Taylor Swift is one of the most powerful pop singers from the past 10 years and has had many hit songs. But with that large of a catalog, she doesn’t win every time, so what is Taylor Swift’s most unpopular song?
Taylor Swift’s most unpopular songs that failed to chart and/or failed to hit sales expectations include Better than Revenge, Gorgeous, Stay Stay Stay, Sparks Fly, Eyes Open, and Begin Again.
Although Swift’s career is loaded with many hits, unfortunately, some of her songs sound pretty awful to some critics.
According to critics, on those above-mentioned songs, the writing is less impressive, more childish, the melody sounds like somebody is whining about a failed relationship, and the choruses are tiring.
Of course, she started as a country artist before moving to both pop and then later folk. Could it be possible that crossing genres may be hurting Taylor’s creativity?
To be sure, not every song on this list is a stinker! Some are great, and overall, many consider Taylor Swift to be a great songwriter, but for some reason failed to hit. But some of them failed for good reason. So let’s review them all!
1. Better than Revenge
Taylor Swift‘s song “Better than Revenge“ was released in 2010 on her third studio album, Speak Now.
The song is one of her least popular due to its aggressive lyrics and dark tone. The song is about a girl who has been betrayed by her ex–boyfriend and is seeking revenge against the other woman.
The lyrics are quite confrontational and some listeners find them off–putting. Additionally, the song‘s production is quite different from Swift‘s usual style, which may have also contributed to its lack of popularity.
It’s also from her period when she was transitioning from so-called “country” to pop, and most fans decidedly like her one way or the other.
2. So It Goes
I really wanted this to be a cover of the fantastic Nick Lowe song when I first saw her song title.
So It Goes, released in 2017 on Taylor Swift’s album Reputation, has a slower tempo and a more somber tone than many of her other hits. But not in a cool indie way like she showed us on folklore or evermore.
The lyrics are also more introspective and personal, which may not have resonated with some of her fans.
But for some, So It Goes is an underrated gem that deserves more recognition.
3. Stay Stay Stay
Taylor Swift‘s song “Stay Stay Stay“ was released in 2012 on her album Red.
The song has a slower tempo (initially) and a more mellow sound than many of her other hits. The lyrics are about wanting to stay in a relationship despite the difficulties, and the song has an overall bittersweet feeling.
The heavy mandolin sound leans towards her country roots, but the song is firmly in pop territory, and kind of saccharinely sweet-sounding at that.
While it may not be as catchy as some of her other songs, it still conveys an important message about relationships and staying true to yourself.
4. Tied Together with a Smile
Tied Together with a Smile, released in 2006 on Taylor Swift‘s self–titled debut album, is often overlooked by fans. But really, that whole album largely gets forgotten in the wake of the rest of her catalog.
Despite its heartfelt lyrics and catchy melody, the song has not achieved the same level of recognition as some of her other hits.
The song‘s message of resilience in the face of adversity is one that resonates with many listeners, yet it remains relatively unknown. Its simple production and lack of a big chorus may be why it has not become as popular as some of her other songs.
Despite this, Tied Together with a Smile is an important part of Taylor Swift‘s discography and deserves to be appreciated for its meaningful lyrics and timeless sound.
5. End Game (feat. Ed Sheeran and Future)
End Game, released in 2017 as part of Taylor Swift‘s album Reputation, is a song that has not received the same level of attention as some of her other hits.
Despite featuring two popular artists, Ed Sheeran, and Future, the track failed to impact the charts and has been largely overlooked by music critics. The highest chart position was #13 on the Billboard Adult Top 40.
The song‘s unique blend of pop, rap, and R&B elements may have been too experimental for some fans, while its slower tempo and lack of a catchy chorus may have prevented it from becoming a mainstream hit.
And the Cher-like use of autotune on the rap parts borders on annoying.
But Taylor’s strength is her sense of melody and storytelling style of songwriting, and that is largely lacking here.
6. Eyes Open
Taylor Swift‘s song “Eyes Open“ from the Hunger Games soundtrack is often overlooked.
Released in 2012, the song was featured on the album The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond. Despite its placement on a popular movie soundtrack, the song failed to make an impact on the charts and has been largely ignored by music critics.
While it may not be one of her most successful or critically acclaimed songs, it still has a unique sound that stands out from her other work (her album Red was released around the same time. By comparison, this song clearly has a live band sound with little to no drum machines or synthesizers, and a more organic production sound.
With its catchy chorus and upbeat tempo, “Eyes Open“ is a fun and uplifting track that deserves more recognition.
7. Begin Again
Taylor Swift‘s 2012 single “Begin Again“ from her fourth studio album Red, is often overlooked by fans and critics alike.
Despite its catchy chorus, the song failed to make a significant impact on the charts. It peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. And the song is firmly more in her pop-country roots than her later pop sound, featuring mostly acoustic guitar, accordion, and steel guitar.
Music critics have also been largely unimpressed with the track, citing its lack of originality and overly–simplistic lyrics.
Despite this, “Begin Again“ remains an enjoyable listen for many Taylor Swift fans, who appreciate its uplifting message of hope and resilience.
8. Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)
Taylor Swift‘s Mary‘s Song (Oh My My My) is a heartfelt ballad from her 2006 album, “Taylor Swift“.
The song is a reflection on the passing of time and the bittersweet memories of growing up. Despite its emotional lyrics and beautiful melody, the song has not been as successful as some of her other songs and was not selected as a single from that album.
It was largely overlooked by music critics.
While it may not be one of her most popular songs, it still stands out as a powerful reminder of the importance of cherishing life‘s moments.
Taylor Swift‘s 2012 song “Starlight“ from her album Red is often overlooked by fans and critics alike.
Despite its upbeat tempo and catchy chorus, the song failed to make an impact with fans or critics and was not one of the 7 singles picked from the album.
Music critics have also been largely unimpressed with the track, citing its lack of lyrical depth and generic production.
Largely overshadowed by the huge hits off the album “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, “Starlight” sits in the more awkward territory of not quite being pop and not quite being country.
Gorgeous, released in 2017 on Taylor Swift‘s album Reputation, is a song that has not received the same level of attention as some of her other hits.
Despite its upbeat tempo, the song failed to significantly impact the charts (the highest position was #13) and has been largely overlooked by fans.
Music critics have also been less than enthusiastic about the track, citing its lack of originality and repetitive lyrics. Musically, the song is kind of generic electro-pop mostly featuring Taylor’s vocals, a drum machine, and a little bit of percolating synths.
But the song has virtually no depth, nor is the chorus as catchy as many of her other hits.
11. Santa Baby
Taylor Swift‘s version of Santa Baby, released in 2007 on her album The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, is often overlooked by fans and critics alike.
It has been largely overshadowed by other holiday classics from the same album such as Last Christmas and Silent Night.
But to be fair, in 2007, Taylor was 18, so how good were any of us at that age?
Music critics have also been unimpressed with her version of the song, citing its lack of originality and over–reliance on traditional holiday themes. And it pales in comparison to the original version by Eartha Kitt from 1953 (heavy kitsch) or Gwen Stefani’s version (very sultry).
12. Sparks Fly
Sparks Fly, released in 2010 on Taylor Swift‘s third studio album Speak Now, is a song that has not received the same level of attention as some of her other hits.
Despite its catchy chorus and upbeat tempo, the song failed to make an impact on the pop charts (peaking at #17) and has been largely overlooked by fans and critics. It did, however, reach #1 on the country charts.
The song itself is good, but being on the same album with “Mine”, “Dear John“, “Mean”, and “Back to December”, it’s easy to hear why it was overshadowed.
But while it may not be one of her most popular songs, Sparks Fly still stands out as a unique track with its memorable lyrics and infectious melody.
13. Macavity (from Cats soundtrack)
Cats, of course, is a hugely popular musical created in 1981 by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on stories from T.S. Elliot. In 2019, it was turned into a movie, and Taylor contributes her version to the soundtrack.
Now if I was watching this live on stage, it would be great.
But just listening to it on Spotify, it comes off as contrived as she vacillates between an American and English accent and the overblown arrangements.
14. The Outside
From Taylor’s 2006 self-titled debut, “The Outside” was not released as a single, and has largely been forgotten by fans and critics.
But frankly, the song, which Taylor admits was one of the first songs she wrote, at age 12, lacks the emotional, lyrical, or melodic depth of most of her songs, and most of the rest of this album, which is definitely her weakest album.
15. Sweeter Than Fiction
Taylor Swift‘s 2013 song “Sweeter Than Fiction“ from the soundtrack for the movie One Chance is often overlooked.
Despite being a catchy and upbeat track, it failed to make an impact on the charts, peaking at only number 34 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Music critics have also been largely unimpressed with the song, citing its lack of originality and overly–simplistic lyrics.
Despite this, it remains a fan favorite and is often praised for its infectious energy and memorable chorus.
16. Forever & Always
Taylor Swift‘s song “Forever & Always“ was released in 2008 on her album Fearless.
The song is often overlooked by fans and critics alike, as it did not perform well on the charts or receive much critical acclaim. It peaked at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 44 on the country charts.
Despite its lack of success, the song is still a fan favorite due to its heartfelt lyrics and catchy melody.
The song speaks of a relationship that has gone wrong (a subject she’s clearly familiar with, lol) and the pain of letting go. It’s one of at least 3 songs she wrote about Joe Jonas. But “Mr. Perfectly Fine”
It’s also worth pointing out though that Fearless contains such Taylor classics as “Fearless”, “Love Story”, and “You Belong With Me”, so it’s not a surprise this one, which is not of the same caliber, gets overlooked.
17. London Boy
Taylor Swift‘s song “London Boy“ was released in 2019 as part of her album Lover.
As with several songs on that album, it’s about her then and current boyfriend Joe Alwyn who was born in the UK.
Despite being a fan favorite, the song did not perform well on the charts and has been largely overlooked by music critics.
The upbeat track is a love letter to London and its culture, but it lacks the depth and emotion of some of Swift‘s other songs.
It also makes cultural references to London that make it obvious that she doesn’t really know London very well.
And considering the album also has the songs “Lover”, “ME!”, “You Need to Calm Down”, or “The Man”, it’s easy to see why this song gets overlooked.
18. The Lucky One
Taylor Swift‘s 2012 single “The Lucky One“ from her album Red is often overlooked by fans and critics alike.
Despite its upbeat tempo and super-catchy chorus, the song failed to garner the same attention as other songs from that album such as “Everything Has Changed”, “Red”, or “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Despite its shortcomings, “The Lucky One“ remains a fan favorite for many Swifties who appreciate its optimistic message and feel–good vibes. I actually really like this song.
19. Getaway Car
Taylor Swift‘s 2017 single “Getaway Car“ from her album reputation is often overlooked by many.
Released as the last of 7 singles from the album, the song failed to make an impact on the charts, only appearing on the New Zealand charts (#9) and Australian charts (#33).
Reputation is one of my least favorite Taylor Swift albums as it seems like she was experimenting and trying to reinvent her sound.
She’s obviously done that a few times from country-pop, to pop, and exploring darker alternative sides with folklore and evermore (and a little bit on Midnights, her 10th studio album). But on Reputation, she largely forgot how to write hooks and melodies, and became too reliant on production.
And this song is no exception.
20. Look What You Made Me Do
Yes, I know this song was actually a big hit for Taylor. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. This again comes from her album Reputation, which is arguably my least favorite.
If you want a song that is empty and hollow with almost none of Taylor’s trademark beautiful melodies, congratulations! You’ve found it. The chorus is basically spoken word, and literally, just the title repeated over and over again with almost nothing but a drum beat behind it.
Taylor has never been a powerhouse vocalist, but that’s not what draws fans to her.
No, they come for her insightful and highly personal lyrics and relatable storytelling, and well-crafted melodies. And you’ll find none of that here.
21. American Girl (Tom Petty cover)
I know! Let’s take one of Tom Petty’s greatest songs (you know the one The Strokes ripped off the intro of for Last Nite) and make it really slow, morose, and piano-focused! NOT!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love sad Tay Tay way more than her pop diva persona.
I’ll take folklore or evermore over any of her albums. But that treatment is NOT how I want to hear my favorite Tom Petty song.
22. Last Christmas (Wham! cover)
Did we really need ONE MORE version of this song?
No is the answer you were searching for. How many endless versions of this song do we have to suffer through? I was ready to stop after the Jimmy Eat World version from 2001. But apparently, I’m in the minority as Spotify shows over 30 different versions. And that’s not counting the original version by Wham!.
Taylor has a lot of great albums, but her Christmas stuff is NOT on the list of top Tay Tay albums. And for good reason.
Painfully obvious cover song choices and a lack of imagination are rampant across her holiday “classics” with the very notable exception of her original song “Christmas Tree Farm” which I love.
23. Crazier (Hannah Montana soundtrack)
From Tay Tay’s so-called country phase.
I saw so-called, as it’s not country in my eyes. But then I’ve actually seen Johnny Cash and Buck Owens live. So I know what is “real” country and what isn’t.
Now, that doesn’t mean I hate everything from Taylor’s “country” era. I don’t. I just don’t call it country because it happens to have a steel guitar in it (cue the Bo Burnham song “Pandering” please).
But this is not one of her finest moments from that era.
24. Don’t You (Taylor’s Version)
I put this squarely in the underrated section as it’s actually really good.
The track was originally cut from her Fearless album, but she added the song back when she did the “Taylor’s Version” of that album.
And made a lot of cool updates. It almost sounds like it should have been on folklore.
Taylor Swift‘s song “Superman”, a bonus track from her 2010 album Speak Now (the deluxe version) is often overlooked.
Despite its catchy melody and meaningful lyrics, the song failed to make an impact. It was not released as a single, so it did not receive the same level of promotion as other songs from the album.
Additionally, music critics have not been particularly kind to this track, citing its lack of originality and lack of depth.
And really the song is fine. It’s not offensive.
But when you put it up next to other songs from that album such as “Enchanted”, “Back to December”, or “Better Than Revenge” it’s easy to see why it has the lowest number of Spotify plays on that album other than the song “Haunted – Acoustic Version”.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Taylor Swift’s country music or pop music more popular?
Taylor Swift’s pop music brought her more popularity. But country music gave her the initial kickstart and recognition she needed to make a name for herself.
But her country sound on songs like “Tim McGraw” on her self-titled album is what got her started.
Contrary to what many might think, the shift from country to pop didn’t happen overnight. Swift began pushing her musical boundaries with the release of her second album, Fearless.
She started releasing pop versions of tracks like- You Belong with Me, which could mean that she was testing the waters to see how her listeners would respond to her new sound.
Interestingly, it worked. On her next album, Speak Now (2010), Taylor further tested contemporary pop-oriented sound with songs like Back to December.
Swift took her leanings to pop a step further with her Red (2012) album.
She collaborated with producer Max Martin whose production style shaped most of Taylor’s experiments with poppy sounds.
Red gave us several classics including “I Knew You Were Trouble”, “The Last Time” (with Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol), and “All Too Well”, although the 10 minute version only appears on the Taylor’s Version of that album.
By the time Taylor released 1989, she had completed her transition to a pop star compared to the previous album.
1989, of course, features some great Taylor Swift songs like “Wildest Dreams” and “Welcome to New York”.
The following years saw her incorporating a lot of 80s synths, indie rock sounds, and consistently using autotune to delve into mainstream pop music.
But just how much autotune does she use, and did she use it on the country stuff?
Luckily, I covered that in a recent article. I got into when she first used it, how much of it she uses, and if she uses it live or lip-syncs.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
Amid all this genre-crossing work, what remained constant was Taylor’s intelligent songwriting process. According to Taylor, artists “take cues from life in order to evolve”, which is perhaps the reason her fans join Taylor in her musical journey regardless of musical genre.
What is Taylor Swift’s most successful song?
Taylor Swift’s most successful song is Blank Space. But that is closely followed by Look What You Made Me Do, Shake it Off, Anti-Hero, and I Knew You Were Trouble.
But “Look What You Made Me Do”, as you saw from my above list, is one of my LEAST favorite songs by her. I know. An unpopular opinion.
For me, the best Taylor Swift song is probably “exile” or “Wonderland”.
Take a look at Taylor Swift’s ten most successful songs based on their commercial success and their chart positions.
|You Need to Calm Down||5||2019|
|Look What You Made Me Do||1||2017|
|Shake it off||2||2014|
|I Knew You Were Trouble||2||2012|
|We are never ever getting back together||4||2012|
A majority of these songs are a part of Taylor’s writing or co-writing process in collaboration with other artists like Max Martin, Shellback, Jack Antonoff, Richard Fairbrass, etc.
But as you may have seen, she has recently re-released a lot of her older albums with the description “Taylor’s Version”. What does that mean?
I made sure to talk about it in my recent article. I got into why she’s doing that, how she’s doing it, and how many of those albums she plans to re-do. But I also compared the sound of these against the originals.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
She is not just Taylor Swift. She is THE 3X AOTY winner, Artist of the Decade, Woman of the Decade and the Global Icon. She is THE Music Industry, and I’m so proud for her. pic.twitter.com/MrBdifeb9C
— adler ● (@adlerswift) May 9, 2021
Is Taylor Swift still as popular today as she was a decade ago?
Taylor Swift is more popular today than she was a decade ago. She currently has 60,977,354 monthly listeners on Spotify alone.
According to Forbes, Taylor is the highest-paid celebrity on the planet.
She has sold over 200 million copies in the U.S. alone, won multiple Grammys, released 9 studio albums, and many more unprecedented achievements to her credit.
She is the youngest female artist to receive the following within a single century:
- Global Icon
- Crystal Milestone Award
- AMAs Artist of the Decade
- Woman of the Decade
- BMI’s Taylor Swift Award
- Pinnacle Award
- Dickclark Award of Excellence
If you are a hardcore Taylor fan, you will not feel the need to run through the narrative of Taylor’s success over the past years.
Her catalog and her achievements are enough to tell you that she is a star way ahead of her time. Her musical capabilities are hard to compare.
She set the bar high for the music industry and continues to do so.
Taylor Swift is one of the most successful music producers, singers, and songwriters of our generation.
And she’s had dozens of hits since making her debut in 2006. But you can’t have a catalog that large and never miss your target.
So whether deserved or simply overlooked, in this article, we looked at 25 of Swift’s songs that are either some of her worst work or at least underrated and deserving of more attention.
Want to join the conversation on her best song or worst songs? Share this on social and add your comments!
Photo which requires attribution:
Taylor Swift 112 by GabboT is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.