After very publicly removing her music from streaming services following the release of 2014’s 1989, Taylor Swift suddenly returned to Spotify at midnight on Friday. It’s big news for fans of the pop giant and for the streaming service, as it opens her catalog up to those not ready to shell out a monthly fee for premium platforms where her music had been previously available, like Apple Music and Tidal.
As massive as Swift’s hit singles tend to be, there are many excellent pieces of songwriting hidden beneath the “Shake It Off”– and “Our Song”–level smashes. To commemorate her big move, here are 10 great deep cuts from the singer-songwriter’s catalog.
“Should’ve Said No” (2006)
The last single to be released from Swift’s self-titled debut found a mature middle ground between the bitter anger (“Picture to Burn”) and wallowing sadness (“Teardrops on My Guitar”) of many of her earliest relationship post-mortems. It also sticks out as one of the more pop-rock-leaning moments on her sole album of pure country tunes. The song helped cap the first phase of her career, promising more experimentation outside of the genre that broke her on the radio and setting her on the path toward household-name status.
“You’re Not Sorry” (2008)
“Brooding” is not a word that is synonymous with Swift’s music or public image, but considering how convincing she sounds on this solemn, regretful Fearless breakup ballad, she might be wise to explore this vein further. Her voice pierces through the sound of her band for one of her first truly dramatic vocal deliveries. Fittingly, she would mash up this song with a cover of Justin Timberlake’s own rueful breakup ballad “What Goes Around … / … Comes Around.”
“Forever and Always” (2008)
Swift and Joe Jonas broke up suddenly in the middle of her recording sessions for Fearless, and the deceptively upbeat “Forever and Always” turned out to be a last-minute and much-needed addition to the album after Swift felt the need to address the situation through her music.
“Dear John” (2010)
The tabloid stories behind Swift’s songs too often overshadow the depth and precision of her craft, especially when the song in question isn’t one of her many big hits. On this Speak Now standout, she calls out John Mayer by name and does so via the type of singer-songwriter masterpiece that could put even his finest work to shame. From her passionate vocal delivery to the specificity of her storytelling, Swift refuses to hide behind naïveté or cliché as she cuts to the point of her pain.
“Long Live” (2008)
At her best, Swift can make falling in love sound like every holiday is happening at once. “Long Live” recalls David Bowie’s “Heroes” in the regal way it portrays two lovers who have amicably parted ways but not without leaving an unforgettable mark on one another.
“State of Grace” (2012)
For Red, Swift’s first full attempt at completely shifting from country to pop, she found her U2 zone with an arena-worthy album opener on which she layered a delicate vocal delivery above a steely guitar riff. She was at her most confident and experimental yet with this underrated gem.
“All Too Well” (2012)
Blurring the deep-cut line is a track that is arguably Swift’s masterpiece. On this piano-driven power ballad, Swift takes her time to paint scenes, walking her listener through the glory days and heartbreak of a relationship. It’s the tiny details of her memories that really tug at the listener’s heartstrings: a scarf left behind and a refrigerator light left on so the two can dance in its glow.
“Holy Ground” (2012)
This track marks a final goodbye to her old sound and almost feels like a nostalgic throwback in the context of the more arena-friendly pop-rock essence of Red. The singer’s rapid delivery over a jaunty but gentle country-pop beat is classic Swift. Her optimistic views of romance even as she comes to terms with a split could warm even the coldest heart.
Imogen Heap co-wrote one of 1989‘s simplest tracks. It feels almost deconstructed next to the room-filling synths of songs like “Blank Space,” “Out of the Woods” and “Bad Blood.” The airy album closer is a refreshing palate cleanser following a collection of songs that turned out to be some of her boldest to date.
“New Romantics” (2014)
“New Romantics” was originally a deluxe-bonus-edition exclusive, but Swift spotlighted the track by unleashing it as the final single of the 1989 era. It’s a booming, adrenaline-pumping self-esteem booster that seems to sum up the album’s Eighties-inspired synth-pop style. Like Beyoncé’s “Schoolin’ Life,” it’s an empowering anthem worth digging for.