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All 229 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 through the Midnights era.

Taylor Swift

Ranking all 129 of Taylor Swift's songs (from "Tim McGraw" to the 'Reputation' era, Rob Sheffield writes, "the weirdest and most fascinating thing about Taylor Swift will always be her music."

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 229 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

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 and Red. 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


“Dear John” (2010)

A slow-burning, methodical, precise, savage dissection of a failed quasi-relationship, with no happy ending, no moral, no solution, not even a lesson learned – just a bad memory filed away. “Dear John” might sound like she’s spontaneously pouring her heart out, but it takes one devious operator to make a song this intricate feel that way. (“You are an expert at sorry and keeping lines blurry and never impressed by me acing your tests” – she makes all that seem like one gulp of breath.) Every line stings, right down to the end when she switches from “I should have known” to “You should have known.”Best line: “I’m shining like fireworks over your sad empty town.” Listen here.


“Marjorie” (2020)

The centerpiece of Evermore, an album full of haunted houses and eloquent ghosts. Taylor sings about her late grandmother Marjorie Finlay, an opera singer who used to play the San Juan supper clubs, with the key line, “If I didn’t know better/I’d think you were singing to me now.” Her hushed voice tells the story over pulsing vintage synths, in the minimalist mode of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. At the end, she samples Marjorie’s soprano voice. A song about getting to know your loved ones better after they’re gone, giving them a home in your memory, turning their lives into folklore and passing them on like folk songs.Best line: “Never be so kind you forget to be clever/Never be so clever you forget to be kind.”


“Blank Space” (2014)

A double-venti celebration of serial monogamy for Starbucks lovers everywhere, as Tay zooms through the whole cycle – the high, the pain, the players, the game, magic, madness, heaven, sin. Every second of “Blank Space” is perfect, from the pen clicks to the “nasss-taaaay-scarrr” at the end. The high might not be worth the pain, but this song is.Best line: “Darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” Listen here.


“Lover” (2019)

Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand? This bombshell is the kind of twangy guitar ballad people thought she didn’t feel like writing anymore, except she’s celebrating the kind of adult passion people assumed wasn’t melodramatic enough for her to bother singing about. But when she hits those high notes in the chorus, it’s like the sensation at the top of the roller coaster when you realize you’re zooming all the way down. “Lover” sounds like a sequel to “Last Kiss,” but with a decade’s worth more soul going into it. She reclaims the cringiest noun in the language and makes it credible for the first time since Prince sang, “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” Great video too, especially when she goes into Sad Blue Violin Pluck mode. Imagine ending your twenties with a song this masterful. Imagine heading into your thirties the same way.Best line: “With every guitar-string scar on my hand.” Listen here.


“Long Live” (2010)

This is her “Common People,” her “Born to Run,” her “We Are the Champions.” An arena-slaying rock anthem to cap off Speak Now, for an ordinary girl who suddenly gets to feel like she rules the world for a minute or two. “Long Live” could be a gang of friends, a teen couple at the prom, a singer addressing her audience. But like so many songs on Speak Now, her secret prog album,it reaches the four-minute point where it feels like it’s over and she’s bringing it in for a landing – except that’s when the song gets twice as great.In the final verse, she makes a gigantic mess. (Actual lyric: “Promise me this/That you’ll stand by me forever.” WTF, girl, you were doing so well there.) Yet that’s the moment that puts “Long Live” over the top – a song nobody else could have written, as she rides those power chords home. That’s Taylor: always overdoing it, never having one feeling where six would do. Long live.Best line: “I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you.” Listen here.


“August” (2020)

“August” feels like such a simple tune, yet it’s one of the craftiest creations in the Swiftian Multiverse. She mourns a summer fling that slipped away like a bottle of wine, over Nineties soft-rock guitars, full of Mazzy Star/Cranberries “late afternoon set at Lilith Fair” energy. (Also, that “do you remember?” at the end seems to beam in straight from LFO’s ‘Summer Girls” — the mark of a truly obsessive pop music scholar.) She tries to kid herself it’s enough to live for the hope of it all, but she keeps running over her same memory again and again, trying to make it add up to something different. It all explodes in the giddy moment at the end, when you think the song is over, and you think she’s finally going to drive away with her head held high, but she circles back for one more “get in the car!” She might sit there alone behind the mall all night, waiting for a lover she knows won’t show up, but she makes it sound like the most romantic possible place to be.Best line: “So much for summer love and saying ‘us’/Because you weren’t mine to lose.”


“Delicate” (2017)

“Is it cool that I said all that?” A little late for that question, Tay. But “Delicate” is her triumph, a whispery vocoder rush that sums up everything she’s about. She steals away for a late-night hoodie-shrouded rendezvous at her local dive bar, trying to play jaded and cool. But because she’s Taylor, she can’t stop constantly pointing out how chill she’s being, elbowing you in the ribs with those “isn’t it? isn’t it?” chants. (I count 24 “isn’t it”‘s in this song and I am feeling every one of them.) She spends “Delicate” talking herself out of that midnight confession, but when it spills out — “I pretend you’re mine all the damn time” – the moment feels cataclysmic. As ever, the girl sets strict emotional rules for herself and then trashes them all. Let’s face it, Tay will always fail spectacularly at playing it cool, because she will never be able to resist saying way too much of All That. Yet as “Delicate” proves, All That is what she was born to say. Isn’t it?Best line: “Is it chill that you’re in my head?” Listen here.


“Mirrorball” (2020)

Taylor shines like the disco ball gazing down on the dance floor, wondering why everybody else looks so confident and imagining how that feels. A seething ballad about a loner feeling a little too loud and a little too bright, afraid everyone’s staring at her flaws yet feeling invisible anyway. “Mirrorball” revisits the party vibe of “New Romantics” from another angle, with Taylor twirling on high heels, spinning like a girl in a brand new dress, hating herself for being so desperate to sparkle for strangers. This is the kind of vulnerable teen sensibility that got her started writing songs in the first place (i.e. most of her debut album). But in classic Swift style, she decides exactly what she’s going to allow herself to feel, then wonders why she feels the exact opposite. She’s the same girl in the swing from “Seven,” grown up yet still feeling like she’s dangling in mid-air, never touching ground. Who else has a songwriting mind like this? Queen of Concept.Best line: “I’m still a believer but I don’t know why / I’ve never been a natural, all I do is try, try, try.”


“New Romantics” (2014)

The way Taylor exhales at the end of the line “I’m about to play my ace-aaah” is perhaps the finest moment in the history of human lungs. “New Romantics” is where she takes the Eighties synth-pop concept of 1989 to the bank, with a mirror-ball epiphany that leaves tears of mascara all over the dance floor. She tips her cap to the arty poseurs of the 1980s New Romantic scene – Duran Duran, Adam Ant, the Human League, etc. – yet sounds exactly like her own preposterously emotional self. (One of my weirdest moments of recent years: explaining this song’s existence to the guys in Duran Duran.) “New Romantics” is hardly the first time she’s sung about crying in the bathroom, but it’s the one that makes crying in the bathroom sound like a bold spiritual quest, which (when she sings about it) it is. The punch line: Having written this work of genius, exceeding even the wildest hopes any fan could have dreamed, she left it off the damn album, a very New Romantic thing to do.Best line: “We show off our different scarlet letters/Trust me, mine is better.” Listen here.


“All Too Well” (2012-2021)

So casually cruel in the name of being awesome. This towering ballad is Swift’s zenith, building to peak after peak. For “All Too Well,” she teams up with her songwriting sensei Liz Rose to spin a tragic tale of doomed love and scarves and autumn leaves and maple lattes. And her greatest song just got even greater in the definitive 10-minute version, with Taylor digging up her lost verses, to bring it to a whole new level of All Too Unwell. What kind of artist takes her own masterpiece and tears it all up? This one. Only this one. Result: an even bolder masterpiece.Every version of “All Too Well” tells a different story. There’s the “Sad Girl Autumn” version from Long Pond Studio, with Aaron Dessner on piano. The acoustic-guitar solo version from the theater premiere for her short film. But each version feels like it’s all her, because this isn’t really a song about a boy — never was. It’s about a girl, her piano, her memory, and her refusal to surrender her most painful secrets, even when it’s tempting to forget.It’s full of killer moments: the way she sings “refrigerator,” the way she spits out the consonants of “crumpled-up piece of paper,” the way she chews up three “all”’s in a row. No other song does such a stellar job of showing off her ability to blow up a trivial little detail into a legendary heartache. That scarf should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, though in a way it already is. You can schaeden your freude all over the celebrity she reputedly sings about, but on the best day of your life you will never inspire a song as great as “All Too Well.” Or write one.Best line: “Maybe we got lost in translation/Maybe I asked for too much/Maybe this thing was a masterpiece till you tore it all up/Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well.” Listen here.