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Ranking Every Taylor Swift Album, from Debut to ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

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Ranking Every Taylor Swift Album, from Debut to 'The Tortured Poets Department'

To rank Taylor Swift’s discography is the modern listener’s “sword in the stone.” To say, it’s an impossible and daunting task.

 

For an artist who has been on the receiving end of so much scrutiny, she’s genuinely never had a “flop era,” a fate which has befallen nearly every other pop artist. Even her weakest body of work is a tour de force. Swift gets sharper with time, but her earlier work remains draped in nostalgia.
As she spoke about in her 2020 documentary, Miss Americana, Taylor Swift is completely lucid when it comes to the inescapable need for reinvention in the music space, specifically for women. The impossible task, then, is finding reinvention in consistency. We want our artists consistently good, while consistently brand new. We want something we’ve never heard before, but we want it to exist in conversation with what came before.
Taylor Swift has transcended this fool’s errand by tapping into her existing fanbase. As The Tortured Poets Department made clear, she’s not looking for new fans. She’s not doing it for the Grammys (she already has 14). She’s not doing it for the ever-fickle industry. She knows what her billion-dollar fanbase wants, she’s giving it to them, and the rest can rot.
In researching for this story—polling every Swiftie in the phone book—we found that there is almost no consensus on a ranking of Taylor Swift’s albums. The Reputation girls will riot, the Fearless girls can’t move on, the Tortured Poets Department girls are going through something. Each of Swift’s 11 albums, which range from country to pop to singer-songwriter ditties, come with their own horde of fervent fans.

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