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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

5 Songs I Ranked Too Low

After multiple “songs ranked” instant reactions, it’s time to reflect on my biggest regrets, and champion the songs that were stronger than their initial rankings.

A few years ago, the Billboard staff began publishing “songs ranked” album reviews, as a fun way to provide an instant reaction to the week’s big new album releases. These reviews were inherently subjective — no one’s personal ranking of a 13-song album is going to be exactly the same as everyone else’s — and obviously preliminary, with only a few listens granted to projects that often took time to fully reveal their artistry. And of course, no one on the Billboard staff would argue against listeners wanting to experience an album in the order in which the artist intended to hear them, first and foremost. Yet these reviews are snapshots, designed to be based on our experts’ gut feelings about the songs you simply had to hear on a full-length, and destined to be debated endlessly online by fans who were furious about whichever song would be ranked last.

I’ve written extensively about every Taylor Swift album released to date, and began writing “songs ranked” reviews of her albums with Lover in 2019. And since then, I’ve had some rankings I wish I could take back — specifically, tracks that have grown on me considerably and made me go, “How did I place that one so low on my personal list?” Sometimes, those pangs arrives in a few days, and sometimes I get them after a few years. But on the eve of The Tortured Poets Department — and another “songs ranked” review, and later, more regrets over that ranking — I decided to look back at the ones that got away at the time, but have entered my wheelhouse in the time since.

Here are five Taylor Swift songs I ranked too low upon their releases, including her last four studio albums (Lover, 2020’s Folklore and Evermore, and 2022’s Midnights), as well as her “From the Vault” songs.

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