The music world has been abuzz in the last couple of weeks as Taylor Swift and her team have been posting different shimmery images, with the date, April 26, as the caption of each post. Although this is fairly vague, it’s safe to assume that new music from Taylor is on the way. It’s been almost two years since the release of reputation, which follows fairly closely with Swift’s every 2 years for album release cycle. In celebration of what’s sure to be a successful new era, here’s a look back every lead single that Taylor Swift has released.
Not only was Tim McGraw the first single that Taylor released, but it was also the first song on her debut record. This was, quite literally, the first time you would hear Taylor’s music. The song is a reflection on that perfect summer romance that had to, for whatever reason, end too soon. Swift reminisces about the romance, looking back on fondness but also with a sense of yearning, ultimately stating that “when you think Tim McGraw, I hope you think of me. “ This acoustic number captured a certain innocence of that teen love, and at 16 years old, it was an impressive feat for Swift to be able to string all of these emotions together. This would just be the beginning of Swift’s brand of being able to connect to young girls everywhere who felt like she’d taken a page out of their own diary.
Arguably, Love Story was the song that catapulted Swift to a new level of super stardom. Off her sophomore record Fearless, the song saw Swift dabble a little with pop music, but still remained grounded with her country twang. On this track, Taylor sings of a relationship that her family doesn’t approve of, comparing their love to Romeo and Juliet, but replacing the original tragic ending with a more happier one. Not only was the song a commercial success with selling 18 million copies worldwide and receiving endless amounts of air play, but it’s become so synonymous with the Taylor Swift fandom. Whether you’re a new or old fan, dedicated or casual, you know Love Story. And although the track has been played endlessly for the last ten years, Taylor still sings it live. She’s altered it into various versions over the years, over the years, but at the end of the day, Love Story has managed to reign as one of Taylor Swift’s best songs yet.
A song about young love, and the dreams of the perfect romance, Mine is about as Taylor Swift of a song as it can be. Mine was the lead single for Swift’s third studio album Speak Now, and appropriately so, seeing as the rest of the record, written entirely by Swift herself, has been known by fans to have a sort of whimsical magic to it that is hard to pin point. The lyrics in the song are written practically as a story, starting with introductions, that first spark of love, the ups and downs of the relationship, and ending with a happily ever after. The rest of the album is flooded with tracks that speak of lost love, loves that never happen or fall apart, or the kind you’ll always dream of, and so with Mine as the lead single, its all so perfectly packaged.
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together saw Taylor’s first real serious step towards pop music. Writing and producing with Max Martin and Shellback (the two responsible for just about every successful pop song ever), this catchy number was hard to ignore in the fall of 2012 in preparation for her upcoming fourth album, Red. The ‘oooh-oooh’ ear worm in the pre-chorus made for an infectious track in a song about how Taylor and her lover will, well, never ever get back together. Although the rest of the album is a heavily heartbreaking record, WANEGBT was the perfect up-beat lead single that absolutely got stuck in your head, a sneaky trick that Swift has mastered for over ten years.
Shake It Off
In 2014, Taylor released her first fully identified pop album. Titled 1989, the record takes influence from the year that Swift was born, with a strong emphasis on 80s pop music, scattered with synth beats and overlapped vocals. In a similar fashion to We Are Never Ever…, Taylor worked again with Max Martin to write and produce Shake It Off, another infectious, repetitive track, that proudly proclaims to shake off the haters and the bad vibes, and get down to “this sick beat.” Shake It Off made for the perfect lead single with its uptempo dance vibe and fun light-hearted lyrics, setting the pace for the rest of 1989, which followed in a similar fashion.
Look What You Made Me Do
Following the Kim/Kanye/Taylor drama of 2016 (you know what I’m talking about. Everyone and their mother knows, but if not, here’s a synopsis courtesy of Buzzfeed) Taylor found herself going into hiding. Her usual every-two-year-album-release schedule was diminished when she took an extra year off to stay out of the spotlight and focus more on her personal life. What came in the late summer of 2017, was probably some of her darkest music yet. Taylor released Look What You Made Me Do, an electro-pop track with lyrics on the various issues built in Swift’s reputation, a jumping off point for what her sixth studio album, conveniently titled Reputation, would just about stand for. The song’s most memorable moment comes full force halfway with its iconic line “I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, cause she’s dead,” which surprised fans and critics alike, really proving that Swift wasn’t messing around this time. This was just the tip of the iceberg in an album that would succeed with a dark, and in some spots more aggressive twist, a whole new ballpark for Swift, but would ultimately become a major success.
And what’s next for Taylor? It’s safe to say that based on her current Instagram posts, an aesthetic of soft, warm pastels, this will be very unlike the Reputation era. A more beach-like vibe? Back to the acoustic-pop of Red? Maybe a return to the 80s synth with a twist? It’s hard to tell with Taylor Swift, who always manages to have something hidden up her musical sleeves. Only time will tell.