Sad Taylor Swift Is the Best Taylor Swift

From "The Archer" to "All Too Well," Swift's discography is filled with teary tracks.

2017 DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert In Houston - Taylor Swift Performance
(Image credit: Kevin Winter)

We're three songs into Taylor Swift's new album Lover, and her latest release (an emotional track called "The Archer") has given more evidence to my ultimate Swift Theory: The singer is at her best when she's writing sad songs.

She can write a bop ("Style," "Blank Space," "22") and obviously she's comfortable with a country love song ("Our Song," "Love Story"), but it's the slow, sad tracks you play while on a solo drive where her songwriting skills shine.

Have you yet to get on the Sad Taylor song train? Do you have plans to lie on the floor of your bedroom during a thunderstorm any time soon? If so, here is the soundtrack you need.

"All Too Well"

The song: I was tempted to just list this song 10 times and call it a day, but if you're even a minor Swift fan, you know the deal. "All Too Well" is often heralded as the best in her catalog, and it's filled with lyrics you'd doodle inside your diary.

The saddest line: A tie between "You call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest" and "Time won't fly, it's like I'm paralyzed by it / I'd like to be my old self again, but I'm still trying to find it"

"Better Man"

The song: While this number isn't sung by Swift, she did write it, so we're counting it. Swift gave this track to her country friends Little Big Town, and it's the kind of song that makes you pine for the days when Swift wore cowboy boots and had a twang.

The saddest line: "I hold on to this pride because these days it’s all I have / And I gave you my best, and we both know you can’t say that"

"Tim McGraw"

The song: This might be more nostalgic than sad, but for our purposes, it qualifies. Swift's debut single sweetly looks back on a love lost, but it was also a savvy business move. Making your first country single—that you're trying to get played on country radio—all about a top country artist? She's no dummy.

The saddest line: "September saw a month of tears / And thanking God that you weren't here / To see me like that"


The song: This might show my own bias, but I really didn't consider how good this 1989 song was until I watched this video of Ingrid Michaelson singing it. But after that, I was all in. For anyone's who's finally gotten over a break up, this is for you.

The saddest line: "I punched a hole in the roof / Let the flood carry away all my pictures of you / The water filled my lungs, I screamed so loud but no one heard a thing"

"The Archer"

The song: Swift's latest release is the saddest song she's put out in quite some time and is vastly different from her other Lover tracks ("ME!" and "You Need to Calm Down"). There's not a ton of exciting production on this one, but the lyrics let us into Swift's world in a way we haven't seen since 1989.

The saddest line: "I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost / The room is on fire, invisible smoke / And all of my heroes die all alone / Help me hold on to you"

"White Horse"

The song: Another classic song from Swift's earlier albums, "White Horse" is good background music for when you're sitting on the floor while it's raining out, much like Swift does in the music video.

The saddest line: "I was a dreamer before you went and let me down / Now it's too late for you / And your white horse, to come around"

"Last Kiss"

The song: "Last Kiss," which is reportedly about Joe Jonas, is off of Speak Now, the only album Swift wrote completely by herself. The feat paid off in a number of tracks, including this sad, sad one.

The saddest line: "I'll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep / And I feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe"

"Back to December"

The song: A rarity for Swift, "Back to December," which is confirmed to be about her ex-boyfriend Taylor Lautner, shows Swift taking the fault for how her relationship ended. It's wistful and—do I even have to say it?—pretty damn sad.

The saddest line: "It turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you / Wishing I'd realized what I had when you were mine"

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(Image credit: Getty Images)
Madison Feller

Madison is a staff writer at, covering news, politics, and culture. When she's not on the internet, you can most likely find her taking a nap or eating banana bread.