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

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

84

“The Lucky One” (2012)

She’s so lucky, she’s a star. For the record, T.S. did cover “Lucky” live once (and damn well, too), as a Britney tribute in Louisiana back in 2011.Best line: “It’s big black cars and Riviera views/And your lover in the foyer doesn’t even know you.”

Play video

Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

83

“Peace” (2020)

The most stripped-down confession on Folklore, just her solo voice and a few guarded hopes for the future. She tries to scale her dreams down to a graspable size, asking, “Would it be enough if I could never give you peace?”Best line: “Our coming-of-age has come and gone.

Play video

Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup/Shutterstock

82

“Death By a Thousand Cuts” (2019)

The saddest break-up song ever inspired by a movie where Gina Rodriguez plays a Rolling Stone music critic, in Jenn Kaytin Robinson’s Oscar-worthy Netflix comedy, Someone Great. It really soars in the live acoustic version from her Paris concert special, especially the hyperventilating bridge. Good question: “If the story’s over, why am I still writing pages?” Taylor, have you met yourself?Best line: “I asked the traffic lights if it’ll be all right / They say ‘I don’t know.’”

Play video

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

81

“Eyes Open” (2012)

Finally, her long-overdue metal move, from The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond.Best line: “Every lesson forms a new scar.”

Play video

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

80

“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.”

Play video

Devin Simmons/Sipa/Shutterstock

79

“Starlight” (2012)

“Oh my, what a marvelous tune” sounds like a quaint chorus, yet she makes it stick, in an F. Scott Fitzgerald-themed whirlwind romance. This Red deep cut just sat there waiting for its moment to shine, until it blew up into “The Last Great American Dynasty,” with a nastier perspective on the same ritzy social scene. Nobody knows how to play the long game like Taylor.Best line: “We snuck into a yacht-club party / Pretending to be a duchess and a prince.”

Play video

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

78

“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.”

Play video

Press Association/AP

77

“Mad Woman” (2020)

“They say ‘move on,’ but you know I won’t” — yes, we know. She’s always had a knack for songs about unrepentant old ladies, ever since her teens, and this “Mad Woman” could be Betty or Inez a few years down the line. But she could also be the heroine of “Dear John” or “15,” all grown up.Best line: “Women like hunting witches too / Doing your dirtiest work for you / It’s obvious that wanting me dead has really brought you two together.

Play video

ASTRID RIECKEN For The Washington Post via Getty Images

76

“Forever & Always” (2008)

She added this to Fearless at the last minute – just what the album needed. It’s a blast of high-energy JoBro-baiting aggro on her most anomalously shade-free album. “It rains in your bedroom” is a very on-brand Tay predicament.Best line: “Did I say something way too honest? Made you run and hide like a scared little boy?”

Play video
75

“Back to December” (2010)

One of the rare ballads where she goes crawling back to an ex she treated like dirt – and she’s surprisingly effective in the role. Although breaking into the guy’s house is a little extreme. (If she’s blocked by the chain on his door, that means she already picked the lock, right?) And sorry, but you’re seriously dreaming if you think I’m bothering to Google the name of that Twilight guy, don’t @ me.Best line: “It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing you.”

Play video
74

“…Ready for It?” (2017)

Baby, let the games begin. Her island-breeze bass blast was a major rebound from her previous hit, one week earlier. (If by “it” she meant “literally any song that’s not ‘Look What You Made Me Do,’” the answer was “extremely ready.”) It stands up to heavy rotation, too, with clever details like the way Ms. I’m Not Much For Dancin’ clears her throat before the first line. The chorus has a little air in the mix, giving the room she needs to pull off her intricate breathy effects; Max Martin really knows how to shape a production around her voice. “He can be my jailor / Burton to this Taylor” – Liz and Dick got married and divorced twice, so those are some hardcore relationship goals.Best line: “I keep him forever like a vendetta.”