10 of the Most Poetic Taylor Swift Lyrics

Taylor Swift is one of the most celebrated songwriters in recent memory. Right from her debut, she set herself apart from the rest of her peers with poignant lyrics and an incomparable knack for storytelling. Nine original albums and several re-recordings later, Swift has a wealth of self-penned tracks that few artists can boast.

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As Miss Americana gears up to release what is sure to be yet another lauded album on October 21, (full of her first completely original content since 2020) we’re going through a few of the most poetic strokes from her career so far.

1. Your Midas touch on the Chevy door / November flush and your flannel cure / This dorm was once a madhouse / I made a joke, Well, it’s made for me (“Champagne Problems” from Evermore)

Swift has a knack for setting a scene and “Champagne Problems” is no exception. Though she could’ve said something along the lines of “you opened the door for me and gave me your jacket” in this verse, she instead opts for something far more expressive and in return delivers a song that hits twice as hard.

2.  So we’ve been outnumbered / Raided and now cornered / It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair / We’re getting stronger now (“Change” from Fearless)

Swift originally released “Change” in 2008. Back then, the powerful lyrics were about starting out in the music industry as a young woman on a small label with the odds stacked against her. Several years later, the track has taken on new meaning as the executives at said label have become enemy No. 1 and No. 2 for Swift—Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun. The latter infamously bought the label from Borchetta and in return kept Swift from buying the rights to her own music: enter the “Taylor’s Version” re-recordings.

It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of Swift’s music that the re-recorded version of “Change” can hit every bit as hard as the original, albeit in a new light.

3. Gold was the color of the leaves / When I showed you around Centennial Park / Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven (“Invisible String” from Folklore)

“Invisible String” finds Swift following the thread tying her to her partner. As they’ve weaved in and out of each other’s lives, it seems there has been a divine link all the while. And like that connective string, each verse feeds into the next, playing off one another before closing out with the lines above. By the end of the song, they’ve found their way to one another again, ending the long and winding journey they took to get there.

4. And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue? / Just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?
(“All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” from Red (Taylor’s Version)

Any one verse from Swift’s re-recorded Red track “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) could find its way onto this list. Few artists could deliver a 10-minute track, nevertheless keep it engrossing for the duration. One thing about Swift’s lyrics is that she has never been afraid to be referential. Though nothing has been confirmed, most of her fans have a pretty good idea of who this song is about. That context makes this track all the more exciting.

With the addition of a prolonged runtime, fans were gifted even more narrative heft to cling on to, like the lines above. Closing out the song, this breakdown steps away from the storyline for a moment and takes on a side conversation between the two of them.

5. You can plan for a change in the weather and time / but I never planned on you changing your mind (“Last Kiss” From Speak Now)

Break-up songs—who does it better than Swift? She has poignant ones, revenge ones, self-empowered ones, and altogether devastating ones. Whatever your vibe is post-break-up, Swift has just the track for you.

“Last Kiss” falls under the devasting category. The lines above prove Swift has an untouchable ability to deliver the most poignant version of whatever she is trying to say. Never one to pull her punches, Swift lays it all bare, every time.

6. And you’ll save all your dirtiest jokes for me / And at every table, I’ll save you a seat, lover (“Lover” From Lover)

Though these lines may seem simple, they sum up domestic bliss quite well. The entire title track from Lover seems tailor-made for a first-dance song —loved-up and gushing from beginning to end.

Closing out the bridge are the lines above. Sweet, simple, and yet somehow profound, Swift sums up love with a knowing laugh and a permanent place next to one another.

7. Long were the nights when my days once revolved around you / Counting my footsteps / Praying the floor won’t fall through, again (“Dear John” from Speak Now)

In another example of Swift being referential to one of her past relationships, it’s clear in “Dear John” that Swift found that break-up particularly gut-wrenching. Across the lyrics, Swift chides the man in question for being manipulative and a game player, taking advantage of how much she cared about him. Perfectly evoking the feeling of treading lightly around someone, the lines above showcase just how concise Swift can be as a songwriter.

8. My castle crumbled overnight / I brought a knife to a gunfight / They took the crown but it’s alright” (“Call It What You Want” from Reputation)

Unlike most of her albums, on Reputation, Swift had something to prove. Her comeback following a massive drama with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, the album formally introduced the world to a new, darker version of Swift.

Another thing Swift seems to do time and time again is come up with the perfect analogy for her situation. Paired with her unflinching ability to reference the world around her, this song is the perfect message for her long-awaited comeback in 2017.

9. Remember when we couldn’t take the heat? / I walked out, I said “I’m setting you free” / But the monsters turned out to be just trees / When the sun came up you were looking at me (“Out of the Woods” from 1989)

1989 is a blockbuster album if there ever was one. Bright, glittering, and anthemic, it’s perhaps Swift’s most radio-friendly pursuit —not that she has much trouble in that department.

“Out of the Woods” is one of the darker-tinged songs on the record, albeit with keeping the same retro-infused pop sound. The lines above come from the bridge of the track when Swift swaps the slow, building verses for a quick-fire delivery. Swift has some of the best bridges in the pop sphere and “Out of the Woods” is a great example.

11. I’m still a believer but I don’t know why / I’ve never been a natural / All I do is try, try, try / I’m still on that trapeze / I’m still trying everything / To keep you looking at me (“Mirrorball” from Folklore)

Folklore and Evermore are arguably Swift’s most poetic albums, swapping any straightforward language for something deeply symbolic. As far as songwriting goes, they might just be her best efforts of all time.

One cut from Folklore is “Mirrorball,” a swaying ballad about losing yourself in a relationship. Though most of the song is elements of the chorus repeated over and over, the end sees Swift switch things up for a few lines. In the verse above, Swift says despite her failed relationships and heartache, she still believes in the sentiment of love—an inspiring idea for us all.

Photo: Beth Garrabrant / Republic Records

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