Her sound has changed drastically since her self-titled first album. She was all about the acoustics, and talking about first love and heartbreak, and now…well, she’s got a big reputation. And I’m not ashamed to say that I love her. Hell, I’ve even been a part of a full-on Taylor Swift musical my friend, Tyler, directed. Obviously, I did more behind the curtain stuff (can’t sing, remember?), but it was a blast nonetheless. Actually…if you’re interested, you can catch it on YouTube. It’s called It’s A Love Story, and it’s broken down into two acts:
I’ve been a fan of hers for eleven years, giddy every time another piece of music is released. I’ve yet to hate anything by her, and honestly, I don’t think I ever really could. Her transition from country to pop was seamless, and although she’s made some big risks, she’s yet to release anything that could potentially ruin her career.
She’s an actual queen.
And since today is her 28th birthday, I thought that I would share with you a number of my favorite songs of hers—one for every year of her life so far, in alphabetical order.
All Too Well, Red (2012) | This wasn’t one of my favorites when Red first came out, but when I finally really listened to it, I was hooked. It’s such a sad, beautiful song. Taylor had a lot to say to/about Jake. I wonder if he still has that sweater…
Favorite lyric: Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it / I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it
All You Had To Do Was Stay, 1989 (2014) | Seriously though, way too many people walk away from/give up on relationships way too quickly. All Taylor wanted was to work on it, but this guy kept leaving and coming back. Like, what? Is there a way to never sign up for that kind of thing?
Favorite lyric: People like you always want back the love they pushed aside / But people like me are gone forever when you say goodbye
Begin Again, Red (2012) | Honestly, the music video should have inspired someone to make a movie. I don’t get how it didn’t. I actually remember the first time I heard this song, and instantly being in awe of it. It’s just such a sweet song, especially for when you’re in a new relationship.
Favorite lyric: But you throw your head back laughing like a little kid / I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did
Call It What You Want, Reputation (2017) | This song is actually my number one favorite song on Reputation. It gives me 1989 vibes, and I love 1989. I like the whole idea for the song; it doesn’t sound as needy as Taylor’s older stuff, and it’s actually kind of “with the times” when you think about it. 10/10, would recommend.
Favorite lyric: I want to wear his initial on a chain ’round my neck, chain ’round my neck / Not because he owns me / But ’cause he really knows me
Dear John, Speak Now (2010) | I obviously don’t have any personal beef with John Mayer, but damn—this song is a whole production. It’s like one huge middle finger pointing in John’s direction. This song will give you all the feels, and make you want to show up every ex ever. I love every second of it.
Favorite lyric: But I took your matches / Before fire could catch me / So don’t look now / I’m shining like fireworks / Over your sad, empty town
Delicate, Reputation (2017) | Okay, so the very first thing that got me into this song was the tempo right after the intro—it just makes me want to move, even in a chair. Also, let’s be real here, it’s catchy AF. I love everything about this song.
Favorite lyric: Sometimes when I look into your eyes / I pretend you’re mine, all the damn time / ‘Cause I like you
Don’t Blame Me, Reputation (2017) | Honestly, this was one that had to grow on me. Also, for some random reason, I just really love the fact that she uses a daisy reference? It’s just a cool song, and you wouldn’t expect the drop to hit you, but I live for it.
Favorite lyric: I was once poison ivy / But now I’m your daisy
End Game (feat. Ed Sheeran & Future), Reputation (2017) | So we’ve heard Ed and Taylor collaborate before, right? But now they’re adding in Future. I honestly didn’t expect it to work out that well, but I was wrong. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. Also…who taught Taylor to rap? Asking for a friend.
Favorite lyric: For all your beautiful traits, and the way you do it with ease / For all my flaws, paranoia, and insecurities
Fearless, Fearless (2008) | Ah, the old Taylor. I actually had to reintroduce myself to her for this piece, because I almost forgot about her. It’s almost weird to hear her not doing full-on pop music, but it’s like seeing an old friend: the love is still there.
Favorite lyric: I wanna stay right here, in this passenger’s seat / You put your eyes on me / In this moment now, capture it, remember it
Forever & Always, Fearless (2008) | I used to jam out to this song in my bedroom. I felt a lot of emotions because of Joe Jonas; I felt like I was Taylor, and I was the one he left the break up voice message to. I feel like this one should be (if it isn’t already) considered a Taylor Classic.
Favorite lyric: So here’s to everything / Coming down to nothing / Here’s to silence / That cuts me to the core
I Wish You Would, 1989 (2014) | I feel like I can picture a young John Cusack standing outside my window, playing this song on a boom box. Or it play during a movie, where a teenaged girl sits by her window, looking out, and either a montage of her with her best friend that she was in love with happens, or suddenly a rock is thrown, and he’s right outside her house. It’s truly a cinematic song, and I love dramatically lip syncing to it.
Favorite lyric: 2am, here we are / See your face, hear my voice, in the dark / We’re a crooked love, in a straight line down / Makes you wanna run and hide / But it made us turn right back around
Invisible, Taylor Swift (2006) | Way back when, when I was a wee little pre-teen, I thought Taylor wrong this song for me. I was a dramatic kid. (I’m told that I’m still dramatic? I don’t see it.) And then fast forward to college, when Tyler made a comment about how he pictured me being like that. You can bet your ass the first thing that popped in my head was a thirteen-year-old version of me, laying on my twin-sized bed, singing along to this song. How embarrassing.
Favorite lyric: There’s a fire inside of you / That can’t help but shine through / But she’s never gonna see the light / No matter what you do
King Of My Heart, Reputation (2017) | This song starts like, “okay…I feel you, Taylor,” and then BAM, the bass hits you, all at once. This is definitely the kind of song I jam out in the car to. I honestly wonder if this is how Taylor is in her relationships: casual, and then BAM, all up in yo’ face.
Favorite lyric: Late in the night, the city’s asleep / Your love is a secret I’m hoping, dreaming, dying to keep
Long Live, Speak Now (2010) | I’ve always liked this song a lot, but it’s basically become a memory trigger for It’s A Love Story for me. Right before our last show, while Tyler gave a speech, he handed out pictures to every one of us with personalized letters on the back, and proceeded to play this song for all of us. It was a movie moment for sure, and now I can’t listen to this song without thinking about that group of nerds that I still love so very much.
Favorite lyric: Promise me this / That you’ll stand by me forever / But if god forbid fate should step in / And force us into a goodbye / If you have children some day / When they point to the pictures / Please tell ’em my name
Mary’s Song (Oh My My My), Taylor Swift (2006) | I have two words for this song, and it’s relationship goals. Fun fact: Taylor based this song off an actual couple that she was close with.
Favorite lyric: Take me back when our world was one block wide / I dared you to kiss me, and ran when you tried
Never Grow Up, Speak Now (2010) | Even though this list isn’t in order from least to most favorite, this one would be in my top five. I feel like this song perfectly describes how a lot of people feel after adulthood punches them in the face, but it also works really well to sing to kids. Childhood and time are precious things taken for granted, and the song is a good reminder.
Favorite lyric: But don’t make her drop you off around the block / Remember that she’s getting older, too
New Year’s Day, Reputation (2017) | This is another Had-To-Grow-On-Me kind of song. At first, I was taken aback because it sounded like it fit in the Red era, and well, Red is my favorite T-Swizzle album. It’s a low-key, super sweet, borderline sad, love song. Which is, unironically, right up my alley.
Favorite lyric: Please don’t ever become a stranger / Whose laugh I could recognize anywhere
…Ready For It?, Reputation (2017) | This is probably a great song for when you’re getting ready to go out. I feel like it gives you this badass, I-can-do-anything attitude. Also, I put together some bits of choreography set for it…but nobody will ever see that in public, so maybe stating that was redundant.
Favorite lyric: In the middle of the night, in my dreams / I know I’m gonna be with you, so I’ll take my time
Sparks Fly, Speak Now (2010) | This is such a cutesy, danceable song. Sparks Fly was one of the many songs I used to act and belt out to as a teenager. (Yes, I do realize how dorky that makes me sound. I have no regrets.)
Favorite lyric: I’m on my guard for the rest of the world / But with you, I know it’s no good
Style, 1989 (2014) | Let me just start with saying that Taylor wasn’t very subtle about the subject of this song. My huge crush on Harry Styles definitely made this song that much more real for me. And I’m pretty sure it was this song that first got me into wearing lipstick…but don’t take my word for that.
Favorite lyric: You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye / And I got that red lip, classic thing that you like
The Best Day, Fearless (2008) |This song is literally the cutest. Unlike most other Swift songs, this one isn’t about a love interest. Instead, it’s about her family—mostly focusing on her mother, who Taylor looked up to most. It’s basically an ode to her mom, and I just love it a lot, okay?
Favorite lyric: God smiles on my little brother / Inside and out, he’s better than I am
The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody), Red (2012) | The Last Time was the second song that I fell in love with on the Red album, right after Treacherous. For one thing, I love how Gary and Taylor’s voices fit together. Also, I love how this one is more like a conversation than just a story, and it was just so well put together, and well, I just really love this song. It makes me really emotional, and that’s basically all I ever look for in music.
Favorite lyric: And all the times I let you in, just for you to go again / Disappear when you come back, everything is better
The Lucky One, Red (2012) | This one is literally Taylor’s version of Britney Spears’s Lucky from her Oops!…I Did It Again album, and all you really need to know is that I was obsessed with Lucky as a kid. So when I heard The Lucky One, the nostalgia brought me back, and I fell in love with another song about stardom. Oops…I did it again.
Favorite lyric: They still tell the legend of how you disappeared / How you took the money and your dignity / And got the hell out
The Way I Loved You, Fearless (2008) | This is another song that I have a picture perfect idea of a music video for. Actually, if someone hasn’t done it yet, someone could definitely make an edit of this song over scenes from Titanic between Rose, Cal, and Jack. Also, this is a good one to jam out to.
Favorite lyric: You were wild and crazy / Just so frustrating, intoxicating, complicated / Got away by some mistake
Treacherous, Red (2012) | Now that I think about it, I’ve said that the Red era was my favorite, and that Treacherous was my favorite song on the album—so, technically speaking, this would be my favorite Taylor Swift song ever. And it might be, but it’s way too hard for me to choose my number one favorite T. Swift song ever. But let’s just say that everything about this song is perfect.
Favorite lyric: I can’t decide if it’s a choice, getting swept away / I hear the sound of my own voice, asking you to stay
Welcome To New York, 1989 (2014) | Question: have you ever walked through the streets of Manhattan, with a New York-themed song playing in your ears? If your answer is no, you’re doing it wrong. Welcome to New York forces you to strut, because there is no other way to walk to this song. I feel like if you do it, you feel the intensity and magic that radiates off the streets and buildings. It’s a great feeling.
Favorite lyric: Like any great love, it keeps you guessing / Like any real love, it’s ever-changing / Like any true love, it drives you crazy
Wildest Dreams, 1989 (2014)| Okay, so I do love this song a lot, but honestly, what really won me over about this song was when Todrick Hall released his medley cover of a bunch of her songs. Ever since I heard his version of Wildest Dreams, the only way I hear it is as though it’s Todrick’s mix. I seriously cannot stress how many times I’ve watched that video, because the guy is a genius. I wish Taylor used his backtrack to make a new version of the song. That’s how good it is.
Favorite lyric: Someday when you leave me / I bet these memories / Follow you around
You Are In Love, 1989 (Deluxe Version) | I have definitely mentioned before that I love this song; it actually makes me wish I was in love with someone. It’s so incredibly written, and beautifully put together, it actually made me tear up the first time I heard it. Off the record, this might actually be my number one favorite song of Taylor’s of all time.
Favorite lyric: One night he wakes, strange look on his face / Pauses, then says, “you’re my best friend” / And you knew what it was, he is in love
Prompt: Name an artist you love, and list some of your favorite songs by them.