The best song from every Taylor Swift album
Taylor Swift tunes
Look what you made us do. From her debut album to Folklore, Taylor Swift has been churning out hit after hit for years. To celebrate, commemorate, and launch ourselves into the most heated debate of the last decade, EW put the following to a vote: Which song is the best on every Taylor Swift album? Everyone on staff had their favorites, but in the end there could only be eight winners. Click through to find out the results and feel the magic we've been feeling since we first heard "Tim McGraw."
Taylor Swift: "Our Song"
Swifties will choose "Teardrops on My Guitar" or "Tim McGraw," but "Our Song" is pure country fun. Swift's (long gone) Nashville twang is front and center and the vibe is more reminiscent of the kind of Swift that makes you roll down the windows and sing at the top of your lungs, bystanders be damned. There are Taylor songs you put on when all you need to do is cry, but "Our Song" gets you out of your funk. Now play it again.
Fearless: "You Belong With Me"
"Hey Stephen" and "Love Story" are typical fan favorites from this album, but a fan favorite does not always equal best. Her sophomore effort put her solidly on the world music map and "You Belong With Me" is eerily prescient for these times, what with Swift's narrator's refusal to don short skirts and high heels just to woo her crush. But really, this song deserves the nod because the universe is still trying to pay Taylor back for Kanye West storming the stage at the 2009 MTV VMAs when she won Best Female Video for "You Belong With Me."
Speak Now: "Mean"
This was the diss track that started it all. Before "Mean," Swift's real-life lyrical inspirations were decidedly emotional but without a clear motive. Yet this jam, which was still toeing the line of the country genre, took hit after hit against her bullies with genius barbs like "I bet you got pushed around / Somebody made you cold" and "I can see you years from now / Talking over a football game with that same big loud opinion / But nobody's listening." After "Mean," it was clear to the world that if you screw over Taylor Swift, you'll wind up in a song.
Red: "All Too Well"
Is this the best Taylor Swift song of all time? That's a discussion for another day, but it is the far-and-away staff favorite from Red (an album that is jam-packed with hits). The chill-inducing musical build, the sense of place it creates, and the gut-wrenching line "You call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest" all make this a song for the ages. Go ahead, scream along: You know you want to.
1989: "Blank Space"
Has any lyric ever spoken to you more than "You look like my next mistake"? Swift's official story is that this song is satire, but we prefer to live in a world in which it's all quite literal. (What we'd really love is if Taylor actually had a bunch of Starbucks lovers.) "Blank Space" is also one of her most playable jams, dishing out addicting '80s vibes and a chorus that was made for singing along.
In the spirit of full disclosure, the race for best song on this album came down to the wire — and "Delicate" won out over "Getaway Car" by a hair. The temptation to choose the latter song is high, owed mainly to the voyeuristic thrill that comes with listening to Swift dish about her relationship with Tom Hiddleston. But in the end, her chilling ode to the beginnings of her Joe Alwyn romance won out. It's yet another reminder that nothing good starts in a getaway car.
Lover: "Cruel Summer"
This album, more than any other album, has the potential to drive a wedge through the Entertainment Weekly staff's nearly unbreakable bond. We survived watching CATS together but we almost didn't make it through picking the best song from Lover. After much debate and a few sidelined moments of wanting more for Judi Dench, we chose "Cruel Summer." Not even the smooth saxophone stylings of "False God" can compete with the chorus — it's, well, breakable heaven.
There were so many signs (so many signs!) that "Exile" would be the EW staff's top pick from Swift's eighth studio album. After all, the moody duet features the gorgeously contrasting tones of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon with Swift's more delicate vocals as the two portray exes who are parsing through what went wrong in their relationship. It's also full of film motifs, which is fitting considering the former lovers' exchange plays like delicious dialogue from a tragic romantic drama. Dare we say it's a masterpiece?