The most popular Taylor Swift albums in the U.S.: a ranking, based on her fans

Linley SandersData Journalist
March 09, 2023, 2:27 PM GMT+0

Pop artist Taylor Swift will soon begin her "Eras Tour" with concerts that celebrate her 10 albums, including the most recently released "Midnights" soundtrack.

Before her tour begins, a new YouGov survey sought to create a definitive ranking of Swift's existing albums among fans of her music in the United States. YouGov asked people who are familiar with Swift's music whether they love, like, dislike, or hate each album (with each of Swift's re-recorded albums being grouped with its original counterpart). Swift fans — ones who say they are fans or big fans of hers —who say they love more than one of her albums were asked to choose their favorite from the ones they love. Fans who don't love any Swift albums and like more than one chose their favorite from among the ones they like.

When forced to choose just one, more fans with a favorite album put "Lover" at the top of their list than any other of Swift's 10 albums — with 14% calling "Lover" their favorite album. It's followed by "1989" (13% call it their favorite) and "Red" (12%). Those are closely followed by "Taylor Swift" (11%), her debut album, and "Fearless" (10%).

While Swift's fans have a net positive view of each of her albums, there are a few different ways to rank her music. Calculating net scores — how many more of her fans "love" or "like" an album than "dislike" or "hate" it — produces an alternative ranking. By net scores, "Red" (+52) and "Fearless" (+52) are essentially tied for the top spot. The "Taylor Swift (Debut)" album comes next (+49), then "1989" (+49) and "Lover" (+48).

The top five albums remain the same regardless of which ranking is used — albeit in different orders, with little separating them — suggesting that while there is not a clear favorite for fans, there is a clear grouping of favorites. Her newest album, "Midnights," lands in sixth place by both the share of fans who say it's their favorite and by its net score.

In addition to her newest album, Swift is re-recording many of her earlier albums with the parenthetical "(Taylor's Version)" in their titles. Her release of re-recordings came after the masters for six of Swift's albums that were produced by Big Machine Records were sold to someone other than Swift. Half of Swift fans (50%) — including 73% of people who call themselves "big fans" of the artist — say they try "a great deal" or "a fair amount" to make a conscious effort to listen to Swift's re-recorded versions of her albums.

Fans are divided on which re-recording they want Swift to release next: 26% say "Taylor Swift" (Debut)", 25% say "1989", 16% prefer "Speak Now" , and 14% say "Reputation".

YouGov also asked Americans who are familiar with Swift songs an open-ended question about their favorites. Among her fans with an opinion (those who did not say "don't know" or "none"), many mention "Love Story" (19% of fans with an opinion list it), the lead single off "Fearless." Others name "Shake it Off" (16%) — the lead single from "1989" — while many others pick "Lover," the title track from the "Lover" album. Other songs that are among many Swift fans' favorites are Anti-Hero (9%), Blank Space (9%), Bad Blood (8%), I Knew You Were Trouble (7%), and You Belong With Me (5%).

— Sarah Prescott-Smith, Taylor Orth, Matthew Smith, and Carl Bialik contributed to this poll

See the results from this YouGov poll conducted on February 14 - 21, 2023

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on February 14 - 21, 2023 among 2,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 28% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 2%.


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