Perhaps controversially, but definitely not a surprise to anyone: I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. I turned 30 this year, so it feels like I’ve grown up with Taylor as a distant bestie – her music has been there through almost every stage of my adolescent and adult life, teaching me things I never knew about myself and voicing emotions I didn’t even knew I felt. With this weekend’s announcement that her second re-recorded release will be RED, and out in November, I knew I had to commemorate the occasion with a playlist of some of my favourite Swift songs.
Let’s talk highlights. First up: Fearless. My favourite song from my favourite TS album – this whole album hits so different now. When it was first released, back in 2008, I was seventeen and had never been in love. At 30, happily married and having watched Taylor’s career trajectory soar and her record label saga threaten to burn down an empire, ‘these walls that they put up to hold us back will fall down’ gives me chills like never before. The sheer euphoria I felt when I first heard that song remains with me but to this day, the title track of the album is my favourite. The image of being young, carefree, in love and twirling in a dress under streetlights is so beautiful to me. What can I say? I’m a romantic at heart.
My next highlight is The Archer, and I really do believe it might be one of the best songs Swift has ever written. Something about it caught me from the moment it released. It’s a raw and vulnerable examination of Swift’s own relationships and the trials and tribulations she’s experienced with people she once trusted but no longer does. It’s relatable – from the playground disputes of high school teens to the heartbreak of young love and more. This particular track 5 is my favourite.
It’s really difficult to single out one remaining song for my third highlight, but I think it has to be Holy Ground. RED is my least favourite Taylor album (prove me wrong in November, I’m ready for it) but the longer I listen, the more I love a few select songs – including this one. The race of the drumbeat, the absolute whirlwind of emotions it evokes as it explores a blossoming young relationship set against the backdrop of a bustling city – all are things younger me would have loved to have lived in her dreams. There are so many songs I could’ve selected as my final highlight, but for the sheer exhilaration of this song, Holy Ground takes it.
Listen to the full playlist here on Spotify.
PS: shout out to some of those unreleased songs still floating around the internet – a couple of those definitely would have made the list if they’d been available on Spotify. Taylor, if you’re reading this, hint hint.