Half 1: The Quote-Unquote “Worst” Taylor Songs (170-145)
Half 2: The Lengthy-Awaited Sequel (144-119)
Because of all those that learn and chimed in on the earlier posts on this sequence, and extra-special because of the customers who gave these posts awards! I am so glad this sub exists as a spot the place we will all take pleasure in discussing the trivialities of Taylor’s phrase alternative collectively.
Naturally this checklist has and can proceed to get much less essential/extra gushy the additional we go. Am I nonetheless going to piss a bunch of individuals off with “low” placements?
118. Higher Than Revenge
By way of message, the slut-shaming refrain is clearly not nice, however when it comes to pure songwriting it is…fairly nice, tbh. This music has so many highs and lows it is virtually a mountain vary. The “naughty, naughty” finger-wagging? Hilariously sardonic within the refrain, cringeworthy within the spoken intro. The opening line, “The story begins when it was sizzling and it was summer time and—”? Good. Propulsive. Present-
This’ll come up extra with fame tracks (plus the occasional “Clean Area”/”mad girl”), however when Taylor leans right into a notion individuals have of her, the outcomes are often unbelievable. “I feel her ever-present frown is somewhat troubling/She thinks I am psycho ‘trigger I wish to rhyme her title with issues” is *chef’s kiss*. High fucking tier. Then she follows it with a line about classic clothes delivered prefer it’s meant to be the knockout blow, however is…barely an insult? And as for what they could or could not educate you in prep faculty, is Taylor Swift actually the particular person to be calling out WASPiness?
Finest line not already talked about: She may need him, however I all the time get the final phrase
Swiftian™ tropes: revenge: The Music, story time, seasonal specificity (summer time), “I am not mad at you, I am simply upset. And I am additionally very mad.”, ladies not supporting different ladies: The Music, not being like different women, all conflicts result in the playground, being morally wronged, sartorial specificity, not having it in your self to go together with grace
117. Welcome to New York
You gotta admire the chutzpah of somebody who decides ” what can be nice? ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ however with zero sarcasm.” (At the least she did not go for “Born within the USA.”) The New York Metropolis this music describes exists just for the very wealthy or characters in 1940s film musicals, which makes the refrain A Bit A lot, however the verses are so real of their sincerity that it is laborious to not be charmed.
Finest line: After we first dropped our luggage on residence flooring/Took our damaged hearts, put them in a drawer
Swiftian™ tropes: a wide-eyed lady in love with a metropolis, rose-colored glasses, love makes you loopy, locational specificity, pleasure rights
116. Keep Stunning
Stands out on the debut for the originality and maturity of its premise. In every other context, “He whispers songs into my window in phrases that no one is aware of” would describe a serial killer; right here, it is simply one other instance of what Rob Sheffield aptly termed “the erotics of home windows” in Taylor Swift’s discography.
Finest line: Corey’s eyes are just like the jungle/He smiles, it is just like the radio
Swiftian™ tropes: nominal specificity, point out of affection curiosity’s eyes, being wooed by a person exterior your chamber window, everyone needs him, oblivious boy (let’s fill him in), life as a narrative, the street not taken, the winding paths of destiny (anticipatory), rain (anticipatory), revisiting recollections by means of footage (anticipatory)
115. Eyes Open
The repetition, the staccato phrasing, using crucial temper and current progressive tense—there is a five-paragraph rhetorical evaluation begging to be written in regards to the professional method these lyrics create an environment of paranoia.
Finest line: The difficult factor is yesterday we have been simply kids/Enjoying troopers, simply pretending
Swiftian™ tropes: intense optical consciousness, lamenting misplaced childhood innocence, being an underdog
114. I Do not Wanna Reside Without end
Finest line: I have been wanting unhappy in all of the nicest locations
“I have been wanting unhappy in all of the nicest locations” is a kind of traces, like “I hate that due to you/I am unable to love you” in “Babe,” that completely encapsulates a recurrent theme in Taylor’s music. I referred to it with reference to “This Is What You Got here For” and “the lakes”; we’ll see it once more with “illicit affairs” and “New Romantics” and “Clean Area” and…you get it.
Keep in mind when that man got here up with a caption that works for each single New Yorker cartoon? Nicely, Taylor Swift got here up with the common caption for all the Pre-Raphaelite motion.
wanting unhappy in all of the nicest locations
Swiftian™ tropes: intense optical consciousness, melancholy #aesthetics, love makes you loopy, Romanticism, on-again off-again relationships
113. Image to Burn
Finest line: So watch me strike a match on all my wasted time
We’re on the level the place I’ve to place the perfect line first so I can gush about it. It is so good!! “You are simply one other image to burn” is a good premise by itself; “strike a match on all my wasted time” sends it into the stratosphere. (The method geek in me actually needs we had a “Making of the Music” for…each Taylor Swift music, tbh, however particularly this one. Which line got here first? Was the precise phrasing there from the start, or did it evolve??) Like lots of the songs on the debut, this one contains a robust refrain spackled with verses that have a tendency towards filler, and Taylor’s bridge superpowers aren’t in proof fairly but, however rattling—speak about diamonds within the tough.
Swiftian™ tropes: not getting your completely happy ever after, being obsessive and loopy (alleged), yer a narcissist harry, small city boys with vehicles, post-breakup “the rationale you suck” speech, mementos from a previous relationship (mild ’em up version), revenge, being a maneater (threatened), gender roles (her daddy’s acquired a .45 and a shovel, he doubts anyone would miss you)
112. Finish Sport
Finest line: tie: I bury hatchets however I maintain maps of the place I put ’em and I swear I do not love the drama, it loves me
Essentially the most intriguing a part of this music—ideas-wise, not when it comes to lyrical complexity—is the post-chorus, with its acknowledgement of “massive reputations,” “massive enemies,” and a looming “massive dialog.” It makes thematic sense for “Finish Sport,” a bunch of matter sentences in a trench coat, to color in broad strokes; with two-thirds of the verses being options, there is not room to get into specifics. A lot as I really like Taylor’s verse, she does not say something in it she does not say elsewhere on fame, often extra meaningfully.
Swiftian™ tropes: love as a recreation: The Music (performed straight and subverted), acknowledging the elephant within the room, everyone needs him, taming my wild coronary heart to thy loving hand, we are the unhealthy guys (duh), elephants do not forget and neither does Taylor Swift, so the drama, lipstick (crimson), alleged madness, date specificity (from Ed, however Taylor will get partial credit score for a) enabling the date and b) giving the road her stamp of lyrical approval)
111. I Assume He Is aware of
Finest line: I’m an architect, I am drawing up the plans
Within the first verse, Taylor makes use of imagery of adverse house to evoke emotions of craving, making the bodily hint of her lover’s contact on inanimate surfaces proxy for her personal want. Within the refrain, she tries to clarify what it’s about him that is so particular and offers up on phrases midway by means of the sentence. Am author, can verify: it’s like that typically.
Swiftian™ tropes: love makes you a youngster once more, locational specificity (16th Avenue), varieties of individuals (good ones: do they wait? the reply could shock you!), identification of the speaker as inherently good, understanding you are a catch, point out of affection curiosity’s eyes, driving (Taylor lastly takes the rattling wheel)
110. I Virtually Do
Finest line: Each time I do not/I virtually do
Certainly one of Taylor’s most conversational songs—take out the road breaks and it may (virtually) be a letter. Narrative storytelling is constructed on the promise of closure: you be taught a lesson as soon as, you by no means should be taught it once more. In actual life, temptations aren’t so simply conquered. As Taylor and Jack Antonoff movingly mentioned within the folklore doc when speaking about “that is me attempting,” lots of life’s hardships require a day by day battle of willpower, every step demanding as a lot effort because the one earlier than—however that actuality does not match neatly right into a narrative construction, so we not often see it depicted in media.
Swiftian™ tropes: questioning in case your ex is considering you, love is understanding somebody fully, regretting having left issues on unhealthy phrases and hoping your ex understands that implicitly since you’re positive as shit not gonna inform him, cellphone calls (struggling to not make them), understanding it needed to finish however lacking it anyway, tumultuous relationships, marriage allusions (take out that essential “virtually” and what’re you left with?)
109. The Finest Day
Finest line: I do know you have been on my aspect even after I was improper
As a self-proclaimed literary critic, I would should say the bridge veers into mawkishness. As a self-proclaimed daughter/sister/human being, I would say that typically there are extra vital issues to perform along with your inventive work than creative unimpeachability.
Swiftian™ tropes: age specificity, detailed descriptions of actual occurrences, being excluded in center faculty, dad and mom embodying conventional gender roles (dad: sensible, robust; mother: fairly, comforting), faith: God makes a cameo!, fairytales, idyllic suburban childhood, eye colour Punnett sq. (dad trailing mother 1-2), gratitude for all times’s blessings
108. You Have to Calm Down
Finest line: And I ain’t tryna mess along with your self-expression however I’ve realized the lesson that stressin’ and obsessin’ ’bout someone else isn’t any enjoyable
Virtually each line on this music is supposed to be stamped on merch and/or was a meme—c.f. “shade by no means made anyone much less homosexual,” “all of us acquired crowns,” all the refrain, and so on.—but it surely’s the pre-choruses that actually deserve our consideration. The inner rhymes! The consonance! The assonance! Simply pleasant.
Swiftian™ tropes: temporal specificity (7 AM—rattling), coping with criticism, snek, puns, pleasure rights, hella present slang, feminism (I lastly get it! version)
Finest line: I stroll with my head down, attempting to dam you out/’Trigger I will by no means impress you
This music is a large number of combined messages, precisely as heat-of-the-moment retorts are usually. It is solely if you’re replaying the argument in your thoughts later that you simply understand that saying “swords” was redundant and including “weapons” downright tautological, and also you claimed to take the excessive street in a single breath solely to fling a bunch of insults within the subsequent. Later nonetheless, you may understand some deeper truths, like there is no such factor as being too massive to get hit, and karma does not all the time come round to stability the scales. It is good to reach at these moments of mature reflection finally—however there’s nothing just like the quick catharsis of a great vent.
Swiftian™ tropes: coping with criticism, being morally wronged, it is a callout submit, elaborate battle metaphors, cities are symbolic of success, rhetorical questions, good can not comprehend evil, string of adjectives, pleasure rights (within the music video)
106. I Want You Would
Day 2268 of attempting to wrap my un-mathematical mind across the non-Euclidean geometry of “we’re a crooked love in a straight line down.”
I didn’t take “The Science of Artwork Supplies” as my engineering credit score simply to be left with this bullshit.
Perhaps I ought to change greatest line to greatest lyrical element or greatest writing…factor, idk. I really like how the verses present us the identical “ships passing within the evening” second from each views, how every is current within the different’s house/verse solely as an summary set off (“you go my road”/”headlights go the window pane”), how there is no actual method to know whether or not that was him who simply drove by or if that is simply within the speaker’s creativeness. I am not solely clear on what is going on on within the third verse—is she imagining some alternate universe 2 AM wherein they reunite? Are they only recalling one another’s face/voice? Wait, you are saying you did flip proper again round? The place am I? Did Taylor Swift date M.C. Escher?
Swiftian™ tropes: 2 AM, driving, dwelling prior to now, regretting having left issues on unhealthy phrases along with your ex and hoping he understands that implicitly since you’re positive as shit not gonna inform him, cellphone calls (want I would by no means hung up version), pledges to recollect endlessly, tumultuous love
105. Hey Stephen
Finest line: Hey Stephen, why are individuals all the time leaving?/I feel you and I ought to keep the identical
Synthetic intelligence would by no means counsel rhyming “angel” with “rain, so,” and that’s the reason I imagine the inventive fields are secure from the rise of machine studying, a minimum of for now.
Swiftian™ tropes: nominal specificity, everyone needs him, guarantees to stay round by means of robust instances, wooing a person at his chamber window, kissing within the rain (proposed), OUT: Can not Spit It Out, IN: (Not So) Anguished Declaration of Love, string of adjectives (you already know somebody’s a professional after they could make a listing out of two phrases), understanding you are a catch, she may write a music for you
104. Unhappy Stunning Tragic
Finest line: And you have your demons/And darling, all of them appear to be me
I do not know whether or not admitting it will placate the individuals offended by this placement or provoke even better fury, however for years this was my least favourite Taylor Swift music. It had extra to do with supply than lyrics; I simply all the time felt that it seemed like a dirge. (FWIW, Taylor’s decrease register has received me over with the previous few albums, so I am excited to listen to this rerecorded.) Solely after repeatedly seeing the lyrics praised on this sub did it begin to creep up in my estimation. Y’all made some nice factors! The bridge is lower from the identical material because the one on “This Love,” a whole story advised in shorthand. I’ve even come to understand “time is taking its candy time erasing you.”
However I am nonetheless not a fan of the refrain. In some unspecified time in the future in elementary faculty, lecturers, bored of studying the identical basic-ass brief story time and again, introduce their college students to ideas like “lively verbs,” “present, do not inform,” and “the mot juste,” which ends up in them having to learn wild contortions to keep away from the phrase “mentioned” as a substitute. Good writers finally discover a center floor, coming to grasp when a “primary” phrase is the mot juste and when it is okay (even preferable!) to inform and never present. As you might be able to discern, I are usually an adjective apologist—however “what a tragic, stunning, tragic love affair” ain’t it. This was a second for hyper-specific phrase alternative and exhibiting somewhat than telling. You possibly can’t seize a sense by simply spelling it out. Even Tennyson needed to admit “phrases, like Nature, half reveal/And half conceal the Soul inside,” and if any poem has ever come near speaking the ache of a tragic/stunning/tragic/magic love affair, it is that one.
Swiftian™ tropes: adjective avalanche: The Music, melodrama, keepsakes and ephemera (handwritten notes, lockets with images), identification of the speaker as inherently good BUT ALSO I am the unhealthy man (duh), varieties of individuals (good ones: do they wait? the reply could shock you!), eager for somebody in one other metropolis, cellphone calls (hung up), tumultuous relationships
Finest line: Ocean blue eyes wanting in mine/I really feel like I’d sink and drown and die
It was reductive of me to say “Shake It Off” is not precisely Shakespeare; in any case, Shakespeare wrote Dogberry’s dialogue and Orlando’s poetry. The best songwriting duo of all time wrote “Come Collectively.” Good writing is not essentially about complicated lyricism or Nabokovian prose; it is about conveying that means. On this case, the that means is obvious proper off the bat: she’s drunk and infatuated. And Taylor captures that voice completely. The counterintuitive habits? The hyper-awareness of her crush’s proximity? The run-on bridge, with its kindergarten vocab, exaggerated self-pity, and final minute surge of unwarranted self-confidence? It ain’t fairly—overlook beautiful—but it surely’s proper.
Swiftian™ tropes: locational specificity (actually an tackle), dishonest (temptation version), conflicting feelings, melodrama, everyone needs him, jealousy, point out of a love curiosity’s eyes
102. You Are In Love
Finest line: One evening he wakes, unusual look on his face/Pauses, then says, “You are my greatest pal”
Written in the identical type because the bridges of “This Love” and “Unhappy Stunning Tragic”—a method that comes as naturally as respiration to Taylor, however which loses a few of its dramatic affect when stretched throughout a whole music.
Swiftian™ tropes: seeing life as a film (play it again), sartorial specificity, sitting within the passenger seat, temporal specificity (midnight, Sunday morning), real love manifests in mundane methods: The Music, bf = bff, most likely not a Vonnegut reference, images, love makes you loopy
101. Look What You Made Me Do
Finest line: I will be the actress starring in your unhealthy desires
This is not a pop music. At the least, it is not simply a pop music. It is also a present tune, the Act I finale of the worldwide smash hit musical that’s Taylor Swift’s life. It is deliberately performative and theatrical. The refrain drops the ball, edging into novelty music territory, however the verses and the bridge proved Taylor’s chops as a dramatic lyricist earlier than she ever acquired in a room with Andrew Lloyd Webber. In an ideal world, the gone-too-soon TV present Galavant would get picked up by streaming community, and Taylor Swift and Alan Menken would collaborate on the subsequent I Do not Like You or What Am I Feeling?
Taylor’s already admitted to writing songs impressed by Sansa, Arya and Daenerys; you simply KNOW she’d love Madalena
Swiftian™ tropes: I am the unhealthy man (DUH), being morally wronged, betrayal and revenge, gothic imagery, fairytales (Grimm brothers type), so the drama, melodrama, spoken interlude
Subsequent time: We’re within the prime 100 (identical to Taylor)! As common, I welcome all dialogue—protests and disagreements, your individual lyrical analyses or favourite traces, ideas on Swiftian™ tropes, affords of friendship, multi-paragraph essays on Edgar Allan Poe’s affect on Taylor’s songwriting, plot proposals for Taylor Swift: The Jukebox Musical