Taylor Swift is an amazing songwriter; there’s no doubt about it. She knows how to release catchy singles that get a ton of radio play and can get stuck in people’s heads. But while casual fans might only know her singles, we "Swifties" have access to all of Tay Tay’s lyrics. And we know songs that might even be better than the singles.
Today, I am here to share some of these underrated non-singles with you non-Swifties. I will be picking the song that I think is the most underrated from each album, and give you the reasons why I think it is underrated. I’m excluding any songs from deluxe albums, sorry "You Are In Love."
Taylor Swift: Tied Together With A Smile
Some songs on Taylor Swift’s first album aren’t that strong lyrically. It’s pretty much what you would expect from a teenage girl. However, all the singles are very strong, "Should’ve Said No" being my personal favorite.
This song might not have been a single, but it is a great track. It’s about the struggles of being a person with insecurities and trying to hold yourself together on the outside. This encompasses Taylor Swift as an artist and songwriter. She’s extremely relatable and writes in a personal way that can identify with anyone.
Fearless: Hey Stephen
This is basically “You Belong With Me,’’ but less intense. This is probably why it wasn’t released as a single. However, this is still a cute song that’s just as relatable. I even wanted to date a guy named Stephen so this could be our song. (Another T-Swift reference there). According to the "Holy Swift" podcast, this song was written for Stephen Barker Liles who is the lead singer of the band Love And Theft. The two toured together and Taylor developed a crush on him.
However, she never told him about her feelings until the song came out and she confirmed whom it was about. The song is basically about why this Stephen should date Taylor instead of anyone else. Her main reason? She wrote a song for him. Stephen supposedly found out and ended up writing a song for Taylor in 2011 after she became even more famous and moved on.
Speak Now: Haunted
One of Taylor’s darkest and most dramatic tracks is also one of her best-written songs. The song starts off with a deep string section which always makes everything sound dramatic. The song is about a relationship that turned ugly and the breakup that still haunts Swift to this day. If you want a pre-cursor to the reputation-era, “goth’’ Taylor, but you miss her country music, this is the song for you.
Let’s be honest, "Red" is Taylor’s best album and it only has one dud of a track. (Cough "Stay Stay Stay"). Most "Swifties" think the underrated track from Red is "Holy Ground," but they’ve talked about it so much that it’s become overrated. In my personal opinion the most underrated track is "Starlight."
It’s an up-tempo song about dancing late at night with the one you love. While many assume this might be about her relationship with Conor Kennedy, others believe Tay drew inspiration from Conor’s grandparents, Ethel and Robert. The first verse supports the latter theory, “I met Bobby on the boardwalk, summer of ’45. We were 17 and crazy, running wild wild.” The song is romantic and fun and embodies the good parts about being in love. Red as an album is about the experience of being in love and "Starlight" is a perfect fit for the album.
1989: I Wish You Would
People need to stop sleeping on every album’s seventh track, because you’re missing out on an amazing song. Taylor’s first official pop album is no exception. "I Wish You Would" isn’t anything amazing lyrically, but it has an amazing 80’s inspired beat and opens with a reoccurring theme in Taylor’s lyrics, 2 AM. Seriously, 2 AM shows up in a ton of her songs.
The song is basically about the regret that comes with ending a relationship and wanting someone back. I haven’t listened to "the Holy Swift" podcast on this episode and a Google search couldn’t find the person this was about. I’m guessing it is Harry Styles because he was the last relationship she was in before the album. No matter who it’s about, it’s a great song with lyrics like “We’re a crooked love in a straight line down,’’ all sung at a fast-pace with a killer guitar lick.
Reputation: So It Goes…
I don’t know why so many fans are sleeping on this one, or even forgetting it’s on the album. The song is so relaxing, Taylor’s vocals are so beautiful, and the lyrics are sexy, yet romantic. I could easily see this being in a TV or movie scene after two characters have an emotional moment before making out. Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff are a dream team together and this is one of their best collaborations.
This song is a slow burn. It might not make an impact at first, but it grows on you. The highlight lyrically is the soft “1, 2, 3,” at the end of the bridge, right after she sings “You did a number on me, but honestly baby who’s counting?’’ three times. Genius. Other lyrical highlights include “Cut me into pieces. Gold cage hostage to my feelings,” and the uses of “magician” in the first verse and “illusionist” in the second. Lastly, it’s supposedly Andrea Swift’s favorite song on the album, so that’s reason enough to stan.