Scroll To See More Images
With 10 Grammys and five No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100, there’s no doubt Taylor Swift is a modern-day superstar. But this list of the best old Taylor Swift songs prove that the 29-year-old was always good and destined for superstardom. It’s been 13 years (her favorite number, as Swifties know) since the release of the Pennsylvania native’s first album, and though she’s come a long way from her curly-haired, cowboy-boots-wearing roots, that doesn’t mean that Swift is officially done with country music. In fact, many fans have theorized that the singer could be returning to her country roots for her next and seventh album. (The theory is a lot, but the basic idea is that the last song on Reputation, “New Year’s Day”, could be a clue to the music style of her next album, as it’s emblematic of a new start.)
Whether Swift returns to country music or not, there’s no doubt fans miss it. The good news is that Swift has four albums (eh—three and a half) filled with country and country-ish bangers to listen to. Ahead of TS7, which she plans to release sometime this year, we’ve looked back at the 13 best old Taylor Swift songs that make us feel likes it’s 2008 all over again.
“Tim McGraw” (2006)
The first song Swift ever released, “Tim McGraw”—about Swift’s high school boyfriend who moved away to college and their relationship with Tim McGraw’s music—has long had a special place in the Taylor Swift fandom. Not only is the song Swift’s first-ever single, but its crestfallen lyrics and soft melody set the tone for Swift’s future music and defined her as a singer-songwriter powerhouse in-the-making. The song never charted that high and is often forgotten in the singer’s repertoire, but it deserves its place in recent Swift songs that deserve another listen.
“Our Song” (2006)
One of Swift’s most country songs, this banjo-powered tune is the last song on Swift’s debut album because of its last lyric: “Play it again”—a cheeky way to urge the listener to play the record another time. The song, about an exciting, secret relationship and how actions like “sneaking out late” have become “their song”, is one of Swift’s more memorable tracks from her first album. The tune is catchy and will stay in your head for years to come.
“Cold as You” (2006)
One of Swift’s lesser-known tracks, “Cold As You” comes from Swift’s debut album. The song, which was never a single, is well-known in the Taylor Swift fanbase for its raw and emotional lyrics and performance. Though the song may not be recognizable to casual Swift fans, “Cold as You” has such an audience in Swiftie community that Swift played it for the first time live on her Red Tour in 2013 at the request of her fans. The song is about an emotionally abusive relationship that Swift didn’t realize was toxic until she was out of it.
“Tied Together with a Smile” (2006)
Another lesser-known Swift track, “Tied Together with a Smile” is about Swift’s high school friend who had an eating disorder. “I wrote [“Tied Together With A Smile”] about one of my friends, who is this beauty queen, pageant princess—a gorgeous, popular girl in high school. Every guy wanted to be with her, every girl wanted to be her. I wrote that song the day I found out she had an eating disorder,” she told Entertainment Weekly. The song, a soft, guitar-powered ballad, deals with one of the heavier subjects in Swift’s discography, and it’s been a longtime favorite of fans.
“Fearless”, the lead track of Swift’s second album of the same title, defined Swift’s Fearless era, which earned her her first-ever Grammys, including one for Album of the Year. The song is simple: It’s about an amazing date that makes you want to kiss and dance in the rain. Compared to the many heartbreak tracks throughout Swift’s first album, Fearless set the tone for Swift’s next era, which was about the beauty and excitement of love, just as much as the heartbreak of it.
“Love Story” (2008)
One of Swift’s most well known songs, “Love Story” is one of the few tracks that Swift has performed at each of her tours. Though it came out over a decade ago, the song, which tells the tale of a modern-day relationship through the lens of a classic romance, is catchy, bright and deserving of another listen, if you haven’t heard it recently.
“Forever & Always” (2008)
“Forever & Always”, which has both a pop and a piano version on Fearless, is the only song Swift has confirmed to be about a celebrity. In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2008, Swift called Jonas an “ouch” and told DeGeneres that she recorded the song at the last minute when the relationship was going south. The lyrics are brilliant and take on different lives depending on the version. The pop version has more angst, while the piano version sounds crestfallen.
Off the deluxe edition of Fearless, “Untouchable” is technically a cover of the band Luna Halo’s song of the same title, but anyone who has heard both versions knows that Swift’s “Untouchable” is completely different. Though Swift borrowed lyrics from the original, she added some of her own and completely changed the melody to a wispy love song about someone who’s out of reach—or untouchable. Swift countrified the original, which is more rock ‘n’ roll, and turned it into a lesser-known, beloved track by longtime Swifties.
“The Other Side of the Door” (2009)
Also off the deluxe edition of Fearless, released several months after the original album, “The Other Side of the Door” has some of Swift’s strongest lyrics. The lyrics, which are fast and hard, tell the story of a Notebook-like, tumultuous relationship that, at the end of the day, is between two people in love. The song is one of the more forgotten tracks in Swift’s repertoire, but once you listen to it, you’ll understand why it has a special place in Swift fans’ hearts.
The lead single off of Swift’s third album, Speak Now, “Mine”, which is rumored to be about Cory Monteith, tells the beginning and the end of a fictional relationship, from the first date to starting a family. Swift has been clear that the song doesn’t reflect her real life, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less good.
“Sparks Fly” (2010)
Though “Sparks Fly” was release on Swift’s third album, the song was a fan-favorite long before that. The song was first performed by Swift at a cafe in 2006, long before she became the superstar is today. A live recording of the song made its way to the internet, where it was listened to like an earworm by fans. Eventually, after enough persistence, Swift released a studio version of the song on Speak Now. The song is about lust and an attraction to someone from across the room and marked Swift’s transition to more adult themes.
“Dear John” (2010)
Though unconfirmed (Swift has only confirmed the inspiration behind one song), “Dear John” is widely believed to be about John Mayer. Praised for its bold lyrics and heartbreaking performance, “Dear John” is about a doomed relationship where one person is taken advantage of by the other person’s mind games. Though it was never a single, the song is popular among both longtime and casual fans.
“Last Kiss” (2010)
Widely believed to be about Joe Jonas, “Last Kiss,” off Swift’s third album, is one of the singer’s more heartbreaking tracks. The song reflects on a past relationship and how the singer never knew so many things would be the couple’s last. The soft, acoustic ballad is also believed to reference the Jonas Brothers in how Swift watches her ex’s “life in pictures.”