We all know Taylor Swift’s smash hits, from the sweet girl-next-door styled ‘Love Story’ to the venom-infused ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, and, unless you were living under a rock in 2014, chances are you were probably humming ‘Shake It Off’ for a solid month.
Despite the issues with her reputation (see what I did there?), or what you may think of her as a person, Swift is the perfect guilty pleasure for any pop lover. Aside from her chart-topping hits, Taylor’s discography is full of hidden gems that might’ve passed you by if you aren’t a super-fan. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of criminally underrated songs from Tay Tay’s music catalogue. Get ready to hit play, play play, play, play…
All Too Well
Okay, okay, this song isn’t exactly underrated in the fanbase – but it only reached #80 on the Billboard Hot 100, so, in terms of the general public, this song is severely slept on. Many Taylor stans herald this as her best track, and I wholeheartedly agree. Really, the song’s a masterpiece. It paints an image like autumn in the listeners’ mind, making you feel as you are literally walking hand-in-hand with Taylor through her aching memories of lost love. The song features some of Taylor’s most poignant and heart-felt lyrics: “And you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest.” You can literally feel her heart breaking in her raw delivery of the line, and, for me, it’s Taylor’s finest moment.
If only we had that rumoured 10-minute version to listen to. Sigh.
DROP EVERYTHING NOW. No seriously, this song is so good it literally makes you want to scream out the lyrics at the top of your lungs. In the words of Tay Tay herself, ‘Sparks Fly’ is about “falling for someone who you maybe shouldn’t fall for, but you can’t stop yourself because there’s such a connection and chemistry.” I feel ya, girl. Honestly the way the song builds up is the equivalent to fireworks streaking up in the nights’ sky and exploding in your ears, it’s pure Taylor Swift bliss. (Side note: This song deserved a better music video, but whatever…)
Oh my word, the lyrics of this song feel as though they came right out of a storybook page: “Long live all the mountains we moved / I had the time of my life / Fighting dragons with you.” This is her arena-filling, triumphant fist-pumping anthem from ‘Speak Now’, and it’s such a beautiful little gem hidden in the back end of the album. Taylor herself has said the song is “like looking at a photo album of all the award shows, and all the stadium shows, and all the hands in the air in the crowd. It’s sort of the first love song that I’ve written to my team.” Aww.
Another hit from ‘Red’ (full disclosure, ‘Red’ is my fave album of hers of all time, so there you go…), ‘Holy Ground’ is a fast-paced catchy little number that adds a little zest of energy, a light-hearted love song to counterbalance the heartache and woe. The rhytmitic guitar that bleeds throughout the entire song snags your attention from the first second you hit that play button, and it’s one you’ll probably be singing in the shower after giving it a listen or two. Rumour has it that the song’s about her former muse Joe Jonas, and how she’s grown and moved on from him in order to look back on their relationship in a positive light.
Ah, the song about John Mayer. No, not that song (‘Dear John’ is iconic and amazing and touching and if you don’t love it there’s something missing in your soul, but it’s by no means underrated), the other one. ‘Superman’, a cute little bop that Taylor says was inspired by watching a guy she was into walk out of the door, thus creating the lyrics “I watched Superman fly away”. Granted, it’s not Taylor’s deepest song, and it doesn’t feature the most profound lyrics she’s ever written – but it’s so quintessentially Taylor it hurts. It’s cute and relatable, and fits the vibe of ‘Speak Now’ perfectly.
This is the break-up song. Not the slashing tires, hate-gushing vibe of ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’, but the sobbing eating ice cream out of the tub watching The Notebook and crying until 3am kinda feeling. The simplistically beautiful lyrics of ‘never thought we’d have a last kiss / never though we’d end up like this’ are ones we can pretty much all relate to, and it’s through this sense of relatability that lies the key to Taylor’s success. ‘Last Kiss’ never seems to get much love amongst fans, but in my humble opinion it’s one of Taylor’s finer moments, a raw vulnerable display that deserves way more attention than it gets.
I Did Something Bad
Oh man, this song is the bomb. When I first listened to ‘reputation’, this song stuck out as the highlight of the entire album. It reinforced the foundation that ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ built, that the old Taylor was well and truly dead. This Taylor is out for blood; and isn’t sorry about it in the slighest. From the gun sound effect noises in the post-chorus to the sultry, slow verses, this song is killer.
This is also the first song in Taylor’s entire career in which she swears! She really did shake off that good-girl image and plunge into the dark, venomous girl the media had begun to paint her as, and I couldn’t love it more. The track was originally planned to be a single, and I’ll forever be bitter that LWYMMD’s little sister never got a killer video.
Honestly, the list of underrated tracks could go on and on (‘Haunted’, ‘The Lucky One’, ‘Cold As You’ are all amazing tracks that deserve a shout out, too!), but these are my personal highlights.
Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts, too! Did I miss a horrendously underrated Taylor track that deserves way more love than it gets? Let me know in the comments below!