In my opinion, Taylor Swift is one of the most prolific artists of the century.
Between being an activist, artist and icon, it’s easy to overlook some of her songs. Here is a list of 13 tunes – her favorite number – that deserve more love and consideration:
“It’s Nice to Have a Friend” from “Lover”
Plucky violins. Soft vocals. Lots of “oohs.”
One of my friends finally came around on this song and part of me wonders, “How could you ever hate it?” It’s sweet and dreamy from start to finish.
“The Lucky One” from “Red”
Like many artists, Swift reflected on her fame through song. Even though it's pretty upbeat, the lyrics provide contrast showing how lonesome stardom can be.
“epiphany” from “folklore”
This is an experimental song for Swift. It opens with lush, crescendoing strings and evolves into a “thank you” to those saving the lives of others, including her World War II veteran grandfather.
While “folklore” is an escapist album, “epiphany” forces us to face the things we attempt to escape from in the first place.
“London Boy” from “Lover”
This song receives weird criticisms for its depiction of London. She’s not trying to give the most detailed account of how to travel London in one day — she’s using London landmarks to convey the fact she’s willing to follow her boyfriend anywhere. Doesn’t matter what they’re doing, she “just wanna be with you.”
“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” from “reputation”
I love the sirens opening this song, hinting at something sinister ahead. I also adore the opening lines, “It was so nice throwing big parties / Jump into the pool from the balcony / Everyone swimming in a champagne sea / And there are no rules when you show up here / Bass beat rattling the chandelier / Feeling so Gatsby for that whole year.” Great rhyming and imagery.
“Innocent” from “Speak Now”
Swift was 20-ish when she wrote “Innocent,” which is a song reacting to the moment between her and Kanye West at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Personally, I think it’s sad she’s more mature than someone much older than her, but kudos to her for attempting forgiveness. It didn’t ultimately work – West mistreated her again in 2016 – but she tried. That’s noble for someone just out of their teens.
“The Last Time” from “Red”
I love listening to the last minute of this song. The back-and-forth vocals between Swift and Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody excellently portray an argument between a couple on the cusp of breaking up.
“I’m Only Me When I’m With You” from “Taylor Swift”
Swift had a strong debut, but it’s still considered her weakest album. The songs are twangy-country fun, and, when this one breaks into its fiddle solos after each chorus, it’s undeniably enjoyable.
“How You Get the Girl” from “1989”
This song is basically an advice column. She’s telling a boy exactly how to tell a girl you need her. It’s catchy and clever but often forgotten on the synth- and electropop-packed “1989.”
“Starlight” from “Red”
I like “Starlight” because it has bubblegum pop-esque qualities. It wasn’t a single – rather a gem on the album – so it’s nice to stumble across its bright sound and lyrics.
“Sad Beautiful Tragic” from “Red”
The bridge to this one is phenomenal. You can hear the ache in Swift’s voice, almost as if she has tears built up. Since it’s from the heartbreaking “Red,” that’s entirely possible.
“ME!” from “Lover”
I hate when people dismiss a “childish” song. It’s nice to have fun with music. Songs don’t always have to be brooding or laced with metaphor. Part of Swift’s appeal is her ability to write for all ages. People should get off their high horse and let themselves love this song, even if it has that pre-teen feel.
“betty” from “folklore”
The finale of the “folklore” love triangle, which also features “cardigan” and “august,” is my favorite of the three. Betty and August’s mature perspectives feature on “cardigan” and “august,” but it’s James’ naivete that’s raw and beautiful. James’ character in “betty” highlights Swift’s ability to write from a very different perspective. It has a killer key change near the end, and if you love harmonica like I do, this song’s for you.