Home Music Music Lists

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

Play video

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

148

“Highway Don’t Care” With Tim McGraw and Keith Urban (2013)

A duet from McGraw’s album Two Lanes of Freedom, with a guitar solo from Keith Urban. The plot: His ex is driving away, listening to a Taylor song on the radio, as Tay tries to coax the woman into turning the car around and going home. Perhaps McGraw’s finest duet since his great lost Nelly jam, “Over and Over.”Best line: “I bet you’re bending God’s ear talking ’bout me.”

Play video
147

“Change” (2008)

Oh, the fall of 2008 – Chuck and Blair were still an item, Suede was killing it on Project Runway, and “Change” was a de facto victory song for Obama, complete with a thumbs-up for the “revolution.” Yeah, those were different times.Best line: “These walls that they put up to hold us back will fall down.”

Play video

Universal Pictures

146

“Beautiful Ghosts” (2019)

She wrote this with Andrew Lloyd Webber for the Cats soundtrack — as she said, “If you can’t get T.S. Eliot, get T.S.”Best line: “I watch from the dark, wait for my life to start / With no beauty in my memory.”

Play video

Shutterstock

145

“Nashville” (2011)

A cover of an obscurity by country singer David Mead, tucked away as a bonus on the Target edition of the Speak Now Tour Live DVD.Best line: “Was that a blood or wine stain on your wedding dress?”

Play video

Shutterstock

144

“Sweet Escape” (2011)

From the same live DVD, a remake of the Gwen Stefani solo hit. Taylor’s vocal sure fits the Gwen just-a-girl sensibility.Best line: “I must apologize for acting stank.”

Play video

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

143

“I’d Lie” (2006)

A perky early throwaway about a teenage crush, recorded for her debut and briefly released as a bonus track.Best line: “He loves to argue, born on the 17th.”

Play video
142

“Look What You Made Me Do” (2017)

The reason fans once cared about rap beefs: they inspired great songs, whether it was Queens vs. the Bronx (“The Bridge” vs. “The Bridge Is Over” vs. “Have a Nice Day”) or LL Cool J vs. Kool Moe Dee (“How Ya Like Me Now” vs. “Jack the Ripper” vs. “Let’s Go” vs. “To Da Break of Dawn”). But this just sounds like a trivial time-waster by her standards – Swift’s celebrity feuds are not really one of the hundred most interesting things about her. The main attraction is the retro Panic! at the Disco vibe. “Look What You Made Me Do” turned out to be the lamest track on Reputation, but an impressively perverse head fake – a lead single that ended up having nothing to do with the album, musically or conceptually, making sure her new relationship songs would come as a surprise. To find a comparable stunt, you might have to go back to 1982, when Michael Jackson fooled the world into thinking Thriller was going to be a whole album of “The Girl Is Mine.”Best line: “It’s much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality.” Oh wait – that actually is Panic! at the Disco.

Play video

Matt Sayles/AP/Shutterstock

141

“Never Grow Up” (2010)

A folksy fingerpicking change of pace on Speak Now, pining for childhood innocence – though it feels more like a leftover from the debut.Best line: “You’re mortified your mom’s dropping you off.”

Play video

Rusty Russell/Getty Images

140

“Stay Beautiful” (2006)

An early stab at a take-the-high-road breakup song.Best line: “He whispers songs into my window.”

Play video

Alex Berliner/BEI/Shutterstock

139

“I Want You Back” (2010)

A live acoustic tribute to the then-recently departed Michael Jackson, with a bit of Motown tremble in her voice.Best line: “Oh darling, I was blind to let you go.”

Play video
138

“End Game” (ft. Ed Sheeran & Future) (2017)

Future reaffirms her long-running bond with ATLien hip-hop, which goes back to her B.o.B. and T.I. duets. Plus her trusty wingman Ed Sheeran. She offers an update about her lipstick status (still red! good to know) and her relationship with drama: “I swear I don’t love the drama — it loves me!”Best line: “I bury hatchets, but I keep maps of where I put ‘em.”

Play video

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

137

“September” (2018)

The Earth, Wind & Fire classic, already covered by every wedding band on the planet, becomes a mournful banjo lament. It’s her tribute to the late great Maurice White, a songwriter who shared her knack for building hits out of quirky details. (Changing “the 21st night of September” to the 28th is a very Swiftian touch.) Next she might try “That’s the Way of the World” or “After the Love Has Gone.”Best line: “Love was changing the minds of pretenders.”

Play video

Matt Sayles/AP/Shutterstock

136

“The Way I Loved You” (2008)

She meets a low-stress boy who doesn’t want love to be torture. Alas, this suitor is toast, because he reminds her how much she misses the manic pixie drama vampire she dated before. Sorry, dude – she loves the players, and she loves the game.Best line: “He respects my space/And never makes me wait.”

Play video
135

“Thug Story” With T-Pain (2009)

The classic T-Pain and Taylor duet from the 2009 CMT Awards, still T-Swizzle’s finest rap performance.Best line: “No, I never really been in a club/Still live with my parents, but I’m still a thug/I’m so gangsta you can find me baking cookies at night/You out clubbing, but I just made caramel delight.”

Play video

Todd Williamson/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

134

“I Wish You Would” (2014)

One of her many, many songs set at 2 a.m. – clearly the most inspiring hour on Swift Standard Time – with a staccato disco guitar lick.Best line: “We’re a crooked love in a straight line down.”

Play video

Sipa/Shutterstock

133

“Umbrella” (2007)

The Rihanna hit, briefly covered on the Live from SoHo digital album. Her finest Ri tribute remains her 2011 version of “Live Your Life” with T.I. onstage in Atlanta – sadly unreleased, but a duet that deserves to be enshrined for the ages.Best line: “Stand under my umbrella, ella, ella.”

Play video

Frederick Breedon IV/WireImage/Getty Images

132

“Big Star,” With Kenny Chesney (2017)

“This song is about a girl who had a dream and followed it,” Kenny Chesney tells the roaring Nashville crowd. One of those girls jumps onstage to sing along. “My friend Taylor Swift showed up on my birthday to surprise me,” Kenny explained. “In a lot of ways, that song and that lyric is Taylor’s journey.” Their touching “Big Star” duet came out on his concert album Live from No Shoes Nation — 10 years after he gave this rookie a break as the opening act on his 2007 summer tour. There is no loyalty like Swift loyalty.Best line: “She signed autographs like she was Garth Brooks in a skirt.”

Play video

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

131

“I Forgot That You Existed” (2019)

Subtitle: “So I Sang About You First Thing On My Album.” So yeah, maybe that’s the opposite of forgetting — it’s technically known as “reminding.” Letting go of the past, moving on, calming down — let’s face it, those aren’t exactly topics where you look to Taylor for guidance. That’s why we love her — she never lets go. (She hasn’t forgotten Drew!) But there’s something quintessentially Tay about how she keeps nudging to impress you with how indifferent she is. Her Aubrey Graham shout-out is fitting, since these two are the champion overfeelers of our time.Best line: “In my feelings more than Drake.”

Play video

Tony R. Phipps/WireImage/Getty Images

130

“I Heart ?” (2008)

The trad country sound she soon left behind, from her Beautiful Eyes EP.Best line: “Wake up, and smell the breakup/Fix my heart, put on my makeup.”

Play video

Netflix

129

“Only the Young” (2019)

“Only the Young” debuted in her excellent doc Miss Americana, a synth-pop tribute to the next generation of political activists. It’s also a clever Swiftian fake-out, giving everyone a totally wrong idea of where she was headed musically — almost like she was announcing, “Nothing to see here, folks. Definitely no keepers left over from the Lover era.” Was she already plotting to catch us off guard with Folklore? Don’t put it past her. But you’d never guess she was about to make an acoustic album full of folk songs about sweaters.Best line: “Up there’s the finish line / Our future is worth the fight.”

Play video

Vince Bucci/Getty Images

128

“Breathe” (Ft. Colbie Caillat) (2008)

A gorgeous duet full of low-key nuances – her humming after the first verse, that “sorry, sorry, sorry” fade, the way Colbie’s voice lifts hers.Best line: “It’s tragedy, and it’ll only bring you down.”

Play video

David Fisher/Shutterstock

127

“The Moment I Knew” (2012)

A somber piano ballad about getting stood up on your 21st birthday.Best line: “There in the bathroom/I try not to fall apart.”

Play video

Ken McKay/Shutterstock

126

“Untouchable” (2009)

A rare case where she retools somebody else’s song on one of her proper albums – the all-but-unknown Y2K-era rock band Luna Halo, who previously opened for Hoobastank. Her Fearless version sounds practically nothing like their original (though both name-check .38 Special’s Eighties classic “Caught Up in You“). In fact, it’s tough to fathom how she heard the original as raw material she could use – now that’s ears.Best line: “In the middle of the night when I’m in this dream/It’s like a million little stars spelling out your name.”

Play video

Rick Diamond/WireImage/Getty Images

125

“Pour Some Sugar On Me” With Def Leppard (2008)

She makes a daring leap into the hair-metal mom market by teaming up with Def Leppard on CMT Crossroads, a move that works almost frighteningly well. Peak glam, especially when she asks the gender-torching question, “Demolition woman, can I be your man?”Best line: “Do you take sugar? One lump or two?”

Play video

Peter Foley/EPA/Shutterstock

124

“Christmases When You Were Mine” (2007)

Taylor writes her own ace lovelorn holiday standard, ambushing her ex with one of those squirm-packed Merry-Christmas phone calls. Awkward question: “When you were putting up the lights this year/Did you notice one less pair of hands?” Eat your heart out, Mariah.Best line: “I bet you got your mom another sweater.”