A Full Timeline of Taylor Swift's Music Evolution
Fortunately for Swifties everywhere, Taylor Swift is back in the spotlight.
Her newest single, "Look What You Made Me Do" broke the YouTube record for most viewed video, racking up a total of 43.2 million views within the first 24 hours of its release.
However, the catchy song, along with its immediate follow-up "…Ready for It?" is a huge departure from the teenage country singer that released her first song in 2006. In fact, Taylor's music has steadily changed and adjusted to a fresh style with each new release.
In honor of her most recent single and the impending release of her Reputation album, scroll below for a full timeline of Taylor's music evolution.
June 19, 2006 – "Tim McGraw" Is Released
Taylor's first single, "Tim McGraw," landed in the Billboard Top 100, peaking at No. 40 and staying on the list for a total of 20 weeks. The song was an ode to the music of famous country star Tim McGraw, and had an unmistakable country sound. The huge success of the song cemented Taylor's position as an up-and-coming country star.
Oct. 24, 2006 – Taylor Swift Album Released
A few months after the release of "Tim McGraw," Taylor released her first album named after herself. "Taylor Swift" sold 39,000 copies during its first week and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 list, maintaining a place on the chart for 277 weeks. The album included favorites like "Teardrops on My Guitar," "Our Song" and "Picture to Burn." It was a first glimpse at Taylor's brutally honest songwriting that wasn't afraid to call people out. It was especially successful on country charts, maintaining a place as No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart for 24 weeks, and it appeared as though Taylor was firmly established as country's next big thing.
Sep. 12, 2008 – "Love Story" Is Released
A couple years after the release of the Taylor Swift album, the singer released the lead single for her second album. In the two years between her album releases, Taylor had been building her fame. She won the Singer-Songwriter Artist of the Year Award at the Nashville Songwriters Association International and was voted CosmoGirl of the Year in 2008. Although "Love Story" topped the Billboard Country Chart for two weeks, the song had a more versatile style. It used typical country instruments, but the upbeat feel of the music spawned a variety of mixes, including a Pop Mix and an International Radio Mix, both of which veered away from the typical country style.
Nov. 11, 2008 – Fearless Album Released
Taylor's second album, Fearless was released on Nov. 11 and held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 for 11 total weeks. Once again, Taylor wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the album, including fan favorites "White Horse," "You Belong With Me" and "Fifteen." Taylor was still officially classified as a country artist, but the songs from Fearless align more closely with the pop genre, marking her transition into a new style of music.
Oct. 25, 2010 – Speak Now Album Released
After two years of receiving countless awards for Fearless, Taylor released her third album, Speak Now. Again, the album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for 11 non-consecutive weeks. It was during the time between Fearless and Speak Now, however, that Taylor was involved in her first controversy. In 2009, Kayne West took the mic from her during the MTV Video Music Awards and declared that Beyonce, in fact, should have won. The comment was clearly un-called for, and fans everywhere rallied to Taylor's defense. "Innocent" refers to her falling out with Kayne, but most other songs stick to her love stories and breakups. In the years following Fearless, Taylor distanced herself from her original country label, and Speak Now fit more firmly into a country-pop genre, with only a few traces of her original country flair.
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Aug. 13, 2012 – "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" Is Released
Keeping in theme with her two year separation between albums, Taylor released the lead single for her fourth album in Aug. 2012. The song was the first in Taylor's history to peak at No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100. It was during the time between Speak Now and the release of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" that Taylor's personal style began to change. Her signature ringlets were replaced with smooth, straight locks and her princess-like dresses were replaced with trendy shorts and bowler hats. The new single's upbeat tempo and hard-hitting lyrics also marked a change in Taylor, firmly establishing her as a pop princess.
Oct. 22, 2012 – Red Album Released
Following the release of her hit single, Taylor released her fourth album Red in Oct. 2012. The album hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 1.21 million copies in the first week. The album included favorites like "Red," "All Too Well," and "22." The lyrics were still Taylor's writing style, with a very honest approach to love and heartbreak, but the references were a little less explicit than in her previous albums. No direct names were used on any song, which was a first in Taylor's album history. The songs were also a new genre for her, as they aligned more with pop or rock rather than country, and she even included her first dubstep-influenced tune, "I Knew You Were Trouble."
Aug. 18, 2014 – "Shake it Off" Is Released
In Aug. 2014, Taylor released the lead single off her fifth album. "Shake it Off" became Taylor's second single to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In the time between Red and the "Shake it Off," release Taylor hadn't experience any more drama than usual, but the tune already pointed to the idea that she was not going to let anyone bring her down. The song was rumored to be a nod to inaccurate tabloid reporting and Taylor's commitment to not allow gossip to get to her. In this song, she completely abandons her guitar in favor of a saxophone line. She even adds in a pseudo-rap section for the bridge, showing her complete lack of fear at playing around with new music styles.
Nov. 4, 2014 – 1989 Album Released
Before the release of 1989, Taylor's personal style again went through a shift, which was reflected in her new album. She cut off her long locks and opted for edgier outfits in her performances, veering away from the pin-up girl look she embraced during Red. 1989 sold 1.3 million copies in the first week, the highest sales for an album since 2002. The album included favorites like "Blank Space," "Style," and "Bad Blood." The songs played around with different styles, with many of them embracing more of an electro-pop vibe. The album also featured less of Taylor's signature ballads, opting for more upbeat, lively tunes.
Aug. 25, 2017 – "Look What You Made Me Do" Is Released
After months of drama and a total absence from the public eye, Taylor released her new song "Look What You Made Me Do" as the lead single off of her sixth album, "Reputation." The song is a powerful clap back about all the hate Taylor has received over the course of her entire career. In the music video, released at the 2017 VMAs, she appears as multiple versions of the "old Taylor" and addresses all the things she has been critiqued for over the course of her career. The song has a very electric sound, with an almost spooky undertone, which fits into her idea that the old Taylor is dead. It was different than anything she had done before, and the catchy tune had fans wondering whether a new musical change was underway for the artist.
Sept. 2, 2017 – "…Ready For It?" Is Released
On Sept. 2, 2017, Taylor released the second single off of her reputation album, "…Ready For It?" The song falls firmly under her newly preferred electro-pop sound. Filled with implicit references to her past lovers, the new headbanger is a return to Taylor's sound from 1989, possibly implying that she plans to stick to that style, at least for this upcoming album.
Excited for the release of "Reputation?" Check out THESE eight points that Taylor Swift needs to address on her new album.