Taylor Swift's Best Albums, Ranked by Two of ET's Biggest Swifties

By Meredith B. Kile‍
Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Taylor Swift's seventh studio album, Lover, drops on Friday, and in celebration of new music from the pop queen, two of ET's biggest Swifties have taken on a near-impossible task: ranking the singer's previous albums, from most favorite to only-slightly-less favorite.

"First of all, these albums truly are our children," explains senior social media producer Oscar Gracey. "[They] have been with us through the most important moments of our lives. So it is hard to rank Taylor's albums because they’re just all so excellent, but, you know, someone has to do it. And if anyone is going to do it, it should be us."

"We went back and forth a lot on this," agrees host and video producer Katie Krause. "And our lists are very different. It also depends on my mood and the day. This could change tomorrow."

But the pair was up to the task, running down the things they love about all of T.Swift's albums, from her self-titled 2006 debut through 2017's Reputation

"The albums mean different things to us," Oscar notes. "And like I said, when it's all just so excellent, there really is no right or wrong."

Read on for their picks, and keep following @etnow as we get ready to add Lover to the list!

Katie's Picks

1.1989

It’s a pop masterpiece, hands down... The most cohesive album she's ever put out. She told a full story, starting with "Welcome to New York," going all the way to "Clean," and then obviously the bonus tracks as well... 1989 deserved to be a visual album. That's how strong it was. Every song deserved a music video.

I think this album is the first time Taylor really steps into her own, the first time we see her realizing, "I don't need a man to complete me. I need me to complete me." That's what this record is all about. And then of course, on top of that, you get these insanely strong songs. "Wildest Dreams," "All You Had to Do Was Stay," "Style."

1989 is my No. 1. I listen to it start to finish, all the way through, on a weekly basis, still to this day. It's timeless. 

 

2. Red

I think this is heartbroken Taylor Swift at her very best. "All Too Well" is the best song in songwriting history… It's a lyrical masterpiece from start to finish. It kills me every time, it makes me a little bit weepy every time.

I just think that Red is on a different level. I think this is when she really solidified herself as the number one musician in the world. 

 

3. Speak Now

Lyrically, the most personal album... When you look at the tracklist -- and it is all self-written -- it is pure brilliance, track after track after track.

I think it's also important to remember that this came out after the VMA moment with Kanye. And I think this is the first time that the media really went in hard on Taylor, and this was her kind of taking back the narrative for the first time. You hear on "Innocent," she's kind of calling out Kanye...the John Mayer of it all is in this album.

I love this album. I can listen to it from start to finish, not skipping any tracks. I just love that she wrote all of it, and I feel extra connected to it because it took me to a place where I felt so many of those emotions that she was talking about. 

 

4. Reputation

I feel like Reputation was a defining era. It's No. 4, but it’s still an amazing album. It's bop after bop after bop, but here's why it's lower -- the songs that I love on this album, are not the singles that she released. I love "Don’t Blame Me," "I Did Something Bad," those songs to me are, like, my favorite songs on this album… This was also the first time we saw her having so much self-awareness and growing into an incredible woman.

I did love the Reputation tour, though, it was life-changing -- her best tour by far, I'm gonna go and say that. But I also feel like, because she was in this new phase of "bada**ery," it wasn't as personal of an album. Although, "Getaway Car" deserves awards.

 

5. Fearless

It's bop after bop. "Love Story," "Fifteen" -- which, I just got chills saying that track title because I love it so much -- there are strong tracks, and I feel like it was just a step above, lyrically, from the debut album. She really was like, I'm gonna do this.

I know she's gotten a bad rap for almost talking too much about her relationships, which makes me sad, because every time she does, that's why I relate to her. I'm like, "Me too, girl. I’m right there with you."

 

6. Taylor Swift

Can you imagine being that age and writing a song like "Tim McGraw"? "Teardrops on My Guitar"? The emotion! "Should've Said No"? Still a bop!

This [album] showed she was a singer and a songwriter. She was writing these deep lyrics, which were well beyond her years at the time. I'm actually a little sad that it's last on our list, but that just goes to show what a good artist she is. I also remember where I was when I heard each of these songs. That's the power of this album.


 

Oscar's Picks 

1. Red

When I think Taylor Swift, I will always think of Red. The way that she described it, sonically, is like a quilt, where every song is a different sound, and a different feeling. Technically, she was country, but she didn't really care about being fully defined. It is all over the place, and I think that is what Red is about. It's about this really insane roller coaster of emotions, it's like a high to a low to a medium, and you're just trying to hold on for dear life. 

I think that's why I'll always look at this album with such respect -- this is the heart of Taylor Swift and the heart of her as an artist. She's perfectly capturing these tiny, little moments that create such insane emotional memories for you. Every one of these songs on this album is tied to a memory for me, and I will never forget where I was listening to these tracks.      

 

2. Reputation 

I think the narrative on Reputation is the strongest of any album that she's put out. And it's also the most complex because there was no explanation. There was just Reputation

You have half of the album written from the perspective of who the media thinks she is, and then you have the second half, which is who she really is. She was just falling in love and figuring out this relationship, but she also had insecurities in that relationship, which she gets into on "Delicate"..."Delicate" is-- I will go to war for this song. It's probably the best song in the history of music, period. 

She is the smartest person I know. The fact that there are still Easter eggs in the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video that we still haven't figured out? That right there shows you that her mind is more powerful than any other thing on the planet. I will be a snake for the rest of my life because of Reputation

 

3. 1989

1989 is pop excellence, period. Album of the year, one of the best albums of the decade. It just ranks a little bit lower in comparison to how much I love the other two. But 1989 has some of the most brilliant pop songs. I listen to "Blank Space," not even kidding, every day of my life since this album came out.  

She picked really strong singles, right off the bat with "Shake It Off," which topped the charts for so long. That was such a strong introduction to Taylor as a pop artist.   

1989 is timeless. It’s so beautifully crafted. It’s excellent from start to finish. 

 

4. Speak Now

Because it was all self-written, you get some of her most raw, personal, train-of-thought, cathartic lyrics on this album… It is true country-pop excellence, and I would never argue otherwise. 

Some of the songs on this album -- "Never Grow Up," I will never stop crying to that song. "Dear John," I would say, the saddest track five in history, maybe? ("All Too Well.") She goes in on "Dear John."

I think this is kind of when she really just wanted to make the songs sound like what she hears in her head -- she didn't care about sticking to a certain genre. I think this is when she truly became classified as a singer-songwriter… It was so important to her as a female artist to take that power and show what she can do.

 

5. Fearless

Even though this was, like, her breakout album, it's career-defining. It’s all very romantic, and it is, thematically, kind of about the fairy-tale romance, and just starting to figure out that Prince Charming doesn’t exactly exist. This is really a coming-of-age album for her. 

I’ll never, ever, ever forget her interview with Ellen [DeGeneres] when she was promoting this album, and she was talking about "Forever and Always," and she just called out Joe Jonas… that was the moment I knew this girl would have my heart for the rest of my life. 

 

6. Taylor Swift

The emotions from 16-year-old Taylor on this album, truly iconic, historic. I would go to war for this album, even though it's No. 6. 

There are so many hits. And this was really defining for her as an artist. This really put her on the map… and she’s only grown so much since then. This is where our relationship began, and I will always cherish the debut album.

"Our Song" was the one that really catapulted her into the heart of country music, and I’ll never forget when she won [the 2007 CMA Horizon Award], and she said, "This is the highlight of my senior year!" She was a senior in high school when she was promoting this album... [and] thinking about how old she was when she wrote and created this album, it’s truly iconic.

Check out more about Taylor's new album, Lover, in the video below, and follow @Katie_Krause and @OscarGracey for all your Swiftie updates!

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