Taylor Swift emerged as a pop sensation when she was only 15-years old, and her ascent has yet to stop. Following her 2006 release of her self-named Taylor Swift album, she's found immense success in the music realm. To celebrate her excellence, here are 15 of her best music videos, ranked accordingly. If you want to read a more general ranking, here are the 50 best music videos of all time as determined by TBL's Music Guy, Ryan Phillips.
Best Taylor Swift Music Videos
BONUS: Thug Story (Ft. T-Pain)
Listen, this might be a parody, but it's my list so it gets a special shout-out. Swift's first and only (to my knowledge) foray into rapping was an immense success. "I'm like eight-foot-four, blonde hair to the floor, you shorties never thought I dreamed about rapping hardcore" is the hardest line ever uttered by a pop star, hands-down. I still mentally refer to her as T-Swizzle. Absolute banger, and deserving of a bonus spot.
You either like or you hate this one, and that conflict alone gives it a spot here. Her dancing is very well-choreographed, but the general idea gets repetitive. The bathroom scene stands out the most; even if it's a little weird, it helps deliver the internal conflict she's going through and honestly, who hasn't stared into a bathroom mirror wondering why one earth you said what you said? However, it takes a hit because it looks a WHOLE lot like a certain Kenzo perfume ad, and while it hasn't been declared outright plagiarism, there are enough parallels to raise eyebrows.
14. White Horse
This is not a video to watch when you're looking for an uplifting message. It starts sad and gets even worse. The pain she demonstrates is certainly relatable, if a bit extreme at points, but there isn't a lot of variation in the shots and frankly is a bit of a snoozer if you've already seen it. Solid watch for a post-breakup spiral, but not good for much else.
13. Out Of The Woods
It's difficult to follow the plot line of this video without the music, and while music and video obviously go hand-in-hand, the best operate as their own separate pieces of art. The video merely complements the music, which is fine but not great. She takes a grittier approach than she had previously and has since, communicating mostly through facial expressions, which is a nice change of pace.
12. Teardrops On My Guitar
This is perhaps the least-creative of Swift's music videos, but "Teardrops On My Guitar" was one of Swift's first breakout singles and thus deserves to be recognized with a spot on this list. She sings and stares at the camera the whole time, which allows you to get lost in the song, but the video doesn't do anything to further what she's trying to say. Still, this is one of the Swift songs that literally everybody knows and has probably seen the video.
"Ours" is the 'Ol Reliable of Taylor Swift music videos. The plot is basic-- a contentious relationship with the boyfriend she loves dearly. The video shows just that. An enjoyable video with quality production, as is to be expected.
10. Everything Has Changed
Ed Sheeran's feature is a big plus here. Swift gets creative and breaks her music video mold by featuring her and Sheeran as parents watching their children. It hits different if you have kids and points for creativity and variety.
9. Picture To Burn
This video is a bit too literal to rank higher, but as an old Swift song about a cheating ex, it still rings true. Simplicity can be appreciated in this column, hence its top-10 ranking.
8. Shake It Off
"Shake It Off" isn't exactly mold-breaking in its set design, but the message comes across well regardless. The constantly-changing outfits from her dancers keeps the audience engaged and the song itself is catchy.
Music Videos By Taylor Swift
7. Wildest Dreams
"Wildest Dreams" had the most exotic film location to date, taking place in Africa. While the actual plot of Swift falling in love with a co-actor on set doesn't vary particularly much from past love songs, it does stick to the 1989 theme she was riding at the time to a T. It doesn't stand out individually, but it's a very well-rounded piece of work that deserves recognition.
6. Bad Blood
"Bad Blood" has an automatic leg up because it has Kendrick Lamar, and the video matches the quality of the song. It gave us an intense Swift for really the first time in her career, and while it doesn't quite reach extreme badass levels, she comes out of her shell in a manner we hadn't seen. Explosions, fighting, all the works. She also got her A-list friends to appear, too.
5. Blank Space
This was a different video for Swift as it marked her first visual transition from the comfortable country gal that was her rise to fame to the celebrity life she found herself mired in, and the downsides that come with it. It's also one of the first videos that revolves around her own flaws when it comes to her personal relationships. It's a refreshing introspection that draws the audience in and makes it clear that this isn't the young Taylor Swift anymore.
4. You Need To Calm Down
This video may not be crucial in regards to Swift's musical development, but the message it sent was crucial to her development as a public figure and what values she's going to put forward in her music. The song fights for LGBTQ rights and the video ends with Swift advocating for equality laws in our country. She had never done something like this before, and including cameos of important celebrities in the gay and transgender communities was a landmark moment for who the audience saw Swift as. Plus, it's a great video in general.
Taylor Swift Music Videos
3. Love Story
This video didn't put Swift on the map, per se, but it definitely grew her audience to then-unprecedented levels for the young singer and is the iconic video of her early career. Swift takes the classic Romeo and Juliet concept and doesn't change much, but just enough to put her own spin on it. Sometimes, you don't need to go wildly out of the box to make a memorable and enjoyable video, and Swift proves it with this.
2. Look At What You Made Me Do
This is perhaps Swift's most creative music video and a huge, gigantic @ to Kim and Kanye, and who doesn't love that? The video portrays Swift growing out of her past identities that personify the criticisms Kanye directed at her and her evolution not only as a singer, but as a person. A great display of personal growth and some celebrity shade, she hit every mark she was aiming for.
1. You Belong With Me
Absolutely cannot go wrong with the classics, and this is THE classic Taylor Swift song and music video. It won a VMA and was the root of the notorious Kanye West incident at that year's award show. It's straightforward-- an underdog story that we can all relate to. She doesn't get too fancy, and executes perfectly. Even with all of her prestigious releases after this, she has yet to do better, and it's hard to imagine she could.