Let’s state the obvious first: Taylor Swift does, in fact, have numerous underrated tracks. Ever since her self-titled debut album in 2006, the singer-songwriter has become a pivotal industry artist. She’s recorded over 220 tracks in her career so far, successfully experimenting with various genres in the process. Yet for anyone only vaguely familiar with her discography, the popular standouts are limited to “Love Story,” “Shake It Off,” “All Too Well,” or, more recently, “Anti-Hero.” Her music tends to be eclipsed by snap judgments, a torrid news cycle around her love life, or other headlines (including a wild Ticketmaster situation to nab concert tickets).
The narrative around Swift’s body of work is often distilled down to one (untrue) notion: She only seemingly croons about heartbreak. While Swift draws from her reality—find us an artist who doesn’t—her creative genius lies in her lyrical ability. She’s always been a passionate storyteller with a talent for waxing poetic about love, individualism, insecurities, friendship, and grief. Her 2020 albums, folklore and evermore, prove she can spin a poignant fictional yarn as well.
Swift launched her 10th studio album, Midnights, on October 21. Written during “13 sleepless nights,”—a recurring motif in her discography—it echoes her past eras as well. To mark the release, The A.V. Club digs into Swift’s impressive repertoire to highlight some of her less-celebrated songwriting gems, picking two tracks from each of her albums. Yes, even from Midnights, which quickly broke records by securing all Top 10 charts upon release. And hey, who knows? With an open mind, you might be introduced to a whole new side of Swift, too.