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Run The World: How Taylor Swift Has Become One Of The Most Powerful Women In Music History
Taylor Swift

Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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Run The World: How Taylor Swift Has Become One Of The Most Powerful Women In Music History

In the inaugural episode of a new Women's History Month video series, Run The World, GRAMMY.com revisits the accomplishments that have made Taylor Swift one of the biggest female artists of all time — including her empowering message at the 2015 GRAMMYs

GRAMMYs/Mar 16, 2022 - 08:46 pm

At the 52nd GRAMMY Awards in 2010, at just 20 years old, then-country darling Taylor Swift won her first four GRAMMYs (including Album Of The Year) thanks to her second LP, Fearless. She has since taken home 11 golden gramophones, including a total of three for Album Of The Year — the most of any female solo artist in GRAMMY history.

As she accepted her second Album Of The Year trophy at the 2015 GRAMMY Awards — which then made her the first woman to win the honor twice — the now-pop queen used her speech as an opportunity to send an important and inspirational message to young women.

"There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments, or your fame," she said. "But if you just focus on the work, and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world."

There is so much to say about Swift, who has made history in countless other ways — in turn, inspiring fans looking to make it in the music industry and beyond. With that, the “Blank Space” singer is the perfect artist to kick off Run The World, a special Women's History Month video series meant to inspire and empower women and gender-expansive people in music (and, of course, is inspired by the iconic Beyoncé song of the same name).

While Swift continues to pen hits and gather accolades, the power of her music and her fame runs much deeper. Her personal, poetic songwriting has touched her millions of fans around the globe, including many young women. As she did with her GRAMMY speech, the superstar uses her massive platform to advocate for women and LGBTQIA+ people, as well as creatives — she famously took a stand for artists' rights by rerecording and rereleasing her albums sold to a private equity firm.

While women artists are often pitted against each other by the media, Swift has continually pushed back against that negativity. "I cheer on anybody who is living their life on their own terms, wearing what they want to wear, and representing what they want to represent," she said in 2014, in response to Emma Watson's United Nations speech on gender equality.

In 2019, Billboard declared Swift Woman of the Decade. In her acceptance speech, she shared the moment with fellow women artists, shouting out Lizzo, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, H.E.R. and Rosalía.

Revisit these moments and more in the video above, and come back to GRAMMY.com for more Run The World episodes this month. And make sure to tune into the 64th GRAMMY Awards on CBS on April 3 to find out if Swift will take home a fourth Album Of The Year win, for Evermore.

10 Artists Who Have Stood Up For Women In Music: Taylor Swift, Lizzo & More

Taylor Swift's Essential Music Videos, From "You Belong With Me" To "Anti-Hero"
Taylor Swift on the 2023 GRAMMYs red carpet.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Taylor Swift's Essential Music Videos, From "You Belong With Me" To "Anti-Hero"

In honor of Taylor Swift's history-making Best Music Video win at the 2023 GRAMMYs for "All Too Well: The Short Film," revisit some of the superstar's most iconic videos to date.

GRAMMYs/Feb 7, 2023 - 09:05 pm

At the 2023 GRAMMYs, Taylor Swift won Best Music Video for her short film set to the 10-minute version of "All Too Well."

It's a golden gramophone the singer has won once before, nearly a decade ago for the star-studded visual to 1989 single "Bad Blood." But this win was different. As Swift collected the 12th GRAMMY of her storied career, this victory came from a video she had single-handedly directed; it also marked the first time an artist won the category for a video they directed solo. 

Delivering iconic visuals is nothing new for the superstar, either. After all, she's been doing it from her earliest days as a teenage wunderkind known for penning diaristic country-pop hits like "Tim McGraw," "Our Song," "Love Story," and "You Belong with Me." But over the years, Swift's precision in executing her singular, cinematic vision has only gotten more creative, more exact and more ambitious — and now, those talents are GRAMMY-winning.

To celebrate Swift's big GRAMMY win for "All Too Well: The Short Film," GRAMMY.com has distilled her extensive filmography down to the 11 most essential and unforgettable music videos in the Swiftian canon — from "Teardrops on My Guitar" to her latest No. 1 smash "Anti-Hero."

Check out GRAMMY.com's picks for the most iconic Taylor Swift music videos below.

"Teardrops on My Guitar" (Taylor Swift)

Although it was only her second single, the video for 2006's "Teardrops on My Guitar" contains many of the hallmarks for what would become Swift's signature visual aesthetic throughout her early career. Unrequited love interest in the form of One Tree Hill's Tyler Hilton? Check. An iridescent gown fit for a fairytale? Check. A narrative arc that establishes our girl as the underdog, who you can't help rooting for to get her happy ending? Check and check.

"You Belong With Me" (Fearless)

Is there any video more quintessential from Swift's country era than the one for "You Belong With Me"? Not only did the Fearless visual give Swifties their queen in her now-iconic "Junior Jewels" T-shirt, but it established the goofy side of Swift's personality — as yet unseen in her filmography — as well as her willingness to embody characters in her videos, like the brunette mean-girl of a cheerleader and an ultra-relatable band geek who are competing for the heart of the hunky boy next door.

"Mine" (Speak Now)

"Mine" was the lead single for Swift's third album — not to be confused with fellow Speak Now single "Ours," which led off the 2010 LP's deluxe repackaging. And though she'd dabbled in the past on videos for "I'm Only Me When I'm With You" and "The Best Day," the song marked the pop star's first true directorial effort helped along by co-director Roman White. And she was clearly taking notes that would inspire her future work during the process — just watch the scene where she and her rakish, blonde fiancé get into a screaming match in their kitchen and tell any Swiftie it doesn't look familiar…

"Everything Has Changed" feat. Ed Sheeran (Red)

This 2012 collaboration with Ed Sheeran upped the ante in Swift's videography by handing off the bulk of the storytelling to other people entirely — in this case, a pair of elementary schoolers portraying younger versions of Tay and the "Thinking Out Loud" crooner. The close friends and frequent collaborators only appear in the final moments of the video, but the kids and their adorable story would pick up nearly a decade later in the visual for the pair's 2022 duet remix of Sheeran's "The Joker and The Queen."

"Blank Space" (1989)

What does Swift do when the media paints her as a serial dater — verging on maneater — who's constantly burning her way through a revolving door of famous men? Write a smash hit about it, of course. With help from Joseph Kahn, Swift turns tabloid fodder into cinematic gold by casting herself as the unhinged nightmare dressed like a daydream, always ready to make the bad guys good for a weekend and add their names to her little black book. Too bad the poor fools won't find out until it's too late that their names are in red, underlined…

"Look What You Made Me Do" (reputation)

#TaylorSwiftIsOverParty? As if. With the release of the "Look What You Made Me Do" video, Swift officially entered her reputation era and shifted her skewed public perception off its tilted axis and back in her favor. Yes, there were snakes serving tea, bathtubs filled with diamonds, and a Taylor or two for every era that had come before. But the true feat of the glossy, karma-fueled visual was reminding the superstar's fans, doubters and haters alike that her ability to come back from the proverbial dead with a smash single in hand will always be stronger than anything thrown at her.

"The Man" (Lover)

For her solo directorial debut, Swift wanted to make both a statement and a splash. So she chose to skewer the sexism and toxic masculinity she's endured throughout her career as "The Man," cleverly dressing in drag as a rich, cocky manspreader by the name of — you guessed it — Tyler Swift. As has become custom over the years, the music video was filled with Easter eggs and cameos from famous faces like TikTok star Loren Gray, Dwayne Johnson and even her own father. The video eventually made history as well, when Swift became the first solo female to ever take home the prize for Best Director at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2020.

"cardigan" (folklore)

Filmed at the height of the pandemic, Swift proved with the video for "cardigan" that she is always capable of creating magic, even in the most challenging of circumstances. Taking cues from the fantasy and period films she had devoured during the early days of quarantine, the visual took a more fantastical turn than many of the past videos in the star's filmography. As the sole star of the show, a nightgown-clad Swift is transported to magical worlds by her trusty piano — a perfect parallel to the fictional worlds she dreamed up on folklore.

"willow" (evermore)

When evermore arrived by surprise just five months after its older sister, Swift announced that she was venturing deeper into the metaphorical woods. And with that, the music video for "willow" picks up right where "cardigan" left off. The clip doubles down on the fantasy of folklore by setting the singer on a journey filled with witchcraft, scenes straight out of a storybook, and an onscreen reunion with Taeok Lee, who last appeared as a backup dancer on the Red Tour in 2013.

"All Too Well: The Short Film" (Red (Taylor's Version))

There was really only one way to do the mystical 10-minute version of "All Too Well" justice after Swift dug it out from the vault for Red (Taylor's Version) — a short film, directed by Swift herself. Enlisting actors Dylan O'Brien and Sadie Sink as the doomed lovers at the center of the autumnal tale, Swift wrote the treatment, took charge on set, and manifested her creative vision with her most fully-realized project to date. The sweeping, 15-minute mini-movie soon inspired Swift to write and direct her first feature film, and helped the singer win the 2023 GRAMMY for Best Music Video.

"Anti-Hero" (Midnights)

"It's me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me." With that witty inner dialogue, Swift introduced Swifties to the most hilariously self-destructive version of herself. But even self-loathing looks like a blast through the superstar's point of view, whether she's outrunning ghosts dressed in whimsical '70s-style bedsheets or commiserating with her gigantic monster of a doppelgänger who just wants to be part of the gang.

The Taylor Swift Essentials: 13 Songs That Display Her Storytelling Prowess And Genre-Bouncing Genius

20 Artists Who Made History At The 2023 GRAMMYs Other Than Beyoncé: Taylor Swift, Kim Petras, Viola Davis & More
Photo of Sam Smith and Kim Petras winning the GRAMMY for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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20 Artists Who Made History At The 2023 GRAMMYs Other Than Beyoncé: Taylor Swift, Kim Petras, Viola Davis & More

As Queen Bey takes her throne as the artist with the most GRAMMYs of all time, take a look at some of the other 2023 GRAMMY winners who joined her in celebrating momentous achievements.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 11:09 pm

In the win heard around the world, Beyoncé became the person with the most GRAMMYs of all time at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Her win for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for RENAISSANCE put her at 32 golden gramophones — and in host Trevor Noah's eyes, that solidified her title as the GRAMMY GOAT.

But while Beyoncé's latest GRAMMY feat is unquestionably impressive, the "BREAK MY SOUL" singer wasn't the only artist who experienced a piece of GRAMMY history at the 65th GRAMMY Awards.

There were several special moments at the Premiere Ceremony, including the first-ever GRAMMY Awards for Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical (Tobias Jesso Jr.) and Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media ("Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn Of Ragnarok"). At the Telecast, Kim Petras scored a major win for the transgender community with her Best Pop Duo/Group Performance victory, and Dr. Dre was the inaugural recipient of his namesake Dr. Dre Global Impact Award.

Below, take a look at some of the history-making feats from the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Milestone Moments

As Kim Petras and Sam Smith accepted the GRAMMY for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their risqué collaboration, "Unholy," Smith let Petras do the talking because of a very special feat: She was the first trans woman to win in the category.

Earlier at the Premiere Ceremony, Germaine Franco became the first woman of color to win Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media, which she won for composing the Disney animated film Encanto. (Notably, Encanto swept all three of the categories for which it was nominated, also winning Best Song Written For Visual Media for "We Don't Talk About Bruno" and Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media.)

Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde rang in a country first, as their win for Best Country Duo/Group Performance (for "Never Wanted to Be That Girl") marked the first female pairing to win the category — and the first GRAMMY win for both artists!

Notable Firsts

There were seven new awards given at the 2023 GRAMMYs, making those seven recipients the first to receive their respective honors. These were the first-time winners at the Premiere Ceremony: Tobias Jesso Jr. (Songwriter Of The Year, Non-Classical), "Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn Of Ragnarok" (Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media), Wet Leg (Best Alternative Music Performance for "Chaise Longue"), Bonnie Raitt (Best Americana Performance for "Made Up Mind") and J. Ivy (Best Spoken Word Poetry Album for The Poet Who Sat By The Door).

At the Telecast, Dr. Dre became the first recipient of the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award; shortly after, Iranian singer/songwriter Shervin Hajipour and his song "Baraye" received the first Special Merit Award for Best Song For Social Change. 

There were a few other notable firsts at the Premiere Ceremony. Taylor Swift's Best Music Video win for "All Too Well: The Short Film" was the first time an artist won the category for a video directed by the artist themselves.

When jazz favorite Robert Glasper's Black Radio III won Best R&B Album, it marked his second win in the category — and an interesting one at that. His first win came in 2013 thanks to the original album in the trilogy, Black Radio, meaning his 2023 win was the first time an album and its sequel album have won in the category. 

Elsewhere, two student groups celebrated some historic GRAMMY firsts: The Tennessee State University Marching Band became the first collegiate band to win a GRAMMY after receiving the golden gramophone for Best Roots Gospel Album, and the New York Youth Symphony became the first youth orchestra to win Best Orchestral Performance.

Exciting Rarities

Viola Davis added a GRAMMY to her ever-impressive empire, which meant she is now officially an EGOT (Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar, Tony) winner. Her GRAMMY win for Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording helped her become the third Black woman to earn an EGOT, and the first to secure the status at the GRAMMY Awards, following Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson

Bronx-born jazz singer Samara Joy was awarded the GRAMMY for Best New Artist — only the second time a jazz artist has won the award, and the first since Esperanza Spalding's win in 2011.

Jack Antonoff became the third producer to win Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical winner in consecutive years; Babyface did so in 1996 and 1997, and Greg Kurstin achieved the feat in 2016 and 2017.

Last but certainly not least, "Into The Woods" joined elite ranks by winning the GRAMMY for Best Musical Theater Album. Stephen Sondheim's 1987 original won the category in 1989, making it only the fourth Broadway show to earn two Best Musical Theater Album GRAMMYs alongside "Gypsy," "Les Miserables" and "West Side Story." It's also the second year in a row a piece of GRAMMY history was born from the category, as "The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical" creators Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear became the youngest winners in 2022.

10 Must-See Moments From The 2023 GRAMMYs: Beyoncé Makes History, Hip-Hop Receives An Epic Tribute, Bad Bunny Brings The Puerto Rican Heat


Taylor Swift Makes GRAMMY History (Again) With Best Music Video Win For "All Too Well: The Short Film" | 2023 GRAMMYs
Taylor Swift on the 2023 GRAMMYs red carpet.

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Taylor Swift Makes GRAMMY History (Again) With Best Music Video Win For "All Too Well: The Short Film" | 2023 GRAMMYs

Taylor Swift's Best Music Video win was her first of the 2023 GRAMMYs, which also marked another GRAMMY first for the superstar.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2023 - 12:08 am

Taylor Swift won the GRAMMY for Best Music Video at the 2023 GRAMMYs thanks to "All Too Well: The Short Film," becoming the first artist to win the category with a sole directing credit for their own music video.

Though Swift wasn’t there to accept the award herself, her video co-producer, Saul Germaine, delivered a short-and-sweet speech thanking Swift as well as the video's team and two stars, Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. "It was an incredible honor to tell this story with you," Germaine said.

Swift is no stranger to making GRAMMY history, as she became the first female artist to win the prestigious Album Of The Year GRAMMY three times in 2021 with her win for folklore. This is also not her first win in the Best Music Video category, either, as she won the award for "Bad Blood" in 2016.

Adele, BTS, Doja Cat, Kendrick Lamar, and Harry Styles were the other nominees in the Best Music Video category this year.

Listen to music from all of the nominees on our official Amazon Music playlist.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

The Taylor Swift Essentials: 13 Songs That Display Her Storytelling Prowess And Genre-Bouncing Genius
Taylor Swift in 2021, 2013, 2010, 2016, and 2009

PHOTOS (CLOCKWISE, L-R): KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE RECORDING ACADEMY, JEFF KRAVITZ/FILMMAGIC, MICHAEL CAULFIELD/GETTY IMAGES, CLIFF LIPSON/CBS VIA GETTY IMAGES, KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE

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The Taylor Swift Essentials: 13 Songs That Display Her Storytelling Prowess And Genre-Bouncing Genius

Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs on Feb. 5 and Taylor Swift's "The Eras Tour" kicking off in March, revisit these 13 hits and beloved classics by the 11-time GRAMMY winner.

GRAMMYs/Jan 26, 2023 - 04:00 pm

We're all under Taylor Swift's spell. From her poppy radio hits to her crying-on-the-floor anthems, her discography is as enthralling as it is extensive. She enchants with stories about not just heartbreak and lost loves, but also about wider reflections on life — self-worth, fame, politics, family, moving on, change.

Though Swift emerged as a country icon in high school, she has leapt across genres with ease in the years since, mastering them as well as shaping them. Whether she's busy conquering synth pop or molding indie folk, her songwriting cultivates a divine magic, one that merges reality and fiction with profound intimacy.

After expanding her sonic universe further with Midnights last year, Swift will kick off her "Eras Tour" in March. Simply the name of her tour indicates the expanse and power of her musical career thus far: as she bridges her eras, she builds her legacy.

Her legacy receives a unique nod through her four nominations for the 2023 GRAMMYs: while Swift is nominated for her Where The Crawdads Sing track, "Carolina," she's also nominated for songs that she wrote years ago, around the time of her original Red release. And just this month, Midnights' "Anti-Hero" broke Swift's personal record for her longest-running No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, further proving that she hasn't lost her touch.

By cherishing her past while continuing to mold her musical future, Swift strikingly dominates with staying power. Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs and Swift's upcoming "The Eras Tour," here are 13 tracks that highlight Swift's evolution up to Midnights, honoring her trailblazing creativity and versatility.

"Our Song," Taylor Swift (2006)

A song about a song, how meta of Swift. One of her earliest meta songwriting moves, "Our Song" encapsulates a relationship's everlasting beauty with the warm breeziness of riding shotgun. Its lighthearted conversational lyricism emits an infectious joy that helped introduce Swift as a songwriter who is both relatable and captivating.

The banjo-led tune establishes the singer's country roots with a casual, but vivid image: Swift grinning with her elbow on the car door, hair windswept with the windows down. She may have written "Our Song" for a talent show back in high school, but Swift clearly had the songwriting prowess of a superstar — one that grew well beyond freshman year.

"White Horse," Fearless (2008)

Just two tracks after the whirlwind romance of "Love Story," Swift finds herself closing her fairytale storybook to disappointment. While "White Horse" sees the singer question her self-worth and cradle her crushed dreams, the heartbreaking track ended up earning Swift two GRAMMY Awards for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 2010. (The singer scored her first GRAMMY wins that year, taking home four GRAMMYs total. To date, Taylor Swift has won 11 GRAMMYs and received 42 nominations overall.)

Although the acoustic ballad wallows in sorrow, gloom eventually blooms into a necessary epiphany: "I'm gonna find someone someday who might actually treat me well," Swift realizes in the final chorus. In this way, "White Horse" prevails as one of the singer's most powerful ballads to date — and judging by what Swift has said about Midnights track "Lavender Haze," that realization has come true.

"Forever & Always," Fearless (2008)

"Forever & Always" is arguably one of Fearless' staple tracks, but what many fans may not know is that the timeless track almost didn't make the album. The pop-rock anthem track sees Swift denounce a hypocritical ex who misled her, and she criticizes them with a slew of questions she already knows the answers to: "Were you just kidding?" "Was I out of line?" "Did you forget everything?" From distress to confusion to anger, the song bursts with warranted rage at a betrayal, cementing Swift as a master of channeling heartbreak.

"Enchanted," Speak Now (2010)

Long before "Enchanted" spiraled into one of Swift's many viral TikTok moments, the Speak Now deep cut bewitched listeners from the second it arrived more than a decade ago. The song hums with anticipation, with early acoustic guitar later giving way to overwhelming yearning and anthemic production.

The way the song progresses is almost like a fairytale, starting with a longing stare and playful conversation before ending with a rosy-cheeked walk home. It's a near-perfect display of Swift's ability to capture an incisive, fleeting romance in song, from the smitten lyrics to cinematic production. And though the love song serves more of a captivating cliffhanger than a finished chapter, its story still leaves listeners blushing all the way home.

"Back To December," Speak Now (2010)

On Speak Now's "Back to December," Swift sifts through wilting roses and missed birthdays to unearth a sorrowful confession. As she comes to terms with her regret over ending a healthy relationship, the track swells with guilt and sincerity. While many of Swift's preceding romantic songs were characterized by longing or criticism, "Back to December" takes the rare form of a bittersweet, candid apology that exhibits maturity and grace.

"Mean," Speak Now (2010)

Complete with banjo and fiddle, "Mean" isn't just the only country-driven track on Speak Now, but it's also one of the last truly classic country songs of her catalog. The album's spunky sixth track goes down as one of Swift's most beautifully berating to date — even alongside "Look What You Made Me Do," "Bad Blood," and "Picture to Burn" — as she lambastes a cruel critic and realizes her self-worth.

Ironically, the Swift track that most put haters on blast is one of her most critically acclaimed, as the song won Swift two GRAMMY Awards for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song in 2012. "Mean" also thrives as a manifestation — she has certainly become big enough that they can't hit her.

"Blank Space," 1989 (2014)

Nice to meet you, where you been? Swift's 1989 era submerged the singer in heavy synth and kaleidoscopic pop, and the record's exuberant second single "Blank Space" best flaunts Swift's multifaceted artist persona. The illustrious pop song satirizes the media's image of Swift as a serial dater, coasting with a sultry liveliness before escalating into ferocity.

Swift is scathingly and brilliantly self-aware as she acknowledges the world's view of her reputation: "Got a long list of ex-lovers/ They'll tell you I'm insane/ 'Cause you know I love the players/ And you love the game."

She continued poking fun at the "crazy ex-girlfriend" trope in the music video, from wrecking her former lover's car to setting his clothes on fire. The cleverly self-deprecating narrative (and genius visual) helped "Blank Space" become Swift's biggest streaming song to date, garnering a whopping 3 billion views on YouTube alone. 

Accolades aside, "Blank Space" marked an important turning point for Swift. It was the first time she used her autobiographical songwriting style to take the power back — and most importantly, prove that no matter what is said about her, she'll keep cranking out the hits.

"Don't Blame Me," reputation (2017)

Defiance defines "Don't Blame Me," the fourth track from Swift's intrepid — and perhaps most unexpected — album reputation. The track personifies catharsis, uplifted by heavy bass and hard-hitting synth. Although the song is loosely about an intoxicating love, its ambition also represents Swift reclaiming her narrative once again.

Drawing comparisons to Madonna's "Like a Prayer" and Hozier's "Take Me to Church," the song marks more than moody melodrama, but shamelessly moving forward. Amid public quarrels with other celebrities — as well as the tabloids' obsession with her personal life — she makes a very definitive statement: don't blame her.

"Cruel Summer," Lover (2019)

"Cruel Summer" strikes Swift's discography in a zealous way, recalling the dreamy worlds of 1989's "Style" or reputation's "Getaway Car." The song sees Swift reminisce about a whirlwind summer romance with bittersweet intensity.

The track's assertive, immaculate electropop writhes irresistibly as Swift navigates the stark pain of secrets and love. Everything about "Cruel Summer" is sharp and exquisite, and the way its bridge bursts with melodramatic vigor is enough alone to make this a vital Swift track, even if it wasn't a single.

"the last great american dynasty," folklore (2020)

"the last great american dynasty" flourishes as one of Swift's most lucid, exquisite storytelling ventures — and as any Swiftie knows, that's saying something.

Reading like a short story, the crisp indie track recounts the life of American socialite Rebekah Harkness, one of the former owners of Swift's Rhode Island mansion. Swift weaves the past and present together seamlessly, drawing parallels between herself and Harkness with vivid detail and keen clarity. On this folklore track, Swift presents a refreshing creative vision by flaunting a new, innovative facet of her songwriting prowess.

"betty," folklore (2020)

Swift's first indie-folk foray, folklore, spins a tantalizing fictional love triangle across three tracks: "cardigan," "august," and "betty." The latter shimmers with reflective hope and heartache from the perspective of a character named James.

The apologetic, harmonica-driven folk rock track is reminiscent of Swift's earlier, country-rooted music — yet, the way its intricate narration uniquely interlocks with other album tracks is more characteristic of Swift's modern storytelling craft. Swinging between lighthearted and forlorn, "betty" cements Swift as a mystical mastermind.

"All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)," Red (Taylor's Version) (2021)

Swift's "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" might very well be her magnum opus. Although the original beloved song from Red was never released as a single, it emerged as a fan favorite for its tragic retelling of visceral heartbreak. And once Swift released a new — and much longer — 10-minute edition of the gut-wrenching track on Red (Taylor's Version) nearly a decade later, it almost instantly became the fan favorite.

The song broke the Guinness World Record for being the longest song to reach No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 (beating out Don McLean's "American Pie"!), and its cinematic music video "All Too Well: The Short Film" continued to stretch the Swift multiverse. With lucid lyricism, cathartic storytelling, and riveting melodies, "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" triumphs as the pinnacle example of everything that makes Swift a revered songwriter and certified star — one who continues to shine like an ever-lovely jewel.

"Anti-Hero," Midnights (2022)

"It's me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me," Swift sighs on "Anti-Hero." Self-hatred takes center stage on the lead single from Midnights, inspired by the singer's insecurities, nightmares and fear of depersonalization.

Over a swirl of steady upbeat production, the pop song draws comparisons to the heartbreaking honesty of Lover's "The Archer." Her poetic candor takes on a self-destructive quality ("I'll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror," she admits) that conveys an all-consuming loneliness — and at the same time, stark self-awareness.

Yet, Swift isn't an anti-hero, she's a mastermind. Serving as a "guided tour" of the things she tends to hate about herself, "Anti-Hero" spotlights not only the weight of Swift's vulnerability, but also its power. This capability transcends beyond Midnights; her sweeping creative force stretches across her past records and conquered genres. And even despite any insecurities, her influence has only continued to grow — showing that Taylor Swift will never go out of style.

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