Girl, there ain’t no “I” in “team,” but there are two in “music video.”
Taylor Swift‘s music videos are complex works of art, chock-full of Easter eggs and hidden messages and never without a few pieces of eye candy (here’s looking at you, Scott Eastwood!). It’s nearly impossible to choose a single favorite, if for nothing else than her constantly-evolving taste begs off comparisons. But it’s still worth the debate, which is why we put the vote out to the many Swifties on the Entertainment Weekly staff.
The contest wasn’t quite as heated as our previous best-song-on-every-album debate (which was rife with sweaty palms), but after a few rounds, we settled on six clear winners. Check out our favorites below and, as always, feel free to slide into our DMs with a debate over your own picks.
Taylor Swift: “Tim McGraw”
Taylor Swift’s debut single begat Taylor Swift’s debut music video. It made her a star and we’ll cherish its cheesiness forever.
Fearless: “You Belong With Me”
Unlike most of Swift’s music videos (or most music videos period), “You Belong With Me” doesn’t feature the standard performing-to-camera moments. Instead, the whole thing is the story we see played out on screen, with Swift singing in real time. She also plays both the protagonist (the nerdy next-door neighbor with a huge crush on the popular guy in school) and the antagonist (his cheerleader girlfriend — you know, the one with the short skirts and the high heels). The video is classic (vintage) Swift but we also get a peek at her earnestly ungraceful dancing, a trend we’ve all come to know (and love) well.
Speak Now: “The Story of Us”
This was admittedly a very close race against “Back to December,” but the library-themed video won the title thanks to the fact that most fans consider it a sequel to the beloved “You Belong With Me.” It was also filmed on campus at Vanderbilt University and we’re always in for Nashville Taylor.
Red: “I Knew You Were Trouble”
The best song on Red is far and away “All Too Well” (fight us on this, we dare you), but despite its cult-hit status, it was never a single. So instead we present you with rocker Taylor Swift and her O.G. pink tips. It won “Best Female Video” at the 2013 VMAs and we’ll momentarily overlook how sexist those category divisions are to just let this art speak for itself.
1989: “Blank Space”
Several EW staffers would like to nominate this for the best Taylor Swift music video of all time. It’s notable for Swift’s portrayal as a crazy villain, the obscene attractiveness of her fake-boyfriend (snaps to you, Sean O’Pry), and also because it’s arguably the only music video that can be earnestly described as “Kubrickian.”
Reputation: “Look What You Made Me Do”
The revenge factor was so strong with this song, and the video played on our collective glee at seeing Taylor strike back — kind of like the “Bad Blood” video, but without relying on the gimmick of putting the long-gone Squad on the screen. The snake theme was so delicious, and it had also just been a long freaking time since the last album that it made it even sweeter.