Taylor Swift's Collaborations, Ranked: Critic's Take
Taylor Swift is the queen of the pop world on her own, so when she joins forces with other artists -- especially ones at the top of their game, like Ed Sheeran and Kendrick Lamar -- the songs are automatically gold. Big or small, artists who work with Swift always seem to pair with her voice perfectly, which is probably why she's done a number of duets throughout her career so far.
Swift's latest addition to the collab pile is "End Game," featuring both Sheeran and Future, which of course means it's a jam. With three superstars on one track, naturally the Reputation track is already flying up the Billboard Hot 100, currently sitting at No. 39 (chart dated Dec. 23) -- also earning Swift her 55th top 40 hit on the chart.
As "End Game" continues to climb, we decided to revisit all of Swift's major collaborations from over the years. See where her Sheeran and Future team-up falls and what's No. 1 below.
13. "Safe & Sound” feat. The Civil Wars
The now-defunct indie rock duo brought out Swift's more tender side for this Hunger Games track, her falsetto abilities making for a beautiful tune that almost serves as a lullaby. It may be one of the only Grammy-winning songs on this list, but as one of the slowest, "Safe & Sound" doesn't quite measure up to the rest of Taylor's team-ups.
12. “Long Live” feat. Paula Fernandes
Probably the least-known collaboration in Swift's catalog, the Speak Now track was given an international makeover for the Brazilian release of the Speak Now -- World Tour Live album. Fernandes' deeper tone complements Swift's lighter vocals nicely, and it's cool to hear a country song get a little Latin flair -- it just would've been even cooler to hear Swift give her Spanish a try.
11. "The Last Time” feat. Gary Lightbody
This may be the most forgotten-about track on Red -- perhaps because she didn't perform it on the Red Tour and it wasn't a single, perhaps because it's one of the slowest songs on the album, or perhaps because the other feature on the record is Ed Sheeran. Whatever the reason, as great as both Swift and the Snow Patrol lead singer's voices sound together, it's simply just not a super memorable track.
10. "Two Is Better Than One” with Boys Like Girls
Swift helped the typically amped-up rock band behind "The Great Escape" and "Love Drunk" show their more vulnerable side with this ballady love song, and it sounds as sweet as the sentiment of the lyrics. Swift's voice harmonizes beautifully with BLG frontman Martin Johnson's, and it's a pretty damn fun to song to belt out, especially with someone else -- because two is better than one, duh.
9. "Both of Us” with B.o.B
Prior to teaming up with Kendrick, this was Taylor's first dabble in rap (well, other than that surprise T-Pain parody "Thug Story"). Swift handled the undulating chorus as B.o.B laid down the verses, her soft tone complementing the fast-paced rapper nicely and showing just how versatile her voice is. Our one problem with this track is that she didn't bust out those rap skills she flaunted with T-Pain.
8. "End Game” feat. Ed Sheeran and Future
Just seeing the names Ed Sheeran and Future on the same song is enough to know it's going to be an epic one -- and it lives up to its hype. Unlike Swift's previous collab with Sheeran, "End Game" allows the "Shape of You" singer to flex his rap muscles, and Future adds just the right amount of auto-tune to make it as bountiful sound-wise as it is infectious.
7. "Breathe” feat. Colbie Caillat
While Swift has a knack for crafting irresistibly catchy, upbeat songs, this Fearless track is a reminder that she also has a lovely voice that could practically sing you to sleep. And with Caillat's voice being just as smooth, "Breathe" is about as beautiful as ballads come, with strings adding an extra layer to the enchanting sound of the tune. It may be the most soothing breakup song of all time.
6. "Half of My Heart” with John Mayer
Remember when there wasn't any bad blood between dear John and Taylor? Prior to their seemingly messy breakup (judging by some of the lines in "Dear John," like "Don’t you think 19’s too young/ To be played by your dark, twisted games?"), Swift and Mayer blessed the world with this delightful love song. Although it's Swift's lightest feature, as she really only chimes in for harmonies, her voice adds a nice touch to the pleasant tune, making it a duet that simply just puts a smile on your face.
5. "Bad Blood” feat. Kendrick Lamar
Like most Taylor Swift songs, this 1989 track was plenty catchy on its own. But throwing rap's hottest hitmaker and an even sicker beat on the pop hit bring the vengeful lyrics to the forefront, emphasizing just how bad that blood really is. And even if the song doesn't quite do it for you, just watch that explosive Grammy-winning music video -- your mind is about to be as blown as the stuff in the clip.
4. “Everything Has Changed” feat. Ed Sheeran
Swifties are well aware that Taylor and Ed are best buds, but this song is just so darn cute that it almost makes you wish they would be more than friends. And their silky voices work together so well, they make you wish they'd do a full album of duets. Fortunately for those itching for more Sheeran and Swift got it with "End Game," but it's pretty tough to beat the loveliness of their first time singing together.
3. "I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” feat. Zayn
What do you get when you put two falsetto champs together on one track? Well, in success terms, a No. 2 spot on the Hot 100 and a Grammy nomination -- but in song terms, a total belt-along smash. Both Taylor and Zayn's vocals are as haunting as they are impressive on the Fifty Shades Darker track, making it so much more than just a song for a movie.
2. “Highway Don’t Care” feat. Tim McGraw and Keith Urban
We're just going to come right out and say it: This is quite possibly one of the most underrated country songs of all time. All Swift really provided was a repeated "I can't live without you, I can't live without you baby" and a few harmonies, but that's all we need to fall in love with the song. Plus, it was a full-circle moment for Swift, who paid tribute to the country superstar with her very first single seven years prior to this duet. What is there not to love?
1. "Clean” feat. Imogen Heap
This isn't one of the more obvious collaborations, as Imogen Heap's contributions mainly came in the writing process. But as the British artist detailed in a post about spending a day with Taylor, she provided the background vocals, which made the breathy song even more haunting than it would've been with just Swift singing. Heap's influence is also noticeable in the production of the song, as it was the most electronic-infused track in Swift's catalog up to that point, and perhaps to date. While we'd like to hear more of that kind of influence on Swift's music, this uniquely evocative "I'm over you" song is just so perfect we'd almost rather it remain a one-of-a-kind standout in Swift's legacy.