I went back and forth whether or not I wanted to do a ranking of Taylor Swift’s discography because I know there are a wide range of opinions to go around on this topic, but anyway, here we are. I intended on keeping this short and didn’t want to do a whole intro like I usually do, so I’ll just let the rankings speak for themselves. Also, don’t forget that rankings are all opinions and that if yours don’t align with mine, it’s not anything to get upset over.
7. Taylor Swift / Released October 24, 2006
Taylor’s debut is at its core a basic country album. It’s not bad by any means and contains some great songwriting and instrumental, but besides that it’s just…country. Not much to discuss here.
6. Lover / Released August 23, 2019
Just like with her debut, Taylor’s seventh effort isn’t bad by any means. There are some great songs on here (“Death By A Thousand Cuts” being one of my favorites) but something about it just felt recycled. This record didn’t feel new like 1989 or Reputation did, rather it came off as a mish mash of both. Unfortunately, it wasn’t cohesive either, which didn’t help its case. The record fluctuates between elements of electronic, ambient, country, and pure pop, and this would have worked fine if the songs were better organized or broken up into parts with interludes to separate them. But coming from an artist that was always so good at executing well rounded projects that always seemed so well thought out, Lover just didn’t feel the same.
5. Fearless / Released November 11, 2008
Wonderful melodies with great instrumental and lyrics, Fearless contains the hits “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” which as just as popular now as they were in 2009. This is a great record but when comparing it to the rest of her discography, it doesn’t feel as mature as the rest of her work. It’s not even that it didn’t age well; it absolutely did but it’s a record that kind of just stays in the realm of teenagers and doesn’t wander on much beyond that.
4. Reputation / Released November 10, 2017
I’m going to get straight to the point with this one: Reputation has some great moments like “Getaway Car”, “Dress” and “Call It What You Want”, and even “Look What You Made Me Do” is a song I still enjoy very much all these years later. It’s lyrically well done of course but where this record falls flat is the production, features and vocal delivery. Some of these songs move very awkwardly from verse to chorus to bridge, and although the darker tone worked very well, they weren’t very smoothly put together. Taylor’s vocals on this one are the flattest and most bored sounding they’ve ever been, and there is absolutely no need to have Future AND Ed Sheeran featured on one track. However, I must say that I appreciate the cohesion and theme on this record; some songs might move gracelessly through themselves but as a whole they do all fit together very nicely.
3. 1989 / Released October 27, 2014
I won’t ever forget the day this album came out; I bought myself a physical copy and luckily my math class that night was cancelled so I sat on my balcony and listened to it on repeat three times. 1989 is a wonderful pop record. Each song is able to take on a life of its own but they also all coincide onto one project to create a wonderful little collection of memories. The song writing is excellent as well, with some of my favorites being “Clean”, “Out Of The Woods”, “This Love” and “How You Get The Girl”. And how could we forget about “Black Space”, which is undoubtedly one of the best songs in Taylor’s entire catalogue? The only blunder this album has that sticks out to me is the overall theme execution, which isn’t that big of an issue. This album was marketed as an 80’s pop inspired record yet feels more like modern synth pop. Die hard fans might say she revolutionized the genre with this one but in retrospect, it’s sonically an adventure for Taylor Swift as an artist, but it’s not in terms of pop music as a whole.
2. Speak Now / Released October 25, 2010
The fact that this record was written entirely by Taylor is something I heavily applaud her for. This third release of hers especially puts her songwriting skills front and center, and I can say with confidence that these are some of her absolute best lyrics. They almost feel like a dream at times and create such specific imagery without sounding completely obvious. Each song is build off of such intricate instrumental and builds up in the perfect spots, and ends without feeling overdone or incomplete. One thing that also resonates heavily on this one is its ability to be relatable, and although Taylor has always showcased her feelings through her music, this is where it actually started to feel more real. This was the first Taylor record that I actually connected with and even years later it’s one that I can go back to time and time again, for comfort, enjoyment, or just an easy listen.
1. Red / Released October 22, 2012
While Red lacks cohesion, the best parts of the record like the lyrical content and storytelling make up for it. This record was the awkward in between of Taylor trying to stick with country music but also branch out into more pop/electronic territory, and at first it annoyed me. But after I took a good listen to the record to understand it a little better, I realized how well done it all actually is. This one has elements of Speak Now but feels more mature, and is there for you in your happiest moments with songs like “Treacherous”, “22” and “Stay Stay Stay” and is also there for some of the worst with “Sad Beautiful Tragic”, “All Too Well” and “I Knew You Were Trouble”. The instrumental is never overdone, even in the moments where the synthesizer dominates, and this one is made up some of the most simple, yet perfectly done instrumentals of hers. This album is so full of live from start to finish and feels like an actual diary more so than any other record of hers.