Today I’m going to ‘attempt’ to rank all of Taylor Swift’s albums. Trust me, this was not an easy thing to do. She continues to outdo herself with iconic music. Before the release of Midnights, I had never bought anything from her store, but I had to snatch up the Bejeweled bracelet (see image below) as each gem represents a different album/era. Without further ado, from most to least favourite, let’s get into it! I’m sorry if my opinions offend!
In first place, we have Evermore. At this point in time, I don’t think it can be topped. The release of this album was completely unexpected, especially after we were just given Folklore. I did a whole album breakdown/track ranking of Evermore, which you can check out here. Why is it my favourite? There are so many reasons. 1.) It has my favourite song of hers: Cowboy Like Me. If you have not fathomed this number yet, you need to listen again. 2.) It was mainly produced by Aaron Dessner. I think the pair make such a winning combination. 3.) I have lyrics from Long Story Short tattooed on my arm, which is a very personal song to me. 4.) As an album, it has such a cohesive theme. Like Folklore, it traverses the line of fact and fiction but with a warmer edge. 5.) The illegal track listing. Are you telling me we get Willow, Champagne Problems, Tis the Damn Season, Ivy, Cowboy Like Me, Dorothea, Long Story Short, Marjorie, Evermore, Right Where You Left Me and more in just one album? Offensive! Sadly, it wasn’t given as much of a moment as its sister album (where is the Long Pond Session?) but I’m just thankful it exists at the top of my ranking. Right where it belongs.
Is it any surprise that Folklore sits in second place? I think not. It’s fairly obvious that my favourite Taylor Swift era is her indie, storytelling one. I’m not shocked that it won album of the year. She truly proved her versatility with this masterpiece. Once again, nobody was expecting it. It was born from the pandemic and the opportunity to create in isolation. From Lover, this was a completely new direction for her to go in. She wasn’t sure how the public would receive it. However, her worries were completely unfounded because we ended up hearing some of the greatest music known to mankind. I had a complete mental breakdown after listening to August for the first time. Not to mention the lightbulb moment that went off when I realised what The Last Great American Dynasty was about. Also, she created a love triangle across three tracks, collaborated with Bon Iver and bared her soul in My Tears Ricochet. There really isn’t much more to say.
I would say Reputation is when I branded myself an actual Swiftie. I have been a fan of Taylor’s since her emergence as a country artist, but I didn’t die-hard love her until she dropped this iconic album. If you didn’t know, Reputation was never supposed to exist. After the Kanye/Kim situation, she disappeared for a year and wrote this iconic album. Most people don’t realise the core theme of Rep centres around love, rather than revenge. This is the era where she met the love of her life: Joe Alwyn, and most of the tracks are about him. I can relate to a lot of the songs on here. It gives off a very ‘us versus them’ vibe, which I truly understand from my own personal history. It’s also very badass. Look What You Made Me Do and This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things go off in my car. However, Delicate is my favourite track on the album. It’s so vulnerable and tentative. I think we can all relate to the idea of wanting to keep something good in our lives. Do you think I will survive when she re-releases Rep? I won’t! Do you think I will cope when I get to hear the lost vault tracks? I shan’t!
Midnights made it to fourth place. I wasn’t sure where it would sit but I believe the 3am Edition pushed it into my top five. I think it’s safe to say this is her most vulnerable, biographical album yet. I broke it down and ranked all of the tracks here. Once again, she gave us a completely new sound and cohesive theme. Telling the stories of sleepless nights throughout her life? Genius! Throwing back to her previous eras? Iconic! This is what the people wanted, and she really delivered. Us Karma truthers were gifted with a bop to end all bops and I was personally blessed with Maroon, which is now in my top 10 favourite TS songs of all time. She directed some incredible music videos, gave us an entirely produced by Jack Antonoff masterpiece and a collaboration with the mesmerising Lana Del Rey. It was so well marketed too. The Midnights Mayhem With Me rollout was very fun. I’ll never forget this era for as long as I live. It broke records and blew us all away.
Let’s be real, Red was a cultural reset. It is the heartbreak album of her discography. We were given a complete story of her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal and how that changed everything. All Too Well was already her most superior Track #5 and then we were blessed with the 10-minute version and short-film. Does anybody actually listen to the original song now that we have this gift from above? At this stage, we only have two re-recordings but, in my opinion, Red has the best vault tracks. Message in a Bottle, Babe, Forever Winter, The Very First Night, I Bet You Think About Me, Run and more. Do I need to go on? I can’t help but feel seen by this album and I know the same can be said for many of her fans worldwide. This era was celebrated exactly as it deserved to be.
6.) Speak Now
Speak Now just missed out on my top five by a hair. I truly fathomed its brilliance this year and cannot believe I slept on it before now. The re-recording and vault tracks from this era will truly be the end of my existence! Taylor originally wanted to name this album Enchanted after her iconic, fan-favourite song but her former manager (boo!) suggested the title would sound too fairy-tale, reminiscent of Fearless and youthful. Speak Now held more weight, maturity and boldness. It is her confessional album. Each number represents a message to a person/s that have impacted her life in some way. It was her way of ‘speaking now’ and speaking up. At this point in her musical history, we saw Taylor take on more of an edge. She hit us with tracks like Mean, Better Than Revenge and Dear John. With the Era’s Tour approaching, I know fans are hoping they can scream along to Long Live. After all, she’s had the time of her life fighting dragons with us.
I’m sorry 1989 did not make it higher on my list. You would think sharing the same birth year as Taylor would make me a bigger fan of it. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a brilliant album and absolutely deserved every accolade it received, but it’s not one I gravitate towards. This era saw a big shift in genres. She went from country to full-blown pop. The opening track: Welcome To New York, heralded a new chapter in her story. Taylor was dating Harry Styles, surrounded by rich icons for friends, wearing killer high-waisted shorts and at her thinnest – which was quite concerning. Despite appearing to have it all, she later noted that this was a very lonely time in her life. Having said that, 1989 had a formidable track list. She gave us hit after hit with Blank Space, Style, Shake It Off, Out Of The Woods and Bad Blood. Apparently, there is an entire album of vault tracks coming for this re-record. Give it to me immediately!
Fearless used to be quite high in my ranking until it became overshadowed by her other works. I love it, but unfortunately it does fade a little into the background. I was also a bit disappointed by the lacklustre roll-out for the re-recording. I understand that it was her first and she was unsure how it would be received but compared to Red, we weren’t given much. No music videos, live performances, short-films or talk-show appearances. However, we did get Mr. Perfectly Fine and for that I thank her! I just hope the remaining eras aren’t overlooked as much as this one was. I will say, Fearless has a very cohesive theme. It’s all about fairy tales, handsome princes, white horses, castles and romance. When the naysayers were telling Taylor that teenagers wouldn’t be into country music, she hit back with Love Story, Fearless (the title track) and You Belong With Me. She made the genre accessible and relatable to everybody. It’s a nostalgic period of innocence, getting swept away and dancing in a storm with our best dresses.
Don’t come for me Swifties! Lover is in second last place. The issue I have with this album is lack of cohesion. It doesn’t really have a theme and unfortunately, I tend to skip most of the songs. Ahhh I know! I felt that Taylor was trying a little too hard during this era. She was pushing the ‘I am woke’ narrative with You Need to Calm Down, Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince and The Man. I get what she was trying to do, but to cram all of those political tracks onto one album felt a little forced to me. Not to mention, she put ME as the first single instead of Cruel Summer. What were you thinking girl? Criminal! Taylor is such a poetic songwriter, so hearing: “Me Hee Hee, Hoo Hoo Hoo” as an introduction to the album was interesting? I apologise if anybody is offended but also, this is just how I feel! There were some choices I didn’t fully understand. On the plus side, I would give my life for Cruel Summer, Cornelia Street and Death by a Thousand Cuts. Lover is beautiful too and we must acknowledge the iconic eras house that came from the music video. Overall, it just wasn’t my vibe.
In last place, I have to put Debut. This was the beginning of it all. It pains me a little because I love fresh-faced, country Taylor. The reason it’s tenth is purely because it is the baby of the bunch. She gave me some of my favourite songs but also some of my least favourite. I would sell my soul to hear her play Our Song, Teardrops On My Guitar, Should’ve Said No and Tim McGraw but I wouldn’t be lost if I never heard Invisible, A Place In This World and A Perfectly Good Heart again. I believe this will be her last re-recording. She will come full circle and end where it all started. Poetic really. Most of the fans are dying for I’d Lie as a vault track, and I couldn’t blame them in the slightest. She better deliver!
Thank you so much for reading! Let me know how you would rank the albums below?
Peace & Love xoxo