Deep Album Cuts Vol. 98: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has been the most consistently successful artist in American music for the past decade. Each of her 5 albums sold at least 4 million copies domestically, which would be highly impressive in any era but is downright staggering in the iTunes/streaming era. Her 6th album Reputation, out next month, already seems poised to be the first album where she may face a serious backlash and/or a significant commercial downturn. Her legacy is already pretty secure, it only seems like things can slow her down, but not stop her. But she's really pretty divisive, and I've always had mixed feelings about her. Since she finally ended her cold war with Spotify and made her back catalog available over the summer, I figured it was a good time to delve into these records that always seemed too ubiquitous for me to bother seeking out.

Taylor Swift deep album cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. Forever & Always
2. Holy Ground
3. Dear John
4. All You Had To Do Was Stay
5. Tell Me Why
6. Invisible
7. State Of Grace
8. How You Get The Girl
9. Long Live
10. You're Not Sorry
11. I Almost Do
12. Enchanted
13. Stay Beautiful
14. I Wish You Would
15. Starlight
16. The Outside
17. Haunted
18. Clean
19. The Best Day

Tracks 6, 13 and 16 from Taylor Swift (2006)
Tracks 1, 5, 10 and 19 from Fearless (2008)
Tracks 3, 9, 12 and 17 from Speak Now (2010)
Tracks 2, 7, 11 and 15 from Red (2012)
Tracks 4, 8, 14 and 18 from 1989 (2014)

Recently Rob Sheffield ranked all of Swift's songs for Rolling Stone, and I kinda started there to see what was well regarded among her album tracks and work my way down until I had my own opinions that sometimes diverged pretty widely from his. I always felt like a lot of Swift's singles just passed me by, but every 3rd or 4th one would connect. The ones that basically sound like power pop like "You Belong With Me" and "The Story Of Us" and "Red" always appealed to me the most, which is why I'm really bummed that she's put the guitar down and started basically making synth pop lately. So it was fun to seek out more of that stuff, and kick off the mix with "Forever & Always" and "Holy Ground," which I think became my favorite Taylor Swift song in the course of making this mix.

I always like to point out that Taylor Swift had already sold about 7 million albums before the night Kanye West likes to say he "made" her famous. But of course, even while she was quickly crossing over from country to pop, those oddly distant worlds can take some time to traverse. It's interesting how little even her first couple albums scan as country to me now, though. I wouldn't mind her 'going back to her roots' and putting a little more banjo and fiddle on her records someday, but it's really not that key to her musical identity.

With the enormous scale of her success, it's hard to even call any of Taylor Swift's songs deep cuts. 8 tracks on this mix charted on the Hot 100, and 5 went Gold or Platinum. And so many of her songs made headlines for what other celebrities they were allegedly written about that I felt like I'd read a lot of these lyrics before I heard them. But really, once I weeded out the songs I couldn't stand like "Welcome To New York" and "Better Than Revenge" and "Innocent" and "Speak Now," I found a lot to enjoy.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
Vol. 80: Meat Loaf
Vol. 81: AC/DC
Vol. 82: Bruce Springsteen
Vol. 83: Pearl Jam
Vol. 84: Green Day
Vol. 85: George Michael and Wham!
Vol. 86: New Edition
Vol. 87: Chuck Berry
Vol. 88: Electric Light Orchestra
Vol. 89: Chic
Vol. 90: Journey
Vol. 91: Yes
Vol. 92: Soundgarden
Vol. 93: The Allman Brothers Band
Vol. 94: Mobb Deep
Vol. 95: Linkin Park
Vol. 96: Shania Twain
Vol. 97: Squeeze
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