Top 10 Taylor Swift Videos
Taylor Swift videos are every bit as dramatic as the songs themselves. The singer’s best clips rely on her to do some acting (often alongside a famous co-star, but not always), which means she ends up in tears or in the arms of the guy she’s been dreaming about since forever.
Many of the Top 10 Taylor Swift videos picked up awards at major country award shows, while others were passed over — perhaps because the song didn’t perform as well as some previous hits did on the radio. All but one or two videos rely on vibrant colors to paint a bright picture of the pain or happiness Swift is trying to relate to us with her music. With more than 20 official music videos released to date, the starlet has proven she’s as capable in front of the camera as she is in front of the microphone.
‘Teardrops on My Guitar’
Swift’s ‘Teardrops on My Guitar’ video stars singer Tyler Hilton and takes place mostly inside of a high school. This was the first video in which fans got to see the then-teenager acting, and she more than holds her own. It picked up a few MTV VMA nominations, but more importantly, set the tone for just about every video that would follow. Five videos (including ‘Teardrops …’) on this list of the best Taylor Swift videos were directed by Trey Fanjoy. It was an early working relationship as important as any.
By 2008, Swift was collecting music video awards like a bee collects honey. ‘Our Song,’ her third video and third directed by Trey Fanjoy, begins a fairytale stage that would culminate with a song and video from her ‘Fearless’ album. The costuming here is as elaborate as any she’s starred in since — Swift looks like a princess throughout the entire three-and-a-half minute-long clip. Swift won the Video of the Year award at the 2008 CMT Music Awards for this video.
The winner of the 2007 CMT Music Awards Breakthrough Video of the Year was Swift’s ‘Tim McGraw’ video, a clip that accompanied her debut single. It rates higher than ‘Teardrops on My Guitar’ because of song quality, but also because the clip does a better job capturing who Swift really is: a romantic with an old soul. The video doesn’t have as many YouTube views as some others on this list (just over 21 million), but to be fair it wasn’t uploaded until 2009 — three years after its release. By comparison, ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ is closing in on 100 million views, but didn’t make the list.
The story told in the ‘Begin Again’ video is worthy of a higher place on this Top 10 Taylor Swift Videos list, but her choice of setting and costuming leave the diehard country fan a little lost. Paris is a long way from Nashville, after all — although director Philip Andelman does a splendid job of capturing both the romance and despair of this city of love.
The fact that ‘Mean’ comes in at only No. 6 speaks to the impressive videos that lie ahead on this list. The Declan Whitebloom-directed clip is the most inspiring video of Swift’s career, as it shows kids who are bullied overcoming their tormentors to the point that they can mock them. The vintage costuming and framing mix well with the comical vaudeville style introduced early on. The ‘Mean’ video stands alone on Swift’s videography. There isn’t another that compares to its look or style.
‘Safe & Sound’
Unlike many of the clips on this list of Top 10 Taylor Swift Videos, there is nothing cheerful about the clip for ‘Safe & Sound,’ a song recorded with the Civil Wars for ‘The Hunger Games’ soundtrack. Swift finds herself padding around barefoot in the forest, then across some long forgotten graves in this one. The same director handled ‘Begin Again.’ He’s Swift’s go-to man for drab and depressing.
‘You Belong With Me’
Swift’s ‘You Belong With Me’ video essentially spurred what’s now called the “Kanye West incident.” Almost lost in that drama, however, is the creative storytelling that takes place in the Roman White-directed clip. Swift plays both protagonist and antagonist as she pines for the love of her next door neighbor, played by actor Lucas Till. While the video did win the VMA for Best Female Video over Beyonce‘s “best video of all time,” Swift lost out to others at the CMT Music Awards in 2010. From start to finish, this clip is just a ton of fun to watch.
Many of Taylor Swift’s videos tell a story, but the clip for ‘Mine’ escapes fantasy to look and feel like a mini-movie. The singer casted Toby Hemingway to star opposite her in this narrative of a relationship’s ups and downs. Swift does some of her finest acting work in scenes in which she runs out of the house crying, only to be brought back in by the patient and understanding hand of Hemingway. The song was the lead single from Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ album, and the video introduced a more mature direction for the then-20-year-old.
The ‘White Horse’ video was Taylor Swift’s first great drama, although one could argue the fairytale sequence played out in the No. 1 video on this list of Taylor Swift videos is quite dramatic as well. The singer challenges herself into shedding tears on camera for the first time here. Previous videos had shown her as the victim of infidelity, but mostly in a humorous, revenge-minded way. In ‘White Horse,’ the pain that would return in subsequent videos is real for the first time. It’s a stirring four-minute clip.
This was another Video of the Year winner at the CMT Music Awards, but the clip for ‘Love Story’ also won big at the CMA Awards in 2009. If one were to point to one song and video to describe Swift and her career, this would be it. The hook, the melody, the drama and the romance all weave into one perfect fairytale, complete with castles and a Renaissance wardrobe. The period piece ties the past to the present day in the pseudo-telling of Romeo and Juliet. The No. 1 video on this list of top Taylor Swift videos is one of the best of all time.