Every Taylor Swift Era Explained - The List (2024)


Every Taylor Swift Era Explained - The List (1)

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ByHannah JeonandAbha Ahad/

Taylor Swift is undebatably one of the most influential musicians of our times. In the summer of 2006 when her debut single "Tim McGraw" was released to the era of "Midnights," Swift sold over 30 million albums and won 12 Grammy Awards. With deeply personal lyrics rich with symbolism, Swift's music speaks to humanity without the borders of age or gender. From providing cathartic entertainment to proving haters wrong, Swift's music has many purposes. From a country pop darling to the recent switch to indie pop icon, Swift's music has evolved through the years, right in front of the anticipating eyes of Swifties (Taylor Swift fans).

Millions of Swifties around the world recognize the attention to detail that goes into every Taylor Swift album. Each album marks the beginning of an era characterized by unique aesthetics that goes with the concept of the album, easter eggs (puzzles about details of the albums left by Swift for fans), breathtaking visuals, and gorgeous outfits. All this goes hand-in-hand with her magical voice and strong writing to birth some of the most streamed albums in history. Whether you are a new or seasoned Swiftie, sometimes the task of remembering the details of every era can be more difficult than expected. Fret not, we have compiled brief explanations of every Taylor Swift for your perusal.

Taylor's debut album introduced the world to a country music darling

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Ah, the era that started it all! The year was 2006, and a young aspiring country star named Taylor Swift entered the world of music with nothing but a guitar (and a pair of cowboy boots). After years of performing in bars and venues in Nashville in hopes of getting a record deal, the singer-songwriter debuted her first and self-titled album, "Taylor Swift," at the mere age of 16 years old — and soon enough, the young singer was opening for famous country acts like Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill, all while having hits like "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Tim McGraw" topping the charts (via Billboard).

The success of her debut album, of course, had Swift emerging into the music world as a teenage country darling, instantly recognizable by her tight blond curls, floral sundresses, and signature cowboy boots — and all of it coming together to form a monumental breakout era defined by Swift's country-chic style and sweet girl-next-door status, as noted by Fashionista. And who could forget her adorable country twang?

The Fearless era was full of sequins and teenage romanticism

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With the release of her highly successful sophom*ore album "Fearless," the year 2008 had Taylor Swift beginning to emerge as a household name, with now-classic hits like "You Belong With Me" and "Love Story" quickly establishing the singer as a teenage country-pop icon. In fact, Swift even earned her first Album of the Year Grammy win for "Fearless," making history as the youngest-ever artist to claim the category at age 20 (until 18-year-old Billie Eilish broke her record in 2020), per The Boot.

As for what the iconic "Fearless" era was defined by, early fans will nostalgically recall the singer's sparkly dresses and ball gowns, signature winged eyeliner, hand hearts, and — of course — Swift's lucky number 13, which the singer started donning on her hand for her performances during this era. "'Fearless' was an album full of magic and curiosity, the bliss and devastation of youth," Swift recalled in early 2021(via Taste of Country). "It was the diary of the adventures and explorations of a teenage girl who was learning tiny lessons with every new crack in the facade of the fairy-tale ending she'd been shown in the movies."

Speak Now was Taylor's most magical and theatrical era

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Following the success of "Fearless," Swift set out to further prove herself as a rising star, and more specifically, as a talented songwriter. Her 2010 album "Speak Now" was her first (and only) self-written album, written entirely by herself without the help of co-writers — and, as noted by Pitchfork, it was a truly personal and confessional album that focused on that transitional period between "adolescence and adulthood, innocence and understanding, country and pop."

Much like the album itself (songs like "Enchanted," "Sparks Fly," and "Long Live"), the "Speak Now" era was undoubtedly defined by its magical and theatrical aspects. TaylorSwift's ambitious Speak Now World Tour, in fact, was inspired by Broadway and was a truly wondrous spectacle filled with pyrotechnics, lighted trees, dancers and aerialists, and multiple costumes and set changes (via Billboard). Ultimately, when you think "Speak Now," you'll probably think of Swift's sparkly dresses and looser curls, her "Wonderstruck" perfume line, and her ethereal "fairy tale" aesthetic — not to mention, the color purple.

The Red era saw Taylor shifting into a more mature, experimental style

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Think of the "Red" era, and you'll probably think of red lipstick and black fedoras — and of course, TaylorSwift's straight hair and blunt bangs. With the release of her 2012 album "Red," the singer debuted a new, edgier style, swapping out her usual glittery gowns for high-waisted shorts, striped shirts, and vintage dresses — and also famously ditching her signature bouncy curls for sleek, straight locks (via Billboard).

Swift's shift from her signature "princess fairy tale" aesthetics to a vintage, more mature style, of course, was also a reflection of her shift in sound (and themes) for her fourth album. According to NPR, "Red" in many ways represented a "turning point" in Swift's life and career while "on the precipice of adulthood," with the singer experimenting with different sounds beyond her previous country-pop style to touch on — and blend — new genres such as mainstream pop, rock, and even EDM and dubstep. "Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person," Swift reflected in 2021 (via NME). "It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past."

The 1989 era established Taylor as a global pop phenomenon

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Perhaps her most memorable and iconic era, "1989" marked Swift's first full-scale pop album — and, as noted by Vulture, had the singer taking over the music world as a worldwide mega-pop star, experiencing more commercial success than ever before. Few could escape the ubiquitous pop hits of "Shake It Off," "Blank Space," and "Style" from 2014 to 2015, and Swift's presence was felt pretty much everywhere: on the radio, at outings with her famous "BFF girl squad," and at countless award shows where she snagged the biggest awards of the night.

Mirroring her transition from country to pop, the "1989" era was also defined by other major changes for Taylor Swift: She moved to New York City, cut her hair into a short bob, and, of course, changed up her fashion style, opting for crop tops, skater skirts, and more form-fitting clothes that completed her transformation from a country sweetheart into a bombshell mega-pop star.

Reputation was Taylor's darkest and edgiest era yet

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Following the peak of her career in the "1989" era, Taylor Swift found herself in the midst of bad press and negative public scrutiny — and it all started, of course, with her infamous feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. After months of disappearing from the public eye, Swift made an iconic comeback in 2017 with her sixth studio album, "Reputation" — and needless to say, it was quite a different feel from any of her previous eras. Declaring that "the old Taylor was dead" in her lead single "Look What You Made Me Do," the singer officially shed her "good girl" status and instead embraced the "snake" image put on her by the public (via Rolling Stone). "Yeah, this is the character you created for me, let me just hide behind it," Swift told Vogue of the persona she created.

Reflecting the darker aspects of her electro-pop album, Swift's style during the unforgettable "Reputation" era was also noticeably edgier and grungier: Her classic red lip became darker and she rocked oversized sweatshirts, sequined bodysuits, and lots of thigh-high boots (via Evie Magazine). And how could we forget "Bleachella" when she bleached her hair to an edgy platinum blond?

The Lover era was full of pretty pastels and bright, colorful optimism

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Talk about a 180 from the "Reputation" era. Moving away from the dark and edgy style of her previous album, Swift ushered in her seventh era with the bright and cheery lead single "ME!," complete with a music video full of butterflies, rainbows, and colorful pastels (via Variety). The noticeable shift in aesthetics also reflected the bright optimism of "Lover," signaling that the "old Taylor" perhaps wasn't dead, after all. "I've decided that in this life, I want to be defined by the things I love — not the things I hate, the things I'm afraid of, or the things that haunt me in the middle of the night," Swift wrote in the album's foreword (via PopSugar). "Those things may be my struggles, but they're not my identity."

With this optimism of the "Lover" era came lots of brighter, more colorful looks in Taylor Swift's wardrobe — including lots of fringe, sparkles, pastel-colored menswear, and '70s-inspired clothes. There was also, of course, an abundance of the color pink — including in her hair, when she dyed the ends of her locks a pretty pink (via Bustle).

Folklore saw Taylor embracing the alternative pop-folk genre

During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Taylor Swift announced the beginning of her alternative pop folk journey by teasing us with the promotional images of her eighth studio album, "Folklore." The woodsy photographs in cottage core aesthetics saw the country-pop star's rise as an indie folk star. The emotionally intense album woven around folk storytelling also saw Swift drawing inspiration from other indie folk artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Steven, and Lana Del Rey. The album also served with some dream collaborations like with Bon Iver for "Exile." Set in a grey-blue image scape, the autumn-themed album released in the summer of 2020 is full of self-introspection rooted in melancholy taking her reputation as a confessional pop musician to new heights.

As Time magazine notes: "Every song [in the album] has these kinds of lyrical winks, reinforcing the universe that Swift has crafted even as she expands it with her newfound layers of fantasy and character." In a statement for the album, Swift shared that there is a collection of songs that she refers to as "the teenage love triangle."

"These three songs explore a love triangle from all three people's perspectives at different times in their lives," she noted (via Time). This statement has led fans to speculate that these songs are "Cardigan," "Betty," and "August." After all, when analyzed side by side, the songs weave a story of heartbreak, betrayal, and yearning— an embodiment of "the teenage love triangle."

Evermore cemented Taylor's reputation as an indie artist

In December 2020, Taylor Swift created history by releasing the second album of her indie folk era, "Evermore" — the same year as "Folklore." With her ninth studio album, Swifties embraced the cottage core aesthetic and set out to solve the hidden puzzles in the album laden with mystical lyricism. Many parallels can be drawn between "Folklore" and "Evermore" and fans consider both albums part of one era. As noted by Teen Vogue, the music video for "Willow" can clearly be seen as a follow-up to that for "Cardigan" as both the videos begin and end in a wooden cabin.

Another interesting fact surrounding the winter-themed album is the co-writer of "Champagne Problems," "Coney Island," and "Evermore" — William Bowery. In her Disney Plus film, "Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions," Swift confirmed that Bowery is none other than her boyfriend Joe Alwyn, who had previously co-written "Betty" and "Exile" for "Folklore." This revelation saw Swifties taking to Twitter to joke about a happy couple role-playing a break-up scenario to give birth to relatable heartbreak songs.

Midnights era is full of paradoxes and futuristic retrospection

"Midnight," the 10th studio album is a collection of 13 songs Taylor Swift wrote on 13 different nights throughout her career and has elements of all the different eras. Listening to the album is an experience of revisiting her albums. In the note on the album, Taylor confessed that the album was "the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout [her] life" (via Entertainment Weekly). With "Snow On The Beach," this album also features a much-requested Taylor Swift-Lana Del Rey collaboration.

Even though "Midnights" was a surprise album, in less than 24 hours it became the most streamed album in a single day on Spotify making Swift the most streamed artist in a single day on Spotify. The song titles of the album were revealed one by one via a cheeky Tik Tok series, "Midnights Mayhem With Me." The album also saw Swift goingback to intensely personal lyrics, a trademark of her music after having stepped away from it for the last two albums. In retrospect, the album is also a great foundation for "The Eras Tour." There's no better way to re-engage with fans than giving them the musical treatment they've been patiently waiting for, right?

The Tortured Poets Department

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Taylor Swift's next era is officially upon us. Swift announced her 11th album while accepting an award at the 2024 Grammys."I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I've been keeping from you for the last two years," she said as the crowd screamed, "which is that my brand new album comes out April 19. It's called 'The Tortured Poets Department.'" Since then, Swift has revealed the 16 songs that will feature on the album. With track titles like "So Long London" and "But Daddy I Love Him," fans have already begun speculating that this album may delve into her six-year-long relationship with Joe Alwyn, which ended in 2023. Plus, some eagle-eyed fans noticed that the album title was very similar to the name of Joe Alwyn's group chat, The Tortured Man Club.

As for the aesthetics of Swift's 11th era, all we know is that it's sure to be moody, reflective, and — well — poetic. At the Grammys, Swift wore a glamorous white gown and black opera gloves, and on her album cover, she wears black and lounges on a white bed — a nod to her upcoming showpiece. Plus, as Swift style expert Sarah Chapelle noted on Instagram, the singer has been wearing a lot of outfits lately that fit into the dark academia look — think school skirts, blazers, and Mary Janes. It seems like Swift is leaning into her tortured poet side — and we cannot wait.

Every Taylor Swift Era Explained - The List (2024)


How many eras did Taylor Swift have? ›

With a nearly three-hour-long set list and sparkling costume changes, the Eras Tour pays tribute to Swift's 10 studio albums and the unique styles and staging that accompanied them.

What is the order of eras in the Eras Tour? ›

Here's the new order of Swift's eras, based on her first Paris concert:
  • "Lover"
  • "Fearless"
  • "Red"
  • "Speak Now"
  • "Reputation"
  • "Folklore"/"Evermore"
  • "1989"
  • "The Tortured Poets Department"
1 day ago

What is the meaning behind Taylor Swift eras? ›

Take the queen of eras Taylor Swift, for instance — many associate specific periods of their life with the messages and themes of her albums. A "folklore era" could mean being reflective, while a "reputation era" may mean you're not phased by any gossip or hate coming your way.

Why is 13 an important number Taylor Swift? ›

The number 13 has had a special significance in Swift's career through the years. As she previously explained to MTV News, "I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. My first album went gold in 13 weeks.

Why is debut not in the Eras Tour? ›

Summary. Swift's Eras Tour celebrates her career with hits from each album, but excludes songs from her self-titled debut due to minimal popularity. Swift is re-recording her albums as "Taylor's Version," but has yet to re-record her debut album.

Is Taylor Swift a billionaire? ›

The pop sensation's decadeslong career has now catapulted her to billionaire status, according to Forbes estimates. Swift's net worth has reached $1.1 billion as of March 8, turning her fame into fortune and ranking as the No. 14 celebrity on Forbes' 2024 World Billionaires List, published on April 2.

What did Taylor cut from The Eras Tour? ›

Songs cut from the setlist:
  • The Archer (Lover era)
  • Long Live (Speak Now era)
  • The 1 (Folklore era)
  • Tis The Damn Season (Evermore era)
  • Tolerate It (Evermore era)
  • The Last Great American Dynasty (Folklore era)
1 day ago

What songs did Taylor remove from the set list? ›

And these are the songs that have been removed:
  • The Archer (from Lover era)
  • Long Live (from Speak Now era)
  • the 1 (from folklore era)
  • the last great american dynasty (from folklore era)
  • 'tis the damn season (from evermore era)
  • tolerate it (from evermore era)
17 hours ago

How long will eras tour last? ›

The Eras Tour is the ongoing sixth concert tour by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Consisting of 152 shows across five continents, the tour commenced on March 17, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona, United States, and is set to conclude on December 8, 2024, in Vancouver, Canada.

What color is Evermore era? ›

Her second album, Fearless is yellow; her third album, Speak Now, is purple; her fourth album, Red, is red (obviously); her sixth album, Reputation, is black; her seventh album, Lover, is pink; her eighth album, Folklore, is white; and her ninth album, Evermore, is brown.

What era is Shake It Off? ›

1989 (Taylor's Version)

This is probably one her most popular eras with the most iconic songs. Taylor Swift fed us as a pop princess of the 2010s with hits like “Blank Space,” “Shake it Off”, and “Bad Blood”. Everything about this era is so memorable from the white sunglasses and the chopped hair to the red lip.

What is Taylor Swift's favorite color? ›

What color does Taylor Swift prefer the most? Taylor Swift's favorite color is purple [3]. However, it's worth noting that there are conflicting answers from different sources. Some fans have mentioned that Taylor Swift also likes white, pink, navy blue, and sparkly colors [3].

What do fans yell before delicate? ›

Delicate. Delicate is from Swift's sixth studio album, Reputation, in 2017. Fans will know to yell the chant: "One, two, three, let's go b----!” when she sings: “We can't make any promises, now can we, babe?

Does Taylor Swift have any tattoos? ›

"The Tortured Poets Department" singer has never blatantly shown off any ink, but fans are still curious if that means she doesn't have any or if she's just hiding it really, really well. But in a 2012 interview with Taste of Country, Swift said she couldn't get a tattoo simply because she couldn't commit to anything.

What is Taylor Swift's favorite movie? ›

The Shape of Water. Swift has sung the praises of director Guillermo Del Toro, citing The Shape of Water as "one of her favorite films ever." The movie, which stars Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones, follows the love story of a mute janitor and an amphibian creature. Video Player is loading. This is a modal window.

Which is the best Taylor Swift era? ›

The Augur Beat: Ranking Taylor Swift's Eras
  1. folklore (2020)–Grammy for Album of the Year.
  2. Speak Now (Taylor's Version) (2010 & 2023) ...
  3. 1989 (Taylor's Version) (2014 & 2023)–Grammy for Album of the Year. ...
  4. evermore (2020) ...
  5. reputation (2017) ...
  6. Red (Taylor's Version) (2012 & 2021) ...
  7. Midnights (2022) ...
  8. Lover (2019) ...
Jan 28, 2024

Has the Eras tour ended? ›

The Eras Tour is the ongoing sixth concert tour by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Consisting of 152 shows across five continents, the tour commenced on March 17, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona, United States, and is set to conclude on December 8, 2024, in Vancouver, Canada.

How many outfit changes did Taylor Swift have eras? ›

Each time Taylor Swift takes to the stage for an Era's tour date, she changes costume about 16 times, all while singing her way through her 14-album catalogue of hits.

Who has Taylor Swift been with the longest? ›

Taylor Swift & Joe Alwyn

Actor Joe Alwyn was Taylor Swift's longest relationship to date, with the couple keeping their romance well out of the public eye.

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