11 best Taylor Swift songs that prove she's the ultimate country-pop icon

Taylor Swift is one of the most recognised musicians in the world, and rightly so. From when she broke out on the county scene in the late noughties to infiltrating the mainstream pop arena, the American songstress has fiercely held her own in the ever-evolving music industry.

Whether that be falling in love against all odds, realising an ill-fated romance is coming to an end, and even detailing the demise of a friendship as well as exacting revenge against those who wronged her, she has released songs which all of us can relate to at some point of our lives. And one of the most iconic things about the Pennsylvania-born icon is her brilliant and vulnerable ability to mould her personal experiences, whether good or bad, into her storytelling, which has continued to win her a legion of fans.

Taylor is currently reaping the rewards of hard work while performing her hit tunes to die-hard fans on her The Eras Tour, and we know that we can expect so much more excellent music for her in the future. But in the meantime, here are our picks of the top eleven crucial Taylor Swift songs to master and memorise the lyrics to.

Love Story

Year: 2008Album: Fearless Meaning: When Love Story was released, it was topping charts left, right and centre. And rightly so! Taking into account the forbidden tale of Romeo and Juliet, the tune is centred on two young people who run away together after Juliet’s father stands in the way of their being together. Luckily, the lovers in Taylor’s song don’t see the same heartbreaking end as the classic tale and instead go on to tie the knot and live happily ever after in true fairytale form.

Wildest Dreams

Year: 2014Album: FearlessMeaning: It may have been released nearly a decade earlier, but Wildest Dreams was one of Taylor’s first tunes that inspired a viral TikTok trend. And it’s easy to see why, with its electric pop and breathy vocals by Taylor, who sings about the conflict in realising that she is approaching the end of her relationship, but hopes that her other half will remember her even after they have gone their separate ways in the future. These lyrics say it all: “Say you’ll remember me standing in a nice dress, / Staring at the sunset, babe / Red lips and rosy cheeks.”

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I Knew You Were Trouble

Year: 2012Album: Red Meaning: This song was one of Taylor’s first obvious departures from her croony country tones to mainstream pop, picking up various high-profile gongs at award ceremonies along the way. Taylor powerfully sings about blaming herself for the demise of a relationship after choosing to ignore all the red flags. Read her frustration in the lyrics here: “I knew you were trouble when you walked in. So, shame on me now. Flew me to places I’d never been. Now I’m lyin’ on the cold hard ground.”

Teardrops on My Guitar

Year: 2006Album: Taylor Swift Meaning: While Teardrops on My Guitar was criminally underrated, it proved the ultimate springboard to catapult her success to worldwide domination. Taken from her self-titled album, the tune was teenage angst through and through, with its story of her high-school crush Drew unable to return her feelings as he was madly in love with his girlfriend. To make matters worse, Drew would tell Taylor all about his girlfriend, and she would watch them fall further in love while in the school hallways.

All Too Well (Ten-Minute Version)

Year: 2021Album: Red (Taylor’s Version)Meaning: This song was originally released on her 2012 album Red, but in 2021 Taylor delighted fans by re-recording the album named Red (Taylor’s Version). The song was supposedly about her short-lived romance with Jake Gyllenhaal and went on to allude about age being a factor in their break-up, which left her feeling like a “crumpled up piece of paper.” The ten-minute rendition of the song resulted in a short film starring Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien.

Look What You Made Me Do

Year: 2017Album: ReputationMeaning: The ultimate song about revenge, Look What You Made Me Do, came at a time when Taylor hit the headlines about her supposed dramas with the likes of Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry. Sticking up for herself in the face of adversity, she sings about how the tough times have made her a stronger person while poking fun at herself in the music video by using snake Easter Eggs in reference to being sent thousands of snake emojis on her social media in light of “Snapgate”.

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Bad Blood

Year: 2015Album: 1989Meaning: We’re a huge fan of the remix featuring Kendrick Lamar, and we also love that Bad Blood is another tune inspired by a real-life situation in Taylor’s life. She disclosed that she wrote the song about a friend she thought she was close to, who tried to sabotage one of her concert tours by hiring people who worked for her. “She did something so horrible, I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’ And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business,” she told Rolling Stone then. “She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I’m surprisingly non-confrontational ‘you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”

White Horse

Year: 2008Album: FearlessMeaning: White Horse was another one of Taylor’s early songs that cemented her foundation as an acclaimed vocalist who would later become one of the biggest stars in the world. With pain and angst in her voice, Taylor sings of her heartbreak after realising that her fairytale relationship wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. She ultimately goes on to explain her crushing disappointment that things will not change, even after she has given her partner enough opportunity to do so. She sings: “My mistake, I didn’t know to be in love. You had to fight to have the upper hand.”

Blank Space

Year: 2014Album: 1989Meaning: Blank Space was a bonafide hit for Taylor, who was inspired to write the song by the media’s perception of her being a serial date who would get her revenge for her failed romantic relationships by making them the topic of her award-winning songs. Ironically, this tune picked up a cool few Grammys, and we understand why because just read these lyrics: “Got a long list of ex-lovers. They’ll tell you I’m insane. Cause you know I love the players. And you love the game.” Brilliant.

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Shake It Off

Year: 2014Album: 1989Meaning: “Shake it Off is a song that I wrote about having to deal with on an everyday basis, just kind of how human beings treat each other,” Taylor told IHeartRadio in 2015. “You know, the feeling of humiliation is the same when a girl has a rumour spread around about her at school isn’t true, is the same feeling I feel when I’m checking out at the grocery store, and I read some crazy headlines about me.”

Taylor continued that “rather than writing a song that was victimised in nature, I wanted to write a song that was joyful and give people way to cope with whatever knots of ridiculousness life is doling out to them but also makes them want to dance.” We hear you, Taylor!

Snow on the Beach

Year: 2022Album: MidnightsMeaning: One of Taylor’s latest songs, Snow on the Beach ft. Lana Del Rey gives huge Wildest Dreams vibes and also went viral on TikTok with thousands of accompanying aesthetic clips. Taylor revealed that song was “about falling in love with someone at the same time as they’re falling in love with you”. We just love these romanticised lyrics: “One night, a few moons ago, I saw flecks of what could’ve been lights. But it might just have been you. Passing by unbeknownst to me.

“Life is emotionally abusive. And time can’t stop me quite like you did. And my flight was awful, thanks for asking. I’m unglued, thanks to you.”

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