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Taylor Swift Ranked

The Swift obsession continues with this updated ranking of her discography.
1Taylor Swift

This is Swift's pop magnum opus. On the heels of Red, which could not commit to a style, 1989 was a breakthrough. The melodies here are her most infectious, buoyed by an energy unheard elsewhere in her catalog. "Blank Space", "Style", and "New Romantics" are among the best pop tracks of the decade, while radio staples like "Shake It Off" and "Wildest Dreams" guarantee this album's place in pop culture lore. Swift has partaken in multiple pop outings following 1989, but none have matched it in quality or relevance.
2Taylor Swift
Speak Now

Depending on your preference (pop vs. country), this could easily be considered Swift's best. This record is the optimization of her mainstream country sound, featuring the very best of her storytelling lyrical approach and a plethora of unforgettable melodies/choruses. "Mine", "Sparks Fly", "Back to December", and "Mean" are country-pop classics, while "Enchanted" is her best song outright - capturing the magic of newfound romance in an awe-struck, resplendent 6 minutes. In between the hits are soft-spoken gems such as "Last Kiss", which keep you hooked from start to finish.
3Taylor Swift

The album that launched Swift to fame remains one of her best records, despite being buried by recency bias and dismissed by some folks after the radio wore its best singles thin. Regardless, there's no denying the fairy tale atmosphere and overall infectiousness of "Love Story", the upbeat, youthful naivety of "You Belong With Me", or the sad, breathtaking "Breathe." In terms of a front-to-end listen, Fearless is Swift's most consistent work because every song is decent and it never deviates from the country-pop aesthetic upon which she built her brand.
4Taylor Swift

Despite many publications claiming that this is a groundbreaking folk experience, it's really just a collection of slow pop songs executed in typical Swift fashion. Although Dessner bringing over his influence from The National, any of these tracks could have been sprinkled throughout Lover, Reputation, or 1989 as "ballads" and nobody would have batted an eye. With that said, it's almost uniformly great. One of Swift's recent issues has been consistency, but folklore remedies that with an album that is listenable from beginning to end. Standout tracks include "mirrorball", "cardigan", "betty", "august", "illicit affairs", and "seven".
5Taylor Swift

Reputation will forever be Swift's black sheep record. It was almost universally mocked because of the "bad girl" image that she tried to adopt, but anyone who listened should have been able to pick up on the irony/tongue-in-cheek nature. Regardless, this album is brimming with bops and bangers, ranging from the gleeful melody of "Getaway Car" to the slow, nuanced club beat of "Delicate." The album is also far better lyrically than it gets credit for, dealing with witch hunts/accusations ("I Did Something Bad"), isolation ("Call It What You Want"), and unwavering commitment to a relationship ("New Years Day"). This falters with an inconsistent and bloated tracklist featuring many questionable hip-hop/trap influences, which sinks it a bit in this ranking.
6Taylor Swift

While Lover has grown on me in recent months, it still might be her most bloated record to date. About a third of the album's 18 tracks are throwaways. However, its peaks ("Cornelia Street", "Cruel Summer", "Paper Rings", "I Think He Knows", "Death By a Thousand Cuts") are downright brilliant slices of upbeat, summery pop. This album is on par with Reputation in terms of relative quality, although it is its aesthetic opposite (bright/poppy to Reputation's darker vibes). Reputation edges Lover because it does not have quite as much filler.
7Taylor Swift

For many people this will seem far too low, but Red has always been a disappointment to me. It flashes brilliance ("All Too Well", "Begin Again", "Red", and the underappreciated gem "The Lucky One"), but the rest of the album is an identity crisis between country and pop whose issues are compounded by the fact that the songs themselves are rarely memorable. Most of the country, acoustic styled songs float by without any great hook or lyrical moment, and the bids for huge, anthemic pop ("I Knew You Were Trouble", "22", "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together") are more often irritating than anything else. At 16 tracks it is also a little bit overstuffed (did we really need a Snow Patrol feature, or Ed Sheeran's snoozer "Everything Has Changed"?) which is all par for the course with Swift.
8Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

While there's nothing explicitly wrong with Taylor's debut, it is clearly an entire echelon below the rest of her career achievements. It's very basic, uninteresting country pop with a few exceptions ("Our Song", "Should've Said No", "Pictures to Burn"). This is nice as a reminder of her humble roots, but there's not much here that wasn't done leagues better on Fearless or Speak Now.
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