Taylor Swift is a country queen turned worldwide superstar, and rightly so. The singer-songwriter proved to country music that she was taking the world by storm with her eponymous debut record and first-ever single, "Tim McGraw," in 2006. Since then, Swift has gone on to win numerous Grammy Awards and CMA Awards, and be included on Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women List.
Swift fully crossed over into pop with her fifth studio album, 1989, in 2014, but even before then, her songwriting abilities, engagement with fans, generosity and style were making an impact on pop culture. Every time she releases a single, millions of fans are waiting with bated breath -- and with every single comes a music video, and to say that Swift's music video portfolio is packed is a massive understatement.
The following are The Boot's picks for Swift's Top 5 (pre-1989) music videos.
When President George W. Bush comes out to see the premiere of your music video, that's a pretty big deal, and that's what happened with Swift's music video "Mine." Filmed in Maine and directed by Roman White, this clip is a quintessential Swift music video: There's a love interest, played by Toby Hemingway, and a sweet storyline, as well as gorgeous seaside scenery. But the most interesting part is that the music video adds a visual level of hope to a song that acknowledges Swift's tendency to run from love. Romantic boat rides, moving in together and more are present, as well as fights, frustration and fear. Swift navigates the waters of love in her "Mine" music video, wears a wedding dress and even has kids (faux, of course).
No one does revenge better than Swift -- at least, that's what she claims in "Better Than Revenge" from Speak Now. But let's back up several years, to her debut record, and take a look at the "Picture to Burn" music video, in which she shows her vengeful side. With her accomplice and best friend Abigail, Swift and her band wreck havoc on a former flame's home, and they do it in a thoroughly entertaining way. Watching her bandmates lick the clean silverware (and reinsert it in the dishwasher), backwash into water bottles and, of course, fan the flames of revenge in a very literal way, is highly entertaining and shows a not-so-sweet side of Swift.
"I Knew You Were Trouble"
From Swift's fourth studio record Red, "I Knew You Were Trouble" has a music video that's visually different than anything she'd ever done. Edgy and vulnerable, this clip was the first time that Swift played a character waking up to the wreckage of a relationship gone bad. A toxic relationship, interspersed with sweet and romantic scenes, is highlighted throughout the video, and Swift provides a voiceover to round out the story. The singer, with pink-tipped hair, put her acting skills on display and earned 265 million nods of approval via YouTube.
Written by Swift, "Love Story" immediately piqued the interest of fans because who doesn't love a good Romeo and Juliet saga? The video, influenced by the Medieval and Renaissance eras, is drastically different than any other that Swift has released. Cue a real-life castle, a ball gown, a handsome Romeo and even a balcony, and "Love Story" is, to this day, one of Swift's best. The music video intersperses a modern-day budding romance at Swift's high school, and whether in the castle or on school grounds, the clip is timeless in its ability to relate.
"You Belong With Me," from Swift's sophomore record Fearless, pays tribute to misfits, dorks and unpopular kids in the most triumphant way. In the video, Swift plays the popular girl (think Regina George from Mean Girls) and the unpopular one, and viewers will be pulling for the latter. Swift lets loose with goofy dance moves, huge glasses and charm that fills the whole screen. "You Belong With Me" resonates with fans to this day, garnering a total of almost 500 million views on YouTube. And she was most certainly deserving of the 2009 MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video (lookin' at you, Kanye!).