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All 173 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 ‘Lover’ era

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 173 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 Folklore. Every fan would compile a different list – that’s the beauty of it. 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.)

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

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30

“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 JT and 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.

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29

“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 six times in a row, to the point where it’s one of history’s most curiously overlooked perfect pop albums. 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.Best line: “You’re just so cool, run your hands through your hair / Absent-mindedly making me want you.” Listen here.

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28

“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.

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27

“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.

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26

“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.

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25

“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.

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24

“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.”