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Top 10 Taylor Swift Songs

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Country music has not seen a phenomenon like Taylor Swift since Shania Twain broke through in a big way back in 1995 with her second album, the 12-times platinum The Woman in Me. Swift’s emergence as the new queen of country music has been astonishingly fast, and it can largely be attributed to her songwriting, which has touched millions of fans. Here are my picks for the top 10 Taylor Swift songs so far in her very short career.

10. “Tim McGraw” (from ‘Taylor Swift’)

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 42nd Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards All-Star Jam.
Ethan Miller/ACMA/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The debut single from her debut album, Swift was just sixteen when “Tim McGraw” was released to radio, and it instantly put her on the map. Her voice is tender and emotive as she reminisces about an old love she remembers fondly. Music has the power to evoke memories, and it’s an old Tim McGraw song that triggers her happy memories: “But when you think Tim McGraw/I hope you think my favorite song/The one we danced to all night long/The moon like a spotlight on the lake.”

9. “The Best Day” (from ‘Fearless’)

© Big Machine
The thing that separates a good songwriter from great songwriter is their ability to weave a colorful tapestry of sights, sounds and emotions. Swift has that ability in spades, and in no place does it shine more than on “The Best Day,” which is essentially a love letter to her parents: “I’m five years old, it’s getting cold, I’ve got my big coat on/I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you, I run and run/Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides, look now, the sky is gold/I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home.”

8. “Fifteen” (from ‘Fearless’)

© Big Machine

Quite possibly the best track on Fearless, “Fifteen” showed that Swift had not only matured as a songwriter but also as a person. It is a wonderfully crafted song that cautions younger girls to not give their hearts away too easily: “’Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you/You’re gonna believe them/When you’re fifteen and your first kiss/Makes your head spin ‘round/But in your life you’ll do greater things than/Dating the boy on the football team/But I didn’t know it at fifteen.”

7. “White Horse” (from ‘Fearless’)

© Big Machine
What makes “White Horse” such an effective ballad is that it perfectly captures that heartbreaking moment in a relationship when you realize that the fairytale is over: “Stupid girl/I should have known, I should have known, That I’m not a princess/This ain’t a fairytale/I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet.” Accompanied mainly by an acoustic guitar and a soft piano, Swift sounds broken while mourning the loss of something that seemed so perfect in the beginning.

6. “Picture to Burn” (from ‘Taylor Swift’)

© Big Machine
On “Picture to Burn,” the fourth single from Taylor Swift, Swift takes no prisoners in her quest to make a former flame feel her wrath for doing her wrong: “There’s no time for tears/I’m just sitting here planning my revenge/There’s nothing stopping me/From goin’ out with all of your best friends.” Banjos and drums propel the verses of this up-tempo song, while distorted guitars and big vocals hammer home each chorus. This is girl-power to the nth degree.

5. “Our Song” (from ‘Taylor Swift’)

© Big Machine

The third single from Swift’s debut album, “Our Song” is a snappy mid-tempo number about a previous boyfriend she still considers a good friend. The highlight of the song is her uncanny ability, especially at such a young age, to write a compelling narrative: “I was riding shotgun with my hair undone in the front seat of his car/He’s got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel/The other on my heart.” Like country’s best songwriters, Swift is a storyteller. Tom T. Hall would be proud.

4. “Love Story” (from ‘Fearless’)

© Big Machine
The first single from her award-winning sophomore album, Fearless, “Love Story” is the song that really catapulted her from fresh-faced star to crossover superstar. Playing off the whole Romeo and Juliet theme, Swift departs from her usual “I wish this boy knew how I really felt about him” theme and, instead, ventures straight into girl-actually-gets-boy territory, and the public loved it. “Love Story” became Swift’s first international hit, as well as the most downloaded country song in history.

3. “Invisible” (from ‘Taylor Swift’)

© Big Machine

Swift mines heartache gold again with the very delicate and thoughtful “Invisible,” a song she co-wrote with Robert Ellis Orrall, who also co-produced her self-titled debut album. This beautiful piano-driven song was never released as a single, but it certainly would have climbed high on the charts if it had. When she sings “And all I think about/Is how to make you think of me/And everything that we could be,” she perfectly captures the awkward teenage angst we all endure—or have endured—at one time or another.

2. “You Belong with Me” (from ‘Fearless’)

© Big Machine
There’s no question that Swift is partial to songs about boys who don’t know she’s nuts about them. “You Belong with Me” is a catchy mid-tempo song that shows off her prodigious ability to not only pen songs that resonate with the heart but that are also fun to sing along with. It’s the first song to since Faith Hill’s 2000 single, “Breathe,” to find itself in the top five on both the country and pop charts simultaneously.

1. “Teardrops on My Guitar” (from ‘Taylor Swift’)

© Big Machine
Swift’s breathless voice is nothing less than captivating on “Teardrops on My Guitar,” her first song to break into the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Singing about Drew, a boy she is crazy about who is clueless about her true feelings, it’s hard not to be pulled into her pain when she practically cries, “He’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar/The only thing that keeps me wishing on a wishing star.”
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