Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ Songs Ranked – Worst to First!

folklore songs ranked

Fans have been patiently waiting for a new record from Taylor Swift ever since the release of Lover in 2019. A wonderful swift surprise came on the 23rd of July 2020, when she gave them less than 24 hours to prepare for her eighth studio album, Folklore. It arrived and boy did it impress.

Genius lyrics, vivid storytelling, and charming melodies – everything on Folklore is immaculate, it’s been difficult nailing down the “worst” songs. But we promised…

So, without further ado, here’s our list of Folklore songs ranked from worst to first…

16. Epiphany

Like we said, choosing the “worst” song on Folklore was incredibly difficult. But we’re ranking every track in order of greatness, so here goes. Epiphany is beautiful. In fact, it’s so beautiful, it brings on the tears, uncontrollable, waves of tears. Taylor’s haunting vocals tell a raw, heartbreaking story that’s relatable to many right now – the lyrics, “holds your hand through plastic now, Doc, I think she’s crashing out” tells us this song might be about someone suffering from Covid-19.

15. Hoax

Hoax is a fine way to close the album. This one satisfies your ears with its dreamy piano melody although it triggers some emotions, making us think Taylor may or may not have split from her current boyfriend, Joe. Soft vocals and a lullaby vibe is enough to make Hoax a decent (but not the best) song on Folklore.

14. This is Me Trying

This is me crying…Enteral, melancholic, and magnificent are three words to perfectly describe this song. This is Me Trying is yet another of Taylor’s mellow numbers and it just so happens to sound like a Lana Del Rey knock-off – a brilliant one, that is. With lyrics like “I got wasted like all my potential” and “Pouring out my heart to a stranger, but I didn’t pour the whiskey”, this self-written song proves Taylor’s great writing skills as usual.

13. Illicit Affairs

Illicit Affairs is the gentle, soothing song we never knew we needed. Taylor croons about a deceitful relationship and lets listeners in on her sneaky little secret. With clever lyrics that many fans will resonate with, Illicit Affairs is surely one of the best – lyrically – on the album. “For you, I would ruin myself a million little times” – we felt that.

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12. Peace

Taylor sings to her beau, Joe in this tender love song, telling him that she can never give him “peace”. Probably due to her fame and celebrity lifestyle, it’s clear that Taylor wishes she could sometimes have it another way. The melody is delicate and subdued, but the lyrics stand out for this very reason – “All these people think love’s for show, but I would die for you in secret“. Oh and our jaws may have dropped when she sang “Give you my wild, give you a child”…

11. Seven

An ode to her childhood and old friendships, Seven is a masterpiece we can all identify with. The nostalgic lyrics about childhood dreams and sweet reunions are sung so soothingly by Swift over a tender guitar. We love this one and we’re probably not the only ones to add it to our playlist.

10. Invisible String

Invisible String has a glittering production that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As soon as we slip on the headphones and press play, we feel cozy. The perfect love song is folk at its finest and is possibly one of the only tracks Taylor sounds positive on. Oh and that Bad Blood shout-out – awesome!

9. Mirrorball

This is just as shimmery and shiny as a mirrorball itself. Sounding like it’s pulled straight out of a classic 90’s teen movie, the sweet indie sounds from this track are truly memorable. Magical lyrics and tranquilizing vocals, Taylor done a great job on this one. Where’s the replay button?

8. My Tears Ricochet

The first half of this song sounds mediocre and very much indistinguishable from its fellow tracks. With a little patience though, as soon as the second bridge is over (right about the halfway mark), we’re wowed with a wonderful, euphoric eruption of heightened instrumentals and background vocals. My Tears Ricochet is hauntingly beautiful and certainly one of the best on Folklore.

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7. Exile – feat. Bon Iver

Exile is the only song on Folklore with a collaboration and boy is it glorious. Bon Iver’s iconic low and hypnotizing vocals are beautifully harmonized with Tay’s airy voice, delivering a raw piece that immediately blows you away. Let’s not even bring up the tragic lyrics, the instrumental alone is hair-raising enough.

6. The 1

Taylor may be loved up with Joe Alwyn at the moment, but in this track, she reminisces about a past lover from her “roaring twenties”. The singer proves once again that she’s a lyrical genius with tender words like, “Rosé flowing with your chosen family, And it would’ve been sweet If it could’ve been me.” The 1 is certainly a keeper.

5. Cardigan

The lead single to drop off Folklore is the 5th best song in our ranking. Cardigan sounds just as enchanting as its video visuals and is yet another Lana Del Rey-esque hit. Metaphorically describing herself as a cardigan, the jazzy song hears the pop princess sing about an old flame and gives fans who are going through heartbreak all they need to hear.

4. The Last Great American Dynasty

Taylor is back in her comfort zone in The Last Great American Dynasty what with the storytelling and cute and bubbly beat. This song is a diamond thanks to its wonderful references to Rebekah Harness, a famous eccentric composer who was “the maddest woman this town has ever seen”. Taylor clearly identifies with this character who has “a marvelous time ruining everything”. This is a favorite of ours simply for being a fabulous pop track.

3. Mad Woman

Once again, Tay brings up a “mad woman”, probably referring to her unwanted reputation in the media and her ongoing public feuds with Scooter Braun and former label Big Machine Records. She sings powerful and hair-raising lyrics over a twinkling piano and beautiful guitar strings and even drops the F-bomb for the first time in her musical library. Taylor may be angry at being labelled “mad”, yet she makes her bitterness sound deliciously sweet in this song.

2. Betty

Betty is ranked as the second best song on Folklore. Sounding like traditional Taylor, this song beautifully blends folk with country and features the star’s signature lovable vocals. Taylor tells a love story from the point of view of a seventeen year old someone named “James”. With lyrics so vivid, we’ve already made a movie in our heads. That harmonica alone is enough to make this second-best on the album. We love you, Betty!

1. August

And so we land at the top spot – the best song on Folklore is without a doubt, August. Taylor displays her raspy vocals on top of an upbeat and summery melody, that takes us back to a romance with a high school sweetheart. While the lyrics aren’t the happiest, the overall delivery is bittersweet and we love it. Excuse us as we play this in the car with the top down and the wind rushing through our hair – sorry, we may have gotten a little too lost in this song, but can you blame us?

It sure is easy to get lost in the lyrics of anything Taylor writes. And yet, with Folklore, we also got lost in its wonderful production and Taylor’s dreamy vocals. Her eighth studio album is certainly one that has left a mark on us, we cant wait to press play again.

What was your favorite song on Folklore? What does your ranking look like? Let us know in the comments below…

We’ve ranked the songs on Evermore and Reputation, too!


Tale Teller

  • Angela Stephanou

    After completing her BA in Communication, Media and Film studies, Angela launched Tell Tales Online, and now writes and oversees the content and strategy across the site. As a pop culture junkie, she follows more celebs than real-life people, her guilty pleasure is watching The Kardashians, but she's also a fan of Marvel and Game of Thrones.

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3 years ago

Lovely review, thank you for sharing :)