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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


“I Bet You Think About Me,” With Chris Stapleton (2021)

This rowdy hell-raising saloon sing-along about a rich ex is a delightful honky-tonk jam — the kind of straight-up Nashville vibe she was about to leave behind. In the classic “Friends in Low Places” country tradition, she taunts him for his “organic shoes” and “cool indie music concerts.” Which in 2012 meant he was into the National and Bon Iver.Best line: “The girl in your bed has a fine pedigree/And I bet your friends tell you she’s better than me.”


“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.”


“Dress” (2017)

Swift is no stranger to getting emo over her dresses, but this time it’s different: “Only bought this dress so you could take it off.” Her most carnal slow jam is also one of her saddest – the ache in her voice, the yearning in those synth sparkles. There’s something so “Little Red Corvette” in the way she interrupts her own wordplay with forlorn sighs. As for that golden tattoo – hold on, we’re going home.Best line: “I don’t want you like a best friend.” Listen here.


“This Love” (2014)

A meditative 1989 nocturne – half acoustic introspection, half electro reverie – as she genuflects in the midnight hour.Best line: “I could go on and on, on and on/And I will.”


“Forever Winter” (2021)

“Too young to know it gets better” is an empathetic hook from a songwriter just moving into her twenties. “Forever Winter” is a Red vault outtake where she’s worried about a troubled friend, wishing she could protect them from their tribulations. It makes a companion to a very different 2021 tune: her Big Red Machine single “Renegade,” another song about the mechanics of compassion.Best line: “He spends most of his nights wishing it was how it used to be/He spends most of his flights getting pulled down by gravity.”


<strong>“Mastermind</strong>” (2022)

The flip side of “Enchanted”: in this story Taylor is the chess master of love, plotting out every move in advance until her prey falls right into her logical trap. Love how she says, “Checkmate! I couldn’t lose.” Since Taylor recently revealed that the final scene of her “All Too Well” short film was inspired by Barbara Stanwyck in Stella Dallas, “Mastermind” could be Stanwyck in The Lady Eve, as the grifter scheming to destroy Henry Fonda’s life. (The Swift/Stanwyck connections go so deep.) Best line: “I’m only cryptic and Machiavellian because I care.”


“Treacherous” (2012)

“Put your lips close to mine/As long as they don’t touch” – now there’s an entrance line. Taylor braves the ski slopes of love, with a seething acoustic guitar that finally detonates halfway though. A weird sonic detail: if you play this immediately after Joni Mitchell’s “People’s Parties,” the transition is almost frighteningly perfect.Best line: “Nothing safe is worth the drive.”


“‘Tis the Damn Season” (2020)

A Hollywood girl who’s too shiny for her tiny hometown — the loudest woman this town has ever seen — comes back for the holidays, staying with her parents, and falls right back into the arms of the boy she left behind. Dorothea realizes she doesn’t really fit in either place, but she’ll soon be heading back to her bitch-pack of fair-weather friends in L.A. The best U2-style guitar on a Swift song since “State of Grace.”Best line: “The road not taken looks real good now/Time flies, messy as the mud on your truck tires.”


“Ronan” (2012)

A little-known charity single for cancer research, unlike anything else in her songbook. She wrote this about Ronan Thompson, a four-year-old Arizona boy who died of neuroblastoma, after she read his mom’s blog. She turned the blog posts into an eloquent ballad (crediting Maya Thompson as co-writer) and performed “Ronan” at the Stand Up to Cancer benefit. You might expect it to be manipulative and obvious; it isn’t. It’s emblematic of the kind of narrative she could keep doing for decades to come — an early run for her Folklore and Evermore character studies. She sings it with even more soul on Red (Taylor’s Version).Best line: “What if the miracle was getting even one moment with you?”


“Happiness” (2020)

The saddest song on her saddest album — so what else would she call it but “Happiness”? Taylor’s lifelong romance with The Great Gatsby pays off here, when she quotes Daisy Buchanan and sings, “I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool.” And “I haven’t met the new me yet” is a poignant line from a songwriter who’s collected so many New Mes over the years. She also sings about “the dress I wore at midnight” — bet that’s the same party dress she’s wearing in “The Moment I Knew,” a song about getting stood up on her 21st birthday. Taylor released this exactly ten years after that night, just in time for her 31st birthday. The lesson, as always: she plans everything.Best line: “I pulled your body into mine every goddamn night/Now I get fake niceties.”


“Safe and Sound,” With the Civil Wars (2012)

This hidden jewel took on a whole new luster after it became her blueprint for Folklore and Evermore. “Safe and Sound” ventures into rootsy folkie territory, on the Hunger Games soundtrack. She explores crevices in her voice she’d never opened up before, teaming up with the Civil Wars and producer T-Bone Burnett. The Swift-Burnett connection raises the question of how long it’ll take her to collaborate with Elvis Costello, a songwriter with whom she shares some fascinating affinities. At the very least, Tay should cover “New Lace Sleeves.”Best line: “Don’t you dare look out your window, darling/Everything’s on fire.”


“My Tears Ricochet” (2020)

What a ghostly scene: a spectre watches her funeral, haunting her enemies, friends, and lovers. “I didn’t have it in myself to go with grace” — maybe not a huge surprise. One of her spookiest Goth Tay ballads, especially when she admits, “I still talk to you,” and the ghost choir adds, “When I’m screaming at the sky.”Best line: “If I’m dead to you, why are you at the wake cursing my name?


“Mean” (2010)

A banjo-core Tay-visceration of people who are mean, liars, pathetic, and/or alone in life, including the ones who live in big old cities. Always a live highlight on her early tours, showcasing her murderers’ row of a band, the Agency.Best line: “Drunk and grumbling on about how I can’t sing.” Listen here.


“I Knew You Were Trouble” (2012)

It slams like a lost Blondie hit, from somewhere between Parallel Lines and Eat to the Beat. The way she sings the word “drown-i-i-i-ing” alone makes it.Best line: “He was long gone when he met me/And I realize the joke is on me.” Listen here.


<strong>“Sweet Nothing</strong>” (2022)

It’s a long road through pop history from 1950s teen country star Brenda Lee chirping “Sweet Nothin’s” to the Velvet Underground chronicling street-punk existential despair in “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’.” But Taylor connects all the dots along the way. “Sweet Nothing” is her portrait of domestic bliss, co-written with “William Bowery” a.k.a. boyfriend Joe Alwyn. Love the moment where she writes a poem on the way home and he marvels, “What a mind.” Like so many of her finest love songs, it’s about finding the courage to stop hiding behind distractions, and letting yourself be seen.Best line: “Industry disrupters and soul deconstructers/And smooth-talking hucksters out-glad-handing each other.”


“Tim McGraw” (2006)

We knew she was trouble when she walked in – or at least we should have guessed from her debut single. You couldn’t make this up – a nervy high school kid shows up with a country ballad she whipped together after math class one day, about slow dancing in the moonlight to the pickup truck radio: “When you think Tim McGraw/I hope you think of me.” Within a couple of years, she’s an even bigger star than McGraw is.Best line: “He said the way my blue eyes shined/Put those Georgia stars to shame that night/I said, ‘That’s a lie.’” Listen here.


“Ivy” (2020)

An ode to a forbidden extramarital crush, with Taylor raging, “It’s a fire, it’s a goddamn blaze in the dark, and you started it!” “Ivy” has weird musical echoes of the Grateful Dead — those Jerry Garcia-style guitar ripples, or the way the chorus leaps into that “goddamn” a la “Uncle John’s Band.” It shouldn’t be a surprise — Aaron Dessner and his brother Bryce masterminded a great 2015 tribute album, Day of the Dead. (His guitar also goes full Garcia in “Cowboy Like Me.”) Here’s looking forward to Taylor’s Deadhead era — imagine how great her American Beauty will be.Best line: “The old widow goes to the stone very day/But I don’t, I just sit here and wait/Grieving for the living.”


“Call It What You Want” (2017)

Always here for the Taylor castle metaphors. The warmest Rep electro-ballad, about how exotic it feels to give up worrying about judgy strangers and start living a damn life. “Call It What You Want” celebrates a mature relationship — the kind where you turn off your phone for hours at a time and pull down the shades and risk letting yourself get a little known.Best line: “Not because he owns me / But ’cause he really knows me.” Listen here.


“Better Man” (2021)

Taylor gave this one away to Little Big Town, who turned it into a massive 2016 country hit. “Better Man” came to loom large in her legend as a writer, so it was worth the wait to finally get her own proper version. “Better Man” hits even harder with Taylor wailing her tale of adult regret, confessing to the mirror, “The bravest thing I ever did was run.”Best line: “I gave to you my best/And we both know you can’t say that.”


<strong>“Bejeweled</strong>” (2022)

“Bejeweled” is full of late-night disco jitters, as Taylor sings about the the fear of stepping out onto the floor and putting her heart on display, until she takes the plunge because it’s scarier to think about *not* doing it. It sounds like this could be the neglected wife of “Tolerate It,” finally breaking free. (She boasts, “I polish up real nice,” as opposed to “I polish plates until they gleam and glisten.”) It’s got that “tears on the dance floor” vibe of “New Romantics,” except “New Romantics” was sung by a “we,” yet the singer of “Bejeweled” is feeling very alone indeed.Best line: “Sapphire tears on my face/Sadness became my whole sky/Some guy said my aura’s moonstone just ‘cause he was high.”


“Sparks Fly” (2010)

“Drop everything now! Meet me in the pouring rain!” Oh, this girl loves her precipitation scenes, but “Sparks Fly” really brings the thunder. It shows off her uncanny power to make a moment sound gauchely private and messily public at the same time. (Waxahatchee has another excellent song called “Sparks Fly” — no relation.)Best line: “Just keep on keeping your eyes on me.” Listen here.


“22” (2012)

Approximately 22,000 times more fun than actually being 22. The best song about turning the double deuce since Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” if not the Stratford 4’s “Telephone,” it’s also her first shameless disco trip, with that Nile Rodgers-style guitar flash. But the power move is that “uh oh” into the chorus – the oldest trick in the book, except she makes it sound brand new every time.Best line: “This place is too crowded, too many cool kids.” Listen here.


“Hits Different” (2022)

The bonus track from Midnights is a breezy departure from the rest of the album, with sun-kissed California rock guitar and wildly funny lines about why Taylor is your ultimate Argumentative Antithetical Dream Girl. “Hits Different” sounds like it could be Betty or James a couple years down the line, after one of them skips town like an asshole outlaw. “I never don’t cry at the bar” feels like the truth. But “I don’t need another metaphor” is the funniest lie in the song, since Taylor loves piling up metaphors even more than she loves crying in bars.Best line: “Each bar plays ‘Our Song’/ Nothing has ever felt so wrong.”


“Style” (2014)

Not always a subtle one, our Tay. This extremely 1986-sounding synth-pop groove is full of hushed-breath melodrama, where even the guy taking off his coat can feel like a plot twist. (Why would he keep his coat on? This is his apartment.) And the long-running songwriting badminton between her and Harry Allegedly is pop call-and-response the way it ought to be – no matter how much misery it might bring into their personal lives, for the rest of us it means one great tune after another.Best line: “You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye/And I got that red lip classic thing that you like.” Listen here.


“State of Grace” (2012)

She opens Red with one of her grandest love songs in arena-rock drag, and the U2 vibe makes sense since she’s also got a red guitar and the truth. The acoustic version was always a welcome bonus track on the expanded Red, but it sounds even more autumnal now on Taylor’s Version. If “State of Grace” is her U2 song, what’s the U2 song that sounds most like Taylor? Probably “All I Want Is You,” though you could make a strong case for “A Sort of Homecoming.”Best line: “Up in your room and our slates are clean/Twin fire signs, four blue eyes.” Listen here.


“Willow” (2020)

“Take my hand, wreck my plans, that’s my man” is a great hook from the songwriter who turns plan-wrecking into an art form. “Willow” is the perfect song to introduce Evermore, all rustic guitar and spooky romance, deep in the woods. Taylor really committed to the concept at the Grammys, singing “Willow” on the roof of a moss-covered cabin. In the video, she gazes at her reflection in a pool like Narcissus, and like she once sang, the narcissists love her. Heartbreak: the Nineties trend that always comes back strong.Best line: “Show me the places where the others gave you scars.”


“Betty” (2020)

The Betty/Inez/James love triangle is at the heart of Folklore, inspiring three of its best songs. Every aspect of “Betty” sounds designed to explode when she finally gets to take it to the stage, from the “Thunder Road” harmonica to the most shameless lighters-up key change of her career. Picture all the beer that will get sloshed on you when it’s So I Showed Up To Your Party o’clock. (Her live version at the Academy of Country Music Awards in September 2020 was an arena-rock blast, for the year with no arenas.) Also love how when Taylor steps into the mind of a 17-year-old boy, the first thing she fantasizes about his male privilege is the right to make unchallenged assumptions. If James is a boy, that is. (Taylor takes care to leave it open — but has any boy in her songs ever stopped at a streetlight?) Key question: Was James in his car driving around the party listening to 1989? Because he follows all the advice she gives in “How You Get the Girl” and (surprise) it works.Best line: “Will you kiss me on the porch in front of all your stupid friends?”


“Begin Again” (2012)

“You said you never met one girl who had as many James Taylor records as you,” indeed. Sweet Baby Tay drops a deceptively simple ballad that sneaks up and steamrolls all over you, as an unmelodramatic coffee date leads to an unmelodramatic emotional connection. She’s always been outspoken about her mad love for her namesake JTand Carly Simon, but “Begin Again” could be the finest collabo they never wrote.Best line: “You don’t know why I’m coming off a little shy/But I do.” Listen here.


“Fearless” (2008)

Oh Fearless, it’s easy to take you for granted sometimes. The first time I heard her sophomore record (the record company literally played it over the phone for me because they were so afraid of it leaking) I thought, “Holy cats, this is a perfect pop album. She’ll never top this.” Then she topped it seven times in a row, to the point where it became one of history’s most curiously overlooked perfect pop albums. But Fearless has a whole new mystique ever since she chose it to kick off her remake series. The title anthem gathers so many of her favorite tropes in one chorus—rain, cars, fancy dresses, boys who stare at her while driving instead of watching the damn road, shy girls posing as brave and faking it till they make it—and builds up to a swoon. But it soars even higher now in Taylor’s Version, with all the adult soul in her voiceBest line: “You’re just so cool, run your hands through your hair/Absent-mindedly making me want you.” Listen here.


“Getaway Car” (2017)

One of Swift’s most endearingly McCartney-esque traits is the way she goes overboard with her latest enthusiasm and starts Tay-splaining it as her personal discovery. On 1989, she informed us all what New York is; on Reputation, she breaks down the concept of “alcohol.” (Wait, you can drink beer out of plastic cups? Tell us more!) Hence “Getaway Car,” where Film Noir Tay makes her big entrance, knocking back Old Fashioneds at the motel bar, a femme fatale playing two fall guys against each other. In the glorious final minute, she decides to sell them both out and speeds off to her next emotional heist.Best line: “Nothing good starts in a getaway car.” Listen here.


<strong>“Snow On The Beach” feat. Lana Del Rey</strong> (2022)

“Weird but fucking beautiful,” indeed. “Snow On The Beach” is a duet with Lana Del Rey, although it sounds all the way Swiftian vocally, lyrically, and (especially) melodically. The most beguiling tune on Midnights, with pizzicato strings and lines about falling for a lover bright enough to burn out your periphery. That melody is damn near impossible to dislodge from the skull, especially that soft “it’s coming down, it’s coming down” at the end. Best line: “Life is emotionally abusive.”


“Cornelia Street” (2019)

A ballad about how scary it is to realize how much you have to lose — how the brand-new-crush tingle of “Holy Ground” eventually turns into the place where you have to build a life. She looks around an apartment where she’s memorized every creak in the floor, a neighborhood full of romance, and comprehends how fast it all could turn into a heartbreak hotel.Best line: “Baby, I get mystified by how this city screams your name.” Listen here.


“Nothing New,” With Phoebe Bridgers (2021)

Taylor and Phoebe are the Ghostface and Raekwon of the Sad Girl agenda — two kindred spirits blending their voices for a mournful guitar ballad of getting older, losing your novelty, but still crying in your bedroom. “Nothing New” is the vault track everybody was fiending for from Red (Taylor’s Version) — but it’s even better than we were hoping. The eternal question: “How can a person know everything at 18, and nothing at 22?” As you can tell from Folklore, Evermore, and Punisher, these two know the ingenue blues inside out. Can we please get a whole Taylor-Phoebe duet album?Best line: “They tell you when you’re young/‘Girls, go out and have your fun’/Then they hunt down and kill the ones who actually do it.”


“Last Kiss” (2010)

Toward the end of Speak Now, when you’re already wrung out from sad songs and begging for mercy, this six-minute quasi-doo-wop ballad creeps up on you to inflict more punishment. One of those flawless Nathan Chapman productions – so sparse, so delicate, flattering every tremor of her voice.Best line: “I’m not much for dancing, but for you I did.” Listen here.


“Cardigan” (2020)

The sweater left behind under someone’s bed, like the lost scarf in “All Too Well” or the lost glove in “It’s Nice To Have a Friend.” (Or the ex-wife’s dress left in the closet in Fiona Apple’s “Ladies”?) Swift sorts through the memories that go with breathing in the scent of a remembered lover, over brooding piano. “I knew you, leaving like a father, running like water” sure jumps out of the song, as startling as the “careless man’s careful daughter” in “Mine.” The day she wrote this song with the National’s Aaron Dessner, she posted a photo with the caption, “Not a lot going on at the moment.” Why do we ever believe a word she says?Best line: “Chase two girls, lose the one / When you are young they assume you know nothing.”


“Our Song” (2006)

The hit that made me a Swift fan, the first moment I heard it in 2007 – it knocked me sideways in the middle of lunch. (The CW played it as interstitial music between afternoon reruns of the Clueless sitcom and What I Like About You.) “Our song is a slamming screen door,” what a genius hook. I Googled to see who wrote this; it turned out the songwriter was also the singer and – how strange – she was just starting out. I hoped she might have at least another great tune or two in her. This song and that voice have kept slamming those screen doors ever since.Best line: “We’re on the phone, and you talk reeeeeal slow/’Cause it’s late and your mama don’t know.” Listen here.


“Evermore” (2020)

Taylor’s title tracks are usually bangers, but “Evermore” is a pensive piano meditation where she sits alone by the fireside, trying to figure out how it all went so wrong. We know Tay grew up a hardcore Def Leppard fan, so it’s no surprise the piano here echoes “Hysteria,” their saddest and most proto-Swiftian hit. (She sang a fantastic “Hysteria” with them on CMT in 2008.) Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon joins for the call-and-response bridge. Love the half-chuckle in the line “it was real enough to get me through”: the closest she comes to one of her Taylor Laughs in the Folklore/Evermore era.Best line: “I rewind the tape, but all it does is pause.”


“Red” (2012)

The mission statement for Red, this century’s most ridiculously masterful megapop manifesto. Eurodisco plus banjos – the glitter-cowgirl totality Shania Twain spent years trying to perfect, with a color-tripping lyric worthy of Prince Himself, faster than the wind, passionate as sin. Plus, her all-time gnarliest pileup of Swiftian metaphors. (Nitpick: What kind of crossword puzzle has no right answer? What self-respecting puzzlemaster would sign off on that?)Best line: “Lovin’ him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street.” Listen here.


“Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” (2022)

Taylor revisits the memory of her teenage self, with an adult sense of compassion. “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” is a powerful sequel to “Dear John,” but when she sang about this story before, her tone was more straightforward anger and regret. This song is messier, more confused, more ambivalent, as she struggles to understand the brash, complex 19-year-old artist/superstar/mirrorball she used to be. As she reflects, “I would have stayed on my knees/And I damn sure never would’ve danced with the devil at 19/And the God’s honest truth is that the pain was heaven.”Best line: “If I was some paint, did it splatter on a promising grown man?”