A Beginner’s Guide to Taylor Swift

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Midnights heralds the start of a new era for the global pop icon Dr Taylor Alison Swift. As someone who has been a die-hard fan since the young age of 11, I like to think that I am somewhat of an expert on this topic. With Swift’s newest album ready to change the trajectory of lives all around the world, and rumours of her going on tour soon, now is the best time to expand your knowledge of her. Liking Taylor Swift has become ‘cool’ again and this means a horde of newer fans who are still learning the ropes of being a proper ‘Swiftie’. Fear not, cause I have a crash course on Taylor Swift ready for you, a course that celebrates her music, her eras and her ingenuity without dragging her exes or her personal life into the midst of it all. So let’s dive into Taylor’s extensive and impressive discography!

Taylor Swift

The self-titled debut is a quintessentially country record. Taylor sings about puppy love and heartbreak, which makes sense as she was only 16 when the album came out. Debut established Taylor as a breakthrough star to look out for. I’m personally not the biggest debut fan, but it impeccably portrays teenage love.

Must Listens Our Song, Teardrops On My Guitar

Underrated BopTied Together with a Smile

Fearless

Following Debut, Taylor came out with Fearless, which went on to win two Grammys! It had more of the same country sound to it, but with a hint of pop, catapulting Taylor into stardom. Fairytale love, friendships and heartbreak remained key themes for this album. Taylor re-recorded the album, releasing it in April 2021 with six bonus, never heard before tracks.

Must Listen Love Story, The Way I Loved You

Underrated Bop Change

Speak Now

Completely self-written, I think the album is quite underrated considering how great the songs are! Building on her country-pop roots, Taylor added hints of bluegrass and soft rock to this album – creating an early masterpiece with her songwriting skills. With love featuring prominently, songs like Sparks Fly and Mine boasted catchy lyrics that were perfect to sing along to.

Must Listen – Enchanted, Back to December

Underrated Bop – If This Was A Movie

Red

Red signalled Taylor’s move to a pop sound and you can feel this from the first track itself. Charged with raw emotion, Taylor called this album her ‘only true breakup album.’ The tracks detail her struggles with a fading romance and a messy breakup. Taylor re-recorded the album, releasing it in November 2021 with ten bonus tracks which included the 10-minute version of the cult classic All Too Well.

Must Listen – All Too Well, 22

Underrated Bop(s) – Holy Ground, Come Back…Be Here, The Moment I Knew

1989

1989 is so widely popular that it speaks for itself. Titled after Taylor’s birth year, the record is a non-stop journey of head-bopping hits interspersed with deeper moments. This album cemented Taylor’s place as a formidable name in pop and went on to win two Grammys.

Must Listen – Style, Blank Space

Underrated Bop – Clean

reputation

reputation marked a complete shift in Taylor’s work. Born out of controversy and feuds, this album addressed the nasty rumours that had forced Taylor into hiding for a year. Amidst the pain of the fall of her reputation, Taylor also wrote about finding love during these traumatic events. The album introduced Taylor’s darker side with electro-pop and EDM-focused tracks that diverged from her body of work.

Must Listen – Look What You Made Me Do, Delicate

Underrated Bop – Dress

Lover

Taylor’s first album under her new label Republic Records was a collection of songs you could tell she enjoyed making. A true celebration of love, tracks encapsulated her struggles and ultimate happiness in finding love that could last. Taylor also utilised this album to finally speak out on social causes – with The Man targeting sexism, You Need To Calm Down focused on LGBTQ+ rights and Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Princess addressing her political viewpoints. The album did meet with mixed reviews, especially the first single – ME!, but Lover was so exuberantly Taylor, it’s impossible to hate it.

Must Listens – Lover, Cruel Summer, Death By A Thousand Cuts

Underrated Bop(s) – Cornelia Street, False God

folklore

While I spent my lockdown doing nothing productive, Taylor Swift wrote two full-fledged albums. The first of these ‘sister albums’, folklore, came as a surprise drop with no prior warning. A soulful affair, the album was characterised by a more indie-alt folk sound. Taylor experimented heavily with folklore, narrating fictional stories through her songs and testing her songwriting skills to their limit.

Must Listen – cardigan, exile

Underrated Bop – hoax

evermore

The remaining counterpart to folklore was announced just as chaotically. Taylor talked about how once she started writing, she just couldn’t stop and this album was a continuation of the essence of the last album. Sonically similar, evermore too focused on fictional storylines and featured collaborations with Bon Iver, HAIM and The National. Both folklore and evermore also included songs that Taylor had co-written with her boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

Must Listen – champagne problems, willow

Underrated Bop – coney island

I always say this, Taylor Swift has a song for any and every occasion. Sad that your boyfriend broke up with you? Listen to All Too Well. Finally in a happy relationship? Lover is for you. Enjoying your summer fling? Cruel Summer is the way to go. You suspect your friend’s husband of cheating on her and killing her and you end up murdering him in revenge? no body no crime was written just for this. Taylor Swift has range and it shows. I hope you’re better equipped to begin your journey into the works of Taylor Swift cause once you start, there will be no going back!

Image: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr

One thought on “A Beginner’s Guide to Taylor Swift

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