Taylor Swift promised a “journey through all of my musical eras” when The Eras Tour hit State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona — or Swift City, as the city has officially renamed itself for the occasion — for a March 17-18 tour launch as the first act in history to sell out two shows at that venue on a single tour.
So what does a journey through all of Swift’s musical eras even look like?
Swift has released 10 albums since announcing her arrival with a self-titled debut that topped the country charts.
Or 12 if you include those “(Taylor’s Version)” re-recordings of “Fearless” and “Red.” And you should totally include those.
Here’s a look back through the eras.
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‘Taylor Swift’ (2006)
This is where it all began, released when she was just 16. Swift wrote or cowrote all 11 songs on a debut she promoted on MySpace and managed to work on while attending her first year of high school in Hendersonville, Tennessee, where the family had had moved from Pennsylvania to allow the young singer to follow her dreams.
Two singles topped the country charts, including one song written for her high school talent show, with “Teardrops on My Guitar” giving Swift her first Top 20 entry on the Billboard Hot 100. The album spent 24 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard country chart while earning Swift a Best New Artist Grammy nomination, going on to be certified seven-times-platinum.
Notable singles from “Taylor Swift”: “Tim McGraw,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” “Our Song,” “Picture to Burn,” “She Should’ve Said No.”
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This album sent three singles to the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, including “You Belong with Me,” which peaked at No. 2 and was certified seven times platinum. It spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart, her first release to do so, going on to be certified diamond for U.S. sales of 10 million.
It picked up Album of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Grammys, where it also won Best Country Album. Again, she wrote or cowrote every song on the album while still in her teens. Last year, Rolling Stone declared it one of the 100 greatest country albums of all time.
Notable singles from “Fearless”: “Love Story,” “White Horse,” “You Belong with Me,” “Fifteen,” “Fearless.”
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‘Speak Now’ (2010)
“Speak Now” sent two singles to the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and two other singles to the top of Billboard’s country chart. It sold a million U.S. copies in a single week and spent six weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart along the way to going six times platinum.
The single “Mean” picked up Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance at the Grammys, and the album was included on best-of-the-decade lists at Spin and Billboard. It also made a list at Rolling Stone in 2012 of the 50 Best Female Albums of All Time. “Speak Now” was Swift’s first release written with no collaborators.
Notable singles from “Speak Now”: “Mine,” “Back to December,” “Mean,” “Sparks Fly,” “Ours.”
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The album’s title refers to the “red” emotions Swift experienced while working on the album. Hoping to experiment with sounds beyond the context of her country-leaning comfort zone, she enlisted the aid of several outside producers and songwriting partners, including Max Martin, Jeff Bhasker and Shellback. The album also features guest vocals by Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol.
Lead single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” became her first chart-topping entry on the Hot 100. The album topped the U.S. charts for seven weeks and was certified seven times platinum. It also made the Top 100 (No. 99) in the recent revision of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Notable singles from “Red”: “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Begin Again,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “22,” “Red,” “Everything Has Changed.”
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The title refers to her birth year, meant to signify a symbolic artistic rebirth, which it certainly was, inspired by the synth-pop of the ’80s with Max Martin serving as co-executive producer. Three singles topped the Billboard Hot 100 — “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood” (the hip-hop remix of which included a guest rap by Kendrick Lamar).
It won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammys, making Swift the first woman to win Album of the Year twice. It also spent 11 weeks at U.S. No. 1, went nine times platinum and made the recent revision of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Notable singles from “1989”: “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” “Style,” “Bad Blood,” “Wildest Dreams,” “Out of the Woods.”
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This album was conceived during a period of self-seclusion, a reaction to the tabloid scrutiny that ramped up in the aftermath of “1989.” Working with Jack Antonoff, Max Martin and Shellback, she arrived at a sound that drew on synth-pop, hip-hop, R&B and EDM. “Look What You Made Me Do” topped Billboard’s Hot 100, breaking sales and streaming records, while the album spent four weeks at U.S. No. 1.
The Reputation Tour, which launched at State Farm Stadium, became the highest-grossing North American tour of all time. The album made the rounds of year-end critics’ list and finished in the Top 100 on Slant Magazine’s list of the best albums of the decade.
Notable singles from “Reputation”: “Look What You Made Me Do,” “…Ready for It?,” “End Game,” “Delicate.”
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In an interview with Vogue, Swift said she wrote this album as “a love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory.” The result was a much brighter sound and listening experience than “Reputation,” once more drawing heavily on synth-pop with Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie guesting on lead single, “Me!.”
“Lover” topped the Billboard album chart and sent three singles to the Top 10 on the Hot 100, with two singles falling just short of the top to peak at No. 2. It was the only million-selling album of 2019 and eventually went triple platinum. Year-end lists at Billboard, People, Rolling Stone and USA Today placed love in the Top 10.
Notable singles from “Lover”: “Me!,” “You Need to Calm Down,” “Lover,” “The Man.”
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This surprise release was a pandemic quarantine album conceived as “a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness.” Its homespun indie-folk vibe was arrived at by collaborating with producers Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff virtually while tracking vocals in her L.A. home.
It broke the record for biggest opening day on Spotify for a female artist. Spending eight weeks at the top on Billboard’s album chart, it went on to become the biggest-selling album of the year. It also picked up Album of the Year at the Grammys, making Swift the first woman to win that honor three times. Lead single “Cardigan” became her sixth release to top the Hot 100.
Notable singles from “Folklore”: “Cardigan,” “Exile.”
A second surprise pandemic album of understated indie-folk arriving less than five months after “Folklore,” “Evermore” found the singer working once again with Antonoff and Dessner. Swift has called the two releases sister albums, while reviewers heard it as a sequel or companion piece. It features guest appearances by Dessner’s band the National, Haim and Bon Iver.
“Evermore” spent four weeks at No. 1 in Billboard, sending “Willow” to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 (her seventh track to claim that spot) and topping year-end critics’ list at Variety and USA Today. Released in mid-December 2020, it went on to top the 2021 Billboard Year-End Top Album Sales chart and was certified platinum.
Notable singles from “Evermore”: “Willow,” “No Body, No Crime.”
‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ (2021)
This is the first in a series of six albums Swift intends to re-record in the aftermath of a dispute regarding ownership of the masters to her first six albums. It featured re-recorded versions of all 19 tracks from the Platinum Edition of “Fearless,” the 2010 soundtrack single “Today Was a Fairytale” and six bonus “From the Vault” songs that were withheld from inclusion on the original “Fearless” releases.
Colbie Caillat returned to guest on “Breathe” while Maren Morris and Keith Urban provided guest vocals on vault tracks “You All Over Me” and “That’s When.” It spent two weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart and was the second biggest-selling country record of the year, behind “Red (Taylor’s Version).”
Notable singles from “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”: “Love Story (Taylor’s Version).”
‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ (2021)
This was the second of six albums Swift intends to re-record. It features new versions of 20 songs from the deluxe edition of “Red,” the 2012 charity single “Ronan,” the 10-minute unabridged version of “All Too Well,” new recordings of “Better Man” (2016) and “Babe” (2018) and six previously unreleased “From the Vault” tracks.
Gary Lightbody and Ed Sheeran returned to provide guest vocals, with Phoebe Bridgers and Chris Stapleton as new additions. It topped the Billboard album chart with the biggest U.S. sale week enjoyed by any 2021 release. The power ballad “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” topped the Hot 100 as the longest chart-topper of all time.
Notable singles from “Red (Taylor’s Version)”: “I Bet You Think About Me.”
This double-platinum triumph was inspired by her struggles with insomnia, a concept album written and produced by Swift with longtime collaborator Antonoff that finds the star returning to the synth-pop stylings she’d abandoned on those sister albums she recorded during the pandemic.
It set a new record for Spotify streams in a single day, topped the Billboard album chart, became the year’s best-selling U.S. album and enjoyed the largest vinyl sales week of the century so far. It also filled the Top 10 on the Hot 100 — the first time any act has occupied all 10 positions — with “Anti-Hero” as both her latest song to top the Hot 100 and the biggest-selling song of 2022.
Notable singles from “Midnights”: “Anti-Hero,” “Lavender Haze.”
Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-4495. Follow him on Twitter @EdMasley.