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Taylor Swift has released eight original songs for films and TV shows.
Insider's music team ranked them from worst to best, considering factors like lyrics and impact.
"Safe & Sound" from "The Hunger Games" took the top spot. "Beautiful Ghosts" from "Cats" is the worst.
8. "Beautiful Ghosts"
While I understand this probably checked off a bucket-list item for Swift, as she got to collaborate with legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber to bring "Beautiful Ghosts" to life, there were a few inexcusable missteps here.
First, Swift sings in an English accent, which was unnecessary given the fact that she's not even the person who performs the song in the movie.
Second, the movie it was made for was the 2019 abomination "Cats," which I firmly believe didn't need to exist. Therefore, this song shouldn't have either, regardless of whether anyone actually enjoys it or not. — Courteney Larocca
7. "Today Was a Fairytale"
Swift made her big-screen acting debut in the 2010 rom-com "Valentine's Day" as an endearingly goofy teen who's infatuated with her track-star boyfriend — played by her real-life boyfriend at the time, Taylor Lautner.
"Today Was a Fairytale" is imbued with her character's rosy-cheeked sweetness and youthful idealism. Swift exercises her knack for making small gestures feel like life-defining events: "You took me by the hand and you picked me up at six," "You told me I was pretty when I looked like a mess."
The country-tinged acoustics and plain-spoken lyrics are typical of Swift in her "Fearless" era. Although it remains a winning combination more than a decade later, much of its power comes from its nostalgia.
"Today Was a Fairytale" simply can't compete with many of Swift's successive, more inventive compositions. — Callie Ahlgrim
6. "Sweeter Than Fiction"
In 2013, Swift released "Sweeter Than Fiction," a promotional single for the James Corden movie, "One Chance." It was later revealed that Swift had to fight her then-label Big Machine Records to release it, as she was supposed to be on a hiatus between albums.
"My management, my label were like, 'No new music until the next album comes out.' Then I saw the movie and I was like, 'I have to be a part of this,'" Swift told BBC Newsbeat (via Digital Spy).
The song itself is a fun, upbeat, synth-pop track that pulls inspiration from '80s hits — the perfect prelude to her 2014 album, "1989." It also marks Swift's first collaboration with Jack Antonoff, a pivotal moment in Swiftian history.
However, it ranks a little lower on this list because, even despite the lore and the fascinating video of her explaining her songwriting process, it can be a bit forgettable.
(It could have a resurrection soon though. Since it was released by Big Machine, it could get the rerecording treatment with "1989 (Taylor's Version)." A release date and tracklist have yet to be announced.) — CL
Swift wrote "Carolina" in the months after she wrote "Folklore," her eighth and best album.
She said she was inspired by "a girl who always lived on the outside, looking in... Her longing and her stillness. Her curiosity and fear, all tangled up. Her persisting gentleness… and the world's betrayal of it."
The song shares the aforementioned album's vivid lyricism, painting a portrait of a misunderstood woman with darkness to outrun: "Carolina stains on the dress she left / Indelible scars, pivotal marks / Blue as the life she fled."
The song was written for the film adaptation of "Where the Crawdads Sing," Delia Owens's bestselling novel about a girl who lives alone in a North Carolina marsh.
But "Carolina" can also be read as an allegory for Swift's own ostracism ("for years they've said that I was guilty as sin and sleep in a liar's bed"). She treads similar ground in recent tracks like "Mad Woman" and "Evermore."
Unfortunately, the lyrics can get lost in the languid production. Although Swift said that she "meticulously" worked with producer Aaron Dessner to create a sound that felt "authentic" to the story, the song lacks momentum, texture, and motive — and ultimately fails to create the tension Swift describes. — CA
Swift performs the country-pop love song "Crazier" during an intimate barn dance in "Hannah Montana: The Movie."
The whole scene is perfect. Swift's tender vocals, complemented by the warm string lights that surround her, soundtrack a pivotal moment for the film's two budding couples.
Miley Cyrus beams as she gazes at the face of her handsome cowboy crush (played by Lucas Till, who would later star in Swift's iconic music video for "You Belong With Me"). Her character's father, Robby Ray Stewart, opens up his heart for the first time since his wife's death.
If this all sounds a little cheesy, it is. But that's the point, and if you embrace the cheese, it becomes twinkly and magical and impossibly endearing. — CA
3. "Eyes Open"
While formulating this ranking, I expressed hesitancy over placing both "Hunger Games" soundtrack songs within the top three. I changed my mind within 30 minutes. The second I put this on, I got angry at myself for momentarily forgetting its power.
"Eyes Open" somehow manages to be both nostalgic and current. Sonically, it's giving "Haunted" from "Speak Now," but lines like "The tricky thing / Is yesterday we were just children ... But now we've stepped into a cruel world" feel like they were written about living in present-day America, instead of a YA dystopian novel.
It's been a decade since its release but I will spend the entirety of summer 2022 screaming these lines: "Everybody's waitin' for you to break down / Everybody's watchin' to see the fallout / Even when you're sleeping, sleeping / Keep your eyes open." — CL
2. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" with ZAYN
Not only is this among Swift's best songs made for a movie, but it's also one of her most successful duets to date. Swift's airy vocals pair beautifully with ZAYN's falsetto on this intoxicating track, which was included on the "Fifty Shades Darker" soundtrack.
By late 2016, Swift had already solidified herself as a songwriter who crafts bridges stronger than the Golden Gate, and "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" is further proof of it. "I've been looking sad in all the nicest places" echoes in my mind on a monthly basis, if not a weekly one.
But while ZAYN delivers a phenomenal vocal performance here, it's worth noting that Swift is more than capable of carrying it alone. Her live solo acoustic rendition deserves its own recording. — CL
1. "Safe & Sound" featuring The Civil Wars
"Safe & Sound" is the crown jewel of Swift's soundtrack contributions.
The acoustic ballad pairs Swift's soft, breathy vocals with a sinister, brooding undertone — capturing the contrast of innocence and violence that lies at the very core of "The Hunger Games."
At the time of its release, "Safe & Sound" was hailed by critics as the "most crucial" track on "The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond" and won the Grammy Award for best song written for visual media.
Not only has the song aged like fine wine, but it has also proved an essential piece of Swift lore. In retrospect, "Safe & Sound" feels like the prologue to "Folklore" and "Evermore," Swift's surprise pilgrimage into woodsy alt-pop that has yielded some of her best work to date. — CA
Read the original article on Insider