Pop, Country, Rock: Taylor Swift’s Cross-Genre Success Is Clear Looking At The Charts

TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 09: Actress Taylor Swift of ‘One Chance’ poses at the Guess Portrait Studio … [+] during 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2013 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

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For the first half-decade of her career, Taylor Swift was regarded as one of the most successful country musicians in the world, when it came to sales, critical acclaim and the charts. The guitar player, singer and songwriter then moved into pure pop after becoming a proper superstar, and her latest eras have seen her experimenting with rock and alternative sounds.

Most artists don’t try as many styles as Swift has, and even fewer are able to find any real success by crossing over from one genre to another and then back again. This week, the Grammy winner is present on more than a dozen Billboard rankings, and the songs and albums that find space on these competitive lists show that whether she’s dabbling in pop, alternative, rock or the twang that made her a household name, she almost never has an issue racking up enough sales to chart.


Two Swift songs appear on different pop radio lists, demonstrating her power and popularity among listeners and those programming what to play on their stations. Her own single “Willow” lifts to a new high of No. 6 on the Adult Contemporary ranking, while just-released cut “Renegade,” a collaboration with rock duo Big Red Machine (composed of frequent collaborators Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon), jumps to No. 24 on the Adult Pop tally, also reaching a new high.


Swift doesn’t currently have any songs taking up space on Billboard’s country charts, but she does appear on the Top Country Albums list, which looks at which country efforts sold the most copies in the past tracking period. The singer-songwriter, who got her start in the country field before investigating other genres, is comfortable at No. 14 with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and also at No. 32 with the original edition of Red. The former title is the first in what will be a long line of re-recorded takes on her first six albums, the next of which will be Red, which is slated to arrive later this year.


Currently, Swift is performing best on the many rock charts operated by Billboard, as her name appears on five different rosters with more than one effort.

New single “Renegade” becomes a fast smash, as it opens at No. 9 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs list, No. 7 on the more specific Hot Alternative Songs chart, No. 12 on the Alternative Streaming Songs ranking and it conquers the Alternative Digital Song Sales roster, becoming the first leader for Big Red Machine and another champion for Swift. Her own “Willow” also re-enters the latter tally at No. 23.

On the Alternative Albums chart, Swift’s two titles that are eligible for the ranking are both going strong inside the top 10, as Evermore keeps in the runner-up rung while Folklore improves slightly, lifting to No. 4.

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As “Renegade” arrives, it debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 73 and No. 8 on the all-genre Digital Song Sales chart. The tune marks the first placement, and a notable win, for Big Red Machine on both lists, while Swift has topped them both many times before.

The singer-songwriter performs the best on the Billboard 200 and Top Album Sales rankings, where she stands out as one of the artists with the most charting titles. On the former list, which takes into account many different types of consumption in order to rank the most popular albums in the U.S., Swift fills half a dozen spaces with the following releases: Evermore (No. 38), Lover (No. 59), Folklore (No. 68), Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (No. 101), 1989 (No. 115) and Reputation (No. 185). All of those efforts previously reached the No. 1 rung.

On the Top Album Sales ranking, many of her projects sit higher, as they stand out as some of the bestselling in the U.S. Evermore is still present inside the top 10, landing at No. 5, Lover is somehow still living in the top 40 at No. 34, while Folklore and Fearless (Taylor’s Version) come in at Nos. 58 and 68, respectively.

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