More than 10 years ago, Taylor Swift burst into country music with her debut album, marking the beginning of a legacy that nobody could have predicted. In the span of those years, Swift has dominated music charts time and time again with her record-breaking albums and singles, going from being the opening performer for Time McGraw to selling out arenas around the world.
Fans have loyally listened as the singer-songwriter jumped from one genre to the next, eventually leaving her country roots altogether when, in 2014, 1989 was released. With five albums under her belt and a sixth on its way, we decided to rank all of Taylor Swift’s albums.
5. Taylor Swift (2006)
This is where it all began. A blonde, curly-haired 16-year-old girl pushed her way onto the music scene with her debut self-titled album that took the music industry by storm. At the time, nobody knew that Taylor Swift would become a household name in the industry, or that her music would transcend genres and lead to sold-out world tours.
Taylor Swift may be where it all started, and while it has a strength of its own and holds a special place in the hearts of all true Swifties, the albums that would precede it showed her continuing growth and strength, pushing this album to the very bottom of the list.
Best Songs: “Our Song,” “Tim McGraw,” “The Outside”
4. Speak Now (2010)
Speak Now is a give or take album. It is able to hold its own, and there are a lot of amazing songs on it, but in the scope of things, it’s one of the weaker albums, largely for the themes it explores. What places this album higher than Taylor Swift is the continual growth in her songwriting.
Masked by the pretty flowing dress Swift wears on the album cover is a savageness that wasn’t seen in either of her previous albums and hasn’t been seen since. But don’t let the innocence of the cover fool you, Speak Now contains some of Taylor Swift’s most biting songs, which, while fun to listen to, can at times make it seem a little immature.
There are a few hidden gems, though. “Enchanted” showcases the fairytale style of lyrics that Speak Now entails, and “Last Kiss” is a beautiful ballad of lost love.
Best Songs: “Dear John,” “Last Kiss,” “Enchanted”
3. Fearless (2008)
Despite it only being her sophomore album, Fearless could be summed up as classic Taylor Swift. It’s a perfect evolution from Taylor Swift that, while sticking with the classic themes of high school and teenage crushes, is a bit more grown up and mature.
Fearless is the album that you listen to and there’s an eerie reminiscence of your high school years. You are brought back to the first friend you met in the halls on your first day of school, to your first crush, to late night football games. It perfectly captures that segment of time with such raw honesty, which is seen in the lyrics of each and every song.
Best Songs: “Breathe,” “The Best Day,” “Tell Me Why”
2. 1989 (2014)
This is the album that officially marked Taylor’s full transition away from her country roots and into the pop music genre, and it was near perfect, securing her space as a pop queen.
Every song on this album had the chance at holding a spot on any of the music charts, and of the singles that were released and played on endless loops on the radio, each put up strong competition for songs from other artists. 1989 would go to win Swift her second Album of the Year Award at the Grammy’s, and it became so popular that indie singer Ryan Adams covered it.
From “Shake It Off” to “Welcome to New York,” the songs are catchy, once again showing how easily able Swift is of luring fans in. Go a little deeper into the album, though, and find the same kind of songs that have marked each of her other albums – deep, honest, raw, “Clean” and “This Love” among them.
Best Songs: “Clean,” “New Romantics,” “This Love”
1. Red (2012)
Red is by far Swift’s strongest album to date, and admittedly, will be difficult to ever beat. Whereas 1989 had marked the completion of the transition from country to pop, Red marked the very beginning of that transition from country into something more, bringing together multiple genres in one tight, clean, and beautiful album. From the lyrics, to the music videos, to the look, Red is something out of a music-lovers best dream.
The magnificence of Red lies in the songs themselves. You can pick any one song from the album and be blown away by the craftsmanship. The lyrics, a culmination of the evolution of past albums, paint vivid pictures and evoke emotions with such intensity that no other album can even compare. Red is Taylor Swift shedding herself of the youthful almost naivety of her past and showing a maturity that is unmarked.
There is a somber tone that is interlaced between the lyrics. It’s an album about love and heartbreak. Red is a beautifully tragic album, and we mean that in the best way possible.
Best Songs: “All Too Well,” “State of Grace,” “Begin Again”
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