Taylor Swift's Most Discussed Lyrics: From Folklore's Tales To 1989's Mega-Hits

9 October 2022, 10:09 | Updated: 9 October 2022, 11:52

Taylor Swift: pop's best lyricist
Taylor Swift: pop's best lyricist. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Savannah Roberts

As we prepare for Taylor Swift's next era, let's comb back through her most talked-about lyrics, from the poetic to the complex, the genius to the pop culture staples – here are the musician's best lines...

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It's no secret that Taylor Swift is somewhat of a lyrical genius, her mega-hits that dominated the 2010s and in recent years she's released poetic masterpieces that shook the indie music world – this singer-songwriter knows what she's doing!

The 32-year-old has carved out a career path like none other, with her discography currently boasting nine studio records, two re-recorded albums, four EPs and three live albums, all of which span across a whopping 16 years – wow!

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As we all countdown the days to the pop icon's tenth studio album 'Midnights' (coming out October 21), let's delve into Taylor's lyrical history...

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Taylor Swift's lyrical genius knows no bounds
Taylor Swift's lyrical genius knows no bounds. Picture: Getty

'Call It What You Want'

The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now...

Miss Swift definitely switched up her writing style with 2017's 'Reputation', leading to bops like 'Call It What You Want'. The electro-pop tune is widely-assumed to be about a certain highly-publicised feud, but Taylor phrased the fallout in the most poetic way.

"My castle crumbled overnight / I brought a knife to a gunfight / They took the crown but it's alright."

Taylor entered a new lyrical era with 'Reputation'
Taylor entered a new lyrical era with 'Reputation'. Picture: Alamy

'Tolerate It'

'Evermore' continued Taylor's indie-folk streak and she tugged at our heartstrings once more with the agonising story that is 'Tolerare It'.

"I made you my temple, my mural, my sky / Now I'm begging for footnotes in the story of your life"

What other way would you expect the songstress to express the feeling of abandonment within a relationship? Pure poetry!

Taylor described "Evermore&squot; as &squot;Folklore&squot;&squot;s freewheeling sister
Taylor described "Evermore' as 'Folklore''s freewheeling sister. Picture: Taylor Swift/Artwork

'The Man'

Many of the 32-year-old's eloquent phrases from 'Lover' quickly became pop culture quotes upon its release, with her poignant message from 'The Man' making quite the splash.

"I'm so sick of running as fast as I can / Wondering if I'd get there quicker / If I was a man"

'Lover' marked a departure from the darker material of 'Reputation'
'Lover' marked a departure from the darker material of 'Reputation'. Picture: Alamy


We love to see self-referential lyrics from the singer, it's Swift's multiverse and we're just living in it!

She builds on her previous perspective on relationships from her 'Red' era, playing devil's advocate and describing love as 'golden'.

"I once believed love would burning red / But it’s golden, like daylight"


'1989' is the gift that keeps on giving and the lyrical content of the 2014 record never ceases to impress.

'Clean' likens the attachment to a loved one to addiction, the chorus is often-quoted but there are some absolute gems in the verses too:

“It was months and months of back and forth / You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can’t wear anymore”

'Clean' is a lilting pop bop
'Clean' is a lilting pop bop. Picture: Getty

'Invisible String'

Taylor strung her words together in the romantic of ways in the 2020 surprise drop that was 'Folklore', kickstarting a new introspective and narrative driven style of songwriting.

"Time, mystical time / Cutting me open, then healing me fine"

The star frames time as something that once felt cruels but now has rewarded her kindly. Alternatively, in other choruses, she sings:

"Time, curious time / Gave me no compasses, gave me no signs / Were there clues I didn't see?"

We're spoilt for choice with 'Invisible String''s wise lyrical gems.

Bonus line (and this. onecuts deep): "And you know damn well I will ruin myself a million little times."

'Folklore' is a lyrically dense masterpiece
'Folklore' is a lyrically dense masterpiece. Picture: Taylor Swift/Artwork

'You Are In Love'

Swift was everywhere in 2014 with the mass success of '1989' – what a time! 'You Are In Love' is one of the more understated tracks from the mega-record.

"You understand now why they lost their minds and fought the wars / And why I've spent my whole life trying to put it into words."

How beautifully put and very meta of Taylor to talk about spending her career making lyrical masterpieces.

'You Are In Love' is an honest pop ballad
'You Are In Love' is an honest pop ballad. Picture: Alamy

And of course, the lyrical work of genius that is 'All Too Well'

You knew this one was coming.

Widely considered to be the musician's magnum opus, the heart-wrenching lyrics of 'All Too Well' have been living in all our heads rent-free for the past 10 years – and that was before we got the 10-minute version!

Forever a fan-favourite, track five from 'Red' is a gut punch of a song that follows a young Taylor as she tries to make sense of a complex relationship after a devastating split.

Upon the release of 'Red (Taylor's Version)', the songwriter gifted us all the emotional lines she's kept in the vault all these years, with fans reeling over the lyrics: "You kept me like a secret / But I kept you like an oath." Taylor, our hearts!

'All Too Well' is one of Taylor's most iconic works
'All Too Well' is one of Taylor's most iconic works. Picture: Taylor Swift/YouTube

One moment in particular that had us all singing, screaming and crying along to comes at the end of the bridge to end all bridges:

"And you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of bein' honest
I'm a crumpled-up piece of paper lyin' here / 'Cause I remember it all, all, all"

It may be overquoted but it gets us every single time.

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