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Miss Americana: A Goggler Playlist

Dept. of Unashamed Fanboying


It’s easy to be distracted by all of the noise that’s always surrounding Taylor Swift. From being tabloid fodder, to her protracted feud with Scooter Braun, it’s easy to forget that she is one of the best songwriters of her generation. If not the best. Constantly evolving in the way she tackles her melodic and lyrical obsessions, she is an intellect the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith. A musical storyteller whose songs reveal a wit, passion, empathy, and emotional maturity not often found in modern pop.

And so, in anticipation of tomorrow’s premiere of Miss Americana on Netflix, we’ve put together a playlist that celebrates the genius that is Taylor Swift.

Miss Americana: Taylor from the promotional material for Lover.

1. Delicate

“This ain’t for the best, my reputation’s never been worse, so you must like me for me.” We’re kicking things off with what is, hands down, Taylor’s best work. A sparse and intricately worked song about the brave, confident, chill, cool, keeping it together fronts that we have to put forward, and how we undermine that by constantly seeking the world’s approval and acceptance.

2. Tim McGraw

Debut singles don’t get much better than this. Bittersweet. Nostalgic. It is a magnificently constructed country melody, teeming with the kind unpacked adjectives that belie a songwriting maturity far beyond her 16-years.

3. Shake It Off

It’s the song you’re hoofing it to when there’s no one else at home.

4. 22

The best song about turning 22 since Neil Young’s rock and roll koan about a man defending his family’s land from a gunboat. Needless to say, this one’s a little different lyrically.

5. Lover

A majestic guitar ballad that celebrates the kind of grown-up devotion that doesn’t often make for great pop-song fodder. There’s no melodrama here. Just an understated yearning. 

6. Fifteen

The plot of this track is immediately recognizable. It’s got sexy seniors with fancy cars. It’s got BFFs. It’s full of that longing to just grow up and get lost. It’s the subplot of every YA novel, of every Archie comic, of every teenage daydream. It’s every episode of Dawson’s Creek.

7. Getaway Car

“Nothing good starts in a getaway car.” There is a cinematic quality to so many of Taylor’s tracks. Lyrically Musically. And none more so than this noir-esque take on the emotional strain of leaving a doomed relationship.

8. All Too Well

A masterpiece of a ballad. It’ll make you wish you had the kind of break-up that could inspire a song like this.

Miss Americana: A still from the music video for "You Need to Calm Down".

9. New Romantics

Taylor’s homage to eighties synth-pop is infectious candy-coated pop. What’s more, she’s absolutely right, the best people in life are, indeed, free.

10. Drops of Jupiter

Taylor takes a completely fatuous Train tune and gives it emotional heft. The way she ends the song, by slowing down and gently stretching out that “me”, is perfectly calculated.

11. Cruel Summer

There is a phenomenal tension in this song that just builds and builds before she gets so overwhelmed by feeling that she forgets her words and finally breaks out in a triumphant “ooh, whoa oh”. It’s genius.

Miss Americana herself.

12. State Of Grace

Taylor shines in this grandiose love song that’s seemingly pulled from a much bigger, much more U2-sounding record.

13. Blank Space

Sounding like the lovechild of Tori Amos and Wilson Phillips, Taylor is romantic but remarkably self-aware in this funny, catchy, and blatantly biographical tune about what it’s like being her.

14. The Story of Us

It’s a song about John Mayer. ‘Nuff said.

15. Paper Rings

If Joey Ramone were still alive, he would applaud this pop-punk confection.

16. Love Story

An incredibly clever subversion of society’s willful disregard of the complications and complexities surrounding Romeo and Juliet as the paragon of the modern love story.

Taylor Swift live in concert.

17. Holy Ground

This country rock stomper is Taylor at her writerly best. Her cadence is Springsteen’s. Her poetry is like Cohen. But she manages to make it something that is uniquely Swift.

18. King of My Heart

How can you not love a song with the lyric: So prove to me I’m your American Queen, and you move to me like I’m a Motown beat”

19. Red

Forget the crazy Swiftian metaphors that make up this track. It’s all about that electronic “r-r-red” that punctuates the chorus. It is the kind of tiny detail that Shania wish she thought of. 

20. False God

A chilly, breathless, sensual tribute to rhythm and blues. God bless that lone saxophone and how it intertwines and apostrophizes the lyrics.

Miss Americana premieres on Netflix, tomorrow, 31 January 2020.

Uma has been reviewing things for most of his life: movies, television shows, books, video games, his mum's cooking, Bahir's fashion sense. He is a firm believer that the answer to most questions can be found within the cinematic canon. In fact, most of what he knows about life he learned from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He still hasn't forgiven Christopher Nolan for the travesties that are Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises.

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