With the release of her brand new album Reputation last Friday, Taylor Swift has added a sixth album to her discography. Reputation is set to be Swift’s biggest debut yet, pacing for 1.6-1.8 million copies sold in its first week. But, success does not always mean quality. With that in mind, Soundigest is here to give you a ranking of all of Swift’s albums, from worst (which, let’s be honest… is a term we use loosely) to best.
6. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift was Swift’s debut album as an artist. Back then, she was only sixteen years old at the time of its release and a lot has changed in her ten years as an artist. For one, Swift debuted as a country artist, which serves as the genre for this album. Many of the songs are influenced by an acoustic guitar and have a country twang. The standout tracks on this album were “Teardrops on my Guitar,” “Picture to Burn,” “Should’ve Said No,” and “Our Song.” A few of the tracks (we won’t name names) are a bit too juvenile, especially in comparison to Swift’s more recent works; but again, this chalks up to her age at the time of its release. Taylor Swift was a great debut, but it was merely a preview for what was to come from a fantastic artist.
Fearless was Swift’s follow-up to her debut self-titled album. “Love Story,” a single from Fearless, catapulted her into fame and made Swift a household name. Fearless was a major improvement from her debut album and spawned Swift’s hit singles, “Love Story,” “Fifteen,” “White Horse,” and “You Belong with Me.” Other standout tracks included “Forever & Always” and “Fearless.” The ratio of outstanding songs to decent songs was overwhelming on this album. Fearless is the album that Swift’s fame is accredited to, rather than her debut. We’re fine with that since it’s a superior album.
Reputation has been out for less than a week, but we have concluded that it earns its rightful place in the middle of our ranking of Swift’s discography. It’s her second straight pop album after 1989. Reputation led off with “Look What You Made Me Do,” which, in our opinion, was a weak lead single. It’s not bad per se, but it wasn’t a classic like “Shake It Off” or “Blank Space,” from 1989. Reputation‘s gems lie within; “Delicate” is our favorite. Swift’s “bad” side comes out in two other stunners, “I Did Something Bad” and “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” Her collaboration with Ed Sheeran and Future on “End Game,” is also an interesting mix thrown in. “Don’t Blame Me” reminds us of “Take Me To Church” by Hozier and is another favorite. The album’s weaker moments lie towards the end of the tracklist, where a few of the songs start blending together. Overall, it’s a solid, cohesive album, but not her best.
1989, Swift’s fifth album, was her first true pop album after playing the “pop crossover” game with a few of her previous albums for several years. It came as a surprise to many that Swift was able to successfully transition from a country artist to a full fledged pop superstar, but she did so naturally to her fans. “Shake it Off,” the lead single from the album, showcased Swift’s playful side in a message to her haters. The catchy tune was stuck in my head for months; it served as a great introduction to the other pop songs on the album. “Blank Space,” “Bad Blood,” and “Style” were instant classics; there were only a couple of weak songs on the album, and overall, it was a fantastic pop album from a country turned pop artist. Standout tracks aside from the ones mentioned are “I Know Places,” “Out of the Woods,” and “Clean.”
Red was Swift’s fourth album and would serve as the last of her albums to be labeled country. The first single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” was the most pop sounding of Swift’s singles at the time. About half of Red contained pop songs, and the other half country. The biggest change in this album was “I Knew You Were Trouble,” which had elements of electronic music, or “dubstep,” thrown into its melody. On the tracklist right after this song, however, is Swift’s best song to date, “All Too Well.” This ballad, with a runtime of over five minutes, has some of Swift’s most well-written lyrics; it’s no surprise that it’s a fan favorite. Like 1989, the weaker songs on Red are few and far between. Standout tracks include “Red,” “Treacherous,” “22,” “Holy Ground” and “Begin Again.”
1. Speak Now
Speak Now, Swift’s third album, is our favorite Taylor Swift album for a number of reasons. For starters, there are simply no bad songs on this album. Speak Now has gems like “Sparks Fly,” “Dear John,” “Mean,” “The Story of Us,” “Enchanted,” “Better than Revenge,” “Last Kiss,” and “Long Live.” Yes, we just named more than half of the album because the songs are just that impeccable. Speak Now was the first of Swift’s albums to debut with over 1 million copies sold in its first week; it set the precedent for each of her following albums to do the same; it cemented her status as one of pop music’s biggest superstars as a successful follow-up to Fearless. Speak Now also contained an ode to the now infamous Kanye West VMA incident. Swift later wrote “Innocent” about West, forgiving him for interrupting her award speech onstage. Note: she is much less forgiving on Reputation. Swift was only nineteen at the time of this album’s release, but some of her best songwriting and songs in her career can be found here. That’s why it’s number one on our list.
So, do you agree with our ranking? Which Taylor Swift album is your favorite and why? Sound off in the comments below, or tweet us @soundigest!