There’s no denying that Taylor Swift is one of the most prolific artists today.
After debuting in 2006, she has since released nine full-length albums (in the middle of writing this, Swift announced evermore), several EPs, including a Christmas collection, and a couple of live albums, the latest of which is “folklore: the long pond studio sessions.”
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 25, 2020
When she’s not producing commercially-successful albums, the 10-time Grammy winner has been known to write with and for other artists, like Little Big Town, The Civil Wars, and, you know, the Andrew Lloyd Webber. No biggie.
As such, we’re blessed with so many Taylor Swift songs. And with her birthday coming up, what better way to celebrate than by ranking her songs? Except . . . she has almost 200, and that’s only the released songs, covers, and collaborations.
As a long-time fan, I could write about and come up with different rankings for Taylor Swift songs all day. But just so my editor doesn’t have to edit a 10,000-word article, I thought we could narrow it down to 13 songs — her 13 most-streamed ones on Spotify.
Currently her third most-streamed track on the platform, ME! served as the lead single for her 7th studio album, “Lover.” Although not her worst song, it’s the weakest one on this list.
Like music journalist Rob Sheffield said on Rolling Stone, the “Taylor Lead Single” could be a genre unto itself. A Taylor Lead Single™ is mostly crafted to be an earworm radio hit.
ME! sounds exactly like this, complete with shallow songwriting and a music video that looks like it was filmed at Willy Wonka’s factory.
WELL GUYS it's almost midnight and my new song “ME!” featuring @brendonurie of @panicatthedisco will be out. In other news, the VIDEO will be out too and I can’t wait to watch live with you (and answer some questions) as it premieres on @YouTube ?? https://t.co/YImpUXvEVQ pic.twitter.com/lOy7biUgbA
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) April 26, 2019
You Need to Calm Down
“You Need to Calm Down” is the second single off of Taylor Swift’s “Lover.” It’s also her fifth most-streamed song on Spotify
It has the same bubblegum pop quality as its predecessor, “ME!” Its saving grace, however, is the slightly more meaningful lyrics against homophobes and senseless haters.
Shake It Off
Taylor Swift let the whole world know she was taking off her cowboy boots and putting on her party shoes when she released “Shake It Off” as the lead single off her first pop album, “1989.”
Again, “Shake It Off” is undoubtedly a Taylor Lead Single™. But this song is a little more special to me, not only because it signaled her foray into pop but also because here, she’s clearly just having fun.
Though “Shake It Off” wasn’t on Spotify until three years after its release, it’s currently her fourth most-streamed song on the platform.
… Ready for It?
Taylor Swift opened her “reputation” album with this bass-heavy track made softer with her breathy voice in the chorus.
Still, for a song on an album like “reputation,” it fit the bill. Here she flaunts her flow, rapping about killers, robbers, and jailors while likening her love story to that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
There are few things I love more than when Taylor Swift is being cheeky about her past relationships. Her 12th most-streamed song and the lead single from her Grammy-deprived album, Red, delivered.
In “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” she sings, “And you would hide away and find your peace of mind / With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine.” It’s especially fun now that her indie-sounding album, “folklore,” is her most critically-acclaimed yet. Take that, Jake Gyllenhaal.
Look What You Made Me Do
“Look What You Made Me Do” is probably one of the most-hated songs within the fandom. But the general public must love it because it’s her second most-streamed single on Spotify.
Sure, it has a basic, repetitive chorus and sure, it’s petty. But what endeared this song to me is what it meant for her career when she released it. I loved how, as another Taylor Lead Single™, LWYMMD made everyone talk and, in turn, anticipate what else she had to say. This move made the album a commercial success.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) August 25, 2017
One of the coolest things about “Wildest Dreams,” which holds the honor of being the 13th most streamed Swift song on Spotify, is how Taylor used her own heartbeat to provide the beat you can clearly hear at the beginning.
This beat persists throughout the song, giving it a more intimate feel. Whenever I listen to it, I feel like I’m floating while being cocooned within a warm hug.
I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
This collaboration was one of the best surprises Taylor has given her fans, and apparently, other people agree. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” has over one billion streams on Spotify, making it her most-streamed song on the platform.
Equal parts sexy and sad, this is the ultimate song for yearning.
I Knew You Were Trouble.
Though it belongs in her last recorded country album, “I Knew You Were Trouble.” sounds all pop. This bass-heavy track looks back on a past relationship full of red flags.
Although this song is her ninth most-streamed song on Spotify, it’s best enjoyed in its music video format. There she leaves an important message during the intro, saying, “The worst part of it all wasn’t losing him. It was losing me.”
“Love Story” is a timeless classic. It’s one of the songs I guarantee you’ll see her perform live at her concerts 10 years from now. What makes this song so good is how she made Romeo and Juliet a tale of pure, unadulterated love with a happy ending that the real Shakespearean couple didn’t get.
This is currently her eighth most streamed song and the millions who love it might be glad to know that Taylor has already started re-recording Love Story — and it sounds awesome.
Taylor Swift’s sixth most streamed song on Spotify is one that showcases how good of a songwriter she is. Before the snake symbolisms of the “reputation” era, Taylor first reclaimed the narrative by making a caricature of the serial dater persona the media kept pinning on her.
This resulted in “Blank Space,” a Taylor Swift song that sounds quintessentially pop, but is carried and elevated by the snappy, clever, and exaggerated wink-like lyrics.
In “Lover” the album, Taylor didn’t hold back singing about her happiness in her current relationship. After a tumultuous dating history, Lover the song, which stands as her 10th most-streamed on Spotify, feels like her huge sigh of relief when she finally found the one.
Lover’s bridge is the best part. Here, she tweaked traditional wedding vows and made it her own, reminiscing about the guitar string scars on her hands after writing too many songs about her failed relationships.
One of the things that made “reputation” a standout album is how genius its rollout was. With “Look What You Made Me Do” as the lead, everyone thought the album was going to be dark and vengeful.
What we got instead are 12 tracks out of 15 where the pop superstar was singing about how in love she was. “Delicate” is a perfect example. In Swiftie history, the fifth track in an album is always one that cuts the deepest. In “Delicate,” she sings about the fragility of a new love, especially with a much-publicized dating history such as hers.
The line that cuts the deepest until now is in the chorus where she muses, “My reputation’s never been worse, so / You must like me for me.”
Almost 15 years into her career, Taylor Swift shows no signs of stopping. This means more songs that feel like she ripped the emotions straight from your journal.
Maybe we can rank her most heartbreaking songs next time?
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Sherna loves books and Taylor Swift. She can often be found talking about both on Twitter or trying to manage her three dogs.