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Status picks: High Taylor Swift albums and songs in accordance with the digital staff

Status picks: High Taylor Swift albums and songs in accordance with the digital staff

When Taylor Swift first embarked on her long-awaited Eras Tour, which covers her stellar career of ten studio albums, fans around the world began to buzz with excitement. This world tour, which is a tribute to Swift and her devoted fan base of “Swifties,” has been nothing short of a musical extravaganza. With the tour making its only ASEAN stop in Singapore this March, the anticipation is at an all-time high. To celebrate her imminent arrival, our Prestige team members take a moment to reminisce about Taylor Swift’s previous albums, their favourite songs, and the iconic experiences that have turned them into Swifties.

While eagerly awaiting Taylor’s 11th studio album — The Tortured Poets Department, the Prestige team has methodically compiled a ranking of her albums, delved into her most-streamed songs, and revisited her most-viewed music videos. And for good reason. Taylor Swift has rightly earned the coveted honour of being called ‘Mother’, having released passionate melodies that have provided connection and companionship through life’s difficult moments. Her poetic lyricism has touched our hearts, and her immaculate style has served as inspiration for the fashion-forward set.

Through the highs and lows of her career, numerous controversies, and her ascent into global superstardom, Taylor Swift has become an iconic personality who has not only garnered a legion of followers, but has also raised a generation of Swifties who have blossomed with her.

In the fast-paced world of corporate culture where success is typically measured by metrics and achievements, Taylor Swift’s music boasts innate power. Her celebrity has inspired more than just a fandom, with her music serving as a soundtrack to our triumphs and defeats, a beacon of hope in the midst of chaos. If that’s how you feel about Taylor Swift, take a look at the Prestige team’s favourite albums and songs, and see which ones you relate to best!

The Prestige digital team members pick their favourite Taylor Swift albums and songs

Paint, Lifestyle Writer: Fearless (2008)

Taylor swift albums and songs
(Image: taylornation/Instagram)

I have only the fondest memories with Fearless, the album and the song. Although I’m fully happy with her having her own Taylor’s Version, the original Fearless sung by the 18-year-old Taylor with her wavy blonde hair is irreplaceable for me. That album in 2008 was a big part of my life when I was a 10-year-old trying to figure out what romantic love was.

Paint Chayanin Thaijongrak, Lifestyle Writer, PrestigeOnline Thailand

Srijoni, Senior Writer: 1989 (2014)

1989 era
(Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift’s 1989 holds a special place in my heart, towering above her other remarkable releases. This album, a masterpiece that landed during my second year of college, symbolised a period of newfound freedom and self-discovery. Moving away from my hometown to pursue higher education was a monumental step, and 1989 became the soundtrack to this exciting chapter of my life.

The album comes with its own set of banger hits, but tunes like Blank Space, Wildest Dreams, Shake It Off, and Bad Blood stand out for their upbeat energy and compelling lyrics. These tracks, with their catchy melodies and relatable stories, resonated with me deeply. Blank Space offered a witty take on Swift’s media portrayal as a boyfriend collector, while Wildest Dreams evoked a sense of nostalgic longing. Shake It Off served as an anthem for dismissing critics and embracing one’s true self, and Bad Blood delved into the complexities of fractured relationships.

Each song from 1989 felt like a burst of liberation, mirroring my own journey toward independence and self-identity. The upbeat tunes and poignant lyrics perfectly encapsulated the mix of excitement, uncertainty, and hope that defined my college years. Taylor Swift’s 1989 is more than just an album to me — it’s a cherished companion that has accompanied me through a pivotal time.

Srijoni Gupta Roy, Senior Digital Writer, PrestigeOnline (Regional)

Candice, Digital Editor: Reputation (2017) and 1989 (2014)

taylor swift albums and songs
(Image: Jun Sato/TAS18 /Getty Images)

Reputation is a severely underrated album, and Getaway Car is one of those tracks that should have been a title track. Taylor is a master storyteller and I love the concept of a getaway car to describe a — well, rumoured to be — rebound relationship. And extending that getaway car concept to Bonnie and Clyde-type heist! It’s a whole movie in my head.

Another song that speaks to my soul is Clean from 1989. I’ve always loved this song because of its arrangement — it sounds like rain without actually using rain sounds! — but it became even more meaningful after a particular heartbreak that I went through. I was listening to it and told myself, “Man, I can’t wait to be able to be in a good place where I can sing this song and really mean it.” Happy to say that I am in that place now!

Disclaimer: If she sings them for the surprise songs I may actually pass away 😂.

Candice Chua, Digital Editor, PrestigeOnline Singapore

Emmelyn, Associate Digital Editor: Midnights (2022) and Folklore (2020)

As a major Swiftie who is convinced that her listening habits alone earned the singer the title of Spotify’s Most Played Artist of 2023, I had difficulty choosing just two albums to spotlight. While I knew from the get-go that 2022’s Midnights would occupy a spot on my selections, the trouble arose when I realised I would have to choose between Folklore (2020) and Reputation (2017).

And that was before the realisation struck that my selections would inevitably exclude my personal favourites from Swift’s other albums including I Know Places, New Romantics, Speak Now, Wildest Dreams, I Bet You Think About Me, and Champagne Problems.

After much teeth-gnashing and mental anguish, and with the help of a pro-con list, I eventually managed to narrow my selections down to two: Midnights and Folklore.

Melancholic midnights and nostalgia

Midnights era
(Image: taylornation/Instagram)

Midnights first dropped in 2022 as what seemed like a companion piece to the early post-pandemic days. Fresh out of lockdown, I emerged from the cocoon of working from home and stepped into Swift’s masterfully produced album, with its dreamy synth-pop tracks, hazy and retro-inspired beats, and nostalgic visuals that vividly recalled 90s evenings spent in deep contemplation of life, love, and everything in between. The music itself recalls the mystique of liminal spaces, evoking the otherworldly sensation of being the only person on an empty train, stepping into a silent elevator after a loud night out, and driving across a bridge just before the stroke of midnight.

In short, I was hooked, and nobody could talk me out of playing Anti-Hero on repeat for weeks on end.

Those who are prone to melancholic contemplation are certain to enjoy the general theme of Midnights. Lavender Haze serves as a dreamy preamble into the album proper, highlighting the double-edged sword of celebrity and the price it exacts in the loss of privacy. Anti-Hero is a fun and catchy bop, perfectly capturing the singer’s strained relationship with herself as she sings, “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem.”

Bejeweled and Karma are equally dazzling, with vibrant and cheerful beats. The former is an anthem for reclaiming one’s sparkle and shine (Best believe I’m still bejewelled / When I walk in the room / I can still make the whole place shimmer), while the latter serves as the singer’s commentary on critics and nay-sayers alike, with lyrics that speak to my very soul.

To quote the queen of karma herself, “Karma is my boyfriend / Karma is a god / Karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekend / Karma’s a relaxing thought / Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not / Sweet like honey / Karma is a cat / Purring on my lap ‘cause it loves me.

Bringing me right back into the thick of melancholia, The Great War addresses the highs and lows of a relationship, when arguing and paranoia take centre stage. Beyond its hard-hitting lyrics and rhythmic drumbeats, the sombre song is a great (and slightly confronting) anthem for anxious attachers in relationships with avoidant attachers. To add to the theme of melancholia, You’re Losing Me was released as a Midnights vault track in celebration of Swift becoming Spotify’s top streamed artist of 2023. Speaking of the heartache that accompanies the slow decline of a relationship, the song is a touching take that aptly describes the sensation of feeling unloved and unseen.

Of folk tales and folklore

taylor swift albums and songs
(Image: taylorswift/Instagram)

If Midnights was a masterclass that depicted the post-pandemic haze, Folklore is the perfect companion piece that embodies all cottagecore dreams. The album was Swift’s first foray into the Alternative and Indie segment, proving to be an amazing take with soothing melodies that plucked at the heartstrings as easily as the singer plucked on her guitar.

Folklore serves as a platform for Swift to bring together her inimitable genius and talent for songwriting and storytelling, marrying both with hauntingly beautiful melodies. Her ballads were sung like love letters to the subject of romance, explored from third-party perspectives interspersed with hyperbolic takes and hieratic modesty alike.

In The 1, Swift explores the what-ifs of romance, revisiting how life might have turned out if a relationship had not been doomed from the start. It is followed by Cardigan, a nostalgic folk song with romantic undertones that perfectly illustrate how every relationship is made up of the little things. Despite being inspired by the life and times of American socialite and philanthropist Rebekah Harkness, The Last Great American Dynasty nonetheless strikes a chord with the everyday woman, particularly those who have experienced judgment for being ‘too much’ and ‘too loud’.

Heartbreak is the theme of My Tears Ricochet, a gutting narrative that recalls the pain of losing a loved one to the circumstances of life. With lyrics that read, ‘And I can go anywhere I want / Anywhere I want, just not home / And you can aim for my heart, go for blood / But you would still miss me in your bones / And I still talk to you (when I’m screaming at the sky) / And when you can’t sleep at night (you hear my stolen lullabies),’ the song proves to be ultimate ballad to cry to.

And cry to it, I did.

Through her albums, Swift has demonstrated a mastery for lyrics and melodies. And while I can certainly understand that she’s not everyone’s cup of tea — think the Dads, Brads, and Chads who follow the NFL — it’s difficult to ever imagine that she could ever be anything but Bejewelled.

Emmelyn Mah, Associate Digital Editor, PrestigeOnline Malaysia

Sara, Digital Editorial Director: Red (Taylor’s Version) (2021)

taylor swift albums and songs
(Image: taylornation/Instagram)

To me, this album will always be Taylor Swift’s magnum opus. It’s a wild ride from start to finish, with the feet-thumping beats of opener State of Grace and dubstep-inflected I Knew You Were Trouble, to the youthful exuberance of 22, and the sassy breakup anthem We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Then there’s pensive heartache in the form of All Too Well and The Moment I Knew — both inspired by her failed romance with ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal — and the gut-wrenching Ronan about the loss of a child.

The album is a lyrical masterpiece too, with some of her best writing in tracks like the 10-minute extended cut of All Too Well, which includes a fantastic burn in ‘And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes / I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.‘ Another standout is Nothing New, a folksy ballad that features Phoebe Bridgers and reflects about Swift’s insecurities about growing up (How can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?) and the fear of losing her fame and relevance in the volatile music industry (Lord, what will become of me / Once I’ve lost my novelty?) Now a billionaire at 34 and playing sold-out shows all over the world, Swift probably doesn’t need to worry about that any time soon, though.

Sara Yap, Digital Editorial Director, Prestige (Regional)

Surabhi, Senior Digital Writer: Folklore (2020) and Evermore (2020)

evermore era
(Image: taylorswift/Instagram)

There are some albums of Taylor Swift such as 1989 that take me straight back to my college days. It was the time I first became a fan of her music. Over the years, though, there have been many changes in my musical tastes; likewise in the kind of diversity she has shown in her music. Among her albums, the two that hold a really special place in my heart are Folklore and Evermore. Amid the pandemic, Swift delivered these albums consisting of the most soulful tracks. The storytelling elements in these songs showcase her songwriting talents like never before. Both albums are deeply emotive and consist of several powerful tracks, including my favourites, August, Cardigan, Willow, My Tears Ricochet, and Exile.

See Also

Surabhi Redkar, Senior Digital Writer, PrestigeOnline (Regional)

Pallabi, Digital Writer: Folklore (2020) and Midnights (The Till Dawn edition) (2023)

Let me clarify: I’m not a baby Swiftie. Rather, I’ve been a Swiftie since I was a baby (well, a teenager). What enchants me about Taylor Swift isn’t just nostalgia; it’s her relentless evolution and self-improvement. I have a soft spot for her older songs, but there’s something about her newer releases that captures my interest even more.

The tales, the myths, the legends

folklore era
(Image: taylorswift/Instagram)

Folklore, released in 2020 against a landscape of global instability and monotony, felt like a lifeline for me. The lyrical genius and melancholy of her nuanced tunes became my sanctuary. I lost myself in the lyrics, deciphering their meanings with the help of a handy dictionary, and yes, I shed a tear or two while sitting on the riverbank, allowing the music to wash over me.

As for my favourite track? Well, that tends to shift with my mood. When I’m feeling upbeat, Mirrorball resonates deeply with its poignant reminder ‘Hush / When no one is around, my dear / You’ll find me on my tallest tiptoes / Spinning in my highest heels, love / Shining just for you‘, which is so very true for many of us.

Even though August is not a happy song, I have always felt it was a song about acceptance and letting go, with Taylor capturing the bittersweet essence of moving on in her lyrics, ‘So much for summer love and saying “us” / ‘Cause you weren’t mine to lose / You weren’t mine to lose, no‘.

And when she sang ‘They told me all of my cages were mental / So I got wasted like all my potential / And my words shoot to kill when I’m mad / I have a lot of regrets about that‘ in This Is Me Trying, I truly felt personally attacked.

And don’t even get me started on Mad Woman. In the lyrics, Swift called out the so-called alpha males who just love to bring you down in the name of ‘looking out for you’, singing, ‘No one likes a mad woman / What a shame she went mad / You made her like that”, and, “And women like hunting witches, too / Doing your dirtiest work for you‘.

My melancholia and midnight rain

Taylor swift albums and songs
(Image: taylornation/Instagram)

After much debate and fighting with my own beliefs, I succumbed to the appeal of Midnights over 1989 TV. While 1989 will always hold a special place in my heart as a reminder of my entry into digital piracy on my first smartphone, singing in the school lab, and my rebellious phase of sassiness — my current state of mind is more reminiscent of Midnights.

As a self-proclaimed pop enthusiast, Taylor Swift’s comeback into full-fledged synth-pop with Midnights is remarkable. Tracks like Lavender Haze, Paris, and Maroon envelop me in their hazy, dreamy, cinematic pop sound. The vulnerability in songs like Anti-Hero, You’re on Your Own Kid, and Karma truly speak to me, painting a raw and honest picture of insecurities and self-doubt.

Then there’s Snow On The Beach (ft. more Lana Del Rey), a stunning duet between two of the world’s greatest singer-songwriters, Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. Their voices blend beautifully, with each ad-lib and lyric contributing to the song’s ethereal beauty. It’s a sound designed for the silver screen, and I can’t help but wish for a theatrical music video that matches its grandeur — no Easter eggs required, just pure visual poetry.

In Labyrinth, Swift beautifully conveys the stages of falling in love with a simple yet meaningful repetition: ‘Uh oh, I’m falling in love. Oh no, I am falling in love again. Oh, I am falling in love.‘ Then there’s the lovely tenderness of Sweet Nothing, with its intricate and poetic lyrics Industry disruptors and soul deconstructors / And smooth-talking hucksters out glad-handing each other / And the voices that implore, ‘You should be doing more’ / To you, I can admit that I’m just too soft for all of it‘.

Swift’s introspective track Mastermind hits close to home, as she bares her soul about the loneliness and longing for acceptance. ‘No one wanted to play with me as a little kid / So I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since / To make them love me and make it seem effortless / This is the first time I’ve felt the need to confess / And I swear / I’m only cryptic and Machiavellian / ‘Cause I care‘.

Midnights‘ captivating synths and irresistible hooks are complemented by a sombre undercurrent on tunes such as The Great War, You’re Losing Me, and Dear Reader. Each song carries its own weight of melancholy, pulling at the heartstrings with poignant lyrics and evocative melodies.

So, yes, I can’t pick a favourite, nor do I have a skip in the album. Well, maybe Karma (ft Ice Spice), which admittedly feels a little forced. But it’s undeniable that Taylor Swift is a great singer and an even better songwriter. And for some, she’s not just an artist, she’s a way of life.

Pallabi Bose, Digital Writer, PrestigeOnline (Regional)

(Main and featured image: Graham Denholm/TAS24 / Getty Images)

Source: Prestige Online

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