Taylor Swift’s re-recording of Fearless is set to be released April 9. The album will feature all the original tracks with updated vocals along with six songs that were cut from the original 2008 version.
“Fearless” is heralded as the album that catapulted Swift to mainstream stardom, but with a career spanning over 15 years, fans will inevitably disagree which albums were her best work.
While we wait for the new editions of Swift’s nostalgic hits, here’s a ranking of her nine records from the perspective of two members of The Reveille’s staff:
10. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift's self-titled debut album is good for the nostalgia factor, but is country overkill. Personally, it just reminds me of hometown trauma. Great for a 14-year-old for sure, but too juvenile for my taste.
Favorite track: Should’ve Said No
Honorable mention: Picture To Burn
Least Favorite: Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)
Here we have nice development of Swift's songwriting style. This album includes two of her most iconic singles (“Love Story” and “You Belong With Me”). Overall the album is good but kind of one-note. It doesn’t stray from the original image of Taylor as America’s country sweetheart.
Favorite: The Way I Loved You
Honorable mention: You’re Not Sorry
Least favorite: Hey Stephen
There’s lack of musical consistency/cohesive storyline with this album. It sounds more like bonus tracks that got left off "folklore," and was too soon of a release after "folklore." There are great lyrics on this album and good style experimentation with callbacks to Swift’s country elements/roots.
Favorite: tolerate it
Honorable mentions: ivy, cowboy like me
Least favorite: coney island (feat. The National)
7. Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
I’m hoping in this re-release that she’ll experiment/put a twist on her classics, and I’m also anticipating more collaborations with her six ‘From The Vault’ bonus tracks. It will hopefully have a more adult Taylor flair combined with her old style.
“Lover” is very good conceptually. It also includes the first songs where Taylor makes her political standings evident which shows nice growth. It is kind of cheesy lyrically which makes it feel a little shallow at times, but overall, it’s a fun album with some really fantastic b-sides. It deserved better than the attention it got.
Favorite: It’s Nice To Have A Friend
Honorable mentions: Cruel Summer, London Boy
Least favorite: ME! (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco)
“1989” is exactly what a pop album should sound like. It deserves credit because it was her first full and true foray into the genre and it was THIS good. Taylor pays tribute to '80s instrumentals and sounds, combining them with her own modern pop flair and lyrical style. It's a fun, enjoyable listen, but still maintains lyrical and musical complexity.
Favorite: I Wish You Would
Honorable mention: I Know Places
Least favorite: Bad Blood
This is one of her most cohesive projects. The production value is insanely good and it was her first real ‘adult’ album, as Taylor touches on more mature topics, with tracks like "Dress" and "So It Goes...". She caters to her older audience, a departure from her former wholesome style.
Favorite track: Don’t Blame Me
Honorable mention: So It Goes…
Least favorite: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
“folklore” displays Taylor’s skill as a songwriter the best. Not only does it have an incredible storyline, but it’s also less production heavy than her previous three albums ("1989," "reputation" and "Lover"), which makes it a standout. It’s another genre experiment gone right.
Honorable mentions: invisible string, the lakes
Least favorite: the last great american dynasty
“Red” feels like some of her most authentic work. It’s a lyrical standout and her first genre-blending album, combining her pop and country styles into one cohesive work. Overall, it’s a growth out of the good wholesome country all-American sound.
Favorite track: All Too Well
Honorable mention: The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol)
Least favorite track: I Almost Do
1. Speak Now
“Speak Now” was the most iconic era/peak Taylor era, with the most memorable songs and singles. It also had the quintessential Taylor sound and each song tells a story. Each song has a place in the album and none feel like they should have been left off of the album. All in all, it was a very raw, passionate work of art.
Favorite track: Enchanted
Honorable mention: Sparks Fly
Least favorite track: Last Kiss
10. Taylor Swift
Honestly, part of me is just putting this at the bottom because it’s the least mature and seems like the obvious choice, but there’s still plenty of gems on this album. “Our Song” and “Picture to Burn” are timeless classics. There are some weak singing and lyrics at times, but I’ll give her a break because she was 14. Although, I still listen to this more often than I care to admit.
Favorite: I'm Only Me When I'm With You
Honorable mention: Mary's Song (Oh My My My)
Least favorite: A Perfectly Good heart
I’m sorry everyone, I really am - but I just couldn’t get into "evermore." I was/still am trying to warm up to "folklore," and then this got released before I fully got used to her new style of music. That being said, I'm sure it will grow on me as I listen to it more.
Honorable mention: gold rush
Least favorite: no body no crime
I may have to go into hiding after this article is published, but I didn’t fall completely head over heels for "folklore" because it’s not the typical style of music. I’ll put it on in the background when I'm doing something else and it's nice, but the songs don’t get stuck in my head the way her others do. That being said, I can recognize it’s an objectively good album even if it’s not my taste.
I don't really have a least favorite track from this album - my whole problem with it is that the songs run together in my brain. Again, I'm sure it will come around to me at some point as I listen more.
Favorite: Invisible String
Honorable mentions: mirrorball, illicit affairs
7. Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
I find re-recorded albums often sound jarring to my ears since I’m used to the original, so I'm sure "Fearless (Taylor's Version)" will take some time to warm up to. I'm still excited to hear how much her vocals have matured and also to listen to the previously unreleased tracks. Her inclusion of "Today Was a Fairytale" is also a nice touch.
It doesn’t quite have the nostalgia factor of “Fearless” but it’s too old to have the appeal of her newer music. It’s a great album though, and probably one of her most sonically and visually cohesive projects to date with its vintage, 80s pop-inspired feel.
Favorite: You Are in Love
Honorable mention: Blank Space
Least favorite: Bad Blood
From the hits like "You Belong With Me" and "Love Story" to the hidden gems like "The Way I Loved You" and "Tell Me Why," there are almost no skips for me on this album and it will always be a classic. The extended edition also has a lot of fun songs, like "Jump Then Fall" and "The Other Side of the Door."
Her age shows a little bit here with some of the vocals and lyricism, but that's not a bad thing. The whole album promotes the central theme of being young and unafraid of the world.
Honorable mention: The Way I Loved You
Least favorite: The Best Day
This one is really underrated. I liked the whole era and almost all the songs on the album almost immediately, which is unusual because I typically need to listen to an album a few times through before getting used to it. I'm a little bitter that "folklore" cut this album's time in the spotlight short.
Favorite: It's Nice to Have a Friend
Honorable mention: Death By A Thousand Cuts
Least favorite: You Need to Calm Down
"reputation" is one that took a while to grow on me. Just a few months ago, I would've said this is my least favorite album. One day I turned it on and I felt like I understood everything Swift was trying to do here, and now I unexplainably think it's a masterpiece (yes, I've even grown to appreciate "Look What You've Made Me Do").
Favorite: New Year's Day
Honorable mentions: Call It What You Want, End Game
Least favorite: Gorgeous
This is another one I didn't like immediately, although I was also 12 when it came out, so I hopefully have developed better music taste since then.
While the album is a little chaotic with light country and rock influences followed by her dubstep-inspired singles, it has some of the most brilliant songs she's ever written and there's cohesion to be found within the lyrics.
Favorite: State of Grace
Honorable mentions: Begin Again, The Lucky One
Least Favorite: Red
1. Speak Now
Maybe it's because I'm about to graduate and "Long Live" and "Never Grow Up" are on repeat, or maybe it's because "Mean" singlehandedly got me through my middle school years, but "Speak Now" will always reign supreme in my heart. It's the only album Swift wrote entirely by herself and you can tell she poured a lot of emotion and personal experience into the lyrics. It's the perfect mix of whimsy and realism that has left fans convinced she's been reading our diaries for years.
Honorable mention: Enchanted
Least favorite: Last Kiss
Listen to some of Jayden and Anna's top picks from each Taylor Swift album here.