adds an extreme shake of salt to the line “You meet a woman on the internet and taaaake her home,” and makes the song twice as powerful.Best line: “In my defense I have none, for digging up the grave another time.”


“Karma” (2022)

“Karma is my boyfriend” is a brain-devouring hook from this surprisingly perky chorus. A Midnights track that feels like a leftover from the past, especially since she already wrote a reply to this one on Evermore, with “Long Story Short,” advising “past me” to let go of petty distractions and just let her nemeses defeat themselves. Ice Spice adds her magic to the remix.Best line: “Karma is a cat.”


“Tolerate It” (2020)

Can you even imagine the songwriter who wrote “White Horse” in her teens was already planning to write “Tolerate It” in her 30s? She might have taken inspiration from Rebecca, but it feels more like a Carole King song from the 1970s — trapped in a dead-end marriage where something inside just died. Taylor called this part of Evermore “the ‘unhappily ever after’ trilogy of marriages gone bad.”Best line: “Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life.”


“Sad Beautiful Tragic” (2012)

She must have heard a Mazzy Star song on the radio that morning and thought, “Hey, this sounds like fun.” All the details are in place, from her woozy Hope Sandoval mumble to the way it nails Sandoval’s exact tambourine sound. Such an underrated Red gem, one she’s almost never sung live, but it was one of her templates for the sound of Folklore — Mazzy Swift rights forever. Would any other songwriter on Earth have the sheer gall to get away with that title? Let’s hope nobody tries.Best line: “You’ve got your demons, and, darling, they all look like me.”


<strong>“Lavender Haze</strong>” (2022)

A Nineties R&B trip through the “Lavender Haze,” with two lovers in their own private world, tuning out society and gender roles and social media, blocking out the noise, leaving it all at their door. It’s a kind of love story she’s kept singing about her whole career, from “Ours” to “Holy Ground” to “Call It What You Want.” Taylor rejects “the 1950s shit they want from me,” where “the only kind of girl they see is a one-night or a wife.” Intriguing footnote: At her NYC commencement speech in May, Dr. Swift revealed, “I had a phase where, for the entirety of 2012, I dressed like a 1950s housewife.”Best line: “Staring at the ceiling with you/You don’t ever say too much/And you don’t really read into my melancholia.”


“Illicit Affairs” (2020)

A cheating ballad that can turn me into a godforsaken mess any time. The guitar has a wistful “Last Kiss” tinge, except instead of sneaking peeks at an ex’s social-media photos, it’s all sordid meetings in the parking lot, where all getaway cars end up. The muted regret boils over in the bridge, as she snarls: “Don’t call me kid, don’t call me baby.” The definitive version is from The Long Pond Studio Sessions, with Aaron Dessner stretching out on guitar. She does an unforgettably powerful version on the Eras Tour where she simply chants the bridge. Can you imagine how great her Bridges Tour will be? Just four hours of her bridges?Best line: “Take the words for what they are/A dwindling, mercurial high/A drug that only worked the first few hundred times.”


“The Lakes” (2020)

Let’s face it: Swift has trained us to expect the unexpected, but nobody guessed she’d crown Folklore with the best song ever about 19th century Romantic poets. (Only competition: Van Morrison’s “Summertime in England.”) In “The Lakes,” she wanders the Windermere Peaks in the footsteps of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It’s her answer to Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey,” as she roams the wide open spaces so she can listen to “the still sad music of humanity.” As a Wordsworth fanatic, I’m grateful this song exists (“Peele Castle” Hive, rise!) and Tay should keep it going with the lit fan-fic — maybe Emily Dickinson or Gertrude Stein next?Best line: “I want auroras and sad prose/I want to watch wisteria grow.”


“The Man” (2019)

Imagine a timeline where Taylor released this as the first single from Reputation, instead of “Look What You Made Me Do.” It’s safe to say people might have gotten the message faster. “The Man” is the sharpest feminist anthem she’s written (so far). The unspoken subtext: If these dudes had to spend a day in her shoes, they’d crumble like a soggy chunk of feta cheese.Best line: “When everyone believes you, what’s that like?” Listen here.


“Cowboy Like Me” (2020)

Taylor never really had a thing for cowboys, even in her country days, so it makes sense she’d rather be the cowboy than rope one for herself. She’s a grifter swindling her sugar daddies, until she falls for a fellow con artist. But they don’t know if they can give up the thrills of the chase — the same old dilemma of “you love the players and you love the game.” Aaron Dessner’s guitar adds the right touch of country-rock. “I’m waiting by the phone like I’m in an airport bar” is one of the best old-media jokes on an album that also has centerfolds and VHS tapes.Best line: “The skeletons in both our closets plotted hard to fuck this up.”


‘My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys’ (2024)

Joni Mitchell once summed up her view of men falling out of love with their idealized dream women: “‘My toy is broken!’ And that’s basically the mentality of all the men of my generation that I met, just narcissistic, fair-weather types.” “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys” looks at the same syndrome, with a woman in the hands of a lover who sees her only as a disposable doll. As Swift said, it’s about “being somebody’s favorite toy, until they break you, and then don’t want to play with you anymore.” Best line: “Pull the string and I’ll tell you that he runs because he loves me.”


“Wildest Dreams” (2014)

You rang, Goth Taylor? At first this might have seemed like a minor pleasure on 1989, but it really sounds stronger and stronger over the years, especially when she hiccups the words “my last request ih-is.” The video features giraffes and zebras.Best line: “He’s so tall and handsome as hell/He’s so bad, but he does it so well.”


<strong>“Anti-Hero</strong>” (2022)

Taylor should begin more songs with the line “I have this thing where…”, right? She has LOTS of this thing. “Anti-Hero” addresses her public persona, in the tradition of Taylor Lead Singles, as opposed to her private or creative life, with self-deprecating quips in every verse, and the sing-along chorus: “It’s me! Hi! I’m the problem, it’s me!”Best line: “Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby/And I’m the monster on the hill.”


“Daylight” (2019)

The finale of Lover, and a passionate sequel to “Clean.” “Daylight” takes off in the final minute when she gives a soliloquy that sounds like one of those 2 a.m. voice memos you forget about until you find them on your phone weeks later. “I wanna be defined by the things I love, not the things I’m afraid of” — it’s an affirmation to believe in.Best line: “I once believed love would be burning red, but it’s golden.”


“Mine” (2010)

“You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter” is one of those hooks where she seems to cram a whole life story into one line.Best line: “I was a flight risk with a fear of falling.”


“You’re On Your Own, Kid” (2022)

A New Order-like synth-pop tale of teenage isolation: another teenage girl from a wasteland of a home town, dreaming of getting out or running away, but using music and art and writing to create her own fantasy world.Best line: “I searched the party of better bodies/Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare.”