I love Taylor Swift. I know that can be a controversial statement, but it’s true. Her music slaps, and that’s just undeniable. Whether I’m looking for something upbeat to jam out to when I’m cleaning my room (I recommend a fun, poppy breakup song for this like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”) or a slow, sad song to fuel a self-pity party (“White Horse” is good for this), I can always find one of her songs to match the occasion.
I can enjoy almost all of her music, but I definitely prefer some songs over others. Like I would never actively choose to listen to “…Ready For It?” but I love “False God” and will play it on repeat. Likewise, I listen to some of her albums more often than other ones. Every good Taylor Swift fan has their own ranking of her albums, and this is mine. I’m only including studio albums — no EPs or live albums because those aren’t in my normal rotation and wouldn’t be a fair comparison — and I’m ranking them from her most critically acclaimed song, “All Too Well,” to her most hated, “ME!”
Rank: “All Too Well”
“All Too Well” has long been regarded as Taylor Swift’s best song. It has smart lyricism, sounds dreamy, and is emotionally raw. “All Too Well” is the best song on “Red,” but the whole album is similarly impressive. The non-singles have smart and poignant lyrics, like “State of Grace” and “The Last Time.” And the singles are fun — “22”
Rank: “New Romantics”
“New Romantics” is a perfect upbeat love song, much like the majority of the “Lover” album. “Lover” has a consistent theme, and it's a beautiful ode to love in all its forms — romantic, familial, friendly, self, and lost. “Lover” is fun (“I Think He Knows,” “Paper Rings), sad (“Soon You’ll Get Better,” “The Archer”), political (“The Man,” “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince), and reflective (“Cornelia Street,” “Afterglow”) without feeling unfocused or busy. The only thorn in its side is “ME!” but the album as a whole proves it’s better than its worst single.
Rank: “Getaway Car”
Rounding out the top three, I have very few bad things to say about these last albums. “Getaway Car” is the most “1989”-sounding non-“1989” song. Both are ‘80s pop inspired, fun, and very danceable. “1989” is a great album. It has a cohesive sound that launched Swift into bonafide pop start status. The only issue I have is that “New Romantics” is a deluxe track when it is easily the best on the album.
Rank: “Love Story”
“Love Story” was revolutionary for the time. It took Taylor to mainstream radio and was regarded as her best work at the time. “reputation” was a similar milestone for the singer. She shed her good girl image and reinvented herself for this album. And though I appreciate the consistent branding of “reputation,” I think the sentiment of some of the revenge songs (“I Did Something Bad,” “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”) can lack maturity. “Love Story” is also childish, but in a hopeless romantic, never-been-heartbroken way. Both the album and the song are good, but not great.
Rank: “Bad Blood”
A lot of this album is kind of bland and boring, much like “Bad Blood.” “Bad Blood” is a cookie cutter pop song, like most of “Fearless” is conventional love songs. While I do love “The Way I Loved You,” “You Belong With Me,” and Swift’s mainstream breakthrough “Love Story,” a lot of this selection is forgettable. If I told you “Breathe,” “The Best Day,” and “Change” were Taylor Swift songs, would you believe me? They are, and they’re on “Fearless.”
Rank: “Look What You Made Me Do”
Not as bad as “ME!” but still widely disliked, “Look What You Made Me Do” is the second-to-last spot. Taylor Swift’s eponymous debut album is cute and fun to listen to. It has bops like “Tim McGraw” and “Teardrops On My Guitar” and underrated gems like “Cold as You” and “Mary’s Song.” But the overall album is kind of shallow and juvenile (not that I can blame her because she was 16 when it came out), kind of like “Look What You Made Me Do.”
I actually don’t hate “ME!” but everyone else does, which is why it marks the last spot of my ranking. I do hate the “Hey kids, spelling is fun!” line, but the rest of the song is bearable if a little annoying and grating. That’s how I feel about the “Speak Now” album. There are some parts I like — namely the masterpiece that is “Dear John” — and parts that are absolutely awful (looking at you, “Better Than Revenge”). The rest of the songs are kind of meh and forgettable, which does not make for a great album.