Every ‘From The Vault’ Song On Taylor Swift’s ‘Taylor’s Version’ Albums, Ranked

This list was originally published in November 2021 and has been updated to reflect the latest “Taylor’s Version” release.

In order to attain creative ownership of her back catalog, Taylor Swift is re-recording her first six albums: 2006’s Taylor Swift, 2008’s Fearless, 2010’s Speak Now, 2012’s Red, 2014’s 1989, and 2017’s Reputation. Fearless was the debut installment in the “Taylor’s Version” series, followed by Red, then Speak Now, and now 1989, We’ve already ranked the 50 best Swift songs; now we’re doing the same for every “From the Vault” song.

“From the Vault” is the designation for previously unreleased songs. That means the re-recorded tracks and songs we’ve heard before are not eligible. We’ll update every time there’s a new Taylor’s Version.

Welcome to the 1989 vault tracks, it’s been waiting for you.

26. “Run” w/ Ed Sheeran (Red)

I was lucky enough to attend the world premiere of “All Too Well: The Short Film” a few years ago. We cheered, we cried, we booed J*ke. But before the film debuted, the same seven or eight Swift songs played on a loop. I like “22” as much as the next happy, free, confused, and lonely guy, but a half-dozen times in 90 minutes is… a lot. Still, much of the crowd, myself included, sang along to “State of Grace” and “Holy Ground” every time during the rotation, because those are great songs. The only track that didn’t get a consistent pop from the 400-strong crowd was “Run.” It was met with indifference. Among Red songs with Ed Sheeran, stick with “Everything Has Changed.”

25. “Foolish One” (Speak Now)

“Foolish One” is the most “Speak Now”-sounding (the song, not the album) of the vault tracks. But the lyrics are more complex than the overly twee title track. To use a word that didn’t exist in 2010, “Foolish One” is about a situationship that ends the way most of them do. “I’ll get your longing glances, but she’ll get your ring.” “Foolish One” walked so “August” could run.

24. “Babe” (Red)

“Babe” is one of the final country songs that Swift wrote before transitioning to full-blown pop (and her only songwriting credit with Train lead singer Patrick Monahan), but she declined to include it on Red. Instead, she offered her “promises, promises” to country duo Sugarland, who turned it into a Billboard-charting hit with Swift on guest vocals. The Taylor’s Version of “Babe” has some fun flourishes in the production, like the trumpets, but it’s not different enough from Sugarland’s country crossover hit to fully stand out.

23. “That’s When” w/ Keith Urban (Fearless)

I have a confession to make: most of Taylor’s collaborations with other featured artists don’t do it for me. “Breathe” ft. Colbie Caillat, “Everything Has Changed” ft. Ed Sheeran, “Bad Blood” ft. Kendrick Lamar, “End Game” ft. Sheeran and Future, and “Me!” ft. Brendon Urie — these rank among the least essential songs in Swift’s prolific discography. She course-corrected on Folklore (Bon Iver), Evermore (Haim, the National), and Midnights (Lana Del Rey, more Lana Del Rey), but “That’s When,” a pleasant-but-slight throwback that Swift sings with country legend Keith Urban (she opened for him during the Fearless era), is no “Exile.” It’s also not as bad as “End Game.” It’s a fine song that fails to leave much of an impression.

22. “When Emma Falls in Love” (Speak Now)

One of my favorite thought experiments when listening to the vault tracks is wondering where the songs would have been sequenced on the original albums. Sometimes, it’s as easy as swapping “All Too Well” with “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).” Other times, like with “When Emma Falls in Love,” it’s trickier. Speak Now begins with one of Swift’s best one-two punches in “Mine” and “Sparks Fly,” so it wouldn’t go there. It’s not a track five; it’s also not a closer. It could replace “Never Grow Up,” which would improve Speak Now overall, or better yet, place it between “Better than Revenge” and “Haunted.” No offense to “Innocent” (OK, some offense to “Innocent”), but the second half of Speak Now could use a dose of playfulness, like the one provided in “When Emma, Who May or May Not Be Emma Stone, Falls In Love.”

21. “You All Over Me” w/ Maren Morris (Fearless)

“You All Over Me” is a sweet little song (and a prequel to 1989 closer “Clean”) with maybe the most Taylor Swift chorus ever:

“And I lived, and I learned, had you, got burned
Held out, and held on
God knows, too long, and wasted time
Lost tears, swore that I’d get out of here
But no amount of freedom gets you clean
I’ve still got you all over me”

Holding onto a relationship for too long? Unable to completely shake the person you once loved? Crying? Couldn’t be every Taylor Swift fan.

20. “We Were Happy” (Fearless)

If you removed the line about “your daddy’s farm,” “We Were Happy” could effortlessly slide onto Folklore and Evermore. Heck, make it the B-side to “Happiness” and call it The “Happy” Songs That Will Break Your Heart collection. The tender ballad about a future that could have been highlights Swift’s maturity as a songwriter even when she was still a teenager (look at this demo CD!). “Oh, I hate those voices telling me I’m not in love anymore,” she sings during the bridge. “But they don’t give me choices and that’s what these tears are for.”

19. “Slut!” (1989)

“Slut!” and “Me!” are the only songs in Swift’s discography with an exclamation point in the title. However, unlike the regrettable first single from Lover (now everyone knows it should have been “Cruel Summer”), it doesn’t sound like it should. “Slut!” tackles a thornier concept than spelling being fun (!). “But if I’m all dressed up / They might as well be looking at us / If they call me a slut / You know it might be worth it for once,” Swift sings. She’s reclaiming the sexist insults — one in particular — that were hurled at her for, god forbid, not settling down before she turned 30. They can say what they want; in a world of boys, Swift has her eyes on a gentleman.

18. “Bye Bye Baby” (Fearless)

There’s a rumor among Swift fans that “Bye Bye Baby” was left off Fearless because it sounded too much like “Goodbye to You,” the third single from Michelle Branch’s pop-rock classic The Spirit Room. I have no idea whether this is true, but I do know that while “Bye Bye Baby” takes a bit to get going, it’s worth it for the build. Especially the moment in the final chorus when the music comes to a halt so Taylor can briefly vamp.

17. “Castles Crumbling” (Speak Now)

Castles are a recurring motif in Swift’s songs. On “New Romantics,” she reckons she could build one out of all the bricks they threw at her, while “Call It What You Want” begins with, “My castle crumbled overnight / I brought a knife to a gunfight.” “Castles Crumbling” completes the trilogy as Swift once again uses the medieval building as a metaphor for public perception, “an experience that both of us have shared growing up in the public eye,” co-vocalist (and fellow Tennessee resident) Hayley Williams told Coup de Main. Another experience they both shared: working with B.o.B.

16. “Say Don’t Go” (1989)

The sprightly “Say Don’t Go” — that second verse reminds me of “Clean” every time — sounds readymade for a dramatic montage in a teen drama (most likely on Amazon Prime Video based on recent history). The biggest knock against “Say Don’t Go” is that I will never not call it “Stay Don’t Go.”

15. “Forever Winter” (Red)

For someone as meticulous as Taylor Swift, it’s thrilling when it feels like a “mistake” slipped into one of her songs. I use that word in quotes because that’s not how recorded music works, but listen to the way Swift’s voice cracks during the pleading chorus to “Forever Winter” — she would not have allowed this “mistake” to make the final product 10 years ago. But Swift is now more confident in her vulnerability, and her perfectly imperfect vocals add texture to a wounded song about a partner’s mental health struggles.

14. “Suburban Legends” (1989)

Swift has released the vault tracks for four albums so far: Fearless, Red, Speak Now, and 1989. Fearless has the instantly iconic diss track “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” Red gave us the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” and “I Can See You” should have been on the original Speak Now album. They’re all good, but 1989 is the best Taylor’s Version to date. There’s not a dud among the vault tracks. The only reason “Suburban Legends” — which chronicles a doomed high school romance in the ‘burbs — isn’t ranked higher is because the synth-pop production is a little too close to the premier 1989 vault track. We’ll get there.

13. “Electric Touch” w/ Fall Out Boy (Speak Now)

Forget Yeezus, Modern Vampires of the City, and Pure Heroine. I need a 10-year anniversary piece about the time Taylor Swift performed with Fall Out Boy at the 2013 Victoria’s Secret fashion show. (What a different time when it’s Fall Out Boy ft. Taylor Swift, not the other way around.) She joined the Simpsons fans for a performance of “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” while dressed as the Union Jack version of Terry Crews in Idiocracy. If Swift ever plays “Electric Touch” live — she should, it’s got some “State of Grace” energy to it! — she better bring back the lil’ hat.

12. “Timeless” (Speak Now)

Taylor Swift once said her lyrics can be divided into three genres: Quill, Fountain Pen, and Glitter Gel Pen. “Timeless” is an “antiquated” Quill song, with a dash of Fountain Pen (“a modern storyline or references, with a poetic twist,” she explained). As the narrator walks into an antique shop in the first verse, she finds black-and-white photos of “a ‘30s bride” and “school lovers laughing on the porch of their first house.” She sees herself and her lover in the pictures: “And, somehow, I know that you and I would’ve found each other / In another life, you still would’ve turned my head even if wе’d met.” They might even do laundry and taxes together. “Timeless” is a lovely song and a fine closer for Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) — but it wouldn’t have worked as well on Speak Now. “Timeless” sounds like the past. “Long Live,” the album’s actual coup de grâce, signaled the beginning of bigger things for Swift.

11. “Better Man” (Red)

Every version of “Better Man” is good. The Little Big Town single that won a Grammy, a CMA Award, and a CMT Music Award is good. The leaked demo is good. The Red (Taylor’s Version) cut is good (and a great choice the next time you’re looking for a song to sing-scream along to during a late-night drive). But my favorite performance of “Better Man” — and one of my favorite Taylor performances, period — comes from Bluebird, a documentary about the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Her voice has rarely sounded as powerful as it does here (it’s even better without a certain someone else in it).

10. “The Very First Night” (Red)

“I wish I could fly / I’d pick you up and we’d go back in time / I’d write this in the sky / I miss you like it was the very first night.” The starry-eyed anthem “The Very First Night” was written for Red, but it has the youthful, dance-around-your-childhood-bedroom exuberance of Speak Now.

9. “Now That We Don’t Talk” (1989)

It’s called 1989, but there are not many songs on the album that sound like the 1980s, “Style” being the biggest exception. But the sparkling and sleek “Now That We Don’t Talk” could fit into a synth-friendly radio block between Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys. “I don’t have to pretend I like acid rock” is Swift’s best music genre burn since “you would hide away and find your peace of mind with some indie record that’s much cooler than mine.”

8. “Don’t You” (Fearless)

Of all the “From the Vault” songs, “Don’t You” is the one I most wish we could hear in its original form. It sounds more at home with the synth-heavy tracks on 1989 than Fearless’ country-pop. “Sometimes, I really wish that I could hate you / I’ve tried, but that’s just something’ I can’t do,” Swift sings over a dreamy backing track. It’s a shame “Don’t You” was buried — it has all the makings of a yearning fan favorite. At least it’s a favorite of this fan.

7. “I Bet You Think About Me” w/ Chris Stapleton (Red)

Reputation is Swift’s I Drink Now album, but “I Bet You Think About Me” will go down as one of her best drinking songs. It begins the way all the best dive bar drinking songs do: sh*t talking an ex- in the wee small hours of the morning. “3 a.m. and I’m still awake, I’ll bet you’re just fine / Fast asleep in your city that’s better than mine / And the girl in your bed has a fine pedigree / And I’ll bet your friends tell you she’s better than me, huh,” she sings, sounding more sarcastic than hurt. Personally, I can’t think of a better last-call drinking partner than Stapleton.

6. “Nothing New” w/ Phoebe Bridgers (Red)

It’s no shock that “Nothing New” is devastatingly lovely. But it is surprising how much it sounds like a Phoebe Bridgers song with Taylor Swift, rather than a Taylor Swift song with Phoebe Bridgers. “How long will it be cute / All this crying in my room / Whеn you can’t blame it on my youth / And roll your eyes with affеction?” has a haunting specificity that would fit at home on Bridgers’ remarkable debut album, Stranger In the Alps.

But the song it most closely resembles in terms of subject matter is “The Lucky One.” The Red standout tells the story of a singer who chose “the rose garden over Madison Square” and “got the hell out,” and Swift understanding her decision once she reached the same level of fame. Swift wrote “Nothing New” in 2012 as an anxious critique of a culture that quickly moves on from one female “ingénue” to another. But it hits differently in 2023. Swift happily trades verses with Bridgers; she’s no longer afraid of sharing the spotlight.

5. “Message In A Bottle” (Red)

A bold prediction: “Message in a Bottle” will go down as one of Swift’s best bops. It’s a peppy blast with a hook that will burrow its way in your brain. Unsurprisingly, the ear worm was co-written by Shellback and pop music mastermind Max Martin, the team behind Red singles “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “22,” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” as well as much of 1989. It was the first song she worked on with them — and one of their best.

4. “I Can See You” (Speak Now)

“Electric Touch” is the actual Fall Out Boy song on Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), but “I Can See You” is its most [extremely Jay Z voice] FOB-sounding song. It has the seductive strut of the band’s most underrated album Folie à Deux. Swift doesn’t indulge in Patrick Stump-style vocal theatrics; instead, her voice has a determined, reserved quality that’s rare for the Speak Now era.

Speaking of, I try to stay away from Taylor Swift conspiracy theories (6.95 million search results!), but I am a Some of the Vault Songs Were Written Later Than the Album They Were Allegedly Supposed to Appear On truther. This is true of “I Can See You,” her second horniest song after “Dress.” Whatever the case, I’m glad it’s out, and I can’t wait to listen to it in a smoky room.

3. “Is It Over Now?” (1989)

No offense to “Getaway Car” (a Reputation favorite!), but “Is It Over Now?” is the sequel that “Out of the Woods” deserves. The most Jack Antonoff-sounding of the vault tracks is about a man in Swift’s life — possibly the same guy who shares a last name with a song on 1989, hm? — who has been two-timing her. “You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor / You search in every maiden’s bed for something greater.” In the second verse, she appears to reference the “red blood, white snow” that led to 20 stitches in a hospital room (to say nothing of the “blue dress on a boat” imagery). To add insult to injury, the guy’s new girl looks exactly like Swift.

“Is It Over Now?” fills in lore for Swift completists — and for normal people, it’s a damn good song, full of drama, clever turns of phrase, and a propulsive bridge. I wish “Is It Over Now?” never ended.

2. “Mr. Perfectly Fine” (Fearless)

It was casually cruel of Taylor to not include “Mr. Perfectly Fine” on Fearless. It’s a would-be karaoke classic, with an intoxicating hook and unforgettable kiss-off chorus: “Hello, Mr. Perfectly Fine / How’s your heart after breaking mine?” The way she sings “the best seat, in the best room” with a scoff gets me every time. “Mr. Perfectly Fine” proved that her vault songs weren’t left off the original albums because they weren’t good enough; they are more than perfectly fine.

1. “All Too Well (10-Minute Version)” (Red)

The first time I listened to “All Too Well (10-Minute Version),” I gasped. It happened during the second verse, which begins familiarly enough with Swift recounting how a certain Oscar-nominated actor’s mom told her stories about when he was on the tee ball team — and then came the swerve. “And you were tossing me the car keys, ‘fuck the patriarchy’ / Key chain on the ground, we were always skipping town.” Gasp.

“All Too Well” is Swift’s best song, so what else could number one be? I already spent hundreds of words describing the power this anthem has over people, and “All Too Well (10-Minute Version)” is superior to “All Too Well.” This thing is still a masterpiece, she did not tear it all up. But it evokes a different mood than the original. “All Too Well” is cathartic and dramatic, like Swift is past the worst of the pain. It’s reflective. But on “All Too Well (10-Minute Version),” she’s still in the middle of the hurt and sounds pissed off. “Some actress asking me what happened, you / That’s what happened, you” is a fantastic burn. So is, “And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes, I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.” Another gasp.

It was rare to write a song this good. But Taylor Swift did it, and I’ll remember it all too well.

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