After a recent binge of all of Taylor Swift’s albums (done so by his own free will), our wonderful Fuinneamh editor had the fantastic idea to rank them, after bothering many people with his unwanted opinions on Taylor’s discography.
Starting from worst to first, let’s look at the discography of pop’s favourite millenial, Taylor Swift, a month on from the release of her tenth album Midnights.
For an album called Reputation, it certainly fails to match the one its creator has established. Taylor Swift’s sixth album failed to live up to its incredible hype after the success of the albums that preceded it and Taylor’s return from a hiatus. ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ is one of the weakest lead singles of any high-profile album in the last decade and it spelt out the writing on the wall for this LP.
A songs length away from an hour, the album drags you along for the whole journey and doesn’t let you, even if you kick and scream. It is a record that falls deep into the pop vacuum and can bring you with it during each listen. There are no redeeming factors. There is no point naming any other tracks. None of the tracks deserve to stand out in any way.
Taylor Swift followed Reputation with this album in 2019. This is the best she had to give her fans after the underwhelming return to recording. It got better, but that is not much of a compliment in this context.
The title track is the standout on this effort and some other songs may impress but this release is still so far off the American artist’s best that you may only enjoy them out of pity. ‘ME!’ has the potential to make your ears bleed while songs like ‘The Archer’ and ‘London Boy’ fall so flat that it feels as if Swift plateaued at this point in her career, just above sea level. *Just*
8) Speak Now
Speak Now has a tough task of continuing the path to superstardom that Swift was on after the success of her first two LPs. It does not live up to the excitement that was the beginning of the artist’s career, but it does have a leg to stand on in some respects.
‘Back To December’ adds another strong song about heartbreak to Swift’s repertoire and can stand alone against some of her best work to date but there is not much else to write home about on her third effort.
7) Taylor Swift
The debut of Taylor Swift was named after the artist and gave fans glimpses into the successful career that was to come. The then-country singer starts off strong with tracks like ‘Tim McGraw’ and ‘Teardrops on my Guitar’ planting the seeds for that future success.
However, the overall product is a level below much of her other work but that is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a decent start and what came after it is something to be very proud of.
The latest effort from Taylor Swift has fans head over heels, if you judge music solely off streaming numbers. Songs like ‘Anti-Hero’ certainly fall in line with this belief, but the album is far too inconsistent to be categorised as something worthy of listening to on repeat.
The fervour around its release and the promotion in the build-up to it was extremely smart by Swift and served to excite her loyal Swifties, but such a record will not be as highly rated as half of her discography when that ‘Lavender Haze’ over many a pair of eyes is lifted.
5) Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
Taylor’s sophomore effort was the first to receive the rerecording treatment so that she can own masters of their tracks. The 32-year-old does not disappoint and even improves on some of her original recordings while also adding new material from the vault, as she dubs it.
‘You Belong with Me (Taylor’s Version)’ is as evergreen as the first release of the song was in 2008 and songs like ‘Mr Perfectly Fine’ and ‘Love Story’ also earn this glow-up to their already glowing forms. Not all 26 songs are at this level, but this album is a notable achievement.
Evermore is the second album from Taylor that released in 2020, six months after her previous effort and it falls in line with its standard for much of its length. Yet, it comes in below it as a very strong start loses pace a little before a Bon Iver feature, ‘Exile’, saves the day on the title track.
Other features exist on the album but fail to meet the high level that the album’s closer reaches. Yet, regardless of this, no song feels out of theme and the album is impacted positively by this. It is a solid addition to a large discography that has and will get bigger and bigger.
Folklore beats out its sister album by just a smidge, as an older sister would be expected to do – at least by some parents. It has an incredible first half that makes you understand why Taylor Swift is so loved. Bon Iver’s services are also called upon in this album and tracks like ‘August’ and ‘Cardigan’ showcase some of the magnificent writing that Swift is capable of.
However, the drop-off that the album suffers in its second round of eight tracks stops it from breaking the glass ceiling into greatness and, in doing so, leaves you wanting more of the beginning.
The instances of incredible writing scattered throughout Taylor Swift’s discography are far more consistent on her fifth studio album. 1989 brings the heat with songs like ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘Blank Space’ coming to define an entire era of pop music.
The likes of Jack Antonoff and Ryan Tedder, who are involved in other Swift releases, helped to put together an incredible collection of addictive, radio-friendly tracks that complement each other strongly. Swift aimed for the bleachers and found them.
1) Red (Taylor’s Version)
If 1989 makes it into the stands, Red (Taylor’s Version) smashes the ball out of the park. Two hours and ten minutes of listeners’ lives will forever stand out in their memory after the thirtieth track on this masterpiece comes to a close. It combines every aspect that Swift has leaned on in her career so far to make something truly special.
From the underrated ‘State of Grace’ opening the album to the 10-minute version of ‘All Too Well’ finding the light of day after being trapped in the vault for around a decade, this album rarely fails to deliver, which is a huge feat for an LP of its magnitude, not to mention the hype that existed in the lead-up to its release. It is clearly her best release and sets such a high bar that it may never be passed. An incredible musical feat.