Music

Taylor Swift – 2014 – 2020 (The Blue Album)

WE’RE BACK FOR TAYLOR’S GREATEST HITS FROM 2014-2020!

This post was much harder to write than the previous.

Taylor put out SO MUCH GOOD MUSIC during this period! TOO MUCH, even!

I should mention the ground rules I laid out but didn’t mention in my last post:

I avoided covers and songs where Taylor only features.

I also skipped her non-album duets with stars like Zayn Malik and Kenny Chesney.

Perhaps this disqualifies “Safe & Sound”, but NO MATTER.

Oh, and I COULD have picked one of her Christmas songs. I DID NOT.

Anyway, HERE WE GO.

Disc One

Track 1: Welcome to New York
Released in: 2014
First appeared on: 1989

The “White Girl Moves to New York to Live Out Her Big City Dreams” trope is not without its issues.

Specifically, the “living in a low-income neighborhood before becoming successful” aspect has gentrification implications.

In 2014, I didn’t know any of this. I heard this song for the first time and thought, “That’s it. That’s my dream.”

I internalized the lyrics “And you can want who you want/boys and boys and girls and girls.”

What I wanted more than anything in 2014 was to be myself.

It took a few years more, but I got there.

Track 2: Style
Released in: 2014
First appeared on: 1989

“Blank Space” gets the attention “Style” deserves.

“Style” is about a couple that is together purely for the aesthetics.

It’s shallow and glorious.

Lasting, mutual love sounds great and all.

Part of me, though, wants to be in a relationship that never goes out of style.

Track 3: Out of the Woods
Released: 2014
First appeared on: 1989

This song makes the mundane sound awesome.

There are flashbacks and milestones and arguments set to a song about metaphorical woods.

It makes “defining the relationship” sound like an exciting adventure instead of the confusing drudge it often is.

Track 4: Clean
Released in: 2014
First appeared on: 1989

“Clean” takes me back to my senior year of college, the only year I had a car.

I made a mental health mix and drove around town listening to it, bemoaning my romantic frustrations (along with my then-undiagnosed depression.)

I felt better every time I listened to “Clean.”

This song still makes me feel better, no matter what I’m going through.

When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe.

Track 5: Wonderland
Released in: 2014
First appeared on: 1989 (Deluxe edition)

“Wonderland” is my favorite bonus track on the deluxe edition of 1989.

It’s both epic and sad.

And…AND…it makes allusions to a classic piece of children’s literature??

DING DING DING. The perfect song.

Track 6: You Are in Love
Released in: 2014
First appeared on: 1989 (Deluxe edition)

I think the use of second-person in this song is neat.

I’m in the market for domestic bliss, so this cozy song warms my heart.

God, someone please date me.

Track 7: I Did Something Bad
Released in: 2017
First appeared on: reputation

I’ve heard some amazing covers of this song.

I can’t leave off a track that inspired such genius.

Track 8: Delicate
Released in: 2017
First appeared on: reputation

This song is a Tough Girl in Love.

I adore it.

Relationships are tricky in the early stages.

This song captures the excitement and vulnerability well.

Track 9: Look What You Made Me Do
Released in: 2017
First appeared on: reputation

The quality of this song is, perhaps, dubious.

No matter. It’s iconic.

It represents Taylor’s period of Giving No Shits (while still giving very many shits.)

You hear how fed-up she is with the media’s portrayal of her.

“Look What You Made Me Do” is a public tantrum and I love it.

I’m proud of Taylor for trying something new and telling people to go fuck themselves in one song.

Track 10: Gorgeous
Released in: 2017
First appeared on: reputation

It’s a love song…that’s ANGRY.

It’s compliments phrased as insults.

I can’t think of anything more romantic.

I’ve used this song on numerous Bad Girl playlists because I love it so much.

Describe a better ship dynamic. YOU CAN’T.

Track 11: New Year’s Day
Released in: 2017
First appeared on: reputation

Taylor’s piano songs are a cut above the others.

“New Year’s Day” is cozy and romantic and so, so soft.

This song makes even my reputation-hating friends melt.

PLEASE. DON’T. EVER BECOME A STRANGER WHOSE LAUGH. I. WOULDN’T RECOGNIZE ANYWHERE.

Track 12: The Archer
Released in: 2019
First appeared on: Lover

When I listened to Lover the first hundred or so times, this song always made me cry.

I feel like running away a lot, so I relate.

Dating especially makes me want to hop on a train.

Who could EVER stay with all my sensory sensitivities and rage issues?

Will I have to leave before they do?

If you couldn’t tell, I’m very anxious and always ready for combat.

Track 13: Death By a Thousand Cuts
Released in: 2019
First appeared on: Lover

I heard this song long before I watched Jessica Jones.

Now I can’t listen to it without thinking of a specific scene from the Marvel Netflix series.

I love the background chorus that opens the song. I think it’s pretty.

Pair that with fingerpicking and you’ve got a HIT.

Disc Two

Track 1: Soon You’ll Get Better
Released in: 2019
First appeared on: Lover

Taylor wrote this heartbreaking song about her mom’s cancer diagnosis. (Her mom, thankfully, is in remission.)

It also brings back The Chicks after a decade of infamy.

Perhaps without meaning to, this song makes a statement.

It’s the perfect collaboration.

Track 2: Daylight
Released in: 2019
First appeared on: Lover

You know that feeling when everything has been shit for a long time and you finally have a moment of hope?

One where you can imagine a better future?

That’s “Daylight” for me.

I can’t get enough.

Track 3: exile (feat. Bon Iver)
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: folklore

I need Taylor and Bon Iver to sing in their lower registers at all times.

First time I heard this song? Instant tears.

The opening piano is a LOT.

Listening to this song several months into lockdown brought up all my grief.

I put it on when I need a good cry.

Track 4: illicit affairs
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: folklore

Angry Taylor track! Angry Taylor track!

We’ve got regret! We’ve got shame!

We’ve got rage and bitterness that whoever the narrator was sleeping with used her so ill!

It’s an emotional buffet!

“illicit affairs” contains some of the album’s best imagery.

I think about “Say you’re out for a run/you’ll be flushed when you return” quite often.

Track 5: epiphany
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: folklore

“exile” triggered tears.

“epiphany” set off a full-on bawl.

There’s so much underlying horror in this song.

It sounds dreamy because the memories are too painful to face head-on.

The organ reminds me of high church music. It cuts right through you.

As horrifying as the memories in this song are, they’re also holy.

History is both painful and important.

Track 6: betty
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: folklore

OBVIOUSLY TAYLOR’S GAYEST SONG IS INCLUDED IN HER GREATEST HITS.

I was on Twitter when the world first listened to this song and lost its collective mind.

We were all agog.

HAD TAYLOR WRITTEN A GAY SONG? WAS THIS A SAPPHIC ANTHEM? WHO HAD SHE WRITTEN IT ABOUT?

We later learned that the song’s narrator was (ALLEGEDLY) a teenage boy named James.

No matter. The queer joy we all felt will go down in history.

Track 7: the lakes
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: folklore (deluxe version)

Taylor saved the best of this album for last.

I love the old-timey record player sound of it.

There’s something really romantic about taking your muse to a remote lakeside cabin.

It could be that this song is fulfilling a desire I didn’t know I had.

I didn’t want to be a lakeside cabin person, but here we are. Aging is strange.

Track 8: willow
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: evermore

I went back and forth on my evermore inclusions.

I finally decided “willow” had to be one of them.

I think this song is a perfect album opener.

It sets the tone for every style shift on the album.

The guitar is also just so good.

Taylor has been leaning into strong imagery and cool guitar riffs of late and I’m INTO IT.

Track 9: gold rush
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: evermore

Taylor went on record saying that “betty” isn’t sapphic.

She then released “gold rush,” “dorothea,” and “ivy.”

Are you KIDDING?

“gold rush” continues the more recent Taylor tradition of “I hate that I’m attracted to you” love songs.

I love that a song about belligerent sexual tension sounds breathless.

The line “At dinner parties/I call you out on your contrarian shit” stuck out to me and made me even more interested in this fictional relationship.

Good on you, narrator! Don’t let them get away with that behavior!

Explicit Taylor tracks are my favorite Taylor tracks.

More swearing, please. My soul needs it.

Track 10: ivy
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: evermore

“ivy” is my favorite song on evermore and potentially one of my favorite songs ever.

It’s the folkiest Taylor song yet and I only want more.

Make a song sound wistful in any sort of fashion and I will love it.

Early Taylor songs cover big emotions; this song is soft by comparison.

The contrast is huge. I like this new direction a lot.

Also, the “goddamns” make the song. I’ve listened to the clean version and it’s not the same.

Track 11: closure
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: evermore

We’ve established that I love Angry Taylor.

This is Angry + Bitter + Grieving Taylor…playing the PIANO.

“closure” brings up emotions I thought were long gone.

I think of my most painful relationship when I listen.

Yes, I’m doing better…and it still hurts.

Track 12: evermore (feat. Bon Iver)
Released in: 2020
First appeared on: evermore

How best to end a bittersweet album?

What if we called up Bon Iver for some HOPEFUL MELANCHOLY??

I like this song more than “exile” and that’s SAYING SOMETHING.

I really needed this hope after the year that was 2020.

Things have been really, really shitty for a long time now.

I’m ready to believe this pain won’t be for evermore.

Track 13: it’s time to go
Released in: 2021
First appeared on: evermore (deluxe version)

Turning 28 during quarantine made me maudlin.

As such, this song is breaking my heart.

It honors the decision to leave when you know it’s time.

I’m at a place where I’m assessing all my life choices.

I’m looking back on relationships and jobs where I stayed way too long.

I’m looking at the future and deciding how to get there.

In some cases, making changes means moving on.

It’s necessary but fuck, it hurts.

I needed this song to get me to that place.

I FINALLY got my Taylor Swift thoughts down!

These are my favorite Taylor songs.

Please let me know yours.

I’m going to sleep off this emotional hangover.

6 thoughts on “Taylor Swift – 2014 – 2020 (The Blue Album)”

  1. I have been waiting for this!! πŸ˜ƒ I totally sang “Welcome to New York” when I read it πŸ˜‚ I need to go back and listen to that album.

    UHH! I have to say the albums between these years are the ones I connect with the most; they really bring up all the memories/feelings!!

    Anyways, I loved this!! I feel like any song that Taylor and Bon Iver collaborate on is just a hit for me. I agree I thought, woof, exile was so good, how could it get better, oh let wait here is evermore… that is truly my fave song currently!

    I have to say, Soon You’ll Get Better is the skip track for me on Lover, that sounds bad but I’ve just never liked it. I don’t even know what my fave song on that album is anymore because I find I can’t go back and listen to it – to many *feelings* attached to it. But I think False God would be on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Welcome to New York” is just SUPERIOR.

      They’re such good albums! The other albums are so good but these ones are POWERFUL.

      Thank you! If feel like the fandom and culture in general are yearning for even more Taylor and Bon Iver collabs! Even though I don’t think they’ve actually met in real life???

      LOVER IS A LOT. “Soon You’ll Get Better” isn’t really a favorite of mine either, but I’ve watched a friend of mine cry over it every time it plays. Also, THE CHICKS. I think there are better songs, for sure. “Soon” is, however, iconic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed, totally superior! Look at me, I’m singing it again πŸ˜‚

        YES! Powerful indeed!

        I know that I’m totally in favour of more of their collabs! Like, future wishlist a whole album of just the two of them – that would be amazing. I know it’ll never happen, but a girl can wish! I would have never known that they’ve never met in real life!

        That makes sense, it is iconic, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t skip it most of the time πŸ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

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