In Honor Of 'Midnights': The Best Song On Each Of Taylor Swift's Albums
Full disclosure: A gun was put to my head, and I was forced to choose my favorite song on each Taylor Swift album.
Just kidding. As a Swiftie, it just feels like that. But I did the dirty job no Swiftie wants to do, and if you’re a Swiftie too, I hope I made you proud. These are, for personal reasons, what I think are Taylor Swift’s best songs lyrically on each of her 10 albums.
Taylor Swift: "Tim McGraw"
Maybe it’s the sentimental Swiftie in me, but I remember exactly where I was when I heard this song and discovered Taylor Swift for the first time. I love hearing that little bit of country Taylor and how young her voice is. It’s amazing to literally hear her grow up through her albums.
I’ve never heard a song more perfectly capture what it’s like to be 15 years old. It resonated at 15 listening to it, and it resonates now at almost 30 looking back on my teen years. Most people probably love “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story” from this album, but that’s chronically basic. “Fifteen” and “White Horse” are where it’s at.
Speak Now: "Dear John"
I love getting murdered by Taylor, and “Dear John” lyrically murders me every time I hear it. It’s one of her smartest, wittiest, and most cutting songs.
“You are an expert at sorry, / And keeping the lines blurry / Never impressed by me acing your tests / All the girls that you've run dry / Have tired, lifeless eyes / 'Cause you burned them out / 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”
Are you kidding me?!?!
Red: "The Moment I Knew"
Alright, here is my red herring I’m throwing into the mix (pun intended). I am not choosing "All Too Well" as the best song off Red, although that is the obvious choice. I’m going for the redheaded step-sister, the other overlooked queen of (red) hearts: "The Moment I Knew." Imagine crying in the bathroom at your own birthday party because your actor boyfriend doesn’t show up, and everyone knows he didn’t. That was the moment Taylor, and all of us, knew Jake Gyllenhaal was not it.
“So they follow me down the hall / And there in the bathroom / I try not to fall apart / And the sinking feeling starts / As I say hopelessly / 'He said he'd be here.'"
1989: "You Are In Love"
Not only is this my favorite song on this album, but it’s my favorite Taylor song ever. Maybe the first dance song at my wedding someday? You never know. Favorite lyric: “Morning, his place. Burnt toast, Sunday. You keep his shirt, he keeps his word. And for once, you let go, of your fears, and your ghosts.” When you’re really, truly in love, you just feel it in the silence. You know?
Another brilliant example of Taylor Swift putting on paper moments of relationships that are so hard to put into words. In this case, not knowing what you are, knowing it’s important, but not wanting to jinx anything. “Is it cool that I said all that? Is chill that you’re in my head? Cause I know that it’s delicate.”
Lover: "False God"
Hear me out: This song is sexy and so underrated. As an album, I think all Swifties know Lover is her weakest body of work to date. However, something between the sultry saxophone and the raspy nature of Taylor’s voice puts “False God” as one of my top favorite Taylor songs of all time. Listen to 2:52-3:07 and tell me that isn’t smoke show material from Miss Swift.
Folklore: "My Tears Ricochet"
One of the best Taylor songs to scream to in the car with pure, unbridled anger. This album might be my favorite of all time. It was hard to pick a favorite song, but MTR brings out the fire in anyone. Whether your boss crossed you or your ex, it hits hard with lyrics like, “And if I’m dead to you why are you at the wake? Cursing my name, wishing I stayed, look at how my tears ricochet.” Let it out, honey.
Evermore: "Tolerate It"
I didn’t even hesitate to name this one off the Evermore album. The first time I heard this song, I was speechless. The picture Taylor paints of the unappreciated and overlooked person in a relationship is painfully sharp. “I wait by the door like I’m just a kid” wrecks me. Take my heart and put it in a freaking blender, Taylor. “I know my love should be celebrated, but you tolerate it.” If you’ve ever been in a relationship where you put in 100% of the effort, and it wasn’t reciprocated in the least, this song just hits differently. “Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life.”
To be completely transparent, I have listened to this album through one time. As I’m writing this, it’s 1:42 am, and I am purely going off first impressions. If the theme of this article is lyrically what I think are Taylor’s strongest songs on each of her albums…then I think “Anti-Hero” is a strong contender on Midnights. This is a song mapping out everything Taylor hates about herself. We never see Taylor point the mirror at herself so vulnerably as we do in this song. It’s self-loathing, self-doubting, relatable, and makes you feel empathetic toward one of the most famous women in the world. That is a rare, difficult, and nearly impossible feat for any celebrity. For the unexpectedness of it all, this is my initial choice. However, just while I’m here…”Karma” should be the lead single. Sksksksk.
Standout lyrics: “Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby / And I'm a monster on the hill / Too big to hang out, slowly lurching towards your favorite city.”