Taylor Swift's 13 Best Deep Cuts
In case you've been living under a rock, Taylor Swift announced her new album, with single to follow in the next day or so! After having been almost three years since her last release, this week she completely cleared out her social media, deleting all Instagram posts and tweets, and even clearing out all of her display pictures and unfollowing on all social platforms. She has since then posted some very criptic videos of what appears to be a snake. On Thursday she announced her new album 'Reputation' would be out November 10th. With all of that in mind I figured I'd comb through her catalogue and pick out 13 (cause it's her favourite number) of some of her best deep cuts. Here we go!
Cold As You
Probably her most country-grounded album to date, Taylor Swift's self-titled debut album often slips under the radar as this was before her boost to success that would follow with her sophomore album. That said, her debut does feature prominent singles like Teardrops on My Guitar and Tim McGraw, but it's tracks like Cold As You which cut deep with lyrics of someone who has let you down (be it relationship or friendship). With a chorus going "What a rainy ending given to a perfect day/just walk away/ain't no use defending words that you will never say", this song delivers the sadness of what it feels like to lose someone based on how they treat you.
Tell Me Why
Approaching her second studio album, Fearless becomes slightly less country as Swift gets her toes wet with a bit of pop tweaked in. This era we saw her instant rise to fame when she released Love Story and You Belong With Me, but its the deep cuts of Fearless that makes this album very sonically cohesive. Seen as one of her most country songs off Fearless, Tell Me Why takes a look at a very manipulative and controlling relationship, without actually mentioning its a relationship, one of the very reasons this makes for a great deep cut. Fans have found a way to identify with the lyrics from this song and relate them to a relationship, but also relating to relationships with friends and parents. Lyrics like "I'm sick and tired of your attitude/I'm feeling like I don't know you/you tell me that you want me/then cut me down" is her big F YOU to anyone who thinks its okay to knock others down.
Featured on the Fearless platinum edition, this song features Swift in her purest form of vocals and acoustic guitar. This song is the yearning of wanting to be with someone, but they are, as she says "untouchable". Sung in a soft whisper, with the gentle plucks of guitar strings (and some versions with a light drum beat), this song is one of Swift's most stripped down numbers, proving that just her lyrics and a guitar are enough to strike a literal chord with her audiences.
Perhaps one of her most underrated album to date, Speak Now was Swift's prime when it came to deep cuts. Entirely written by herself, and all before she's barely 20, Speak Now brought some of the realest lyrical content from Swift, and perhaps may have been some of her best work to date. And although she did have several hit singles (Mine, Mean) it's 6 minute stories (yes, I'm saying stories, not songs, because these ones come off just as that) that help to truly make her songwriting skills shine. Allegedly written about her relationship with John Mayer, Dear John does the perfect job of encompassing how what you may have thought a good relationship would be, takes a dark turn, with a lot of blame game at play. Lyrics "Maybe it's me and my blind optimism to blame/or maybe it's you and your sick need to give love then take it away" are proof of just that. That said, there are hints of a sour relationship where the value isn't present on both sides with the song opening "long were the nights when my days once revolved around you" followed shortly by "wondering which version of you I might get on the phone tonight." The musicality of the song goes from the shy and scared, to mustering the courage to leave as the final chorus approaches and Swift is heard wailing "I'm shining like fireworks over your sad empty town".
Never Grow Up
Taylor Swift has been notorious for writing about relationships, but she doesn't get the credit she deserves in her songs about life, which yes, if you look through her music, she most definitely writes about. Never Grow Up is further proof of just that. This song navigates how you start off as a young child, being so small and having no idea what the world has in store, to approaching being a teen and wanting to figure out your life, to the inevitable moving out on your own and realizing how you in fact, never wanted to grow up. Another track of Swift and guitar, this beautiful song is often a fan favourite for its very real content that every single person goes through.
Often credited as her most "magical" album, Speak Now toys with a lot of lyrics and musical arrangements that make this album sound slightly different than her previous. Haunted is one of those perfect examples. With a very dramatic intro of powerful drums filled in with precise string arrangements, upon first listen you may think you're in a dark, and well, haunted forest. The song focuses on how you may think you have someone figured out, and even though they ignore you, something keeps you holding on. A fan favourite due to its spectacular live performance, this track is often one of Swift's first steps into a darker tone, one that she's never really explored before.
One of the last tracks off Speak Now, Last Kiss is a fan favourite. Supposedly about her relationship with Joe Jonas, this song is the aftermath of a breakup. Leading with a very low mellow drum beat and soft guitars, Swift tells this song like a story, reflecting on the highlights of their relationship. "I still remember/the look on your face" and "that July 9th/the beat of your heart/it jumps through your shirt/ can still feel your arms". The bridge builds with the gut retching realization that this relationship is over. Most notably in the lyrics "so I'll watch your life in pictures/like i used to watch you sleep" and "I'll feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe", finally ending with "you can plan for a change in the weather in town/but I never planned on you changing your mind", have left many fans pegging this one as some of her best song writing to date.
State of Grace
The opening track to her fourth studio album, Red, State of Grace is the introduction to what the rest of the album serves. As Red is often known as her most heartbreaking album, State of Grace is before the heartbreak sets in. How love can come out of the blue and how it can ultimately change someone, which it clearly did for Swift during that time (as it was alleged she was dating Jake Gyllenhaal). At the same time, Swift sings about how something so fast and tumultuous can be "brave and wild". The intro drum beat with slight guitar strums before her vocals kick in, make for an excellent intro. The song ends with the reminder of "love is a ruthless game, unless you play it good and right".
I Almost Do
Serving as the middle ground for Red, I Almost Do is one of the handful of tracks from Red that often seem to get swept under the rug. Perhaps due to its lack of catchiness and mellow rhythm, however this song is one that brings a true and honest moment that anyone has experienced post-breakup. I Almost Do is about wanting to call a former lover, but knowing you can't, and although there are so many things you want to say to them, you can't given the circumstances. The song is filled with wondering if your S/O has been thinking about you, how they perceive you now, and the general feeling of wanting to turn back to a time when it was easy. The chorus has Swift singing with the ache of "I just wanna tell you/it takes everything in me not to call you/and I wish I could run to you/and I hope you know that/every time I don't/I almost do".
Holy Ground is one of those rare Taylor Swift tracks when she reflects on a relationship, and instead of being bitter, makes it a positive look back. Holy Ground is about looking back on a relationship that, although may have been a bit rocky, eventually ended up being a great lesson learned. Proof lyrics include "darling it was good/never looking down/and right there where we stood was holy ground". And although Swift pin points specifics that the relationship did fall apart, she brings about how she sees "your face in every crowd". And although perhaps there may be a sense of wanting, there is something hidden in the way the music is arranged that makes it come across as happy, and that things are okay without having to go back.
Girl At Home
Featured on the deluxe edition of Red, Girl At Home shows Swift acting as 'the other girl'. The storyline is of a guy trying to put the moves on, but Swift is aware he has a girl back home, and instead of tempted by persuasion, she tells him to leave her alone and return to what he already has. What makes this stand out in such a particular way, is that the lyrics mention that Swift herself was once the "girl at home" when she sings "it would be a fine proposition if I hadn't once been just like her".
All You Had to Do Was Stay
Taylor Swift prepped 1989 for her fans by saying this album was going to be more about life and less about relationships, and that for certain, it was going to be pop. And while the former half may not have been true, there is no denying this was a pop album, featuring a lot of synth and auto-tune experimentation. One that clearly stands out is the fifth track, All You Had to Do Was Stay. This song tackles the idea of a relationship being over, and someone begging to come back, but after the heartbreak, you know better than to take them back. None of this would have happened if you just stayed. Although one of the (literal) high points of this song is the loud high pitched scream "stay" heard in the chorus, that came from a dream Swift had, its the lyrics that make this song stand out for fans. "People like you always want back the love they pushed aside/and people like me are gone forever when you say goodbye" and "let me remind you this was what you wanted/you were all I wanted/but not like this" show a very real side to Swift's relationships and how she views them.
I Wish You Would
Co-written with Bleachers and fun. musician Jack Antonoff, I Wish You Would opens with a fast guitar riff that sets the tone for the song. Similar to a yearning track like I Almost Do, I Wish You Would is more about how Swift feels like she has made mistakes too, and wish that things could be patched up and go back to how things were. This is another track often slipped under the radar, but it is its effortlessly cool sound that makes it worth checking out and listening to again and again.
That's it for my favourite TSwift deep cuts! What are yours? Leave a comment below :) I've also taken all the songs and put them in a Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.
Until next time!