Every Taylor Swift single painstakingly ranked from worst to best
Trying to rank these bangers has aged me 50 years
Red (Taylor’s Version) is so close that I can quite literally taste it, and if there was ever a perfect time to put my bad blood, my Swifty sweat and my Taylor tears into ranking all of her singles then that time is right now. 54 singles. A unfathomably successful career. Some of the best songwriting the music industry has ever seen. Here are all 54 Taylor Swift singles ranked meticulously from worst to best:
This is quite literally one of the worst pop songs ever made. How did this car crash come to fruition? The money and time spent on this is eye watering, and for WHAT? It’s loathed. It’s despised. It’s truly, truly unbearable. How an artist who can write songs as intricate as Clean and All Too Well can churn out “Hey kids, spelling is fun!” is beyond me. A cultural regret.
53. The Last Time
I’m not sure what the general Swifty vibe on this Snow Patrol assisted Red single is, but mine is that it’s like pulling teeth. Gary Lightbody’s vocals could make someone who’s chugged 10 Red Bulls sleepy. A forgettable endurance task that feels like it goes on for eternity.
52. Everything Has Changed
You know what, as annoying as Sheeran is, this isn’t too bad. It’s exactly how you expect a Taylor Swift X Ed Sheeran single to sound. I think the reason it’s not firm favourite of mine is that it sounds way more like a typical Ed song than it does a typical Taylor one, and that’s never a good thing.
51. You Need To Calm Down
The way we were so nervous that Lover was going to be dreadful because the horror of Me was followed up with the wince inducing, toe curling You Need To Calm Down. YNTCD is the music equivalent of that annoying girl in the gay club who keeps tell you to “slay” and that you’re “fierce, mawma!” It’s giving big watches-one-episode-of-RuPaul’s-Drag-Race energy. All this could be forgiven if the sone was any good, but I afraid that it’s not.
What the bloody hell was going on here? The old Taylor was indeed dead, but at what cost? The cost of painfully cringe rapping and a Future feature, that’s what cost. Chaos. You can’t just throw stuff together!
49. White Horse
I mean, from here on out we’re into pretty great territory. White Horse isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, and many country pop artists would sell their soul to have a song this good in their repertoire. It just fades in comparison to some of the other heavy hitters.
Ours is a solid Swift single with a softly delicious chorus melody that isn’t immediately arresting but is definitely one that is a sleeper hit. I don’t think it helped matters it was only on a deluxe version of Speak Now, as it’s one that’s somewhat drifted into the forgotten ether.
47. … Ready For It?
We’re not ready for it, actually. This is ranked higher than Ours out of Taylor Swift singles purely for the delicious prechorus melody on “In the middle of the night, in my dreams”. That bit is truly gorgeous. The rest of the song is VERY 2017. Death to instrumental drop choruses!
46. Bad Blood
Bad Blood is a complicated beast. The album version is a lot better than the Kendrick assisted single, but the video was truly the cinematic event of 2015. It rivalled the MCU. Watching it with your mates and shouting out the cameos was a moment in time. Very hashtag girl squad. But at the end of the day, we’re here for the music, and Bad Blood as a song is just sort of OKAY.
It’s hard to rank Ronan anywhere, because it’s such a special song. A charity single written with quotes from a blog post by Maya Thompson (credited as a cowriter) about her son Ronan, who died from neuroblastoma. It’s a heartbreaking and gorgeous song and says so much about Taylor Swift’s compassion and artistry.
44. Back To December
Speak Now’s second single is definitely a step down from the dizzy heights of Mine, but it’s a song that does what I think The Last Time tries and fails to do. It’s nearly anthemic, but never quite gets there. But those SLAMMING of the strings in the middle eight are very special indeed.
The title track of Taylor Swift’s breakthrough album is a southern state American teen romance novel come to life, like many of her early songs are. It’s sweet, passionate and charming but explores themes she definitely does better on many songs yet to be ranked.
42. Tim McGraw
FIRST EVER TAYLOR SWIFT SINGLE KLAXON! And one that is still a pleasing, cutesy entry to the Taylor Swift singles ranked list all these years later. It’s very *country music* in all its composition, but it’s hard to not be lured into Taylor’s Chevy truck charm. So much promise and potential.
41. Shake It Off
Look, you either love it or you hate it. Taylor Swift does kids disco music. It’s hardly music for all moods, but I think there is a time and a place for Shake It Off. The pre-chorus is pop perfection and even if the chorus can sound like nails on a chalkboard if you’re in the wrong mood, it’s still what Me wishes so badly that it was.
An anti-bullying bop. Stay with me on this but Mean always reminds me of Not Fair by Lily Allen production wise? Do you hear it? Please say yes. I like Mean but it’s a bit Disney Channel Original Movie, isn’t it? If we’re being honest.
39. Coney Island
Quite a strange choice for Evermore’s third single. Evermore is one of Taylor Swift’s best albums, packed with intricate and eerie haunted houses and ghosts of the past, but is Coney Island its best offering? Coney Island is gorgeous and I love everything Taylor does with The National, but choosing it as a single over the likes of Champagne Problems, Gold Rush, Tis The Damn Season, Tolerate It and Right Where You Left Me is a bit unforgivable.
38. Today Was A Fairytale
Taylor Swift’s contribution to the soundtrack of the film Valentine’s Day (Nope, me neither), and it’s better than it ever has any right to be with that being the context. This song never clicked with me until its inclusion on 2021’s Fearless (Taylor’s Version). It’s a warm hug of a song to me now. Pressing play on this after a good date? Priceless.
37. Look What You Made Me Do
I love chaos and I love mess. I love controversy and I love carnage. Look What You Made Me Do had mouths WAGGING at the “Old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? ‘Cause she’s DEAD!” rebrand and with good reason. It’s weird as hell. The Right Said Fred sampling aside, the song structure is strange and it’s the most off-brand Taylor song in the world ever. And you know what? I LOVE IT. Sue me.
36. I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
The way every single Fifty Shades film had the pop industry in a chokehold and got the biggest names ever on its soundtrack even though the films were dreadful and panned? A bit iconic. Zayn and Taylor Swift coming together wasn’t exactly on my pop music bingo card. I Don’t Wanna Live Forever is actually rather gorgeous, a soaring duet, and the breathy vocals work perfectly. Not a bad entry to the Taylor Swift ranked singles catalogue. Job well done.
35. Should’ve Said No
The final single from Taylor Swift’s eponymous debut record, and one that is really bloody good. Her country twang on these early singles is just so endearing to me, I can’t resist my bumpkin queen! The chorus is anthemic. A stadium filler as far as I’m concerned.
I absolutely love the way this title track single is written. All built around the similes and metaphors of what loving him was like. It never gets old. All the examples are charming even when they’re nonsensical (“Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realising there’s no right answer” … Has she ever done a crossword?). It’s textbook Swift. LOVING HIM WAS RED!
33. Picture to Burn
Slightly eye-rolling problematic line about telling her Dad her jilted lover is gay aside, there is so much teenage rage to love about Picture To Burn. We’ve all been there! Even though its the most southern state America vibe ever, we’ve all been there! I, too, hate my ex boyfriend’s stupid old pickup truck. I have such fond memories of singing this so loudly and badly when playing Band Hero on my Nintendo Wii.
If you ever need a perfect example of the power of Taylor Swift, just think about how this entry to her ranked singles has changed turning 22 forever. You cannot turn the age of 22 without quoting, singing, or playing 22. It’s against the law. I remember being actively excited to turn 22 just so I could quote it. Historical.
“Because when you’re 15 and someone tell you they love you, you’re gonna believe them.” In one sentence, Taylor Swift manages to capture the pangs of your first heartbreak perfectly. Fifteen is that infatuation where you feel so grown up and mature but that no one takes you as seriously as you take yourself. It’s the music equivalent of capturing a moment in time – the five minutes where you’re getting your shit together after feeling your heart shatter. Fresh starts and new beginnings.
30. The Story of Us
Next chapter! “The story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now” is one of those great Taylor Swiftisms when she has the closing line of the chorus be an absolute gut puncher. I love the way The Story Of Us rollicks along at full pelt, like most of Speak Now does. It just never gets old. Try running to it at the gym. Dare you.
29. Begin Again
Begin Again gets somewhat swallowed up as the quieter single between the heavyweight prowess of Red’s first and third singles, but it’s ranked here as one of the best softly brilliant Taylor Swift singles ever. The vocals on “You throw your head back laughing like a little kid” are so emotive.
28. Eyes Open
The second of Taylor Swift’s Hunger Games singles is marginally less good than the first, but make no mistake, this is fucking excellent. Taylor Swift does all-out stadium rock. Yes please! Truly anthemic. I long for the day we get a full Taylor Swift album that sounds like State of Grace and Eyes Open. GIVE IT TO ME NOW!
27. No Body, No Crime
“He did it… He did it…” Pure cinema. The Haim sisters and Taylor Swift have been in close friendship cahoots for years, and they finally came together for Evermore’s second single – a murderous tale of revenge and allyship. It’s great storytelling, and one of the album’s most raucous moments. “Good thing Este’s sister is gonna swear she was with me!” gives me tingles literally every time.
26. Safe & Sound
Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars come together for the true precursor to Folklore and Evermore. It’s a heavenly, folk moment that sounded nothing like she’d ever done before but signalled how perfectly Swift’s vocals suit this genre. It’s delicate and not what you expect a Hunger Games soundtrack single to sound like but that’s exactly what makes it so special. “Darling, everything’s on fire.”
25. Sparks Fly
“DROP. EVERYTHING. NOW! Meet me in the pouring rain, kiss me on the sidewalk, take away the pain!” When I say anthemic chorus, Sparks Fly is what I mean. It’s a bellow at the top of your lungs kind of single that never once lets up steam. Cor blimey!
24. Out of the Woods
A Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift indietronica banger. The fact that a song this good isn’t even nearly the most memorable on 1989 makes you realise how special that album really is. Out of the Woods continues this ranked Taylor Swift singles list’s trend of anthemic tunes that make you want to drive your car with the top down.
23. Mr Perfectly Fine
A Joe Jonas diss track from the OG Fearless era emerging for the first time with 2021 vocals for Fearless (Taylor’s Version)? Yes, oh GOD, yes. That petty and childish Taylor Swift lyrical styling coupled with the vocal growth she has now is spectacular, and it’s one of the most fun singles of the year and will be ranked as such. Famously branded by Sophie Jonas (née Turner) as “not NOT a bop.”
22. The 1
Pressing play on Folklore for the first time was one of the most special moments of 2020. In fact, I’d go as far to say it was one of the most special moments in the entire history of me being a music fan. I just KNEW it was going to be an album that will be so close to me for the rest of my life. And a lot of that is credited to The 1, as the opening track. The lyrics, as they are for the whole record, are jawdroppingly brilliant. It’s conversational, intimate and irresistible.
21. New Year’s Day
I have a really cherished ritual where I listen to New Year’s Eve by MØ before I go out and celebrate, and then the first thing I do on January 1st is press play on New Year’s Day by Taylor Swift. I just lie in bed and reflect on last night and the last year. “Please don’t ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognise anywhere.” It’s perfect. It’s healing. It is for New Year’s Day what All I Want For Christmas Is You is for Christmas Day. End of.
20. The Man
“I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I could get there quicker if I was a man” is an earthshatteringly good lyric for a song that’s as much of a banger as it is an important feminist conversation. The sexism in the music industry and beyond is still despicable, and not many women have felt the brunt of it quite like Taylor Swift. For that reason, The Man is euphorically cathartic.
19. Getaway Car
This is truly Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift at their very best. I choose to believe that it’s a sequel to Out Of The Woods, because the songs are very sonically similar. But like in the rare instances of Shrek 2 and Aliens, Getaway Car is a time where the sequel is better than the original. That vocoder opening gives me shivers every time.
18. Christmas Tree Farm
Taylor Swift’s first ever original Christmas song is one of the best modern holiday singles that we have. It’s up there with One More Sleep, Santa Tell Me and Underneath The Tree. It’s got a warmth, festive glow to it that makes the whole thing sound perfectly inviting. I get so excited for Christmas so I can stream it endlessly without shame. I love the theme of it being so personal, as Swift really did grow up on a Christmas tree farm, but she writes in a way that makes us all feel like we did too.
It’s hard to follow up a huge, breakthrough album era like Fearless, but with Mine, Taylor signalled that the Speak Now era would show no signs of letting up steam. “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter” is one of the most poetic and gorgeous things Taylor Swift has ever penned and I love it with all my heart and soul. Perfect country pop.
The third and final part of Folklore’s love triangle tale between Betty and James is a magical one. Sung from James’ point of view and serving as an apology to Betty for cheating on her, it’s practically musical theatre in its characterisation. I love how it feels queer in nature because of it sounding like Taylor is singing to Betty directly. I guess it’s because we’re so used to how much her music has historically been about her own romances. Betty is the most country moment on Folklore, and by the time you get to that key change you know it’s also one of its best. “Standing in your cardigan…”
When Taylor Swift surprise released Evermore barely even four months after Folklore, my jaw was slapped so firmly to the ground I never thought I would be able to pick it back it up again. I don’t think I’ve ever been more shocked. And the fact that the album is almost equally as perfect was just too much to take. Willow, the lead single and opening track, is witchy, hypnotic, entrancing. We’re deeper in the woods than Folklore ever took us. It’s ethereal.
14. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Ah, 2012. It was a time of 3D “nerd” glasses with the lenses popped out. T-shirts read “I moustache you a question but I’ll shave it for later”. “:3” ruled the internet. And in came Taylor Swift, with the audio equivalent of all of those early 10s fossils and more. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together is a time capsule song, a career surging pop moment that’s production echoes the looped guitar in Don’t Tell Me by Madonna. Red is her coming of age album, half the songs are outrageously mature and the rest of them are as petty and juvenile as 22 year old are wont to be. Escapism.
13. Teardrops On My Guitar
You can practically feel the heart of a teenage Taylor Swift break when you press play on this – arguably one of the most devastating of all her singles ranked here. It’s such a familiar feeling, the pain of a friend zone is bad enough but when he starts telling you about the girl he is so into it’s game over. Even this early in her career, Taylor Swift had a way of capturing the most poetic visuals with her songwriting.
12. New Romantics
The final single form 1989, and a bonus track at that, should have honestly been number one for 2000 years. New Romantics is an all-out pop smash. From start to finish. It’s about being young and reckless but not giving a fuck if you make mistakes, you’ve got time to learn. This is one of her best ever choruses. “Heartbreak is the national anthem, we sing it proudly!”
It’s quite genius to create a song that’s about not going out of style that nearly seven years later still sounds fresh and stylish. As sexy as you could ever hope a song very probably written about Harry Styles to be. Style is absolutely gorgeous, a lush and sprawling synthpop soundscape that makes you feel like you’re head over heels in love even if you never have been before. “When we go crashing down we come back every time ’cause we never go out of style” is an excellent refrain. Styles and Swift may be over, but this love anthem never will be.
Okay. Deep breaths. We’re in to the top 10 ranked Taylor Swift singles of all time. And kicking it off spectacularly, with Folklore’s devastating second single. Justin Vernon brings his notoriously deep vocals to full effect, bouncing off Taylor in a breakup duet that feels like it should be in the Great American songbook. The way they both quietly take their turn on their verses and then come together and practically shout retorts over each other is just spectacular. The lyrics. THE LYRICS!
9. You Belong With Me
The entire plot of a 00s teen film condensed miraculously into three minutes and 48 seconds. It’s an absolute, stone cold, bonafide classic. It’s all a bit outdated lyrical content wise, but I don’t care. How can you not be moved and infatuated with You Belong With Me? It’s needy and it’s demanding but it’s so urgent and arresting. And literally impossibly difficult to sing along to without gasping for breath.
“We could leave the Christmas lights up ’til January” is all I need to hear to officially declare this as a Christmas song. This should have been the lead single of the album. The fact we had to endure Me and You Need To Calm Down when her eighth best single of all time was waiting in the wings is pure evil. Lover is indulgent and rich, familiar and comforting, intoxicating and all-consuming. Just like great love should be.
7. I Knew You Were Trouble
I think my head actually blew off when I first heard the dubstep breakdown of I Knew You Were Trouble. It was the original “the Old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now ’cause she’s dead”. It signalled that we were going POP, and she wasn’t holding back on that promise. It’s a meticulously crafted pop tune that never sounds boring or tired. It is literally game over after that middle eight when she belts “you never loved me, or her, or anyone, or anything, YEAAAAAH!!!!”
6. Our Song
The best of Taylor Swift’s self titled debut comes in the form of Our Song, a naughty, mischievous little imp of a song that’s all about sneaking out and playing with your first love. It’s carefree, country as a biscuit and a timelessly great time. Children will sing it at weddings, graduations, funerals. Her country drawl will never be bettered. “Asking God if he could play it again” – BANJO INTERLUDE!
5. Love Story
The least you can say about Love Story is that it’s better than a song that does a high school-y version of Romeo and Juliet in four minutes has any right to be. The best you can say about it is it’s one of the most iconic songs of the 2000s, a genre defining release and a superstar making anthem for Taylor Swift to go on and solidify herself as the biggest pop star of her generation. It’s Love Story. It’s euphoric, huge, and still has the ability for that plot twist middle eight to make you grin and get goosebumps even when you know it’s coming.
I think in a true, music-focussed world, Delicate is the real lead single of Reputation. “This ain’t for the best, my reputation’s never been worse so you must like me for me” is an incredibly open and frank lyric, and the entire song is the crowning achievement of that album. Beautifully written, gently song – delicate by name and by nature. Of course, the scandals and drama of Look What You Made Me Do make it the lead single from a talking point and a financially viable standpoint, but Delicate is one of the finest moments of Taylor Swift’s career.
3. Wildest Dreams
Taylor Swift goes full Lana Del Rey on 1989’s most sprawling and cinematic single. Wildest Dreams is one of those songs where you can practically feel the rush of wind through your hair as you listen to it. It’s effortlessly gorgeous, thanks to Taylor’s delivery, because a lot of effort has gone into making every crumb of this song sound perfect. The instrumentation is so multilayered and gorgeous it makes Born To Die look acoustic. When she reaches the dizzy heights of the final few choruses it is literally over for everyone. Career best, methinks!
I really can’t quite put into words how much Cardigan leaves me at a loss for words every time I listen to it. I’m lost for words because poet laureate Taylor Alison Swift took all the good ones and wrote this masterpiece. It’s an all consuming song of comforting love. I’ve never felt like an old cardigan, but when Taylor Swift sings and tells me about that metaphor the world just suddenly made a little bit more sense. The middle eight is probably the best thing she has actually ever written. It’s a song that feels like you’ve listened to it your whole life the first time you hear it. It is so special.
1. Blank Space
Taylor Swift has a career’s worth of signature songs, but if there was one of her singles that was to be named the definitive song of her career then it would be Blank Space – easily taking the top spot of this ranked list. Blank Space is the perfect culmination of everything Taylor is as an artist. Brilliantly written, a hooky pop melody that literally only she could come up with and a self aware song theme that is just irresistible. Taylor Swift’s love life is discussed with such probing mania that her addressing it so directly in a single like this feels just bloody great. Blank Space is my karaoke song. It’s more than just a huge pop song that solidified her legacy and genre transition, but a song the world will look back at when Taylor Swift is 30 albums deep into her career as one of the best pop tracks of all time.
Listen to all the ranked Taylor Swift singles on the Spotify playlist here.