Here’s how Taylor Swift’s prolific run of albums stacks up against the all-time greats.
Taylor Swift is a pop star, and she has an album for every mood: from wistful, dreamy nostalgia to jubilant, dance-ready rock. The fact that she’s been at it for 15 years now — from “Red” to “1989,” “Red” to “Fearless,” “1989” to “Speak Now” — is part of the magic: Swift’s album catalog is like the soundtrack to her entire career.
For a while, it was hard to recall a single track that hadn’t been on past Swift’s 30th birthday. And while she may be playing catch-up with pop music history, Swift is still churning out albums at a breakneck pace: since her debut in 2009, she has released nine full albums. That’s one album every year for the past nine years, which puts her ahead of any other artist in the modern era. She is also one of the few artists with albums that can still be listened to on repeat, if you’re in the right mood.
Here’s our ranking of Swift’s albums — from her breakthrough debut, to a rare reissue, and everything in between.
“Red” is my first choice for best album of 2016: it’s a masterpiece in every way, from Swift’s stunning use of synths and layered vocals to the emotional and empowering lyrics and the fact that it was written largely in the first months of her relationship with Harry Styles.
3. “Speak Now”
“Speak Now,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for the first time in 2015, was written as therapy for Swift’s then-21-year-old daughter, Apple Watch partner, and model Finneas. It’s an epic story of coming-of-age; it’s a heartbreaking and hopeful and terrifying ballad, all at once.
4. “Speak Now”
Though she wrote this one a few years later, Swift’s story “Speak Now” was inspired by her first pregnancy. As a teenager, the then-17-year-old was diagnosed with hypothyroidism — an autoimmune