Taylor Swift exploded onto the country music scene in 2006 with “Tim McGraw” before releasing her self-titled debut. Since then, she’s captured the hearts of so many people and has evolved her sound through various genres. And as someone who grew up watching Taylor Swift’s music videos and still rewatches them constantly, I think it’s time they were ranked.
I’m only including official music videos, so concert footage videos set to a song won’t be included. I’m also including her short film for the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” because why not?
“Change,” “Fifteen,” and “Renegade”
These three music videos are basically just Taylor singing the song to the camera or lyrics going across the screen. I almost left them off, but since they are in her VEVO channel’s “official music video” category, I felt inclined to include them.
“Change” might be one of her most underrated songs, but the music video does it no justice. Swift and her band are just playing the song while she looks pretty in her “Fearless”-era. “Fifteen” shows Swift going through a green-screened world singing the song in her country-era sundresses. And “Renegade” just feels like a lyric video to me.
I love that Taylor wanted to incorporate dancing into more music videos despite saying she doesn’t dance well. And maybe it’s because I don’t love the song, but the music video was so hard to get through. The only thing I liked about the actual video was the costuming.
The concept behind “Delicate” was Taylor finally getting to be herself away from the paparazzi and public eye that closely watches her. And when she’s able to do that, she goes full-on dancer mode, twirling all over the place and around the people who can’t see her.
“Our Song” and “Picture to Burn”
These two music videos were iconic when they came out – and “Picture to Burn” also hinted at Taylor breaking out of that America’s Sweetheart stereotype she had for years. Despite this, they were just middle of the road compared to all that she has made since.
“Our Song” features Taylor talking to her friend on the phone or singing in pretty dresses. It really showcases how innocent a teenage relationship can be. On the other hand, “Picture to Burn” starts with Taylor and her friend spying on her ex before Swift starts daydreaming about destroying his place as revenge.
“Back to December,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” and “White Horse”
These three were almost tied with “Our Song” and “Picture to Burn,” but they have a slight edge with the cinematic tones. Not to mention, Swift’s sad songs just hit different when you watch the music videos.
In addition to being a beautiful song, “Back to December” had a music video full of beautiful cinematography and imagery. I still love the snow falling inside the house. “Teardrops on My Guitar” showcases Taylor’s friendship with “Drew” before she sees the girl he likes. And “White Horse” just features scenes from a bad relationship and Swift crying and singing on the floor.
“I Knew You Were Trouble”
I almost ranked this farther down, but after rewatching it, I love it. Taylor’s speech at the beginning added to the music video, making it more relatable to the people watching who might not have been in the same situations but could have someone like that in their life.
After Swift’s speech about the “bad boy” and tumultuous relationship, it goes straight into Swift on both sides of the relationship. Some scenes show how in love she was and how fast she was falling, while others show how far out of her element she’d gone.
Taylor’s first music video might not be the best or worst, but its nostalgia and cute scenes put it just above many others that came out from her first album. I just wish this music video had been more like “Mine” and “Love Story,” but this was good enough for her debut single.
The concept of the “Tim McGraw” music video was showcasing Taylor and her love interest having a beautiful relationship despite her knowing they’d break up. Swift wrote this song about a boyfriend in high school when she realized the relationship would end when he graduated later that year.
“The Best Day” and “Christmas Tree Farm”
Most people don’t even know these two songs have music videos, and I understand why. There wasn’t really any buzz around them, and they were more like home video collages than anything else. But I think that the collage aspect made them so good.
Out of the two, “The Best Day” is my favorite because I grew up listening to it. And while I think it could have had a really cute music video following a mother and daughter growing up, I concede this was a good video. “Christmas Tree Farm” featured tons of videos of Taylor and her family during the winter months.
“Me!” and “You Need to Calm Down”
“Me!” was one of the most unhinged Taylor Swift music videos ever, and that’s exactly why I loved it. Brendan Urie and Taylor started off with a soap opera scene before going straight into the pastel wonderland of wackiness.
On the other hand, “You Need to Calm Down” was a lot less unhinged, but it just doesn’t quite live up to the higher-ranked music videos. The cameos (and the hug with Katy Perry) were amazing. Still, other than a few scenes, I barely remember it even after rewatching it many times.
“Shake It Off,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and “22”
These three music videos are some of Taylor’s most fun videos that will make you want to grab your friends and dance. “Shake It Off” was the first time we see Taylor fully embracing dancing in all styles, from ballet to twerking.
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is in the same vein with the insanity in the background as Taylor sings her heart out. “22”, on the other hand, had every girl planning out her 22nd birthday to play this song all night while they partied with their friends.
I know this song got a lot of Swifties out of a funk many times growing up. When it came out, I was in middle school and dealing with bullying. So when the song was released, it really helped me realize the bullying wouldn’t last forever.
“Mean” followed various stories of people going through bullying. At the end of the music video, all of the bullying victims were shown in better places, and their bullies were shown up. Overall, it was cute but not as iconic as the rest on this list.
“The Story of Us”
Even though this isn’t my favorite T-Swift video of all time, I’d still watch a movie about the couple featured in “The Story of Us.” It had light academia aesthetics, a cute love story, and the couple possibly getting a second chance at a relationship. And while I loved it, it lacked something to make it amazing.
“The Story of Us” swapped between Taylor and her love interest having adorable moments, the now-ex-couple not knowing how to act around each other in the library, and the fallout of the relationship. The book with the song’s title at the beginning of the video was a perfect touch.
When Taylor released this music video, I was awestruck by how beautiful everything was. All of her outfits matched perfectly with the tone of the song and the Parisian setting of the video. And I honestly think this could have been a great short film, like “All Too Well.”
“Begin Again” follows Taylor as she goes around Paris reminiscing about a past love while also trying to move on. In the end, she meets the new love interest who she’s singing about and finally is able to move on from her broken heart.
“Safe and Sound” and “I Don’t Want to Live Forever”
Though these two are completely different concepts, they are tied for two reasons: they are both music videos for movies, and they are great but not iconic. “Safe and Sound” was released for The Hunger Games, and the whole video is Taylor walking through a forest, which just goes perfectly with the movie’s vibes.
“I Don’t Want to Live Forever” was released for 50 Shades Darker with Zayn singing with her. The music video just reminded me of the 50 Shades world and was perfectly made to accompany the film. The cinematography was also amazing, and I wish I could rewatch the video for the first time again.
“End Game” and “Wildest Dreams”
These are only tied because I can’t figure out which I like more. They both have completely different concepts, but both music videos are perfect for their songs. “End Game” just feels boujee, and I’m not impressed with the personas of the singers and their “big reputations.”
On the other hand, “Wildest Dreams” has Swift living out so many people’s dreams of being a popular and talented actress in love with the handsome actor she’s working with. Though I love both videos, they were just missing something that the next videos have, but I can’t figure out what exactly it is.
“I Bet You Think About Me” and “Lover”
Both of these music videos used color heavily. In “I Bet You Think About Me”, red and white were the only colors that stood out. Swift’s usual red lip played into the groom seeing red everywhere and thinking of her. There are tons of theories about every little detail that hint at which next album Swift will re-record.
“Lover” uses quite a few more colors that made such a fun video to watch. When it first came out, I didn’t know what to think. But now that I’ve watched it quite a few times, it’s grown on me, and I see how well made it is. Every room in the house on Cornelia Street has a different theme and color, and it was just fun to look at.
“…Ready for It?”
This is one of my favorite music videos, but I will concede that it’s not the best Swift has ever made. “…Ready for It?” just took “Bad Blood” and gave it an apocalyptic science-fiction makeover. And I think that’s what drew me in so much. I love a dystopia!
The video also gained a lot of attention for Swift’s nearly-naked costume that she wore as an android-type being. With it following in the footsteps of “Bad Blood,” I think this captured Swift’s new era of music. The music video represented Reputation’s vibe perfectly.
Before “Style,” we’d gotten a few good music videos, but this was the first time Swift went in such a bold artistic direction. Swift went from singing in a pretty dress and a narrative to pretty scenes that fit into the song somehow.
The “Style” music video has been described as darker, sensual, and mature. And with the song being very different from her other songs about relationships that didn’t go her way, it fits perfectly into her new era of music at the time.
I love how Taylor took what the paparazzi and public were assuming and saying about her in relationships and mocked it with “Blank Space.” The music video and her first live performance of the song added to the absurdity of what people had been saying about her.
At the time, Swift was blamed for all of her relationships not working out, even when there was no bad blood with the exes. She made a music video showing that she could joke about it and the criticism wouldn’t get her down. And it made one of the funniest and iconic videos from her so far.
“Out of the Woods”
This entire video had me hitting rewatch multiple times. There was so much going on that I had to see it about ten times before moving on with my life. And even better than the music video was the behind-the-scenes footage that showed how much thought and effort went into the narrative.
“Out of the Woods” shows Taylor in multiple different wilderness situations, from a normal forest with wolves to a swampy area to a tundra. And every time she went to a new setting, her dress and makeup went crazy depending on where she ended up. It was just a beautifully made video.
“You Belong with Me”
I think we all remember when this came out and Taylor played both the shy girl and the cheerleader vying for the football player’s attention. And I remember watching this and nobody recognizing her in a brown wig at first.
“You Belong with Me” followed a girl falling for her neighbor despite him having a horrible girlfriend. Years later, it seems like the movie The D.U.F.F. (2015) took a few notes from the music video in their dance scene. Honestly, can we get more music videos like this?
I almost had this tied with “You Belong with Me” but I think this one is a bit more relatable to adults nowadays. Swift plays a woman waiting for her partner to return home while stuck in a desk job that is sucking the life out of her.
Then, as she’s watching videos of her and her partner before he went away, it’s clear that it’s just the job that’s keeping her down. I especially love the part where she’s trying to work with the printer, and every time she comes back, something else is wrong with it–or it disappears altogether.
“Everything Has Changed”
Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran’s first music video together was one of the cutest I’ve seen so far. Before reviewing the next three songs on this list, I thought this was going to be higher up. But just because it’s adorable seeing the start of a lifelong friendship, it’s not enough to get it ranked farther up.
“Everything Has Changed” follows a little blonde girl and a redheaded boy meeting at school and immediately becoming friends. As they bond, it’s obvious they’re going to be friends through all of school. But the question of whether they are young Taylor and Ed is answered when the singers pick up the kids after school ends.
“cardigan” and “willow”
These two folklore music videos follow a two-video story arc and need to be watched back-to-back. “cardigan” was full of golden magic transporting Swift through a piano to a forest and ocean, both representing the beginning and end of a relationship.
“willow” picks up where “cardigan” leaves off with Swift drenched and following golden magic in the form of a string. She follows it until she’s finally able to reunite with her soulmate.
“The Joker and the Queen”
This is Taylor and Ed Sheeran’s most recent music video together. And while Taylor doesn’t appear in the music video this time, it follows a similar structure as “Everything Has Changed” with a blonde girl and redhead boy being the center of the narrative.
“The Joker and the Queen” is the continuation of the duo’s last music video together, and the boy and girl are the same characters as the kids from “Everything Has Changed.” It’s a cute video that shows how strong friendships can be even when friends are miles apart. Taylor and Ed’s real-life friendship always makes me smile!
“Bad Blood” and “Look What You Made Me Do”
I couldn’t decide which was better, so “Bad Blood” and “Look What You Made Me Do” are tied for the fifth-best Taylor Swift music video. Both have messages about being empowered despite others trying to tear them down. The only difference is how the videos portrayed Swift.
“Bad Blood” shows her as a heroine who trained to take down her former partner that betrayed her. It also featured a ton of famous women, including Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, and Zendaya. “Look What You Made Me Do” had Swift playing into the narrative that she was a snake and was done hiding from those that had tried to tear her down anymore.
The concept and execution of this music video were immaculate, and I can’t get enough of “The Man.” It’s extremely hilarious while still showing how different Taylor would have been treated had she been a man instead of herself.
I especially loved that she played the man, but Dwayne Johnson voiced him in the end scene. Everything about this music video was perfect, from the cinematography to makeup to details in the background. I hope Taylor gets more chances to direct music videos if they keep turning out this good.
I know most people forget about this music video, but it’s one of my all-time favorites. Before this video came out, I used to think that “You Belong with Me” was the best video ever. But the cinematography and narrative just fit the song so perfectly that I couldn’t get “Mine” out of my head.
“Mine” had tons of cute scenes between Taylor Swift and her love interest, as well as scenes that showcased the hard times couples go through. My favorite scene was them dancing in their new house in front of the windows.
I don’t think anyone is surprised “Love Story” is this high up on my list. And before I even get into the music video, I have one thing to say: If you listened to this and grew up thinking Romeo and Juliet ended happily, like Taylor says, before reading the play in high school, you’re not alone.
The music video was so pretty and had me wishing I lived in this fairytale world watching the love story play out. I think every little girl had dreams of running across a field to her true love in a beautiful dress.
Best: “All Too Well: The Short Film”
Are you even surprised the short film for one of Taylor’s best songs is her best music video? I have no complaints about it other than I wish there was more of it. I would gladly sit and watch a full-length film of this story if she was willing to make it.
In addition to the new lyrics in the longer version of the song, we get to see a tumultuous relationship that feels very familiar to anyone who has endured a bad breakup. I put off listening to the song altogether until the short film came out. And I was crying so much as I watched the couple fight in that break between lyrics. I was blown away by Swift’s genius filmmaking skills, and I truly can’t wait to see what she does next.