It seems any year that Taylor Swift releases a new album becomes Taylor Swift's year. Since her 2006 debut, she's dropped an LP every other autumn, capping off the year with a new entry in her public diary, a young person falling in and out of love with herself and others. At 16, we met a girl in love with Tim McGraw's music and love itself, marking the beginning of a national obsession with Swift —strengthened by 2012's Red and reaffirmed with this year's 1989.
In 2014, she shifted the narrative. As hard as people tried to focus on who the lyrics were about, Swift provided a reminder that she's the protagonist in these stories. She became an artist and a renegade who took some risky turns in her love life that she transformed into successful leaps in her music. It was a year of power moves for Swift, in which she backed herself with a rotating but loyal girl gang. If the "best people in life are free," as she sighs at the end of the chorus on her track "New Romantics," then the new, enlightened, unrestrained Swift is one of the greatest out there. Here's a look at her last 12 months.