“Taylor Swift is the music industry,” said the senior interviewer, Barbara Walters, on her show once. And as far as we know, she didn’t really get it wrong. Taylor Swift has been in the music industry for as long as we know, shifting from country music to girly cheeky pop, to dark upbeat vengeful girl, and then came onward to be a bubbly woman with wise words who can write lyrics as enchanting as Shakespeare madly drunk and in love. Her transitions in each era she’s created are smooth and enchanting. Now the questions grew up a the woman herself grew: which era was her best and which albums stood out the most to the critics and listeners? Here are our lists for top albums by Taylor Swift:
7. Speak Now
Speak Now is the golden country era of Taylor swift. Yes. Nobody could ever deny this fact unless they are lying. Although she was starting as an adolescent country girl, in this album, which feels like driving in a jeep on a breezy day with a cowboy hat, everything feels more mature compared to Taylor Swift’s previous album like “Fearless” or “Taylor Swift”. She also proved once again that she could be the ever-flowing “IT” girl in the music industry for her bold voice in writing songs inspired by her ex, John Mayer. Yes, we are talking about that heartbreaking song “Dear John” is the ultimate sad but binge-able song about heartbreak that some of us still listen to years later.
When Taylor Swift, who was already brave and fearless herself, created an album titled “Fearless”, you know that It will most definitely be actually fearless. In “You Belong With Me” for example, she demonstrates how eager she would be if only the man of her dream could actually be her real-life spouse. And truthfully speaking, isn’t that the most relatable thing anyone who’s ever in love can relate to? And of course, her eternal smash hit “Love Story” will be our daydreaming buddy about our crush forever at any age we are in.
The reputation era is simply unforgettable for anyone who has been scrutinizing pop culture for the last decade. The music video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” for example, was proven iconic and led its way to the fastest music video reaching one million views in an hour (before BlackPink broke the record). It was the pure elegy of a fragile girl who got teased a lot by an invincible woman ready to rule her kingdom. Reputation is here whenever we want to add some “bad girl” vibe into our souls. But not just an ordinary bad girl, but a bad girl with delicacy to express one’s anxiety of embracing her love life in “Delicate”, the one who doesn’t hesitate to tell a person that you like them like in “Gorgeous”. Sometimes though, things get pretty dark and destructive. And in that time, we would want to listen to “Don’t Blame Me” or “Look What You Made Me Do” over and over again.
Coming right after the release of her “Reputation” era, who would expect a charming pop filled with catchy melodies as well as positive and book smart lyrics? But hey, that’s exactly what happened. “Lover” is a pop masterpiece that often got overlooked in her discography. “Daylight” for example, is the kind of anthem anyone would sing along to whenever we are sure that we’ve found ‘the one’ in our lives. While the song “Lover” is the one we could sing along together with our partner during the wedding. “Lover” has an unbeatable aura of positivity, childishness, but also grace that magnified the music perfectly. It is truly a perfect pop album full of anthem for everyone who’s in love.
Here’s what happened when the country girl vibe is mixed with bubbly pop forebodings. In the song “Red”, Taylor Swift ruminates how it feels to be in a toxic relationship and eventually to lose our partner, and then in “Comeback, Be Here” she came back with a sense of longing for someone we used to love and adore, then twist the turn on an anthem about love regrets in “I Knew You Were Trouble.”. The music is full of hope but also heartbreaking lyrics. Not to mention her anthem to her twenty-second year of living titled “22” is a fun jam whenever you’re on a road trip (and also perfect for anyone who’s turning 22).
Close to the top, we have the ultra pop album ‘1989’ in second place. No other album of hers comes as fantastically recognized, celebrated, and criticized as this one. She won the Grammys for Album of the Year in 2014 because of the illuminating collection of tracks in the album that we surely can’t stop but binge every time they pop out on the radio. The whole album is about acceptance and release of anxiety, as shown in ‘Shake It Off’, while Taylor’s essential heartbreak lyrics songs did still appear via ‘Blank Space’, embodying a character of psycho playgirl that the media portrayed about her. On the footnote, ‘Welcome to New York’ is probably one of the most electric album openings in pop culture.
1.“Folklore” and “Evermore”
Truth is, Folklore and Evermore are sisters albums. One resembles the other so much that it cannot blatantly be said that they are different. These albums are literal twins, and we simply cannot choose which one is the best from the other. Release during the pandemic year, Folklore came out first with hit single like “Cardigan” and “Exile”, making it one of the powerhouse album of the year with its essential dark theme and sweet humming. Not forgetting the single “August” which is legendary in arrangement and productions.
The album’s sister, aka Folklore’s younger twin, titled “Evermore” was released five months afterward. The album feels just a slight bit lighter than “Folklore”, but Swift was definitely still on the same path while she was making this as she was when making Folklore. “Willow” is a witchcraft jam with the incredible arrangement of Aaron Dessner, and “Marjorie” is an absolutely perfect tribute to Taylor Swift’s deceased grandmother. These two album’s strengths are the same: the haunting lyrics, perfect arrangement, and Taylor’s vocals.