Taylor Swift's Lead Singles From Each Album, Ranked: Critic's Take

August 25 may as well be officially dubbed Taylor Swift day, as the superstar released a brand new song “Look What You Made Me Do” promptly at midnight (well, actually about 11:30 pm EST) and subsequently created T-Swift chatter all over the Twittersphere and, frankly, the world. The feisty track marks the first single from her forthcoming sixth LP, Reputation, which will be released in Nov. 10.

Swift has had a way of making a grand introduction to her next set of material throughout her career thus far, whether it was through a song that gives you all the feels or simply makes you want to drop everything and bust a move. Swift threw fans for a bit of a loop with her latest single, delivering a fairly dark, hostile song (and eerie lyric video to go with it) that feels like the beginning of a new T-Swift era -- one that tells the world she's done playing games.

Since Swift decided to start her Reputation?? period off in a rather scathing way, she's certainly got the world intrigued for what else is coming with her latest piece of work. In celebration of the kickoff to the next Swift phase, Billboard decided to rank all of her album lead singles to see where "Look What You Made Me Do" falls amongst its predecessors. Take a look at our critic's takes below.

6. "Look What You Made Me Do," Reputation (2017)

Using snakes to hint what was coming, Swift insinuated that her newest single was going to involve some spite, and that's exactly what we got with this hauntingly bitter, bass-thumping tune. If there was any question that Swift may go back to her country roots, this is a pretty solid confirmation that the innocent, sparkly guitar-playing Swift isn't making a return (she did declare that the old Taylor is dead, after all). Whether that's a good or bad thing, well, we'll wait to hear the rest of what Reputation has in store before we make that call -- but for now, we're acclimating to this caustic new vibe.

5. "Tim McGraw," Taylor Swift (2006)

For a girl who was just getting her start in the songwriting business (while her friends were busy doing high school homework), Swift's lyricism and smooth vocals on "Tim McGraw" are nothing short of impressive. Perhaps the only issue with it is that both her songwriting and singing have consistently improved throughout the subsequent 11 years.

4. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Red (2012)

Swift was technically still considered country at this point in her career, but her initial single from Red definitely hinted at the eventual pop direction she took, adding a little more sass than she had ever brought before (like, ever). Most of her pre-Red breakup songs had a sense of despair and sadness, but there’s absolutely none of that in this farewell tune, which makes it all the more desirable to those who are looking for a way to tell their exes off for good — Swiftie or not.

3. “Mine," Speak Now (2010)

Swift had shown that she’s a master at writing love songs with her first two albums, but the first single from her third album showed that she was nowhere near finished writing them — and getting better and better at it. “Mine” is as cute as they come, telling the tale of a couple who are taking on the world together, closing out the spirited chorus with a perfectly mushy-gushy love song line: “You are the best thing that’s ever been mine."

2. "Shake It Off," 1989 (2014)

Ditching the banjos and country twang, Swift introduced her new pop sound with this sick beat - and a chorus that makes singing (and dancing) along unavoidable. While parts of Red showcased a bolder, almost more confident side to Swift, 1989 as a whole proved her to be practically invincible (especially after that album of the year Grammy). That's immediately apparent from the moment the pounding bass begins in "Shake It Off" and is further solidified through the hater-dismissing lyrics. This is one of those gems that even those in the worst moods can't help smiling and shaking along to.  

1. "Love Story," Fearless (2008)

If “sophomore slump” was even still a thing in 2008, Swift’s Fearless certainly didn’t fall into that curse, and she established that straight out of the gate with this Romeo-and-Juliet-tributing romance tune. Starting out with an enchanting banjo, the track’s awe-inspiring series of building melodies (and sweet story line) make for quite the happy ending and belt-worthy finale. While it may not necessarily be her catchiest single to date, a then-teenage Swift crafted a song that made people of all ages want to find their own love story -- in under 4 minutes -- and that is the sign of true musical genius.

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.