LISTEN: Miss the ‘old’ Taylor Swift? Here are 10 songs to remember her by

ByQuyen Anne

Jan 11, 2024

In loving memory of the old Taylor

MANILA, Philippines – In her opening salvo 3 years since 1989, Taylor Swift proclaimed that her old self is dead. 

No, you will no longer witness (no pun intended, Katy) Fearless Taylor nor self-titled album Taylor, whose love for Drew brought forth teardrops on her guitar. Her sappy Speak Now and aggressive Red personas can’t come to the phone right now. 

Released on Friday, November 10, Reputation is undeniably not her strongest album, especially as a follow-up to the success of her first official pop album 1989. It takes a few listens to get the hang of Taylor’s new direction. Fans of the old Taylor can still find a few gems, though they’re reminiscent of her later work – think 1989 but riddled with heavier beats. 

Still, she is Taylor Swift, perfectly owning the narrative even if sometimes, she’s the one who tends to be the problem. One really can’t fault her for taking on this new direction if this is what she felt like doing (and okay, if people really made her do it, fine). It’s all about artistic freedom, right?  

Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable to not like the new Taylor too. And if you’re like me, who will always carry a torch for her pre-Reputation self, we still have her old songs to bring us back.

Here are our top 10 songs for remembering the old (and apparently dead) Taylor Swift.  

1. “All Too Well” (from Red)

If you want to experience Taylor’s songwriting prowess (and maybe cry in the process, especially when she sings about being a crumpled-up piece of paper) listen to this song.

This ballad feels like a rollercoaster ride, full of raw emotions found in the smallest details. It’s not hard to see why this consistently topped various articles that tried to rank all of her songs. 

 2. “Fearless” (from Fearless)

It’s hard not to like Taylor as she sings about that unadulterated feeling of being brave when you’re in love. The song, from the eponymous album, will make you remember yourself as a teenager caught up in your first infatuation or as a 20-something who finally got things right with someone.

3. “You Belong With Me” (from Fearless)

It would be a disservice not to include “You Belong With Me,” the perfect throwback to when we never really made an effort to find out who Taylor’s songs were about. 

4. “Teardrops On My Guitar” (from Taylor Swift)

Before John, there was Drew. He was apparently a lot of things for Taylor’s country-singing self, at least based on her song: the one who got enough of her to break her heart, the only one who kept her wishing on a  star, the song in the car she kept singing, and all she needed to fall into.  

Considered one of the first songs that made her a household name, it is a sadder version of “You Belong With Me.” I’m still really curious what Drew joked about that Taylor found so funny.

5. “Back to December” (from Speak Now)

In recent months, Taylor has been criticized for always using the victim card. “Back To December” will take you back to the rare times we hear her accepting she was at fault.

And to top it all off, the song is about actor Taylor Lautner, with whom she had a very public romance, even going as far as acting together in a movie (spoiler alert: They were very into each other in that film).

6. “Blank Space” (from 1989)

The second single off her first official pop album, “Blank Space” showed Taylor’s self-deprecating side. It was her response to the criticism of her “long list of ex-lovers” from which she draws inspiration for her songs. The song picks up where her first 1989 single, “Shake It Off,” ended. Maybe she should have consulted her notes on “Blank Space” when she wrote “Look What You Made Me Do.”

7. “Clean” (from 1989)

The album 1989 was a huge leap from Taylor’s previous records. Everyone was holding their breath prior to its release, wondering if this change would do good to her career.  

The songs in that album were different from what we were used to, alright. But with “Clean,” the last track, which she wrote with Imogen Heap, it felt like she tried to remind us that it’s still the old Taylor. She might have deployed the same tactic with “New Year’s Day” on Reputation

8. “Red” (from Red)

“Red” sounds electric, and it’s one of the last strains we hear of Taylor’s country past. The album it’s from is highly regarded as the last “pure” Taylor album before she transitioned to 1989’s pop. This song was a sneak peek of what was to come. 

9. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (from Red)

Although it isn’t really Taylor’s best, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was a commercial success, making it Taylor’s first single to hit number one in the US. It’s also the product of her first collaboration with Max Martin, who eventually became one of her go-to producers. 

10. “Enchanted” (from Speak Now)

“Enchanted,” and most of her Speak Now songs, are often overlooked when people dive into Taylor’s discography. Personally, this song is so underrated that I’d often ask friends to listen to it just to give the attention it rightfully deserves. It’s desperate, it’s hopeful, it’s honest. This is Taylor Swift at her finest. 

For your convenience, listen to all the songs mentioned above in the Rappler playlist below:


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