Taylor Swift's Songs: All Ranked by Rob Sheffield - Rolling Stone
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All 153 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 153 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 Lover. 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.

Taylor Swift - I Almost Do

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61

“I Almost Do” (2012)

We’re already at the zone on this list where every song seems like it should be ranked even higher, except it’s just so crowded at the top. For almost any other artist, “I Almost Do” would have been a career peak. 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.”

Taylor Swift - Welcome To New York

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60

“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.”

Taylor Swift - Wonderland

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59

“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.”

Taylor Swift - Afterglow

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58

“Afterglow” (2019)

An ode to making up after a fight that was all your fault: “Tell me that I’m all you want / Even when I break your heart.” In a good old-fashioned Taylor metaphor party, she compares herself to an arsonist, a wrestler, an island, a prison warden and an ambulance siren.

Best line: “Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves.”

Taylor Swift - Love Story
57

“Love Story” (2008)

Romeo meets Juliet: Proof that star-crossed teen romances never go out of style. But changing the plot of Romeo and Juliet so these two crazy kids end up together — now that’s some endearing Taylor hubris. She keeps going back to the well of Shakespearean tragedy, quoting 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.”

Taylor Swift - Treacherous

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56

“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. A weird sonic detail: if you play this immediately after Joni Mitchell’s “People’s Parties,” the transition is almost frighteningly perfect.

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

Taylor Swift - Miss Americana

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55

“Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” (2019)

She has explained that this Lana-esque tale is a veiled allegory about the midterm elections, but it hits home as a “Fifteen” sequel, looking at the whole country as one big high school where the damsels are depressed, and the mean cheerleaders leer at bad, bad girls.

Best line: “The whole school is rolling fake dice / You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”

Taylor Swift - I Know Places

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54

“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.”

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