Every time Taylor Swift releases projects, artistic music videos follow, and they’re iconic. Like how each of the singer’s eras has its own distinct aesthetic, her videos do too – one minute she’s making a high-stakes action film and the next it’s an endearing high school rom-com. Her ability to transform and not confide to one style has created a rainbow-colored catalog of music videos, so let’s take a look at the best 15.
Honorable Mention: All Too Well: The Short Film
I’d be remiss not to mention All Too Well: The Short Film. Taylor Swift’s film stars Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink as the guy and girl in the story the pop star sings about, and it visualizes the romance that plays out in the extended 10-minute version of the epic Red (Taylor's Version) track. Filmed on 35 mm film, this project is intimate and moving.
However, since it’s a film, and a great one at that, we’ve decided it’s not a music video for the purposes of this list, and therefore must be an honorable mention.
“Delicate” is an incredibly vulnerable song about Taylor Swift asking a partner if they are ready for all the baggage she’s singing about. The song balances insecurity with confidence, and the music video shows that off. It’s highly conceptual, and it features the Reputation artist dancing like nobody’s watching, because, for once, nobody is. It’s a joyous and intimate video, and from beginning to end you’ll be entranced in this little world Swift has found herself in. (Watch it)
The “Lover” house has become a staple in Taylor Swift lore, and that’s because of the iconic music video. The sweet waltz all about a significant other is visualized through a couple living in their rainbow house. Overall, this music video is a gorgeous, fantastical and vivid representation of both the song and album Lover, and it perfectly captures the lovely energy of the track. (Watch it)
13. I Can See You
During the Eras Tour, Taylor Swift surprise announced Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), and when it came out, she shocked fans again with the release of her star-studded video for the vault track “I Can See You.” The video starred Joey King – who was in the “Mean” video – and Taylor Lautner – whom Swift dated during the Speak Now era – and they played thieves who broke the singer out of her vault.
The video is steeped in Speak Now history, and in each scene, new Easter eggs are shown from that era. It’s a detail driven, high-action video perfect for the rock-’n-roll track from the vault. (Watch it)
12. The Man
In “The Man” – which is the first music video Taylor Swift directed by herself – the pop star plays Tyler Swift, a corporate bro who does terrible stereotypical man things, like man-spreading, throwing a fit over sports, being a bad boss, you know, the works. She juxtaposes the lyrics about what she’d do if she were “The Man” with this toxic version of the men she sings about.
Not only is this a seething commentary on gender roles, it also served as a major Easter egg for Taylor Swift’s work following it being taken by Scooter Braun, as the subway wall alludes to her re-recorded albums and the order they would be released in. (Watch it)
Taylor Swift’s collaborator Jack Antonoff knew they had a “live one” with “Anti-Hero,” the massive hit from Midnights, and its music video with over 180 million views further proves that point. The video depicts Swift's deeply personal insecurities, like being “the monster on the hill,” her body image, and fears of having an unhinged family. She even got Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Mike Birbiglia and John Early to star as her evil children. Overall, like the song, this video is a fun representation of a deep concept, and it’s executed to perfection through Swift’s direction. (Watch it)
10. Wildest Dreams
Of course we have our great romance movies, however “Wildest Dreams” gives you an entire romantic epic in under four minutes. Starring Taylor Swift and Scott Eastwood, the video follows two actors who fall in love filming a movie, but it crumbles apart when she finds out he has a partner. The Old Hollywood vibe captures the energy of the sweeping track, and the story fits perfectly with this song all about a doomed relationship. (Watch it)
9. I Bet You Think About Me
Directed by Taylor Swift’s bestie Blake Lively and starring more of the pop star’s pals, Miles and Keleigh Teller, “I Bet You Think About Me” is all about a man who is getting married, but is still thinking about his ex. In the video, Miles and Keleigh are the couple getting married in white, and Swift plays the woman invading her ex’s thoughts and ruining his wedding. Throughout the video, the singer rocks many incredible red looks, throws in Easter eggs to Red, and slowly ruins the nuptials of her ex, who is clearly still thinking about her. (Watch it)
8. You Need To Calm Down
In the anthem calling out all the haters, Swift’s music video for “You Need To Calm Down” is all about thriving despite the pointless negativity in the world. Throughout the video, countless LGBTQ+ icons are featured – including, but not limited to, Laverne Cox, Hayley Kiyoko, the cast of Queer Eye, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ellen DeGeneres, Billy Porter, RuPaul and so many more. It even features a hug between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift and a cameo from Ryan Reynolds!
Overall, this Lover-colored video is a celebration of LGBTQ+ joy and pride that is both super fun to watch and vital to think about. (Watch it)
7. Shake It Off
As the lead single for 1989, “Shake It Off” set the tone for this era, and its music video set the standard for the excellence that would follow – like “Blank Space,” “Bad Blood” and “Wildest Dreams”. Obviously, this video is a lot less serious than the aforementioned two, however, its quality is the same.
In the video, Taylor Swift passionately dances in the styles of hip-hop, ballet, cheerleading, ballet and more. She’s shameless about her moves, and she is fearless as she fully commits to the bit. As the song says she’s gonna “keep movin’, can’t stop, won’t stop groovin,” and like the track, this video is pure joy. (Watch it)
Taylor Swift has made a habit of incorporating cameos and clues into her videos, however “Bejeweled” took Easter Eggs and guest stars to a new level. Featuring Laura Dern, the HAIM sisters and Jack Antonoff, to name a few, the video tells a Cinderella-esque story and heavily hints at the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). However, the clues don’t diminish the fact that Swift was making “the whole place shimmer” with this glittery and glamorous project about her getting her sparkle back. (Watch it)
5. Bad Blood
While Taylor Swift has a lot of star power in her videos, nothing comes close to “Bad Blood.” This full-blown action flick is about two feuding women, and the pop star and her longtime friend Selena Gomez play them. And as Swift trains for the final battle, it shows her team – which includes Kendrick Lamar (who raps on the track), Gigi Hadid, Zendaya, Hayley Williams, Ellen Pompeo, Mariska Hargitay and literally so, so many more.
Honestly, this epic video feels more like a Mission: Impossible movie than a music video at times, and its cast is at the caliber of the Ocean’s Eleven ensemble. (Watch it)
4. Love Story
“Love Story” is an undeniably romantic video. The track sees Swift pining after a boy, and imagining them as a Romeo + Juliet type couple. While Bridgerton wasn’t on Netflix 14 years ago, this video exudes that energy, and it will have you swooning over Swift and her love interest. Along with this being a great stand-alone video from the Fearless era, it also helped set the precedent for the singer’s narrative and visually stunning music videos that she’s become known for. (Watch it)
3. Blank Space
When 1989 came out, Taylor Swift’s love life and the scrutiny surrounding it was at an all-time high. So, she addressed the rumors and criticism with “Blank Space” by playing the woman the public thought she was. The video takes this concept to a new level as she plays an unhinged gal who goes mad over a man. Set in a gorgeous mansion and filled with fun outfits and outrageous moments, this music video is masterful. (Watch it)
2. Look What You Made Me Do
Reputation was a resurrection and complete redefinition for Taylor Swift. The video for "Look What You Made Me Do" shows this new era of Swift as she rises out of the scrutiny she was buried under. It’s a powerful project with lots of opulent and over-the-top imagery, and it clearly gets the point across that “the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now.” This is also one of the first times the pop star referenced her past eras so obviously as she sang about everything she’s been through and how it led to this point. (Watch it)
1. You Belong With Me
What's Next For Taylor Swift?
Like rom-coms of the early 2000s, “You Belong With Me” is an absolutely iconic high school love story that has remained legendary for nearly 15 years.
Personifying “she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts,” Swift plays both the girl next door and the it-girl as they pine over Lucas Till’s football player in a classic coming-of-age story that’s honestly equivalent to a five-star film. The video has over 1.5 billion views at this point, and it helped Swift turn into the bonafide superstar she is today. There’s a reason you’ll see fans wearing Junior Jewel's shirts and cheerleader outfits at every Eras Tour stop, and it’s because this music video helped define an entire generation. (Watch it)
Overall, Taylor Swift’s catalog of music videos is seriously iconic, and each offers a completely unique look into her career and personal life. We can’t wait to see what she releases next, because it's bound to be "Gorgeous."