Taylor Swift's Top 10 Songs From Each Album

Published on 17 April 2024

"Hi, I’m Taylor. I write songs about my feelings. I'm told I have a lot of feelings." - this just may be the best summary of the magnificent songwriter’s career ever - and that’s simply put in Swift’s own words during her Red tour. 

With a staggering eleven number 1 hits under her belt, Taylor Swift has joined the elite list of the legendary hit-makers and I would be willing to bet she’ll soon come on top of that list once her 11th studio album The Tortured Poets Department launches next Friday, the 19th of April. 

Photo courtesy of Sophie McLaughlin 

So to celebrate Swift’s upcoming record release, I have been tasked with the impossible: put together a list of Taylor Swift’s top songs! As if that has ever been achieved by anyone out there (without listing nearly every single song written by this incredible human hit-machine). 

I am thrilled about this, however. I have sheer admiration for the empowering way Taylor navigates through the cut-throat music business, advocating artists’ rights and even more so - of course - for her exceptional songwriting skills. In order to make this blog concise and exciting for you, I have decided to pick only one song from each studio album only, resulting in a list of just 10 songs.

Thus, dear Swifties: please take no offence, forgive my ruthless choices here and feel free to tell me which songs should have been here instead! 

Let’s do this…


  1. Picture to Burn (from Taylor Swift, 2006)
  2. Love Story (Taylor’s Version) (from Fearless, 2008)
  3. Dear John (from Speak Now, 2010)
  4. All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (from Red, 2012)
  5. Shake It Off (from 1989, 2014)
  6. Getaway Car (from Reputation, 2017)
  7. Paper Rings (from Lover, 2019)
  8. Cardigan (from Folklore, 2020)
  9. Tis the Damn Season (from Evermore, 2020)
  10. Anti-Hero (from Midnights, 2022)
  11. The Tortured Poets Department (2024)  
  12. Final Thoughts

Photo courtesy of Sophie McLaughlin 

Picture to Burn (from Taylor Swift, 2006)

Self-titled album - the one that started it all. Hitting out from the heart of country-songwriting style, Picture to Burn is basically a stereotypical country breakup song but from a girl’s perspective for a change. A story that actually happened to Taylor (her lover went on to date one of her best friends and then they married) this song is kinda like Dolly Parton’s Jolene story truly going all the way wrong. Bonus feature for guitar nerds - this video sports several electric guitars (including a Flying V and Taylor herself slinging a Les Paul) - not something you’d expect to see in a country video!

Love Story (Taylor’s Version) (from Fearless, 2008)

Written in a mere twenty minutes while sitting on her bedroom floor (as you do), Taylor’s Love Story may just be the world’s most known love story. Okay, maybe aside from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet which, by the way, Taylor used as a reference point. The song is about a boy she fell for but who was unpopular amongst her friends and family (haven’t we all been there?) making this yet another hit song that’s not only brilliantly produced but also relatable to an average human being. 

Dear John (from Speak Now, 2010)

John Mayer fans, you may want to skip this one… The reason we collectively chose this number from Speak Now is exactly because there is no mystery in which John is Taylor referring to in her sad gal ballad. 

Aside from a Mayer-esque guitar lick here and there we get to hear Taylor pour her heart out over this short-lived relationship. Swift cleverly conveys her feelings of frustration over the way she was treated by John and goes into a bit of a retrospective into how she disregarded the warnings from others. Perhaps not the best testimonials for guitarists’ favourite Mayer here but rest assured he returned the “courtesy” and wrote a song (“Paper Doll”) in which he responds to Taylor’s complaints about him. Oh don’t we just love a bit of a rockstar drama!

All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (from Red, 2012)

All Too Well went head to head with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Although the latter was that magical song that earned Taylor her first ever No 1 hit, I chose All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) over it for one simple reason: Taylor wrote this song after struggling with a major writer’s block. Now, if you’re anything like me and tried to write original songs, the writer’s block is truly the worst thing. And if Taylor comes back from it with THIS banger then I have nothing but utter respect for her greatness. 

She wrote about a heartbreak the way we all wish we could have been able to express ourselves like. She did it for us and she did so straightforwardly poetically, exposing her inner vulnerability. Especially in the Ten Minute Version with extra juicy lyrics with which she also treated us to a mini-film starring everyone’s favourite, new generation Hollywood actress, Sadie Sink!

Shake It Off (from 1989, 2014)

Haters are always gonna hate, no matter what you do. Even more so if you’re young, successful and dare to switch up your country for your pop. If there’s anything we’ve learned from Taylor’s career it’s that people struggle with the same old tale of jealousy - be it caused by your high school bullies, online stalkers or world-wide media witch hunt. She just has the gift of turning everyday problems into hit songs. No wonder this song became the anthem of Gen Z! So instead of worrying about what others may think or say about us, let’s get down to ‘This Sick Beat’ - Swift permitting of course, as she trademarked this term. For real. 

Getaway Car (from Reputation, 2017)

While nothing will ever come close to Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, when it comes to anticipating an end to a romantic relationship Getaway Car is certainly a very refreshing, sad indie girl take on the matter. It echoes the good old partners-in-crime storyline (think Bonnie & Clyde or Mickey & Mallory). In fact, this song is actually brilliant. It transcends the classic post break-up heartbreak tale, entertaining elements of one’s mental state when madly in love - whilst also being well aware that the current romance is doomed from the start. Reputation is also an album full of new musical experiments - we’ve got elements of hip hop, electronic samples and so on proving once more that Taylor is indeed as much an incredibly intuitive artist as she is a businesswoman.

Paper Rings (from Lover, 2019)

Electro-pop album Lover is as vibrant and optimistic as its cover - filled with themes of dreamy love, lust, infatuations but also engaging into political issues of feminism and LGBT rights. There’s a number of standard solid hits on this album as expected and so picking one becomes a tough job. It brings me back to my early teenage years when the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera ruled the world of popular music and sugar-coated tracks were what we’d immersed ourselves in. Partly because of nostalgia for 90s pop music and partly because this track (and a few others here) was recommended by a family member who is a 100% certified “Swiftie”, I went with Paper Rings. After all, if that’s a song that the young generation loves the most, who am I to pick something different, right? This track is a bit of a dark horse in my opinion as it has something magical about it that I can’t quite say about the other 17 songs from the album. There’s the lighthearted theme, the retro feel of the composition; it’s not quite rock but has certain elements of it as much as it is pop and then probably a few other genres in between. Paper Rings was co-written and co-produced with Jack Antonoff who has also worked closely with Lana Del Ray, Florence and The Machine or St Vincent to name a few. He’s also won 3 consecutive Grammy awards for the Producer of The Year.

Cardigan (from Folklore, 2020)

I think the folky Taylor is my favourite Swift era. Having gone through a bit of a folk/trad phase myself during the pandemic, I appreciate the experimentation behind her lyrical medium matching its sonic soundscape in a unique way. Folklore was co-written and co-produced with The National’s Aaron Dessner which adds that extra layer of street cred to Swift’s discography. Cardigan came out with a stunning video, portraying Taylor as a realm-crossing fairy playing piano whilst journeying through her experiences and feelings. That was very timely to the world coming to a halt, with people world-wide having the time to stop and self-reflect when we were lucky to not have to struggle with yet another variant of COVID.

Cardigan is seemingly the first part of a trilogy - or in Taylor’s own words “Teenage Love Triangle”. Written from a perspective of a fictional character called Betty (there’s a few of these within the Swiftiverse), the storyline is followed by August and Betty, making up a collection of three songs exploring a love triangle from each of the three people’s perspectives. 

Tis the Damn Season (from Evermore, 2020)

Followed by the love Folklore received, Evermore hits out with even more indie sad girl, cottagecore vibes. 

Tis the Damn Season has gorgeous finger-picked guitar layers from intro all through to the outro that are simple yet mesmerising. Should this be classified as a Christmas song? Maybe. The title and lyrics surely do suggest the events described happened over the holiday season. A girl reunites with her old flame whilst back in her home town for Chriistmas - a sweet tale of an old romance relieved for one night only with no strings attached. And despote Taylor’s favourite poetic trick in trying to disguise her own experiences under the masks of various fictional characters, her passionate performance kinda leaves no doubt who is the girl in the story. 

“And the road not taken looks real good now

 And it always leads to you and my hometown.” 

 Anti-Hero (from Midnights, 2022)

“It's me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me” - I think this line is superb. Its context must be remembered here: Swift has amassed an equal amount of haters as she had her loving fans and she has learned how to soar above the hate she’s received so gracefully there’s nothing they can do to touch here - she’s ten steps ahead of them. But I know, I know - this song is actually NOT about the haters as such nor is it a response to them in any way. I think that by now, we are all used to Taylor being outright straightforward with expressing her deepest feelings and going into detail about her personal dating life, not sparing her lovers in the slightest. And Anti-Hero is a beast of its own kind. Here Swift opens up about her own insecurities, stripping bare to her own vulnerability exposed in a fragile way. Something that would give most of us crippling anxiety, she only went and turned her own traumas into success - go girl!

“'Anti-Hero is one of my favourite songs I've ever written,” Taylor Swift once said. Well then, how can I not include it here?! In all honesty I think this song is great.

 The Tortured Poets Department (2024)  

What will be the best song from this album? I guess we’ll soon find out as it’s due to launch this Friday April 19th 2024!

Photo courtesy of Sophie McLaughlin 

Final Thoughts

My list, as much as it is subjective, is also a result of a survey I run amongst various demographics varying from my metal-shredding work colleagues, my teen-aged nieces, suit-wearing 9-to-5ers to professional music producers. 

Despite feeling a little bit out of my depth on the subject of country-pop, I think that if this list hasn’t turned any of you into certified Swifties then I don’t know what will. And I am all serious about this - her approach to songwriting is outstanding from whatever angle you may look at it, musically, lyrically arrangement and production wise. There is a reason why Taylor is one of the biggest stars of our times: the human element of her exceptional ability to convey basic human experiences and feelings in a way that most of us could dream of being able to. 

Perhaps I should ask you, dear readers, what’s YOUR final thoughts on the matter? 

I would be willing to bet that we haven’t heard it all from Taylor and the ultimate top Swift song is yet to come…

Photo courtesy of Sophie McLaughlin 



Anna's photo

About the author


Marketing and Social Media Assistant

Obsessed with guitars, live shows & travels.

View Profile

Here are some similar articles you might like