Taylor Swift’s seventh album, Lover, is here, and to commemorate Swift, I went back and listened to all of her official singles and ranked them. The thing about listening to her singles altogether is that her songwriting template is unavoidable and a little fatiguing. It also maybe shines a better light on her newer material which takes a little more risk (keyword: “maybe”). Overall though, many of her singles are great and ingrained into the minds of multiple generations. That puts her in a league with Beyoncé and Kanye, even though I’m sure she would not want to be in the same space as them again…even metaphorically. Enjoy reading and please leave a nasty comment if you disagree with the ranking.


46. “End Game” (ft. Ed Sheeran & Future)

Single from reputation (2017)

This just didn’t work. A trend in Taylor Swift’s worst singles is that the spotlight gets taken off her. Here, Future is on default mode, and Ed Sheeran is basically rapping.


45. “You Need to Calm Down”

Single from Lover (2019)

Swift is such a great songwriter when she blends small personal struggles with that universal sentiments all pop songs go for. She tries something different with “You Need to Calm Down” by making a LGBTQ anthem that’s too cute to ever take seriously.


44. “ME!” (ft. Brendon Urie)

Single from Lover (2019)

I like the chorus here, and among people who have featured with Taylor Swift, Brendon Urie actually holds his own somewhat. The greatest sin here is the percussion which drags the song into animated-movie-power-ballad territory. It feels incredibly minor for a first single.


43. “Safe & Sound” (ft. The Civil Wars)

Single from The Hunger Games Soundtrack (2011)

This one is just boring. One of Swift’s best traits is that she gets to the point; it takes most of her songs about 10 seconds to get going, if that. “Safe & Sound” is a perfect fit for The Hunger Games as it’s slow, forgettable, and very popular.


42. “Bad Blood” (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

Remix Single from 1989 (2014)

Of all the songs off the great 1989, “Bad Blood” is the most skip-worthy. The song gets pretty lazy with that repetitive two-syllable hook, and Kendrick Lamar makes no impression with his verses. This is by far the worst of her #1 Billboard hits.


41. “Sweeter Than Fiction”

Single from One Chance Soundtrack (2013)

This is one of those one-off, heap-of-nothing singles that nobody will remember. It’s decent work, but with it coming after Red, Swift was already way beyond this.


40. “Everything Has Changed” (ft. Ed Sheeran)

Single from Red (2012)

Poor Ed Sheeran. Actually no, he’s filthy rich. It’s not a Taylor Swift album if it doesn’t have flaws — on Red, you get this half-baked duet with the Red-Haired King of Banality.


39. “Picture to Burn” 

Single from Taylor Swift (2006)

On her first album, Swift’s affable spunk came with a fake Southern accent; it does not hold up well. Listen around the 1 minute mark for “Awwwwllllll o’ urr best friends” and try not to giggle. Otherwise, the banjo playing here is pretty enjoyable.


38. “The Story of Us”

Single from Speak Now (2011)

The subjects of storytelling and fairytales are all over Fearless and Speak Now. Tales of princesses and pages was a perfect avenue for Swift to relate to the innocence within us…and to convey her own down-to-earth innocence. “The Story of Us” just kinda innocuously flies by.

Eyes Open - Single

37. “Eyes Open”

Single from The Hunger Games Soundtrack (2012)

This song’s Hunger Games context limits the potential readings, but it still ends up being a decent pop rock offering on self-worth and perseverance.


36. “Change”

Single from AT&T Team USA Soundtrack (2008)

This is the heaviest guitar found on any Swift single. It was also her first top-ten hit before Fearless’ reign. Other than that, she hits her mark with ineffectual lyrics.


35. “…Ready for It?”

Single from reputation (2017)

The second reputation single has some interesting elements that expanded Swift’s sonic and melodic landscapes, but overall, it never coalesces into an exciting song worthy of opening an album.


34. “Tim McGraw”

Single from Taylor Swift (2006)

This is her very first single, and it was still a top-40 Billboard hit. It’s an ode to young love and country stardom that presented an endearing portrait of the next big name in country. Critically-speaking, she would step up her songwriting on future endeavors.

The Last Time Single

33. “Last Time” (ft. Gary Lightbody)

Single from Red (2012)

This is a big ‘ol slice of sentimentality with a thumping slow burn that is never quite convincing. It’s one of the weakest moments on the spotty back half of Red.


32. “Ours”

Single from Speak Now (2010)

Being the last single from Speak Now, “Ours” is a sweet end of an era — one where Swift could still be considered an underdog, America’s sweetheart, etc. She’s adept at phrasing clichés into compelling melodies — “Don’t you worry your pretty little mind / People throw rocks at things that shine.”


31. “Our Song”

Single from Taylor Swift (2006)

This is the most popular song from Swift’s debut album, and it’s obvious why. It’s a catchy, light-hearted country song that could’ve belonged to many other female country stars at the time. She was still searching for her own lane.


30. “Today Was a Fairytale”

Single from Valentine’s Day Soundtrack (2010)

This one-off single for the terrible ensemble romantic comedy is all about the chorus. Even Swift can barely be bothered to write out verses as she repeats “Today was a fairytale” constantly. That’s a shame because you could see a real winner here.


29. “Should’ve Said No”

Single from Taylor Swift (2006)

Unsurprisingly, the best songs off her debut have the least amount of Southern accent. “Should’ve Said No” could have fit perfectly onto later albums as a pop rock anthem, even with the nondescript lyrics. The way the energy never lets up here even under formulaic constraints is a Swiftian trademark that is in all of her best songs.


28. “New Year’s Day”

Single from reputation (2017)

Having a piano ballad over ten years into their career isn’t a significant aesthetic choice for just about everyone, but this is Taylor Swift we’re talking about. With a nudge towards more spare arrangements by Jack Antonoff, Swift ended the underwhelming reputation with a serene Lorde-esque approach of reckoning with the afterparty rather than being the party.


27. “Sparks Fly”

Single from Speak Now (2010)

“Sparks Fly” was in Swift’s back pocket for two albums. It became a live favorite after her first album and finally found the right outlet with the revved-up energy of the Speak Now approach. This one fits into the category of compelling, good country rock fare that Swift could seemingly write in her sleep.


26. “Look What You Made Me Do”

Single from reputation (2017)

Look, this one’s still a disappointment, but it’s also almost great. That “drama drama” section is still her most exciting post-1989 moment, and the chorus is undeniably weird and catchy. I would love to see an edited version that just fiddled around with those two aspects and made it into a true club banger. But then it wouldn’t be Taylor Swift.


25. “Fearless”

Single from Fearless (2008)

Just like “Sparks Fly” and so many others, “Fearless” struggles to be distinct, but that doesn’t necessarily diminish the song’s quality. It may speak more towards the high success rate of Swift’s songwriting template.


24. “Getaway Car”

Single from reputation (2017)

Taylor Swift has a default sound; it started as country rock anthems about fairytale relationships and now it’s dramatic electro-pop about late-night driving and, yes, relationships. “Getaway Car” fits that bill for one of the better songs off reputation.

Taylor Swift Lover https://app.asana.com/0/32923395333443/1127064328995879/f

23. “Lover”

Single from Lover (2019)

Here’s to hoping the title track is more in line with what the album will be. If that’s the case, we’re getting a calmer Swift that can earnestly talk about Christmas lights and saving seats at cafés while yearning for love just like everyone else. In other words, it’s absolutely Swiftian.


22. “Teardrops on My Guitar”

Single from Taylor Swift (2006)

This was the first sign Taylor Swift was a different breed of country star. She recognizes the crossover appeal of this song by completely abandoning that pesky fake Southern accent. This was many people’s introduction to Swift, especially for guys named Drew, who would have it practically screamed at them in the middle school hallway.


21. “White Horse”

Single from Fearless (2008)

After scenes of trucks and screen doors on her debut album, Swift went full-on pristine with Fearless, while still relating back to small town desires. This rebranding by smoothing out the edges of her personality contributed to her success, but more importantly, the songs were there. “White Horse” succeeds through Swift’s commitment to a well-developed, impactful chorus that carries the song.


20. “Mean”

Single from Speak Now (2010)

This is Swift’s last goofy country hit, and the idea of it is missed more than the actual product. It’s one of her easiest sing-along singles, and it hasn’t aged well considering she would push the envelope more in her “pop music” era.


19. “Ronan”

Charity Non-Album Single (2012)

An underrated Taylor Swift single exists; it’s called “Ronan,” and it doesn’t even have a million streams on Spotify. At her songwriting peak during Red, Swift worked with Maya Thompson, a mom who had written blog posts about her experience raising a child with cancer, and produced this heartbreaking promotional single for Stand Up 2 Cancer. What could have been a sappy throwaway is a beautiful raising of the stakes on Swift’s usual focus on small details and loss.


18. “Delicate”

Single from reputation (2017)

Every great moment off reputation makes you wonder how her most ambitious album managed to underwhelm. “Delicate” has grown into the most popular song off the album, and it’s due to Swift hopping on a contemporary trend that fit her songwriting style. She’s so great at writing succinct hooks that sometimes she just has to repeat them constantly to have a hit, like she does here.


17. “New Romantics”

Single from 1989 (Deluxe) (2015)

“New Romantics” has one of the best instrumentals of any Swift single. She rides off the energy of frantic drum machines and steady synths for a song about being free or whatever. It should have been on the original 1989 tracklist.


16. “Wildest Dreams”

Single from 1989 (2014)

The Lana Del Rey inspiration is obviously there, but Lana doesn’t have Swift’s goofiness on record, and I believe that lets her get away with this classical romantic style better. In other words, talks of bad boys and red lips comes with a wink rather than the impetus of all my strife or whatever Lana is usually getting at.


15. “Back to December”

Single from Speak Now (2010)

The echo-y guitar is a nice fit for Swift’s quintessential slow jam aesthetic. This is one of her best bridges during the era as it pushes the album version closer to five minutes. Add in long multifaceted chorus, and it’s a classic.


14. “Shake It Off”

Single from 1989 (2014)

Before reputation, Swift had always unabashedly had children has her target audience, and based on the singles for Lover, she’s reverting back. I don’t necessarily mean that as a criticism unless you want to compare her to artists like Deerhunter and what not. Like Marvel movies, she’s doing her thing within a formula to maintain reliable sales, and I can still enjoy it with a cynical grain of salt. “Shake It Off” could be written off as facile, but this is just what Taylor Swift is, and I’d rather enjoy it when it works.


13. “Love Story”

Single from Fearless (2008)

As the first single off Fearless, “Love Story” had the task of introducing a more mainstream Taylor Swift. Needless to say, it worked. “Love Story” was Swift’s biggest-selling single before 1989, and the rougher aspects of Swift’s earlier songwriting had been smoothed out while also aiming for the nosebleed seats with her instrumentation.


12. “Gorgeous”

Single from reputation (2017)

Taylor Swift has leaned into explicitly playing with her tabloid narrative, to the point where it can both be accused of laziness and being music only Taylor Swift could make. It’s hit or miss, and “Gorgeous” is an absolute winner. Her lane of radio-friendly electro-pop sounds exciting here mainly through just Swift’s full personality on display in the delivery of lines like “And I got a boyfriend, he’s older than us / He’s in the club, doing I don’t know what.”


11. “Begin Again”

Single from Red (2012)

We’re now in the territory all-time great singles, and Red is full of them. “Begin Again” is the closing track off Red, and it is a bit of a return to form with that banjo still audible in the mix. The Taylor Swift that finds a revelation on a Wednesday in a café is her most endearing self.


10. “Fifteen”

Single from Fearless (2008)

Of the three truly-great singles off Fearless, “Fifteen” is the most underrated. It only peaked at #23 on the Billboard charts, and its streaming numbers are nothing to scoff at. That’s strange because it’s one of her best choruses. Her approach is a second-person narration, which emphasizes the universal experience of being fifteen. It’s hard to not be swept away by “‘Cause when you’re fifteen, / Somebody tells you they love you / You’re gonna believe them.”


9. “Out of the Woods”

Single from 1989 (2014)

This is Swift’s greatest bridge — “Remember when you hit the brakes too soon / Twenty stitches in the hospital room…” It culminates into a deadpan Antonoff singing the chorus that is way more thrilling than has any right to be. It’s one of those great pop songs that is 100% hook.


8. “Red”

Single from Red (2012)

Red is the perfect balance of Swift’s country and pop sides, but the bigger singles leaned heavier on the pop side. The title track is more representative of the album by being a digestible country rock epic. For now, it’s the last time she had a top ten hit in this style; considering the Lover singles, it’s sorely missed.


7. “Mine”

Single from Speak Now (2010)

Sometimes, you just have to be in awe of how good Swift managed to be within the formulaic realm of country pop. “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter” is just stunning pop songwriting.


6. “I Knew You Were Trouble.”

Single from Red (2012)

The beat drop is still shocking. After the beautiful first three songs on Red, which was more of an extension of Swift’s country rock style, “I knew You Were Trouble.” proved Swift had her sights on pop royalty. The adventurous spirit while she was at the peak of her songwriting ability combined for some of her best work.


5. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Single from Red (2012)

Any of the top five singles here have a case for being her best. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is her biggest single off arguably her best album. It’s the moment where everyone was practically in agreement that Swift was the best thing happening in pop. I just like a couple of her singles a little better.


4. “Blank Space”

Single from 1989 (2014)

When “Blank Space” became a Billboard #1 hit, it succeeded her own “Shake It Off.” This was the first time a woman had ever done this during the Billboard Hot 100’s 56-year history. Time will tell if Swift can ever reach this success again, but she first needs to worry about making a great song. Generally, her best singles also ended up her most successful.


3. “22”

I’d argue this is the best Red single. Check out the little synth chirping on the pre-chorus. The simple inverse of “I don’t know about you”/”You don’t know about me” within the chorus is pure Swiftian bliss. Also, you just have to accept that she wants to say “hipsters” in that way. It’s just undeniable fun.


2. “Style”

Single from 1989 (2014)

Of pop era Swift, this is the one. Only “Style,” “Teenage Dream,” and “Call Me Maybe” can claim to be the defining pure pop hit of the 2010s. The disco-esque guitar was new for Swift and is absolutely thrilling. You forget about Swift’s by-the-numbers songwriting and imagine driving late at night in a hip romantic noir. This opened what type of pop music Taylor Swift could make, but she hasn’t come close to this one yet.


1. “You Belong With Me”

Single from Fearless (2008)

This song is perfect. I get teary-eyed listening to it, and it’s not even a sad song; it’s just that good. “You Belong With Me” can be put into a museum alongside “I Want U Back” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” as a display of the power of pop songwriting when it’s emboldened by innocent teenage love. It unites the world at its best and helps you realize why, despite the calculated music theory behind the scenes, pop music holds such a stranglehold on our collective consciousness. You just have to let it wash over you.