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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.

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87

“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?”

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86

“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.”

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85

“American Girl” (2009)

A bang-up claim on the Tom Petty classic – she used his original as her live entrance music for a while. Then she switched to Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman.”

Best line: “Oh yeah! All right!” 

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84

“Invisible” (2006)

A teen ditty about a boy who doesn’t realize she’s alive, from pretty much the last moment in history that was possible. Clever pop-obsessive touch: The final steel-guitar twang echoes Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” If you think that’s an accident…this is Planet Tay. There are no accidents.

Best line: “We could be a beautiful miracle, unbelievable, instead of just invisible.”

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83

“Jump Then Fall” (2009)

Ironclad rule of pop music: Songs about jumping are never a bad idea. Dig that “listens to Sublime once” vocal.

Best line: “I watch you talk, you didn’t
notice.”

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82

“Breathless” (2010)

Digging deep in the Nineties modern-rock crates, she does right by a previously obscure (to me) nugget from the New Orleans band Better Than Ezra – from 2005!, 10 years after their MTV hit! – as a charity benefit for the Hope for Haiti Now album.

Best line: “I’ll never judge you/I can only love you.”

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81

“King of My Heart” (2017)

Love how this American queen pronounces “Jag-yew-waaar” – has she been listening to Hall & Oates, or has she just reached the English-accent point in her fame arc?

Best line: “Up on the roof with a schoolgirl crush / Drinking beer out of plastic cups.”

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80

“Superstar” (2009)

“You smile that beautiful smile, and all the girls in the front row scream your name.” No relation to the 1969 Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett ballad immortalized by the Carpenters – except they’re both poignant ballads about groupies crushing on distant guitar boys. Well, as Journey warned, lovin’ a music man ain’t always what it’s supposed to be.

Best line: “You sing me to sleep every night from the radio.”

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