Swiftly wasting my spring break
May 3, 2022
Over the course of this past spring break, I discovered that I wasn’t going to be doing anything. The majority of what I did was lay in my bed, watch Netflix or scroll through Instagram for too long. So, to curb this inevitable boredom, I decided that I would try and listen to the entirety of Taylor Swift’s discography and rate each album based on my personal opinion or how much I relate to each song.
I used to be obsessed with T-Swift. “You Belong with Me” was my anthem when I was, like, 7. No, I didn’t understand that she was talking about a boy choosing another girl over her. All I knew was that she wore short skirts and I wore t-shirts and that she was cheer captain and I was on the bleachers (if you’ve never heard that song before, I bet you’re real confused right now).
Disclaimer: I reviewed all the deluxe versions, not the original ones. I did not, on the other hand, review her live albums or any songs that she has released as singles. That is far too much work. Also, please keep in mind that these are all my opinions, and you have no obligation to agree with me, just don’t hate me, please and thanks.
Taylor Swift (2006): 7/10
This self-titled album is a classic to say the least. For all the Swifties that listened to her growing up, songs like “Picture To Burn”, “Our Song”, and “Teardrops On My Guitar” make this album perfectly nostalgic. While I was listening to it, I felt like I could totally relate some things that have happened in my past to the things she felt. There is a sort of story that plays out as Taylor’s relationship takes its rises and falls. This album seems to be mostly one dedicated to the bittersweet parts. In the song “I’m Only Me When I’m With You”, Swift sings about how even though this guy may drive her crazy, she still wants to be with him all the time. I’ve been there. Overall, this is a pretty good album for her first hurrah, and I think it’s aged relatively well, considering this set the stage for her reputation of making sappy love songs.
Fearless (2008): 10/10
Fearless has got to be my favorite country album of hers. This album is jam packed full of classics, including “You Belong With Me”, “Love Story”, “Fifteen”, “White Horse”, and so many more. When I think of Taylor Swift when she was still considered a country music artist, this is the compilation of songs I think of. If the self-titled one took me back to my earlier childhood, this album does that 200% more. I think this album is top three of my favorite Taylor Swift albums. I could sing along to almost every song on this one. While I was listening to this album, I found myself singing along to almost every song. This album is where Swift really started getting popular. As a person that grew up in a household that listened solely to country music, this album was a staple to my life when I was, like, 6. This one has a special place in my heart, I can’t lie.
Speak Now (2010): 8/10
Similar to Fearless, this album was very popular when I was the spry age of 5 or 6. Even after the release of this album, songs from this one along with ones from Fearless were still playing on radios years after. I could always rely on good ole Swiftie showing up on the radio on a summer day playing out in the backyard (my dad would play the radio from the barn while we all were outside doing yard work or just chilling by the pool–we live in the country so this is a pretty common thing). This phase of Taylor Swift is extremely dear to me. Just like the last one, there are at least four or five songs that I could sing word-for-word from Speak Now. Songs like “Sparks Fly”, “Mine”, “Back To December”, “Mean”, and “Enchanted” are like keys that open up boxes to lost memories. Memories of spinning and dancing around the back porch to the music, feeling as free as ever. Where did that girl go? Woah–we are not getting into that..
Red (2012): 5/10
This album, unfortunately, does not hit nearly as hard as the previous albums. I remember going to my cousin’s house and listening to this album, but I didn’t remember it being super “vibey” (if you know me, you know I love to use the word “vibey”). I think because it was her last album before publicly saying she wasn’t going to be doing country music anymore, it made it sort of a buffer album to ease her listeners into it. I personally prefer, so far, the country albums. Despite all that, “I Knew You Were Trouble” , “Everything Has Changed” and “All Too Well” are definitely classics that I can appreciate. Comparing it to her other albums, though, I just don’t feel like it deserves a 10/10. Sue me.
1989 (2014): 8/10
This album. Cultural reset. I remember getting this CD for Christmas and LOVING it. I think the song “Welcome To New York” sparked my desire to get out of the country and move to a big city. I think it’s cool how big of a 180 Swift did when she released this album. She still keeps the love aspect of it–which is respectable. She found a successful formula in songwriting that she knew people would listen to. As a nine year-old, I was screaming these songs constantly even if I didn’t know what the songs meant. It’s actually really funny to think about how much I loved her music when I was younger and I had absolutely no idea what each song meant. I knew they were about love or whatever, but I didn’t think of Blank Space being a lowkey-toxic relationship. Overall, I think this album is fine, and has a special little place in my heart considering I still have this CD and have the urge to listen to it in my car. Despite all that, I’m not sure if I would listen to it on repeat for a long period of time. It had it’s time, though, where it was addicting to me.
reputation (2017): 7/10
After a long three years without music, Swift came back with this bombshell of an album, and, dare I say, SLAYED. Most of her songs have been cute little “you’re the one for me” or “you broke my heart”, but with this album she came back and released “…Ready For It?” like the badass she is. With all that in mind, this album is not very memorable. I think “…Ready For It” and “Look What You Made Me Do” are really the only songs that people hear and immediately know, which is sort of alarming, considering all of her past albums have had multiple chart-toppers. I stopped listening to Taylor Swift after 1989 came out, so I didn’t really recognize this album. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad album, it’s just a little forgettable in my opinion.
Lover (2019): 8/10
This is such a cute little album. All the songs are pretty peppy or just pretty. I don’t know how else to explain it. “Lover” is a beautiful song (if only I could relate). “I Forgot You Existed” is honestly a funny song that I can relate to very well. I think it’s cool to see her songwriting play out as she grows up. When she was just starting out with music, most of the songs about love were about heartbreak or how she thought the guy she was with was her “forever”, and at this point she can realize how naïve that was of her to think every experience was the one that would be the most memorable. Similar to reputation, there are not many songs that were chart-toppers with this album. Despite that, I think Tiktok has definitely helped her songs to be revived. The song “Paper Rings” used to be a viral Tiktok sound, so that’s cool to see music that might not be extremely new to become trending again. That seems to be a trend with Swift’s music. Overall, this is a cute album. I would buy the CD, honestly.
folklore (2020): 9/10
This album seems like a pretty good one, from the start. I discovered this album when I was going through a super weird time in my life–literally a few months ago. “illicit affairs”, “mirrorball”, “this is me trying” and “my tears ricochet” resonated pretty deeply with me when I first heard them. Luckily, I don’t feel those same feelings, but coming back to this album, it’s definitely eerie. It is so odd to look back on my emotions from months back, and feel like you’re watching a different person. Those feelings that I felt then are gone, thankfully. Despite my existential crisis I endured throughout the listening of this album, it’s a beautiful album. It’s definitely more laidback than any of her past albums, but that is not a bad thing at all. It’s a rainy day kind of album to listen to. I would definitely purchase this CD.
evermore (2020): 6/10
This song is stuffed full of earworm-worthy songs. “willow”, “marjorie” and “closure” are definitely the ones I think of when I think of this album. Before listening to this one, I honestly didn’t know the difference between folklore and evermore. They are extremely similar in the aspect of how lowkey the sound is. I don’t think I would purchase this CD. This album would have to grow on me in order for me to buy the physical version of it. It’s not bad necessarily, but it’s not exactly memorable to me. It’s “meh”, compared to the other albums.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (2021): 10/10
So, as you could tell, this was my favorite album of hers. I loved the original album so much that I almost gave it a 10/10, but I didn’t know if I felt that strongly about it. This version is honestly beautiful. There’s a sense of maturity that Swift brought to it, a tasteful fourteen years later. The songs have the same flair that they did when she first released this album, but, wow. The duration of time between the original Fearless and Taylor’s Version is almost as old as me. So much had to have changed in that period of time. It’s beautiful to hear the difference in her vocal quality as well. You can tell, even if you’re not a music theory/theatre nerd like me, she doesn’t strain her voice nearly as much as she did in the original production. It gives a much more mature and elegant feel to the album. I loved the original Fearless album, so there was almost no way that I wouldn’t love this one. The lineup of songs is so incredibly angsty, but in such a refined way.
Red (Taylor’s Version) (2021): 6/10
I didn’t really care for the original version of this album, but honestly, this one is pretty good. Despite “All Too Well” being the only song I would put on my playlist, it’s not an unbearable listen. At this point, I have lost the motivation to keep listening to Taylor Swift. The past week has been strenuous when it comes to listening to Swift. I guess “22” is a pretty upbeat song, so I’ll give it that. I just don’t have much of an opinion on it.
THE FINAL RANKING:
2. Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
6. Speak Now
7. Taylor Swift
10. Red (Taylor’s Version)
Overall, the whole week of listening to Taylor Swift became gradually more and more difficult, considering she is not what I usually listen to. It was interesting to listen to Swift and feel like I watched her grow up as the albums progressed. With the last two albums, it was particularly exciting to see that Swift finally got the chance to sing her songs the way she wanted to, not be under control of a label that gave her little to no freedoms.
After listening to Taylor Swift’s full discography, I’ve learned that Taylor Swift is not nearly as terrible as some people claim. Yes, the majority of her songs are about heartbreak or love, but isn’t that what every teenage girl can relate to? It’s easy to think, “wow, this is cheesy,” but seeing how I am the exact demographic that Swift pertains to, I couldn’t help but relate to a large portion of them.