As she geared up to make her third studio album in the late 2000s, Taylor Swift was at a turning point in her career. Already a country superstar who’d made her name on fresh-faced charm and intricate, hooky songwriting, she was on the precipice of new territory, turning from adolescence to adulthood and from country-pop to more a more omnivorous, genre-spanning sound.
Swift wrote all the songs on Speak Now solo, while she was on the road touring and promoting 2008’s Fearless. As you might expect from a period dominated by solo writes, the Speak Now era produced Swift’s most introspective and personal songs to date. “Never Grow Up” found the singer addressing her younger self as she mourned the loss of childhood, while tracks like “Dear John” and “Innocent” turned their attention to more recent (and highly publicized) events in Swift’s life, offering nuanced perspective on the complexities of adult life and relationships.
That’s not to say there weren’t bangers on the album: On the contrary, Speak Now produced hits like “Mean,” “Back to December” and the title track, all of which delivered epically Swift-ian singalongs that kept her well-established penchant for tempo and fine-tuned it for a more mature, but still euphoric, sound.
Altogether, Speak Now represents a kind of middle ground in Swift’s career arc to date. Still two albums out from going fully pop, the album is deeply rooted in country, but shows definite curiosity in other genres, including rock, folk and even blues. Thematically, its lyrics demonstrate some world-weariness, but there’s still a blend between the youthful optimism of her first projects and the searing, guns-blazing confidence of Reputation. This project contains a little bit of everything, and it produced some of the greatest and most enduring songs of Swift’s career thus far.
For our ranked countdown of the songs of Speak Now, we’ve included the 14 songs on the original tracklist, plus the three new tracks featured on the deluxe version of the project, though we’ve omitted the remixed and acoustic song versions.
On May 5 — her first show in Nashville on her critically-acclaimed 2023 Eras Tour — Swift announced that her re-recorded Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) album will arrive on July 7, 2023.
All 17 Songs on Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ Album, Ranked
In 2010, Taylor Swift documented her transition from teens into adulthood with the reflective-but-still-romantic Speak Now, an album that she wrote entirely by herself. Here are all the songs on the project ranked, including three songs that arrived via a deluxe version.