Since her debut album in 2008, taylor swift has written and recorded seven studio albums, winning dozens of Grammys and Billboard Music Awards. She is a philanthropist who supports the arts, especially musical theatre, and has donated to schools and literacy programs. She has also directed several music videos and films, including the 2020 documentary Miss Americana. She is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and has supported charities that aid children with disabilities and cancer.
Swift honed her craft during childhood, writing songs and performing in community productions in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She took piano and voice lessons, but it was the guitar that captivated her, and she spent every free moment at home learning how to play. She wrote her first song at age 12, and by 13, she was traveling to Nashville to collaborate with songwriters, including Liz Rose and Nathan Chapman. In 2005, she performed at the Bluebird Cafe for the first time and caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, who would sign her to Big Machine Records.
Her first deluxe album, RED (2012), introduced her to new producers and songwriters like Max Martin and Shellback. It incorporated a new sound for Taylor, with dubstep and dance pop influences. The record was a huge success, selling over 1.2 million copies in the US alone in its first week and becoming the fastest-selling album of her career. The accompanying RED Tour grossed over $150 million, making it the highest-grossing country concert tour at the time.
In the years following, Swift continued to win a slew of awards and accolades and became an established icon of her generation. She started to take a more activist role, and by 2016, she began voicing her support for Hillary Clinton in her infamous “break up with Trump” video. Though it’s been difficult for her to wade into partisan politics, she’s become more comfortable with the nastiness of public life.
One of the breeziest and least complicated of her guy-standing-on-a-doorstep songs, this softly soulful number is perfect for anyone who’s ever waited nervously for that special text to arrive. Unlike many of her songs that romanticize young love, this one has a clear-eyed understanding of the emptiness of some of the more sentimental romantic tropes.
Swift’s best work as a writer, producer, and singer comes through on this sweet and catchy deep cut, featuring wry sideways rhymes (“you look good in ripped jeans”) and a trusty Hammond organ. It’s also the only song on this list to include a shout-out to a major celebrity feud, which is perhaps fitting considering how much Swift loves a good squabble.