Home Music Music Lists

All 129 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 ‘Reputation’ 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 115 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 ingénue right up to Reputation. 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.

Play video
79

“Crazier” (2009)

Her ballad from Hannah Montana: The Movie, snagging her a cameo in the film. (But the highlight of the soundtrack will always be “Hoedown Throwdown.”) This is where Taylor and Miley crossed light sabers – although they’d meet again. Great title, too – even Taylor might probably admit Miley had her beat in this department, at least until the “Blank Space” video.

Best line: “Every sky was your own kind of blue.”

Play video
78

“Innocent” (2010)

Little-known fact: Did you know Kanye West once went onstage to interrupt Swift’s acceptance speech at the VMAs and threw a misogynist tantrum about how she didn’t deserve an award? Strange but true! “Innocent” was her song publicly forgiving him – seven freaking years ago – then they both released brilliant albums, and we all moved on with our lives. Dear Lord, if only this story had ended there.

Best line: “It’s okay/Life is a tough crowd.”

Play video
77

“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
76

“Tied Together With a Smile” (2006)

An unsung highlight of the debut – a teen pep talk about self-esteem.

Best line: “Seems the only one who doesn’t see your beauty/Is the face in the mirror looking back at you.” 

Play video
75

“Last Christmas” (2007)

Tay does the Wham! legacy proud – she should have also covered “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” The ache and quaver of her voice fit the George Michael melancholy; this might be the saddest “Last Christmas” since the original. Plenty of us communed with this version on Christmas 2016, the night we said goodbye to the guy who wrote it. R.I.P., George Michael.

Best line: “A girl on a cover but you tore her apart.”

Play video
74

“Tell Me Why” (2008)

From Neil Young to the Beatles, “Tell Me Why” songs are tough to screw up, and even at 19, Tay’s too seasoned to let that happen.

Best line: “I need you like a heartbeat/But you know you got a mean streak.”

Play video
73

“Beautiful Eyes” (2008)

If you’re a fan of Swift’s Nineties modern-rock radio jones – one of her most fruitful long-running obsessions – check out this shameless tribute to the Cranberries. (But did she have to let it linger? Did she have to? Did she have to?)

Best line: “Baby, make me fly.” 

Play video
72

“Everything Has Changed” (ft. Ed Sheeran) (2012)

She and Ed Sheeran wrote this duet together in her backyard while bouncing on a trampoline, because of course they did.

Best line: “All I’ve seen since 18 hours ago is green eyes and freckles and your smile.” 

Play video
71

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

No trampoline involved in this one. Future shows up in a tribute to 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. The most divisive and bizarre Reputation track, for sure, but it feels like a true Swift song, as 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!”) Why is Ed always her best duet partner? Because you can hear he’s really listening to her.

Best line: “I bury hatchets, but I keep maps of where I put ‘em.”

Play video
70

“Speak Now” (2010)

In real-life weddings, the preacher hardly ever invites the groom’s ex up to interrupt the ceremony. But if you’re a fan of Tay in stalker mode, this is priceless – crouching behind the curtains in the back of the church, waiting to pounce. “Horrified looks from everyone in the room” – you don’t say.

Best line: “It seems I was uninvited by your lovely bride-to-be.” 

Play video
69

“Shake It Off” (2014)

A clever transitional single – great verses, grating chorus, pithy lyrics with a shout-out to her obvious inspiration, Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.” As a lead single, “Shake It Off” might have seemed meager after 1989 came out – she was holding back “Blank Space” and “Style” and (Lord have mercy) “New Romantics” for this? But “Shake It Off” got the job done, serving as a trailer to announce her daring Eighties synth-pop makeover.

Best line: “It’s like I got this music in my mind, saying it’s gonna be all right.” 

Play video
68

“Better Than Revenge” (2010)

One of the basic rules of stardom is “never punch down” – don’t go after somebody one-thousandth as famous as you – but rules were made to be broken, and Taylor is the girl made to break them. Here, she goes Bruce Lee on a sexual rival who may or may not be the actress who had Alyssa Milano as her babysitter in the erotic thriller Poison Ivy 2. But as usual with Swift, her self-owns are the funniest part of the song.

Best line: “She thinks I’m psycho because I like to rhyme her name with things.” 

Play video
67

“Welcome to New York” (2014)

People sure do love to complain about this song – in fact, the most authentically New York thing about it is how it sends people into spasms of mouth-foaming outrage. An explicitly queer-positive disco ode to arrivistes stepping out in the city that invented disco – “You can want who you want, boys and boys and girls and girls” – that will be bugging the crap out of you in rom-coms for years to come. (It made me throw a napkin at my in-flight screen during How to Be Single, when Dakota Johnson’s cab is going the wrong way on the Brooklyn Bridge – and I love this song.) Bumped up a few bonus notches for pissing everyone off, since that’s one of this girl’s superpowers.

Best line: “Searching for a sound we haven’t heard before/And it said welcome to New York.”

Play video
66

“Drops of Jupiter” (2011)

I mistakenly thought this Train hit was deep-fried garbage until I heard Swift’s version and realized, “Hey, she’s right – this is the best soy latte I’ve ever had!” Props to Tay for bringing out the hidden greatness in this song – the stargazing lyrics and her voice go together like Mozart and tae bo. (The astrophysicist in my life would like me to point out that you can’t “make it to the Milky Way” because that’s the galaxy we already live in. In fact, you couldn’t leave the Milky Way if you tried. Science!)

Best line: “Tell me, did Venus blow your mind?”

Play video
64

“Today Was a Fairytale” (2011)

Don’t let the title scare you away – it’s a plainspoken and genuinely touching play-by-play recap of a worthwhile date. In fact, “Today Was a Fairytale” and “If This Was a Movie” should trade titles, since this one feels realer and would make a better movie. It could rank higher, except she hugely improved it when she rewrote it as “Begin Again.” (Docked a couple notches for coming from the soundtrack of Valentine’s Day, which is the most dog-vomit flick Jessica Alba has ever made, and I say that as someone who paid money to see The Love Guru.)

Best line: “I wore a dress/You wore a dark gray T-shirt.”

Play video
63

“All You Had to Do Was Stay” (2014)

A 1989 banger that could have made an excellent single – it sounds a bit like “Out of the Woods,” except with a livelier chorus and a stormier range of electro-Tay sound effects.

Best line: “Let me remind you this was what you wanted.”

Play video
62

“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
61

“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” (2017)

The most “therein” moment on Reputation. Also the only song (after “Look What You Made Me Do”) devoted to the album’s alleged celebrity-complaints concept, though shrewdly playing it for kicks and giggles. “Therein lies the issue” is some quality Swiftian spite content, but it’s that sadistic tongue-clicking “mmm-mmmm” before the second chorus that really brings the Judgement Tay. “Here’s to my mama, had to listen to all this drama” – has your mom met you? She might be used to that by now.

Best line: “Feeling so Gatsby for that whole year.”

Play video
60

“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.

Best line: “Nothing safe is worth the drive.”

Play video
59

“You Belong With Me” (2008)

One of her most pop-friendly early hits, singing in the role of a high school geek crushing on her best guy friend. When he comes out in college, they’ll have a few laughs about this. (And never let us forget the wisdom of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless: “Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.”

Best line: “She wears high heels, I wear sneakers/She’s cheer captain, and I’m on the bleachers.”

Play video
58

“I Almost Do” (2012)

A Red slow jam that could have worked even better sped up into a punked-out rocker – though it’s plenty affecting as is.

Best line: “Every time I don’t, I almost do.”

Play video
57

“So It Goes…” (2017)

She falls under the hypnotic spell of a magician, who gets her heart trip-trip-tripping and skip-skip-skipping. For a magic trick of her own, she stops the music cold to whisper “one-two-three.” A great moment that lets you know Swift – like the rest of us – has been listening to Lorde lately.

Best line: “I’m so chill but you make me jealous.”

Play video
56

“Love Story” (2008)

Romeo meets Juliet: proof that star-crossed teen romances never go out of style. She’s kept going back to the well of Shakespearean tragedy, referencing Julius Caesar in the “Look What You Made Me Do” video. It’s never been clear what the line “I was a scarlet letter” is doing in this song, but now it’s a hint that Tay was just a few years away from going full Hester Prynne in “New Romantics.”

Best line: “Just say yes.” 

Play video
55

“Stay Stay Stay” (2012)

“Before you, I’d only dated self-indulgent takers” – but here she turns into a self-indulgent taker herself and (surprise!) she likes it, a phone-throwing nightmare dressed like a grocery-shopping daydream. She finally meets a guy who can roll with her mood swings – even if she’s more in love with the mood swings than with the guy.

Best line: “You came in wearing a football helmet and said, ‘Okay, let’s talk.'”

Play video
54

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

She ventures into rootsy folkie territory on the Hunger Games soundtrack, teaming up with the Civil Wars and producer T Bone Burnett, exploring crevices of her voice she hadn’t opened up before. Everyone steps out of their comfort zone, and it works. 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.”

Play video
53

“You’re Not Sorry” (2008)

A dramatic piano-and-strings ballad from Fearless, showing off how much her voice has deepened between her first two albums.

Best line: “It’s taken me this long, baby, but I figured you out.”

Play video
52

“I Know Places” (2014)

She goes all Kate Bush, pursued across the moors by the hounds of love. This 1989 deep cut is underrated, but count on “I Know Places” to loom large in her canon over the years.

Best line: “My love, they are the hunters, we are the foxes.”

Play video
51

“Bette Davis Eyes” (2010)

Her kickiest left-field cover, from Speak Now Live. “I’d love to play you some music that I’m a fan of that’s come from L.A. – is that OK?” she asks the West Coast crowd, strumming her guitar. “This one came out in 1981 – eight years before I was born!” Virtually nobody seems to recognize it or sing along. Kim Carnes hit Number One with “Bette Davis Eyes,” but it was written by the great Jackie DeShannon, the only songwriter to collaborate with both Randy Newman and Jimmy Page. (Page wrote “Tangerine” for DeShannon!) The fact that Swift loves this classic ode to romantic espionage explains a lot.

Best line: “She’s pure as New York snow/She’s got Bette Davis eyes.”

Play video
50

“Wonderland” (2014)

Why did it take her five albums to get to Alice in Wonderland? Needless to say, Taylor Alison Swift fits right in on the other side of the looking glass, with white rabbits and Cheshire cats. Feed your head!

Best line: “It’s all fun and games till someone loses their mind.” 

Play video
49

“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
48

“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 entries into a disarmingly 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.

Best line: “We had our own secret club.”

Play video
47

“Picture to Burn” (2006)

The dawn of Petty AF Tay, as she serves her ex beatdown threats. Every boy who ever complained when Taylor wrote about him – this is where you officially got fair warning.

Best line: “Watch me strike a match on all my wasted time.”

Play video
46

“Starlight” (2012)

“Oh my, what a marvelous tune” seems like a dauntingly quaint chorus, yet she makes it stick, in what sounds like an F. Scott Fitzgerald-themed whirlwind romance. That hook comes straight from AC/DC (specifically, the opening lines of “You Shook Me All Night Long”) – the sign of a truly sick pop scholar.

Best line: “We snuck into a yacht-club party / Pretending to be a duchess and a prince.”

Play video
45

“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
44

“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
43

“…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.”

Play video
42

“The Best Day” (2008)

Her tribute to Mama Swift. A weapons-grade tearjerker and not to be trifled with in a public place. NSFW, unless you are a professional crier.

Best line: “You were on my side/Even when I was wrong.” 

Play video
41

“The Story of Us” (2010)

You could credit this song with single-handedly driving John Mayer out of the pop heartthrob business and into the Grateful Dead – which is just one of the things to love about it. Along with the Joey Ramone-style way she says, “Next chapter!”

Best line: “See me nervously pulling at my clothes and trying to look busy.” 

Play video
40

“How You Get the Girl” (2014)

A seminar on girl hearts and the wooing thereof, with Coach Taylor offering a pep talk to girl-curious boys everywhere. She busts out her trusty acoustic guitar, teardrop stains and all, just to turn it into a beatbox.

Best line: “Stand there like a ghost shaking from the rain / She’ll open up the door and say ‘Are you insane?'”

Play video
39

“Hey Stephen” (2008)

Loaded with classic girl-group flourishes, right from the opening “Be My Baby” drum beat. Plus, it begins and ends with her finest humming solos. If she wanted to hum on every song, she could make that work.

Best line: “All those other girls, well, they’re beautiful/But would they write a song for you?”

Play video
38

“Should’ve Said No” (2006)

A pissed-off highlight of the debut, with an Oasis-worthy chorus. Savor the perfect Liam Gallagher way she milks the vowels of “begging for forgiveness at my fee-ee-eet.”

Best line: “It was a moment of weakness, and you said yes.”

Play video
37

“Dancing With Our Hands Tied” (2017)

“Dancing With Our Hands Tied” has more of Romeo and Juliet‘s actual plot than “Love Story” did. She slips away in secret with a forbidden lover who paints her blue heart gold, over Eighties “Take On Me”-style beats. The saddest line Fiona Apple ever wrote – “I know I’m a mess he don’t wanna clean up” – finally finds a new home in a Swift song: “I’m a mess, but I’m the mess that you wanted.”

Best line: “I’d kiss you as the lights went out / Swaying as the room burned down.”

Play video
36

“White Horse” (2008)

Teen Romantic Tay meets Bitter Adult Tay in a superbly disenchanted breakup ballad that gives up on princesses and fairy tales.

Best line: “I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet/Lead up the stairwell.” 

Play video
35

“Teardrops on My Guitar” (2006)

One of her defining early smashes – and the one that marked her crucial crossover to the minivan-mom adult audience, where country stars do most of their business. It also inspired the first anti-Taylor answer song – Joe Jonas sang, “I’m done with superstars/And all the tears on her guitar” in 2009, on the JoBros’ instantly forgotten Lines, Vines and Trying Times.

Best line: “Drew walks by me/Can he tell that I can’t breathe?”

Play video
34

“Sad Beautiful Tragic” (2012)

She must have heard a Mazzy Star song on the radio that morning and thought, “Hey, this sounds like fun.” All the details are in place, from her woozy Hope Sandoval mumble to the way Nathan Chapman nails Sandoval’s exact tambourine sound. Such an underrated Red gem, one she’s almost never done live. Would any other songwriter on Earth have the sheer gall to get away with that title? Let’s hope nobody tries.

Best line: “You’ve got your demons, and, darling, they all look like me.” 

Play video
33

“I Did Something Bad” (2017)

Wait, she fell in love with a narcissist? Who saw that coming? Despite the Eurodisco bleeps and bloops, this is a total Nineties grunge-rock rager – she switches into Eddie Vedder/Scott Weiland mode when she growls that “over and over and over again if IIII could.” Here’s hoping she breaks out the electric guitar to rock it live, especially the witch-burning finale when she leaps into the “light me up” chant.

Best line: “I never trust a playboy but they love me / So I fly ’em all around the world and I let them think they saved me.”

Play video
32

“Mine” (2010)

“You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter” is one of those hooks where she seems to cram a whole life story into one line.

Best line: “I was a flight risk with a fear of falling.”

Play video
31

“Wildest Dreams” (2014)

You rang, Goth Taylor? At first this might have seemed like a minor pleasure on 1989, but it really sounds stronger and stronger over the years, especially when she hiccups the words “my last request ih-is.” The video features giraffes and zebras.

Best line: “He’s so tall and handsome as hell/He’s so bad, but he does it so well.” 

Play video
30

“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.”

Show Comments