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Every Taylor Swift album ranked




While listening to Taylor Swift’s discography, a quote she said always comes to mind: “I will never change, but I’ll never stay the same, either.” It’s simple, but that quote speaks to the throughline that ties Swift’s albums together. She’s in a constant state of evolution by dipping into new genres and finding new ways to push herself from previous records. But there is one thing that will never change: her ability to make her songwriting so universal while simultaneously crafting songs that are uniquely personal to her.

Read more: 15 of Taylor Swift’s most emo songs ever, ranked

It’s why it’s almost impossible to rank Taylor Swift’s albums. Regardless of personal taste and critical ᴀssessment, there is a reason why Swift’s songwriting resonates so deeply with her fans: Every record is a snapsH๏τ of our own lives just as much as they are hers. For some, Fearless holds the top spot for being the coming-of-age soundtrack they needed. For others, they found strength in the themes Swift explores in Reputation. Every album, much like every listener’s relationship with certain Swift records, is as unique as the next.

As we rank all of Swift’s 10 studio albums from great to greatest, note that we include the ethically sourced re-recorded “Taylor’s Version” renditions of Fearless and Red.

5. Lover (2019)

After the dark dramatics of Reputation comes the bright light of Lover. Swift’s seventh record is a sonic sprawl, jumping between pop rock and synth pop with acoustic tracks sprinkled throughout. At the time of release, Swift’s songwriting throughout Lover was at its most mature, analyzing her own insecurities in relationships (“Afterglow”), struggling with the knowledge of her mom’s sickness (“Soon You’ll Get Better”) and detailing the feeling of love without conditions (“Daylight”).

Lover’s free-spirited sound is its blessing and its curse. Although listeners get a taste of everything, Lover falls slightly flat in its length and cohesiveness. Songs like “Me!” “Paper Rings” and “I Forgot That You Existed” are fun to listen to, but sound weaker up against tracks like “False God,” “Soon You’ll Get Better” and “Cornelia Street.” Even with its inconsistencies, Lover was a gateway of sorts. It was a glimpse into where she was heading musically with songs like “It’s Nice To Have A Friend” and “False God,” which are in a similar vein to those on folklore.

4. Taylor Swift (2006)

For a debut, Swift’s self-тιтled album is a masterclass in weaving personal experiences into songwriting. Leaning on the country artists before her, Taylor Swift is majorly a country record with pop and rock elements, as heard on “Our Song” and “Should’ve Said No,” respectively. Given that she wrote songs like “The Outside” when she was 12, there is a naiveté to Taylor Swift that honored her prepubescent and early teen experience.

Despite it being her first album, Swift explored themes that, at the time, reached far beyond her years. Rather than falling into stereotypical country songwriting tropes, she wrote about everything from unrequited love (“Teardrops on My Guitar”) to a friend struggling with an eating disorder (“Tied Together With A Smile”). The only major issue with Swift’s self-тιтled debut LP is its adolescent sound when compared to later records.

3. Midnights (3am edition) (2022)

Midnights is a concept record shaped around 13 (+ seven) sleepless nights. Swift worked with her trusty producing partner Jack Antonoff to craft a darker tone for her 10th studio album. Using reverbed synths and bᴀss-induced midtempo beats to craft its overall sound, Midnights is reminiscent of the duo’s work on Lover and the tracks Antonoff produced for 1989 and Reputation.

With that in mind, it’s clear that Midnights is more of a transition album — a sonic place for Swift to explore after testing new waters on folklore and the experience of revisiting her old songs during her rerecordings. “Vigilante Shit” could sit nicely on Reputation, and “Question…?” is the B-side to 1989’s “Out Of The Woods.” Swift’s tongue-in-cheek songwriting skills are at their strongest on tracks like “Anti-Hero,” “High Infidelity” and “Mastermind,” whereas a track like “Sweet Nothing” sounds like a poem similar to Lover’s “It’s Nice To Have A Friend.” Midnights isn’t entirely revolutionary, but it is evolutionary; the embodiment of everything Swift has created prior, slightly more refined, on one album.

2. Reputation (2017)

Out of her entire discography, Reputation is a record that was too ahead of its time. After leaving country music behind to write, record and release 1989, everyone ᴀssumed that would be the biggest change Swift would ever make in regard to her sound. Instead, after the critical success of 1989 and the eventual drama that would ensue, Reputation would be her most experimental record. For the first time, Swift incorporated R&B into her sound, bringing together electropop influences, pulsing synths and heavy electronic productions.

Throughout the record, Swift dances between distinct themes: revenge and anger juxtaposed with discovering love in the darkest and lowest points of one’s life. Songs like “Look What You Made Me Do” and “I Did Something Bad” show Swift’s playful side, taunting those who wronged her. “Delicate” and “Call It What You Want” are sweet odes to a love that withstands all the drama and tabloid fodder. When it was released, many found the sound jarring and fraught. Over time, Reputation serves as an experimental album that Swift needed to get out of her system to truly evolve as a singer and songwriter.

1. Fearless (2008) + Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (2021)

Where Swift’s debut record was her first foray into confessional songwriting, Fearless dives further into her teenage experience and reckons with the pitfalls of growing up and finding love. Although she uses the same traditional country elements and instruments like banjos and acoustic guitars that she used on her predecessor, Swift leans further into pop territory in songs like “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me” and the Taylor’s Version track “Mr. Perfectly Fine.”

If anything, the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) showed how timeless the record is as a whole. Both old and new tracks sounded fresh and oddly prophetic. The country twang that was heard on 2008’s Fearless was almost entirely preserved for the 2021 re-recording. With Fearless, there was no “sophomore slump.” Instead, Swift’s only major flaw is that she stayed true to what she was building on her self-тιтled debut and didn’t go out of her way to experiment — something she’d do on later records.