Everyone knows that Taylor Swift can write a hit single, but you might not know that her deep cuts are just as good, if not better.
If you’re the kind of person who only listens to the Taylor Swift tracks that are on the radio, you are seriously missing out! Say what you want about her, but it’d be tough to deny that the girl is one of the most talented songwriters of our generation. Every album she’s released has been packed with amazing songs, not all of which have made it to single status.
It’s been almost three years since Taylor Swift released 1989, and Swifties are long overdue for new music. Luckily, she’s started teasing us with some strange lizard videos, so that must mean #TS6 is nigh! Yes, I’m aware that the logic is flawed, but there is actually good reason to believe that Taylor Swift will, in fact, be dropping new music very soon.
The problem is, now that we know it’s coming soon, the wait is even more excruciating! We have no idea what this potential single could be. Will it be a dance hall hit, like “Shake it Off,” a sweet love song, like “Tim McGraw,” a message to her growing list of haters, like “Bad Blood,” or will it be a “screw you,” break up anthem, like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together?”
Luckily, Swift’s already impressive discography has tons of all of those for us to pass the time with. So, join me in diving into some of her best deep cuts while we all wait for the next single. Listen to the entire playlist on Spotify, and read on for my picks. Be sure to read to the end for a bonus track!
The best Taylor Swift deep cuts
Taylor Swift introduced the world to…well, Taylor Swift! Her first album was strictly country, but the honesty and relatability of her music quickly began attracting fans of many genres. It was clear from day one that she was an extremely talented songwriter, and that she had a unique ability to convey the experience of her demographic with her music.
“Tim McGraw” was Taylor Swift’s debut single, and it was soon followed by “Teardrops on my Guitar,” “Our Song,” “Picture to Burn,” and “Should’ve Said No,” which all gained massive popularity. Here are a couple other amazing tracks from Taylor Swift that you might have missed.
‘Cold As You’
Taylor Swift quickly showed the world that she could write a song about heartbreak, even at her young age, when she released “Teardrops on my Guitar.” However, hidden on her self-titled album was an even more powerfully beautiful heartbreak ballad: “Cold As You.” It’s a cry your eyes out, pour your heart out kind of song, and it’ll always be one of my favorites.
“Cold As You” set the stage for the many crushing heartbreak anthems that Taylor Swift would gift to us in her following albums, but it’ll always be the first. Lyrics like “you come away with a great little story, of a mess a dreamer, with the nerve to adore you,” first showcased Swift’s bravely wielded knack for honesty.
While “Cold As You” is admittedly more melodramatic than some of her later, more refined efforts, it honestly and fearlessly articulates the plight of a young girl who’s falling in love for the first time, with someone who she probably shouldn’t. Melodramatic or not, it’ll still do the job if you need to have a good cry!
‘Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)’
I don’t know who Mary is, but after you listen to her song, you’ll be wishing it was yours! “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)” tells the story of two people from their time as childhood neighbors, all the way up to the day that they marry each other. It’s just freaking adorable.
Taylor Swift kept it country for her second album, Fearless, but with all the success she’d enjoyed with Taylor Swift, she began to gain more and more fans across all genres. Two singles in particular, “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me,” became massive hits on basically every platform.
Other singles from Fearless included “White Horse,” “Fifteen,” and the title track. Fearless definitely isn’t Swift’s most popular album, to date, but there are still some great deep cuts that you need to hear.
‘You’re Not Sorry’
“You’re Not Sorry” is what I like to call the “Cold As You” of Fearless, but it also has a bit of “Should’ve Said No” in it. Whatever the ingredients, the end product is a biting ballad that shows no mercy. Swift claims the song’s subject “used to shine so bright but I watched all of it fade,” and the song doesn’t get any friendlier, from there!
‘The Way I Loved You’
In my opinion, “The Way I Loved You” is one of Taylor Swift’s most underrated pieces. In it, Swift sings of two contrasting relationships. One “sensible,” the other “wild and crazy.” I bet you can’t possibly guess which one she chooses! Sorry, Mr. Sensible, but Tay told me to tell you that her “heart’s not breaking, ’cause I’m not feeling anything at all.”
‘Forever and Always’
Allegedly about Swift’s brief relationship, and even more brief breakup phone call with Joe Jonas, this song accuses a guy of lying when he said “forever and always.”
Fearless ushered in a whole new element to the world’s love affair with Taylor Swift’s music, as it was our first taste of her wonderfully honest breakup songs being about other famous people! “Forever and Always” is probably the first, and still one of the most fun examples of that.
“Change” was technically released as a single from the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack for the 2010 Olympics, but a lot of casual Taylor Swift fans still missed it. Full of hope and inspiration, and absolutely perfect for your sports team’s end-of-year celebration, “Change” was a great departure from the rest of the relationship heavy Fearless. If you think Taylor Swift is only good for a scathing take-down, give “Change” a listen!
I generally think of the Speak Now album as the most forgettable of Swift’s collection, but writing this list really made me realize how many phenomenal songs hailed from that album. It may not have the same kind of standout hits as some of the other albums, but Speak Now is certainly solid, back to front.
Swift released 6 singles from Speak Now, including the heavily pop-influenced “Story of Us.” The other singles, which included “Mine,” “Back to December,” “Mean,” “Sparks Fly,” and “Ours,” and most of the album was still rooted in country, but Speak Now marked the beginning of Swift mixing genres. To give you a better taste of that, here are some of the best deep cuts from the album.
‘Better Than Revenge’
Forget “Bad Blood,” “Better Than Revenge” is by far Taylor Swift’s sassiest song. It’s rumored to be about Camilla Belle, for whom Joe Jonas allegedly left Swift, and Tay Tay definitely didn’t hold back when exacting her “revenge.” At this point, Taylor Swift was already gaining a reputation for writing fierce retorts to those who wronged her, and “Better Than Revenge” is a prime example.
Some of the hilariously harsh lyrics include “she’s an actress, but she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress,” and “I think her ever present frown is a little troubling.” Seriously, you have to hear this staggeringly catty masterpiece.
Three guesses who this one’s about! Anyone? You guessed it. Taylor Swift immortalized her short lived relationship with John Mayer in one more heartbreak anthem for the books, stating that she “should’ve known.”
While that’s true, I’m happy that she didn’t, because we got this amazing song out of it! I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but “Dear John” is the “Cold As You” of “Speak Now.” Lyrically commanding and emotionally devastating. You may never look at John Mayer the same way again after you hear Taylor belt out that he’s “an expert at sorry and keeping lines blurry.”
‘Never Grow Up’
Warning: Proceed with caution if you, your parent, or your child is approaching a significant milestone. You may never stop crying. With “Never Grow Up,” Taylor Swift both beautifully and cripplingly captures the profound inevitabilities that are aging, and yes, growing up. At one point she pauses to say “I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone,” and if you’re not already sobbing by that point, I dare you not to break.
“Innocent” was Miss Swift’s answer to the Kanye West MTV VMA, “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time,” debacle. Has Taylor Swift been spiteful towards people both before and after “Innocent?” Yes. However, she handled this particular feud with grace and maturity. The song appeals to Kanye West on a very human level, saying “who you are is not what you did.” It’s almost sad to listen to, with everything that’s happening between these two now!
There’s a lyric in “Long Live” that I think does a really good job of summing up Taylor Swift, and her career. It’s “for a moment, a band of thieves in ripped up jeans got to rule the world.” I love it, and think it’s appropriate, because it somehow paints Taylor Swift as both an underdog and a queen. Someone who’s below us, but also above us. Someone to be criticized, and someone to be revered.
It could be argued that this is true of many celebrities, particularly women, but it seems to be more true of Swift. The world absolutely loves to hate on every word that does or does not come out of her mouth, but the world also devours her music, news about her squad, and pictures of her cats in equal measure. The world shows little support for her when she’s in the middle of a sexual assault court case, yet they’re at the edge of their seats as she posts distorted videos of a snake/lizard/dragon.
To me, the lyric conveys all of that, but it also conveys something else. The lyric, and the entire “Long Live” song (which was written for her band), tells us that Taylor Swift knows exactly where she’s at, and that she’s having the time of her life being there. Every part of “Long Live” is an anthem for everything she’d been through up to that point, and continues to serve that purpose.
‘Drops of Jupiter’ (Train cover) – from ‘Speak Now – World Tour Live’
When people ask me why I love Taylor Swift so much, my answer is simple. Her music makes me feel more than anyone else’s. For me, that’s what music is. A tool that either brings out, or allows me to bask in emotion. Taylor Swift always delivers that.
It’s not just Taylor Swift’s songwriting that elicits emotion. It’s everything about her performance. From the pure and truthful tone of her voice, to the musical choices that she makes.
Never did my simple answer ring truer for me than when I heard Taylor Swift cover one of my all time favorite songs on the Speak Now – World Tour Live album. I thought I had already drained every bit of emotion out of “Drops of Jupiter”, but boy, was I wrong. Right from the first note, it was an entirely different experience. Even if you already know “Drops of Jupiter” backwards and forwards, give Swift’s version a listen!
Not really fitting into either the pop or country category, every song on Red felt like a genre all its own. The album was a brilliant compilation of everything that Swift had become in her already extremely successful career.
Her first single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” initially took her country audience by surprise, but it soon swept the world off its feet, and it became her first number one hit in the US. She followed up the debut single with “Begin Again,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “22,” and we haven’t stopped dancing to the beat of Taylor’s drum since. Here are some more songs for you to add to your soundtrack.
“Treacherous” is a gorgeous, sultry, acoustic song that really marked a transition for Tay Tay into some of the sexier lyrics that would come out more prominently in 1989. Beginning with “I’ll do anything you say if you say it with your hands,” and ending with “I’ll follow you home,” “Treacherous” showcased a side of Swift that we hadn’t seen much of, at the time of Red’s release.
‘All Too Well’
If you seriously haven’t heard “All Too Well,” than all I can really say is, “you’re welcome.” You’re welcome for introducing you to your new favorite song. Surprise, surprise, I’m gonna come out and say that “All Too Well” is the “Cold As You” of 1989. But before you keep scrolling, hear me out. Of all the songs that I’ve granted “Cold As You” status, “All Too Well” is by far the best. It might even be the best song that Taylor Swift has ever written.
It’s hard to pick a standout lyric when every word is perfect, but I’ll try. “All Too Well” tells of a past relationship that Swift remembers…”all too well.” She recounts how her ex (possibly Jake Gyllenhaal), “taught me your past, thinkin’ your future was me,” but then would “call me up again just to break me like a promise.” The whole thing will break your damn heart, but it will feel amazing. Promise.
‘The Last Time’ feat. Gary Lightbody
In a rare duet, Taylor Swift teamed up with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody for “The Last Time.” Another highly underrated track.
The lyrics are simple, but powerful, with both singers crying out for the other to “put my name at the top of your list.” Their voices go together beautifully, and it’s a really unique, but welcome addition to Taylor Swift’s repertoire.
‘State of Grace’
“So you were never a saint, and I loved in shades of wrong” will always be my standout lyric in this song about a love that Swift “never saw coming,” but similarly to “All Too Well,” every word is pretty much perfect. This song is available on the Red – Deluxe Edition in both its original, uptempo pop form, and as an acoustic version. Both are phenomenal.
1989 was the album where Taylor Swift made her transition into pop music official. She started her pop game off strong with the release of “Shake it Off,” and she just kept going from there.
The 1989 album stretched Taylor Swift in more ways than just genre. With her latest album, Swift showcased a vocal range that had gone unexplored in her previous efforts. She also debuted a new level of storytelling with her first pop piece. While her other albums seemed to be a collection of different pieces of her life, 1989 told a cohesive story, from start to finish, largely with only one subject (we’re not saying it is Harry Styles, but we’re definitely not saying it isn’t).
Swift released a whopping seven singles from 1989, with “Blank Space,” “Style,” “Bad Blood,” “Wildest Dreams,” “Out of the Woods,” and “New Romantics” following her pop debut. With that many radio hits, surely the rest of the album was filler, right? Wrong! 1989 was 100% delicious pop goodness. Here’s some of my favorite songs that you may not have heard.
I’ll probably never stop hoping that Taylor Swift makes a video for “Wonderland.” Not only is it probably my favorite song of hers, but the Alice in Wonderland imagery of the song would also make for a fantastic music video, with Swift as the lead.
The bonus track, originally from the “Target only” edition of 1989, leans into its title completely, referencing falling down a rabbit hole and Cheshire cat smiles. Much like Alice’s own journey, Swift’s “Wonderland” isn’t all fun and games.
The upbeat, fun song keeps with the overarching theme of the album, telling of an all consuming love that burned too bright to last. In a way, “Wonderland” holds the entire 1989 journey in one, delectable, four minute masterpiece, tying things up by saying, “in the end, in Wonderland, we both went mad.”
‘How You Get the Girl’
“How You Get the Girl” is far from the club anthems that Taylor Swift is becoming more and more known for, but it still manages to be one of her most fun songs to date.
In “How You Get the Girl,” the subject arrives at Swift’s door, begging for another chance. Being the forgiving sort, Swift kindly tells him “how to get the girl,” which includes reminding her “how it used to be, with pictures in frames of kisses on cheeks.” It’s definitely one of the most sweet and innocent songs on 1989, and nicely balances some of the albums heavier moments.
‘I Know Places’
“I Know Places” is one of the tracks which allows Taylor Swift to showcase her vocal range the most. Even the most seasoned at carpool karaoke will have trouble belting this one out in the car, but damn is it fun to try!
Written by Swift and Ryan Tedder, of OneRepublic, “I Know Places” has a very different tone than the rest of the album, and really any of her older music. You might be thrown off by the minor sound, at first, but give it a chance and it’ll win you over.
The standout moment of this song about hiding from the prying eyes of Swift’s adoring (sometimes) public comes near the end, when she belts out, “they take their shots but we’re bulletproof, and you know for me, it’s always you. In the dead of night, your eyes so green, and I know for you, it’s always me.”
“Clean” is the perfect conclusion to the 1989 saga. As you go through 1989, you truly feel like you’re living Taylor Swift’s wild, exciting, and tumultuous love story right alongside her (and maybe you have). So, when I finally got to the end, when she declares that she’s “finally clean,” I felt the same relief and sense of closure that the lyrics convey.
With “Clean,” Swift closes the 1989 chapter, making way for a new one, which is hopefully now imminent. But don’t forget, “just because you’re clean, don’t mean you don’t miss it.”
Bonus: ‘Better Man’
Taylor Swift wrote “Better Man” for the country band, Little Big Town, but she performed it herself at her Pre-Super Bowl performance! It’s a great song, and a return to her country roots. If you’re a fan of her earlier stuff, you’ll definitely love this performance.