They’re all full of classics, but here is the best song on every Taylor Swift album
Resisting the urge to choose All Too Well twice
Yesterday, I agonised over the worst song on every Taylor Swift album – today, it’s time to agonise even harder over the best. Picking the worst song on each Taylor Swift album was on the whole quite easy, because it’s pretty objective which ones are the stinkers. You don’t meet many people coming up to bat for the excellence of ME, for example. But best is different. I’m sure this might ruffle a significant amount of Swiftie feathers, but here is the best song on every Taylor Swift album.
Taylor Swift – Our Song
Unanimously accepted as the worst Taylor Swift album, picking the best song on it is a four horse race between the actually-really-good singles. I think Our Song is the best out of these. I love the energy to it and the southern drawl she sings with. An early days classic.
Fearless – You Belong With Me
An album of rammers from start to finish, for the best song on the Taylor Swift album that made her a superstar I simply have to go with You Belong With Me. No other song on this album could raise me from the dead like the anthem rise of “But she wears short skirts / I wear T-shirts / She’s Cheer Captain, and I’m on the bleachers.” Be for real. It’s for the history books.
Speak Now – Mine – POP Mix
It actually is a knife in my chest that the Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) of Mine isn’t this POP Mix. It just hits like a meteor in comparison to the limper less POP version. “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter” is one of the greatest Taylor Swift lines she’s ever penned.
Red – I Knew You Were Trouble
This one hits for me like You Belong With Me does. It’s a raise me from the grave level of anthem. The twangy guitar, the steady build in her vocal, the attitude, the sense of fury and stakes… Unmatched. Of course, it’s famous for its dubstep drop that really signalled a new era for her sound and a new trajectory for her career. It still lights a fire inside me every time I hear it.
Obviously this place would have gone to All Too Well, but spoiler alert, it would be boring to have it on twice.
1989 – Clean
I could cry talking about how much I love Clean. I think it’s one of the best breakup songs ever written. And I don’t throw that accolade out lightly. The metaphors are top notch, the onboarding of the underrated icon that is Imogen Heap both in the songwriting department and on backing vocals makes it sound so special and unique in her discography. Don’t listen to it sad.
“Just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it.”
Reputation – Delicate
It’s interesting that of all the balls to the wall bangerness of Reputation, it’s the introspective Delicate that stands as the best song on it. It’s in my top five Taylor Swift songs ever. The vocoder intro has my heart in its clutches from the opening seconds – I’m a sucker for that sound in any song. You just heard me stan Imogen Heap, so that should come as no surprise. I love how Delicate quietly unfolds. Very raw, very vulnerable, very special.
Lover – Cruel Summer
It was cruel by name and cruel by nature that Cruel Summer never got to be the huge global smash it was meant to be back in the Lover era, as the pandemic halted Taylor Swift’s plans. It is Taylor and Jack at their very best, and look at it now: A number one song on the Billboard Hot 100, four years later getting the international recognition it was clearly destined for. Banger. Pop classic.
Folklore – August
Very VERY hard to pick the best song on an album of career bests, but I have to go with August. The opening purrs of “salt air…” make the hairs on my body stand on end. Has a song ever defined a month like this now does with the final four weeks of summer? I can’t imagine my life without it. The beautiful storytelling, the way she flicks her vocal up and down on the chorus melody, the anthemic final minute… Perfection.
Evermore – Right Where You Left Me
Released a few weeks after the original Evermore on Evermore deluxe, the best song on the Folklore sequel album is one of the greatest straight up singer songwriter moments in the entire Taylor Swift discography. The way this song builds and levels itself up is like the white country girl version of Love On Top by Beyoncé. I’m laughing out loud at how that’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever written or said, but deep down you know what I mean. Great American Songbook, this one.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) – Mr Perfectly Fine
How this Joe Jonas diss track stayed in the Vault for all these years is beyond me, it’s a quintessential Taylor Swift anthem and I would not want to do without it in my life ever again. BANGER.
Red (Taylor’s Version) – All Too Well (10 Minute Version)
Do you know how great a song has to be to get to number one on the Hot 100 when it has a 10 minute runtime? This great. This is the benchmark. This song takes Taylor Swift’s best song and doubles it, double the length, double the devastating lyrics and double the excellence. A masterpiece. Too many amazing lyrics to quote. One time, on a date with a guy who often feels like my soulmate, he’d never heard it and so he told me to play it to him there and then in this pub we were having a pint in. We put an AirPod in each and held hands and I watched him react to it for the first time. I’ll never forget that. Not many songs could create such a moment.
Midnights – Maroon
A truly perfect song. Anthemic. Loved it from the moment I heard it and I’ve never stopped being obsessed with it. I’m so hyperfixated on the “rust that grew between telephones” lyric. And the specific way she says the word fucking. Amazing.
Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) – I Can See You
It’s kind of slim pickings for the best song on this Taylor Swift album, because the Vault tracks are kind of shit. But not this one. This is the shining jewel. A toe tapper of the highest order. A lot of swagger, a lot of strut. It’s got a 1989 spirit to it actually.
1989 (Taylor’s Version) – Is It Over Now?
The greatest track from the Vault here, a wonderful closer. Whilst a lot of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) Vault tracks sound like Midnights, and have received flack because of it, it’s obvious to me that Is It Over Now feels so good because it sounds the most 1989. The drum beat, the oomph – it all works perfectly.
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