Top 10 underrated Taylor Swift tracks

Taylor Swift has become one of the most loved and hated artists to dominate the music industry. Those who are unfamiliar or unwilling to accept the artist’s success have tried to drag her down, but most – if not all – have been left unsuccessful.

In 2009, Kanye West famously interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. 20-year-old Swift had just received her first MTV award for Best Female Video, and West boldly interrupted her speech by claiming that “I’m really happy for you, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.” 

Since the incident that caused Swift to feel publically humiliated, she had forgiven West, and a temporary peace existed between the two artists. To symbolize their new-found friendship, West called Swift to ask for her permission to use her name in his 2016 track “Famous”. Swift was oblivious to the fact that West’s wife Kim Kardashian had recorded the whole conversation, and when the track was released and Swift publicly stated that the offensive and misogynistic lyrics did not match what he had originally told her, Kardashian was quick to post a small portion of the video online to defend her husband.

Kardashian’s actions painted Swift to look like a liar, and Swift received an immense amount of public backlash, as #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty became the number one trending hashtag on Twitter. Haters began to call her a “snake,” and the media began to portray her as being “fake” and “manipulative.” This dark period of Swift’s life caused her to step out of the spotlight until the release of “Look What You Made Me Do,” the lead single from the artist’s chart-topping sixth studio album reputation.

Nearly four years later on March 20, 2020, West’s phone call with Swift was leaked in full, and since then, things haven’t been pretty for the 42-year-old rapper. The full video reveals that Swift was telling the truth the entire time, as Swift’s loyal fans were quick to note. The hashtags #KanyeWestIsOverParty and #TaylorToldTheTruth were trending worldwide on Twitter, and the leaked video has gained more than 11,000,000 views on Twitter in less than one day.

West had tried to sabotage Swift’s career, and although he may have seen temporary success, he could not defeat the “army” of fans that support the incredible musician.

At age 18, Taylor Swift wrote the most awarded album in the history of country music. At 20, Swift won her first Grammy, winning three more that same night. At 29, she starred in the Reputation Stadium Tour, which later became the highest-grossing US tour ever. At age 30, she was ranked as the number one most influential person on Twitter. 

Time and time again, the music industry has proven that it is hard to top Taylor Swift. She is one of the most outstanding artists of our time; and, as a result, has become a source of inspiration for millions of young girls and women across the globe.

Swift has been crafting well-known hits since she was 17, and has seen more success in 13 years than most artists will experience in a lifetime. Whether it’s due to her striking lyrics, her powerful vocals, or willingness to cross and blend genres, Swift’s past works are sure to impress. Although the artist’s chart-topping anthems such as “You Belong With Me” and “Shake It Off” have been prominent factors contributing to her meteoric rise, Swift’s seven studio albums contain hidden gems that deserve to be acknowledged. 

Swift’s best tracks lie wedged in between her well-known, feel-good songs that dominate the radio. Swift’s most complex and impressive works are the ones that are often overlooked by the typical non-Swiftie.

The last ten years have been monumental for Swift, and here are some of the artist’s most commendable and often unrecognized tracks, embodying why her title of Artist of the Decade is well deserved.

 

#10 – “New Year’s Day” – reputation (2017)

Ringing in the new year together is one of the most stereotypical activities for couples. In “New Year’s Day,” Swift touches upon this idea, while also taking these common traditions and building upon them to create something much deeper. 

Swift’s track begins by depicting the aftermath of a New Year’s Eve party, where there’s “glitter on the floor” and “Girls carrying their shoes down in the lobby.” Once the chaos of the celebration ended, Swift wonders if her partner will remain to deal with her on New Year’s Day, or if he will become “a stranger whose laugh I [Swift] could recognize anywhere.” The artist addresses the anxieties of any new relationship over the course of the soothing, piano-heavy track, and she effectively paints a picture that portrays the lingering feeling of distress that she feels in this moment. The song creates a stark contrast from the intense tracks that are concentrated within the first half of the record, and “New Year’s Day” is one of the most vulnerable songs that the musician has released. Swift intentionally uses little production to enhance the beauty of her prominent vocals, and this ballad perfectly demonstrates Swift’s natural talent for creating musical experiences.

#9 – “Treacherous” – Red (2012)

“Treacherous,” the third track from the album that marked Taylor Swift’s dramatic transition from country to pop, is one of Swift’s most impressive songs to date. Over the course of the song, Swift describes a relationship that she enjoys, but she cannot help but believe that it is destined to fail. Lines like “I’d be smart to walk away, but you’re quicksand” summarize how Swift has seemingly fallen for someone who she knows will quickly become toxic, but she has become so invested in the relationship that she refuses to give it up. The track is introduced as a gentle ballad, but it’s instrumentals and lyrics become increasingly intense as the song goes on, symbolizing Swift’s realization that this relationship may not be worth it. The contrasting ideas that the track seamlessly combines help the listener empathize with how Swift is feeling, even if they have never experienced the kind of pain that she is portraying. Swift’s ability to create a song that is both beautiful and tragic demonstrates her admirability as a musician, and listeners will be sure to appreciate the complicated relationship that Swift puts so simply within this song. 

#8 – “Death By A Thousand Cuts” – Lover (2019)

A track that at the surface seems depressing, “Death By A Thousand Cuts” is definitely heart-rending, but not in the ways that her audience had anticipated it to be. Throughout her career, Swift has mastered the art of writing complex, gut-wrenching ballads that are upwards of six-minutes long, but she decided to take a different approach here, one that made the song more of an upbeat heartbreak anthem. 

The track tells the tale of a long-term relationship that resulted in pain and misery, and it’s hard-hitting lyrics are sure to tug on the heartstrings of any listener. The musician’s willingness to step outside of her comfort zone shows Swift’s versatility and endless capabilities as a songwriter, and the powerfully diverse lyrics of “Death By A Thousand Cuts” will remain engraved in listeners’ minds long after the track has come to an end. 

#7 – “Cornelia Street” – Lover (2019)

“Cornelia Street,” the ninth track from Lover, depicts the story of a relationship that finally feels perfect to Swift. Lines like “And I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends / I’d never walk Cornelia Street again” show that Swift would be completely devastated if this person were to leave her life, and Swift beautifully portrays the magic of the relationship in a refreshing and exhilarating way that instantly creates an image in the listener’s mind. The light and airy tune leaves listeners feeling charmed and uplifted, and it serves as a pleasant reminder that not all relationships end in disaster. 

#6 – “Out Of The Woods” – 1989 (2014)

An elaborate track that tells the story of a relationship that is bursting into flames, “Out Of The Woods” is one of the most powerful songs that Swift has ever written. The track begins by describing the picture-perfect moments of a relationship, but then takes a dramatic turn to unleash the trauma that her partner caused her, which is showcased in lines such as “remember when you hit the brakes too soon, twenty stitches in the hospital room, when you started crying, baby I did too.” The overall production of the song is phenomenal, which is partially due to musical genius Jack Antonoff’s collaboration with Swift to produce the track. The intense, striking background instrumentals and haunting undertones featured in the song contribute to the overall depth and complexity of the track, and the musician’s passion for storytelling is evident when she pours her heart and soul into creating passionate ballads such as these. 

#5 – “Cruel Summer” – Lover (2019)

When Swift released her seventh studio album Lover in August of 2019, “Cruel Summer” became an instant hit. The song tells the story of the summer of 2016, a time where Swift faced intense public criticism and lost thousands of loyal fans due to multiple online feuds with celebrities including Kanye West. Many thought that Swift’s decision to take a break from the world of music was made as an attempt to prevent increased media attention, which was later found to be correct, but what many fans did not see was that Swift was falling in love. The upbeat track tells the story of what was really going on behind the scenes, and its dramatic lyrics transform Swift’s experiences into vivid, colorful moments. The artist’s willingness to let listeners in on pivotal moments in her life show her dedication towards pleasing her fanbase, and the connection that Swift establishes with her fans through tracks like “Cruel Summer” keeps them wanting more. Produced in partnership with Jack Antonoff, this track is anything but cruel. It is one of Swift’s most impressive songs to date, and “Cruel Summer” serves as a catalyst for everything that Lover stands for.

#4 – “Call It What You Want” – reputation (2017)

At first glance, Swift’s sixth studio album reputation seems dark and unforgiving. Many fans including myself who adored the sunshine and magic of Swift’s works prior to reputation were not fans of the album, as it seems to focus on revenge, anger, snakes, and the color black. What many fans failed to notice is that there are many hidden gems on this album, but you must first make it past the aggressive anthems such as “Look What You Made Me Do” and “I Did Something Bad” in order to find them. “Call It What You Want,” the second to last song on reputation, helps bring a sense of closure to the chaos that is heard throughout the first half of the album. The song showcases what Swift does best, which is using her incredible writing skills to tell a story that listeners will easily fall in love with. The artist took a softer, more lovey-dovey approach to writing this song, and its lyrics portray the amount of positivity that Swift found in her life once she let go of the negativity that was weighing her down. Lyrics such as “Nobody’s heard from me for months, I’m doing better than I ever was” suggest that Swift’s time away from the whirlwind of the music industry was for the best, and it allowed her to finally be in a stress-free relationship with no timeline or added media pressure. The track beautifully portrays growth and transformation, and it is definitely a standout amongst the hard-hitting tracks that make up most of reputation.

#3 – “Delicate” – reputation (2017)

Fans were quick to note that early in Swift’s career, the artist had a tendency to place the most emotional or heartfelt track as number five on her albums. Swift decided to continue the trend, and “Delicate,” the fifth track from reputation, definitely takes on the role of being the most softhearted song on the album. The track focuses on the beginning stages of a relationship, which Swift sees as “delicate” because she is afraid of making mistakes that would hinder the connection that she feels with this person. Over the course of the song, we see Swift not only question if she is rushing the relationship but also if the other person feels the same way. The song instantly transports the listener from the world of fury and revenge that Swift creates throughout the first four tracks of the album into a more mild, relaxing climate. This is symbolic of the way that Swift’s outlook on life changed after meeting this person, and we can tell that this relationship played a large role in distracting Swift from the years of chaos that she seemed to star in. The relaxing tone and unique production qualities of “Call It What You Want” have caused it to become one of the most easily distinctive songs on reputation, and the track shows that Swift is still able to focus on the positives in her life, even when it seems as if the whole world is against her.

#2 – “Getaway Car” – reputation (2017)

“Getaway Car” is one of the most conceptually impressive songs that Swift has ever written, and the complexity of its lyrics can be matched to that of tracks such as “Speak Now,” “Love Story,” and “Long Live.” The artist, who took inspiration from the infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde for the track, uses the metaphor of a “getaway car” to symbolize someone who is serving an escape from Swift’s current relationship. As she is attempting to escape one relationship, she quickly realizes that another relationship is blooming between herself and the “getaway car driver” in this scenario. Swift repeatedly claims that both relationships were bound to end in disaster, which the listener recognizes in lines such as “No, nothing good starts / In a getaway car” and “I knew it from the first Old Fashioned, we were cursed.” The symbolism that is evident throughout the track is phenomenal, and it is clear that Swift took no shortcuts while developing the song’s lyrics, which are both beautiful and heartbreaking. Listeners are sure to find themselves on the edge of their seats while trying to interpret the meaning of the song, and once again, Swift’s unique take on a basic concept prompted her to create one of the most amazing songs of her entire career. 

#1 – “All Too Well” – Red (2012)

Swift is no stranger to writing tragic breakup songs. It is what true fans of the artist have come to love, and “All Too Well” is easily the most sentimental and melancholic song that she has ever written. The song captures Swift in a much more vulnerable place than we had ever seen her in prior to the track, and you can hear the traces of heartbreak that linger in her voice. She begins the track by recounting moments such as “singing in the car getting lost upstate” that capture the beauty of the relationship, but the lyrics begin to slowly intensify as the song progresses, which signals a sudden turn in the wrong direction for the couple. The lines “I know it’s long gone and / That magic’s not here no more / And I might be okay, but I’m not fine at all” signalize the breaking point of the relationship, and Swift describes herself as feeling like a “crumpled up piece of paper” once all is said and done. The use of descriptive language throughout the track puts the listener directly in Swift’s shoes, and many fans have found a much deeper connection to the song than Swift had originally anticipated. To say that the song has become a fan favorite and a sort of “holy grail” in the Swiftie community is an understatement. Any footage of Swift performing the ballad is considered sacred, and superfans have even gone as far as to have its lyrics tattooed on their bodies. The song has stood the test of time, and it is sure to go down in history as one of Taylor Swift’s most adored tracks of her career.

 

As a vocalist, lyricist, and overall artist, Taylor Swift is like no other. From writing an entire award-winning album on her own at age 21 to starring in the highest-grossing tour in U.S. history, there is nothing that Swift hasn’t done. No matter what obstacles are placed in the musician’s life, she continues to create a successful and inspiring career for herself doing what she loves, and her legacy will continue to live on long after her time creating music comes to an end. For now, she will continue to make incredible music that will positively influence her millions of supporting fans, and although it seems as if Swift has done it all, she’s nowhere near done yet.