There is no doubt Taylor Swift is one of the most influential artists of our generation. She continues to inspire a new age of artists including Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, NIKI, and Conan Gray among many others who have all named Tay as one of their major influences.
As a Swiftie for more than a decade, she has been there in some of the most formative parts of my life. There is always a Taylor Swift song that can perfectly encapsulate the most elusive of feelings and her music has grown and matured with me much like a childhood friend, while her old ones, which are gloriously being revived through her re-recordings, never fail to evoke nostalgia.
Recently, Taylor finally announced TS10, Midnights, to be released this October 21 and Swifties around the world are just anxiously waiting for its arrival. Even her announcement is poetry in and of itself.
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“This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching – hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve…we’ll meet ourselves,” Swift wrote.
While waiting for its much anticipated release, we decided to take a walk down memory lane and look at her albums through the years. With that, this is me trying to pick a favorite (wink).
TAYLOR SWIFT ALBUMS RANKED
9. Taylor Swift
Her debut album is last on this list only because Taylor keeps getting better year after year. Still, her self-titled album has several memorable songs that have remained iconic up to this day and its release helped push country music into the mainstream.
Best songs: Picture to Burn, Teardrops on My Guitar, Our Song, Tim McGraw
Taylor’s Reputation era remains one of her most iconic with its rebellious aesthetic and vengeful themes brought about by the very public drama she went through the year before its release. While her first single from this album may not be her best, don’t let it stop you – it has some top tier and stadium tour-worthy songs begging to be heard live.
Best songs: Getaway Car, Delicate, Dress, Dancing with Our Hands Tied
7. Speak Now
This is the album where Taylor started to let go of her innocent country vibe and released more feisty hits like Better Than Revenge and Mean. It’s fun, it’s catchy, it has a sprinkle of teenage angst, and I will never stop trying to sing the chorus of Back to December without pausing to catch my breath.
Best songs: Long Live, Enchanted, Back to December, Last Kiss
Her surprise album and the sister to Folklore is a continuation of Taylor’s showcase of her songwriting prowess. Evermore saw Taylor letting her creativity loose, plus, it featured notable collaborations with artists such as rock band HAIM and indie folk band Bon Iver. While the highest respects must be given to Taylor’s songwriting in this album, the songs mostly blended together, with barely any standouts.
Best songs: gold rush, ivy, happiness, champagne problems
While we love a good heartbreak anthem from Taylor, hearing her happier than ever in Lover was a wondrous thing to behold (a moment of appreciation for Mr. Joe Alwyn). The songs in Lover were clearly written by someone in love but at the same time has the cautiousness of someone who has gone through heartbreaks. While there were some misses in this album, and a few mediocre ones, the hits are arguably some of her best songs yet.
Best songs: Death by a Thousand Cuts, Lover, Cruel Summer, Cornelia Street
No one quite captures teenage infatuation and love as accurately as Taylor Swift and we thank her for the recent release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), giving us even more songs to adore. Her sophomore album further propelled her into household name status, with Love Story and You Belong With Me becoming the entry points of many Swifties into the fandom, while songs such as Fifteen and White Horse already showcase Taylor’s commendable songwriting abilities at the age of 18.
Best songs: Fearless, The Way I Loved You, Fifteen, Mr. Perfectly Fine
Her first official foray into pop music solidified her image as a pop icon, ushering in a new era for Taylor. The title, the year she was born, signified her rebirth into a new artist. Here, Taylor let go of subtlety, letting sexist labels thrown at her for her public relationships fuel her music and imagery. 1989 is not only a successful debut pop album but Taylor also managed to create a timeless one that still holds its ground years after its release.
Best songs: Clean, Wildest Dreams, Style, Blank Space, This Love
Her Red album, released a decade ago, remains one of her best albums yet. It is a turning point in Taylor’s sound from country to pop (some critics are still arguing whether Red or 1989 is her first pop album). It’s filled with catchy songs and quotable lyrics that perfectly encapsulates the inner turmoil, fun, and confusion of your twenties and there is never a wrong time to listen to it. The release of Red (Taylor’s Version) only solidified the album’s place near the top and I will never get tired of singing along to the entirety of All Too Well (10 Minute Version) whenever it plays.
Best songs: All Too Well, State of Grace, The Moment I Knew, The Last Time
Taylor is most known for her autobiographical style of songwriting, channeling her feelings and experiences into masterful songs through the years. But in Folklore, we see her depart from this nature – and it pays off really well. You hear a sense of maturity and growth to her songwriting, tackling a myriad of themes, painting whimsical imagery, and creating an atmospheric vibe. Lyrically, the whole album is poetry that is accompanied by a new, mellow and introspective sound. Folklore is undoubtedly where Taylor’s songwriting and storytelling genius shines the brightest, bringing it straight to the top of this list.
Best songs: august, mirrorball, this is me trying, exile, the lakes, the 1
The truth is, when asking multiple Swifties what their favorite album is, the responses were very much varying – proving just how great of an artist she is through her inclusive and encompassing songwriting. Taylor is here to stay and we cannot wait to see where she will bring her music next.
Which one is your favorite album? Are you excited for Midnights? Share your thoughts in the comments below!