All right, so anyone who has spent approximately more than 5 minutes with me, either in person or online, knows I talk about Taylor Swift a LOT. I have a lot of feelings about her. I completely unironically think she and her music are marvellous, and it delights me that she’s out there as a role model for young girls. I even spent a very productive day at work a few months ago making a spreadsheet categorizing her music. (I’ll be copy-pasting that below.)
I’ve had people ask me recently for recs of my favourite songs of hers and voila!
OBVIOUSLY you all know Long Live at this point (and if you don’t and have ever even entertained having a Star Trek feeling, go watch this vid. I’ll wait here.) I was totally enchanted by this one and felt the need to look up what she wrote it for – turns out she wrote it for her band. <3
Eyes Open and Safe & Sound – These are both from the Songs from District 12 album, which is actually awesome generally, it’s songs by various artists inspired by The Hunger Games. So this is basically Taylor’s transformative works contribution for The Hunger Games, they’re both great.
Treacherous and Sparks Fly – I group these two because they’re super-important to me for the same reason. I've loved Sparks Fly for AGES but Treacherous I didn't really bond with till she did it live. They’re both about desire, basically, but without any shaming at all for feeling same, which is something I am delighted is out there for people to listen to. As far as I’m aware a young woman singing about sexual desire like this without worrying about it being something she shouldn't be feeling or doing or whatever, is rare. Also, I was thinking about the lyrics and I’m p sure they’re gender neutral, which is also pretty awesome. (Ugh, now I’m thinking about how much I loved both of these live.)
Red – This is the eponymous track from her latest album and the beat/rhythm is just great, I love singing along to this one.
All Too Well – I can’t even talk about how much I love this one. Yes, it’s a break-up song, yes, she gets a lot of crap about that, but a) it’s SO GOOD b) break-ups are VERY EMOTIONAL, I think it’s cool she writes about that in a way so many people can relate to. Definition of art, etc, making your own unique lived experience universal. She performs this one live just accompanying herself on the piano and it’s amaaaaazing. Here is a video from when I saw her live. Here is another from the Grammy's. It gives me shivers. SHE ROCKS OUT ON THE PIANO. LOOK AT HER HAIR. AND HOW INTO IT SHE IS. (In fact, screw it, here is my favourite review of her live on stage, from Rolling freaking Stone.) Also, lyrically this is probably her most complex song yet, and if the new album is more of the same in terms of musical proficiency and complexity, I am EXCITE. I mean, not that I don’t love the break-up songs but I have reason to believe she’s moving away in a new direction with the new album which is part of why I love her so much, it’s really cool to watch her grow and develop through her music. TINY POP DAR WILLIAMS. BASICALLY.
Mine – Speaking of lyrical awesomeness, I love this song because I think it showcases her ability to tell a story using the traditional pop song format. Like it’s just a cute love story, whatever, but it’s also v well told.
Obviously I adore Love Story, this is another fact about me it’s hard to avoid if you spend more than 5 consecutive minutes in my presence, but did you know she wrote it in approx. 20 minutes because her parents wouldn’t let her do something or other boy-related? I mean, there’s def criticisms to level at this one but 20 minutes. 20 minutes!! P sure she was still in her teens too. Ludicrous.
Mean – This one just delights my heart. When we saw her live she sat on a stool, accompanied herself with a banjo, and the entirety of the O2 sang this along with her, it was GREAT. This is a funny one cuz she’s almost too huge to be able to play the sentiment straight, but it’s a really great song. (She wrote it as a response to a bad review.)
I nearly forgot Change! Change is about the struggle of being an activist, I am NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT KIDDING. It’s great.
I actually adore a lot of the break-up songs, a selection of my favourites (but I am too lazy to link to all of them): I Knew You Were Trouble, Come Back…Be Here, White Horse (my first Taylor Song, so this is actually all Grey’s Anatomy’s fault), The Way I Loved You, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Back To December, The Story of Us, Haunted (omg Haunted is hilariously OTT but also ANGSTY VIOLINS. I am a little embarrassed about how much I love Haunted, if I’m honest.)
Oh! 22! 22 is great, but surely we all know 22? (As Cathryn once said, the true tragedy of our generation is we will always be one milestone away from Taylor Swift’s music applying to stages of our lives as we’re living them. ;))
They’re not my favourites musically, but Girl at Home and The Lucky One are always my arguments for T-Swizzle having outgrown her bashing of other girls. (Additionally, she doesn’t really perform any of her other girl-bashing ones except You Belong With Me, which in live performance she’s retro-ified really awesomely, in a way that kind of takes the edge off some of the lyrics.)
Finally, my spreadsheet should be accessible here. It's not 100% comprehensive, just the songs I have.
(ETA: I NEARLY FORGOT FEARLESS.)