My dear friend, mentor, and fellow pop culture enthusiast Zach is two things:
2) Doing a countdown on said Twitter account listing his #TaylorSwiftTop25.
The #TaylorSwiftTop25 is, not surprisingly, a countdown of his favorite 25 songs, one per day, in anticipation of seeing her live in Nashville. Each day he gives a brief overview of why he loves each song and the best lyric from each. I am a thankless leech, so I'm ripping off his idea, just in blog post form. I'm hoping that hyperlinking his Twitter above will be enough to stay in his good graces so I may stick around long enough to steal more of his ideas in the future.
Zach and I both sorted our lists using THIS song sorter that some genius teen developed years ago on Tumblr. If attempting a #TaylorSwiftTop25 of your own, I highly recommend devoting an hour or so of your time to do this for best results. I'm sure you're all now just on the edge of your seats ready to hear which Taylor songs I hold nearest and dearest to my heart. Are you...Ready For It?
My Taylor Swift Top 25
25. The Other Side Of The Door
Album, Track No.: Fearless, Bonus Track
Why it's a banger: This bonus track from Fearless is your classic "I said we were over, and now I regret it" tune. I have a soft spot for needy songs penned by a much younger Taylor Swift who thought mixed signals should be easy to decipher. Plus the cadence of the very last verse is fun to try--and fail--to sing in one breath.
Best lyrics: With your face and the beautiful eyes, and the conversation with the little white lies, and the faded picture of a beautiful night, you carry me from your car up the stairs. And I broke down crying, was she worth this mess? After everything in that little black dress, after everything I must confess I...need you.
24. Blank Space
Album, Track No.: 1989, Track 2
Why it's a banger: When 1989 came out and I heard this song for the first time, I just about lost my mind. This is one of Taylor Swift's most definitive, self-aware pop songs written directly in response to the media's portrayal of her (fictitious) obsessive, man-eating ways. To quote Taylor herself, "My first reaction was to be like...'Man that's a bummer. This isn't really fun for me'...but then my second reaction ended up being like '...Hey that's kind of a really interesting character they're writing about...I could use this!"
Best lyrics: I get drunk on jealousy, but you'll come back each time you leave, 'cause darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream.
23. The Best Day
Album, Track No.: Fearless, Track 12
Why it's a banger: I'm a simple gal. I love a good song about how much you love your mom. I feel Taylor and I are kindred spirits for many reasons, one of those being we have an unhealthy obsession with our mothers: the strong women in our lives who pick up the pieces when we're getting bullied at school and cheer the loudest when we're achieving our dreams.
Best lyrics: Now I know why all the trees change in the fall, I know you were on my side even when I was wrong. And I love you for giving me your eyes, for staying back and watching me shine.
22. I Wish You Would
Album, Track No.: 1989, Track 7
Why it's a banger: An often-overlooked track from 1989, this song tells the heartbreaking and all-too-familiar story of not being completely over someone, but being too afraid to tell them. Meanwhile, little do you know they're thinking the same thing, assuming you hate them. When this song came out my sophomore year of college, I was having a fight with one of my best friends, and there were so many things I wanted to say but never did. Instead I just scream-sang this song in my car. Even if this is a song about an S.O., it's very therapeutic for soothing platonic wounds, too.
Best lyrics: I wish we could go back and remember what we were fighting for, I wish you knew that I miss you too much to be mad anymore.
21. Back to December
Album, Track No.: Speak Now, Track 3
Why it's a banger: Taylor-Squared (the relationship between Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner, of Twilight fame) didn't give us much, except for cute screen time in the movie Valentine's Day and this heartbreaking song. It's about when you feel remorse after ending it with someone, because they're a good person and don't deserve what you did to them. I get the impression that Taylor (Swift) gets bored by relationships that are complacent and Taylor (Lautner) unfortunately was too bland and got the boot. But if it's any consolation, she felt really bad about it.
Best lyrics: And then the cold came, the dark days when fear crept into my mind. You gave me all your love and all I gave you was goodbye.
20. Sparks Fly
Album, Track No.: Speak Now, Track 2
Why it's a banger: Taylor wrote this when she was SO! YOUNG! To be sixteen and so able to articulate those exciting jittery feelings you get when you're with someone new is...I mean. Yes queen. There's a rumor this is a song about Jake Owen, penned back when she opened up for him on tour. I don't think he ever actually gave her something that will haunt her when he's not around, but he did give her fodder for this iconic song.
Best lyrics: The way you move is like a full-on rainstorm, and I'm a house of cards. You're the kind of reckless that should send me running, but I kinda know that I won't get far.
19. Out of the Woods
Album, Track No.: 1989, Track 4
Why it's a banger: Mostly because it's about Harry Styles. Okay, no, that's not the entire reason...but Haylor burned fast and bright so that dozens of songs could rise from its ashes. The thing about a flame is it'll die out if it's constantly being poked at, blown on, and in general messed with. Haylor was sacred, but Haylor had to be hidden from the world if it was going to last. For two young, very famous people, that just wasn't going to happen. Taylor paints this picture that from the inside, every day very likely could be the last. The relationship could combust at any moment, but also there was the slightest chance that if they could just hold on a little bit longer and make it out of the forest, they could have something special. So that begs the question: Are we out of the woods yet? Are we in the clear yet?
Best lyrics: Your necklace hanging 'round my neck, the night we couldn't quite forget, when we decided to move the furniture so we could dance, baby like we stood a chance: Two paper airplanes flying.
18. Holy Ground
Album, Track No.: Red, Track 11
Why it's a banger: The lyrics perfectly describe the sensation of listening to this track: Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress. It's about that feeling when you finally get closure and realize that if you forget about the bad stuff toward the end, sometimes you're left with positive memories of a relationship that was all in all pretty good. Maybe circumstances got in the way, and maybe if you gave it another shot it wouldn't end well, but maybe that's the beauty of it. You had something special, that will be fondly memorialized.
Best lyrics: We blocked the noise with the sound of "I need you," and for the first time I had something to lose. And I guess we fell apart in the usual way, and the story's got dust on every page, but sometimes I wonder how you think about it now, and I see your face in every crowd.
17. The Story of Us
Album, Track No.: Speak Now, Track 7
Why it's a banger: This song S E E S me. Before this song came out I couldn't quite articulate that awful, awful feeling of having awkward tension with someone and feeling literally stuck in place. That agonizing feeling of slowly drifting apart from someone because of stupid miscommunication, making the distance grow farther and farther until eventually there's a metaphorical ocean of strife between you, and neither of you are strong enough swimmers to bridge the gap.
Best lyrics: I'd tell you I miss you but I don't know how, I've never heard silence quite this loud.
16. King of my Heart
Album, Track No.: Reputation, Track 10
Why it's a banger: Welcome to the party, Rep! You took a while to grow on me, but now I can't get enough. This is just a cute, epic-sounding song about how much Taylor loves her boyfriend. It's really sweet. I can't relate to the subject matter, but I really love the vocoder effect in the chorus, and I loved hearing this one live. The drumbeat is excellent for dancing.
Best lyrics: Is this the end of all the endings? My broken bones are mending with all these nights we're spending. Up on the roof with a schoolgirl crush, drinking beer out of plastic cups. Say you fancy me, not fancy stuff. Baby all at once this is enough.
15. White Horse
Album, Track No.: Fearless, Track 5
Why it's a banger: Oh my god. If you were a tween in the late 2000s, you've gazed out of your bedroom window while it was raining and pretended you were in the music video for this song. There's nothing quite like the earth-shattering devastation of teenage heartbreak, and nothing like looking back and laughing about the ugly boys you dedicated this song to in your youth.
Best lyrics: I'm not your princess, this ain't a fairytale. I'm gonna find someone someday who might actually treat me well. This is a big world, that was a small town, there in my rearview mirror disappearing now. And it's too late for you and your white horse to catch me now.
Album, Track No.: Speak Now, Track 12
Why it's a banger: Taylor performed this as the surprise song when I saw her live a few weeks ago, and honestly bless her for picking one of my faves. She must've known. Love you girl! Anyway, this is about that scary feeling that someone is about to leave and your relationship is about to crumble, leaving you haunted by the memory they've left. So you beg them to stay, even though deep down you know they're already halfway out the door. As a fun bonus, the heavy string orchestra on this song makes you feel like you're the dramatic, devastatingly beautiful female lead in a horror movie frantically running away from a monster.
Best lyrics: C'mon, c'mon, don't leave me like this; I thought I had you figured out. Something's gone terrible wrong, won't finish what you started.
13. I Know Places
Album, Track No.: 1989, Track 12
Why it's a banger: Another Haylor song honoring the love gone too soon, written from the perspective of Taylor in the thick of it. I recommend looking at pictures of them out and about in Central Park to fully appreciate this song: they were so cute! And so young! And just wanted to be in love in public! My favorite part of this song is the *click* of a tape recorder at the beginning and end of this track, a subtle nod to the fact that the relationship was caught on tape the entire time. I also appreciate that this song calls special attention to Harry's green eyes, because like...have y'all seen those? They deserve to have entire albums written about them.
Best lyrics: They take their shots, but we're bulletproof. And you know for me, it's always you. In the dead of night, your eyes so green. And I know for you, it's always me.
12. New Year's Day
Album, Track No.: Reputation, Track 15
Why it's a banger: A super sweet ending to her latest album, much softer than the album's opening few tracks. This song is on the shortlist of those I'd play at my wedding, assuming that'll ever happen. I'm not being pessimistic, but first I just need to find someone insane enough to like me even though I like to spend hours talking about which Taylor Swift songs are my favorites. I love this one in particular because the lyrics feel very reminiscent of albums past, proving once and for all that our girl is still a hopeless romantic even though she's been burned a few times.
Best lyrics: Please don't ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere.
11. Wildest Dreams
Album, Track No.: 1989, Track 9
Why it's a banger: This was one of the first songs Taylor released that was, like...definitively sexy. It's a sweeping ballad that basically says "Hey, this isn't going to last, but let's make some memories." In a perfect world, we could control how everyone remembers us, and make it so they look back on us fondly and think about the color of our lipstick. According to Taylor, the closest you can get is to have some fun, hope for the best, and kick a boy band member's clothes off the foot of your bed. For extra homework, I recommend the live version she performed at the Grammy museum.
Best lyrics: You'll see me in hindsight, tangled up with you all night, burning it down. Someday when you leave me I bet these memories follow you around.
10. Getaway Car
Album, Track No.: Reputation, Track 9
Why it's a banger: Leave it to Jack Antonoff to help create a song that soars and almost demands to be listened to while speeding down the highway. The facts of Taylor's breakup from Calvin Harris and subsequent fling with Tom Hiddleston are muddled, but one thing is for sure: she wrote this about ditching the DJ for Loki. Taylor met Tom at the MET Gala and needed an out from a (probably) boring relationship with Calvin, and figured "This'll do." We stan a master manipulator.
Best lyrics: It was the best of times, the worst of crimes. I struck a match and blew your mind. But I didn't mean it, and you didn't see it. The ties were black, the lies were white, in shades of grey and candlelight.
Album, Track No.: Speak Now, Track 1
Why it's a banger: Mine gets no love! So many people hate the kitschy, over-simplified version of commitment, and that's fine. I'm not here to change your mind, but coming from the perspective of "a flight risk with a fear of falling," I must tell you you're wrong. Sometimes it's nice to daydream about meeting a nice boy who wants to pay bills with you and talk about your emotional baggage. This one is also in the running for songs to play at my wedding.
Best lyrics: You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter, you are the best thing that's ever been mine.
Album, Track No.: Speak Now, Track 6
Why it's a banger: This one is so fun to scream-sing in the car. It also came out in high school and was very important source material for me when I was being bullied by people who I thought were my friends. Even if it's conceivable that people exist beyond the crappy things they do to you, it's incredibly satisfying to sing, "All you're ever gonna be is mean." It's especially cutting because she wrote this in response to a very well-to-do music critic who slammed her abilities as a musician. She then went on to win multiple Grammy awards for this song. We love our petty queen.
Best lyrics: All you are is mean...and a liar! And pathetic! And alone in life!
Album, Track No.: Red, Track 2
Why it's a banger: The metaphors! Taylor proves that she can compare love to a lot of things: Driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street, Trying to change your mind once you're already flying through the free fall, and the colors in autumn, just to name a few. But some love is too peculiar to be described. Some love is passionate, and intense, and angry, and fiery, and...red.
Best lyrics: Memorizing him was as easy as knowing all the words to your old favorite song. Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there's no right answer. Regretting him was like wishing you'd never found out that love could be that strong.
Album, Track No.: Fearless, Track 1
Why it's a banger: Would you look at that? Two title tracks in a row! I think I mostly love this song for the nostalgia. This song makes me feel thirty feet tall, and like I'm living in the trailer of a teen movie. One that's fun and bright, where nothing bad ever happens. This is a song about innocent first love and the feeling you get when someone makes you feel invincible. This song reminds me of loving Taylor Swift in high school, learning the chords to her songs on the guitar and singing them alone in my bedroom.
Best lyrics: There's something 'bout the way the street looks when it's just rained, there's a glow off the pavement, you walk me to the car. And you know I wanna ask you to dance right there, in the middle of the parking lot.
Album, Track No.: 1989, Track 13
Why it's a banger: This song is stunning: no if, ands, or buts. It's a weird mix of melancholy and hopeful: when you've finally mourned the loss of something from your life, and you've come out the other side stronger. That "something" could be a relationship, a bad habit, an addiction...whatever the "you" you're singing to is, Taylor acknowledges that it's not easy to let go. When introducing this song on tour, Taylor once said, "You are not the opinion of somebody who doesn't know you. You are not damaged goods just because you've made mistakes in your life. You are not going nowhere just because you haven't gotten where you want to go yet." Are you crying thinking about all the young, impressionable kids in the audience listening to that critical message? No? Just me? Okay cool.
Best lyrics: Ten months sober, I must admit: Just because you're clean don't mean you don't miss it. Ten months older, I won't give in: Now that I'm clean I'm never gonna risk it.
Album, Track No.: Fearless, Bonus Track
Why it's a banger: I know, it's weird that a bonus track is charting so high. But I think you're only saying that because you haven't given SuperStar a fair shot. It's a dreamy song about being hopelessly in love with the frontman of a band who doesn't know you exist. I...clearly can't relate.
Best lyrics: So dim that spotlight, tell me things like "I can't take my eyes off of you." I'm no one special, just another wide-eyed girl who's desperately in love with you. Give me a photograph to hang on my wall, superstar.
Album, Track No.: 1989, Track 3
Why it's a banger: Relish in this one last pure banger, because the last two on this list are devastatingly sad. As soon as this song came out I completely absorbed it into my being and adopted it into my personal aesthetic. What's not to like? A guitar riff that sounds straight out of Miami Vice? A catchy, punchy chorus? THE FACT THAT IT COULDN'T BE MORE BLATANT ABOUT ITS MUSE? Anyway, this is a song about a relationship that's magnetic and seems to never be completely off the table. Much like the black skinny jeans in your closet, there's some things you never get rid of: they never go out of style.
Best lyrics: You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye, and I got that red lip classic thing that you like.
2. Dear John
Album, Track No.: Speak Now, Track 5
Why it's a banger: Have you ever, like...cried into a sandwich alone in your car thinking about how Taylor Swift idolized John Mayer and he took advantage of her? Yeah, no...me neither. It took major BSE (big Swift energy) to pen this song, lamenting about how she was perhaps too naive and got tired of playing his games. Mayer later went on to say he thought this song was "very uncool," and then wrote a response song that included the lyric "Sure was fun being good to you." I know I don't personally know either of them, but...fuck off, John. She didn't write a painfully honest, nearly-seven-minute song for you to passively say you did nothing wrong.
Best lyrics: [There's too many to pick, but after much consideration I'm going to go with] You are an expert at sorry, and keeping lines blurry, never impressed by me acing your tests. All the girls that you've run dry have tired, lifeless eyes 'cause you burned them out. But I took your matches before fire could catch me, so don't look now: I'm shining like fireworks over your sad, empty town.
1. All Too Well
Album, Track No.: Red, Track 5
Why it's a banger: Ohhhhh boy. We've reached number one. Experts agree this is objectively Taylor at her best. This is a song about recalling a relationship in every painful detail, down to the places you left articles of clothing and the foliage outside when you met his mom. The first time I heard this song, I was driving home from my part-time job at the mall, and I was admittedly depressed. I was seventeen and utterly miserable, and hearing Taylor say "I might be okay, but I'm not fine at all" felt like pure therapy. Honestly, if Jake Gyllenhaal never acts again, he will still go down in history for inspiring the greatest song of our time.
Best lyrics: [I mean...all of it? But if I really have to pick] You call me up again just to break me like a promise, so casually cruel in the name of being honest. I'm a crumpled up piece of paper lying here 'cause I remember it all too well. Time won't fly, it's like I'm paralyzed by it. I'd like to be my old self again, but I'm still trying to find it. After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own, now you mail back my things and I walk home alone.