Every Taylor Swift album, ranked from worst to best

Every Taylor Swift album, ranked from worst to best

Taylor Swift album ranking thumb wide



Barry Brecheisen/WireImage; Ashok Kumar/TAS24/Getty; Sonja Flemming/Getty; Jason Kempin/TAS18/Getty; John Shearer/TAS23/Getty; BI


  • Taylor Swift has released 11 distinct albums throughout her career (and rerecorded four of them).
  • BI’s senior music reporter ranked them from worst to best, using a Swift-specific scoring method.
  • “Folklore” took the top spot, while her latest, “The Tortured Poets Department,” is in fourth place.

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11. “Midnights (The Til Dawn Edition)”

taylor swift midnights til dawn edition

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“Midnights” was released in 2022. “The Til Dawn Edition” was released in 2023.

Taylor Swift/UMG



Final grade: 8/10

Thank goodness for the “3am” edition. The “Midnights” final grade* was rescued by the eight extra songs that Swift tacked onto the original 13-track album, plus “Hits Different,” which was added even later.

With a bit of editing (swap “Bejeweled” for “Paris” and “Midnight Rain” for “The Great War,” put “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve” at track five where it belongs), “Midnights” could’ve been a versatile and well-paced pop album. But as it stands, it’s an anticlimactic journey full of detours and flat landscapes.

Swift rarely explores the album’s themes in depth, preferring to gesture broadly at interesting ideas. I’m not an “Anti-Hero” hater, but you’re telling me the greatest songwriter of her generation couldn’t come up with a better way to critique the infantilization and sexualization of women in Hollywood than “Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby?” Please.

But when Swift does take her time on this album to grab a flashlight and a compass — inspecting sensations of loss, regret, devotion, obsession, forgiveness, and idolatry without fear — the results speak for themselves.

God-tier songs: “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve,” “Hits Different”

Worth listening to: “Lavender Haze,” “Maroon,” “Anti-Hero,” “You’re On Your Own Kid,” “Question…?,” “Karma,” “Sweet Nothing,” “The Great War,” “Bigger Than the Whole Sky,” “Paris,” “High Infidelity,” “Glitch,” “Dear Reader”

Background music: “Snow On the Beach (featuring More Lana Del Rey),” “Labyrinth,” “Mastermind”

Skip: “Snow On the Beach (featuring Lana Del Rey),” “Midnight Rain,” “Vigilante Shit,” “Bejeweled,” “Karma (featuring Ice Spice)”

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10. “Reputation”

taylor swift reputation

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“Reputation” was released in 2017.

Big Machine Records



Final grade: 8.3/10

Any Swiftie will tell you that “Reputation” was made to be played live.

Indeed, I challenge anyone to watch the Reputation Stadium Tour or Eras Tour concert films and not come away with intensified respect for bangers like “I Did Something Bad” and “…Ready For It?”

Even “Dancing With Our Hands Tied,” one of my least favorite tracks in terms of production, shines in concert with Swift’s acoustic rendition.

But outside of those clips, “Reputation” exists as an album, not a live show. Despite glimmers of genius, the tracklist contains some of Swift’s worst decisions to date.

Her moments of sincerity, or even sincere badassery (“If a man talks shit then I owe him nothing”), are meager compared to the aggressive pop posturing. Swift’s usually sharp lyricism is overshadowed by the production, which tries to sound bold and maximalist but comes across instead as impersonal and heavy-handed. You may argue this effect is deliberate — camp, perhaps — but intentionality doesn’t mean it’s good.

Of course, all of Swift’s albums have their comparative lows, but here we find the dregs — and the album’s highs just aren’t consistent enough to salvage the score.

My score for “Reputation” is actually quite generous considering  “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” would fall dead last on my all-time ranking of Swift’s songs, far beneath “Bad Blood” and every single one of her Christmas covers. Remembering how it was the tour’s setlist closer sends a cold shiver down my spine.

God-tier songs: “Delicate,” “Don’t Blame Me”

Worth listening to: “…Ready For It?,” “End Game (featuring Future and Ed Sheeran),” “I Did Something Bad,” “Getaway Car,” “Dancing With Our Hands Tied,” “Dress,” “Call It What You Want,” “New Year’s Day”

Background music: “So It Goes…”

Skip: “Look What You Made Me Do,” “Gorgeous,” “King of My Heart,” “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

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9. “Taylor Swift”

Taylor Swift album cover

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“Taylor Swift” was released in 2006.

Big Machine



Final grade: 8.9/10

“Taylor Swift” is widely regarded as Swift’s worst album, but that’s only because all her albums are good. Something has to be the “worst” — that’s how rankings work — and “Taylor Swift” is often overlooked, being the singer’s first and most rudimentary work.

Released the same year Carrie Underwood was topping country charts with “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats,” Swift’s self-titled debut is archetypal banjo-pop with a girlish twang. It did its job well, putting her on the map in Nashville and beyond, but the album wasn’t designed to push any boundaries or set any trends.

Nevertheless, “Taylor Swift” has more timeless tunes than you may realize. Led by the memorable torch song “Tim McGraw” — cleverly named after an already-popular musician, long before others would use this strategy to game streaming numbers — the 14-track album also includes hits like “Picture to Burn,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” and “Should’ve Said No,” which remain staples in Swift’s discography. “Our Song” will go down in history as a masterpiece.

And that’s not to mention “Cold As You,” the heart-wrenching ballad that set the bar for Swift’s track-five tradition. (“You come away with a great little story / Of a mess of a dreamer with the nerve to adore you.” It still stings.) The truth is, “Taylor Swift” did push boundaries and set trends.

When “Taylor Swift (Taylor’s Version)” is eventually unveiled, I won’t be surprised if the album climbs a ton of rankings, both in and outside Swift’s existing fandom.

God-tier songs: “Picture to Burn,” “Our Song”

Worth listening to: “Tim McGraw,” “Teardrops On My Guitar,” “Cold As You,” “The Outside,” “Should’ve Said No,” “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My),” “I’m Only Me When I’m With You,” “A Perfectly Good Heart”

Background music: “Stay Beautiful”

Skip: “A Place in This World,” “Tied Together With a Smile,” “Invisible”

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8. “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”

taylor swift fearless taylors version album cover

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“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” was released in 2021.

Taylor Swift/UMG



Final grade: 9.4/10

“Fearless” claims a legendary space in Swift’s career. It earned her first Grammy Award for album of the year when she was just 20 years old — at the time, the youngest artist ever to win — and it’s still known as the most-awarded country album of all time.

“Fearless” is also a marvel of cohesion and consistency, a no-skips album in the purest sense.

That being said, cohesion can be a double-edged sword — especially after the release of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” which turned the album into a 26-track affair. It’s not Swift’s longest album, but it sure feels like it.

Save for the two certified classics that everyone and their mother could sing along to (you know the ones), the great songs on “Fearless” are all equally great. The less-great songs are all equally good. No track is so bad that it stands out, but still, some stuff should’ve been cut. Do you see the dilemma?

This would be a career-topping triumph for any other artist, but Swift was just getting started. She kept getting better and better, crafting so many moments of shock and awe and undeniable musical genius for other albums, they make the climaxes on “Fearless” feel like prologues.

God-tier songs: “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me”

Worth listening to: “Fearless,” “Fifteen,” “Hey Stephen,” “White Horse,” “Breathe (featuring Colbie Caillat),” “Tell Me Why,” “You’re Not Sorry,” “The Way I Loved You,” “The Best Day,” “Change,” “Jump Then Fall,” “Forever & Always,” “The Other Side of the Door,” “You All Over Me (featuring Maren Morris),” “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” “Don’t You,” “Bye Bye Baby”

Background music: “Untouchable,” “Forever and Always (Piano Version),” “Come In With the Rain,” “Superstar,” “Today Was a Fairytale,” “We Were Happy,” “That’s When (featuring Keith Urban)”

Skip: N/A

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7. “Lover”

Taylor Swift Lover album cover

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“Lover” was released in 2019.

Taylor Swift/UMG



Final grade: 9.7/10

Sonically, “Lover” is a little all over the place, but thematically, it’s coherent and compelling. Swift described the album as “a love letter to love itself — all the captivating, spellbinding, maddening, devastating, red, blue, gray, golden aspects of it (that’s why there are so many songs).”

“So many songs” usually means there are more duds, and that’s certainly the case here. (Yes, “Me!” is campy and spelling is fun. It’s still a skip.)

But “Lover” also has more God-tier hits than most of the albums in Swift’s oeuvre. The peaks are dizzying: “Cruel Summer” is goes-hard-in-the-car perfection; “Lover” is destined to soundtrack first dances until the end of time; “The Archer” contains some of Swift’s most insightful lyricism to date; “Cornelia Street” is so vivid that it plays like an Oscar-winning short film; “Death by a Thousand Cuts” boasts a knockout bridge that hits every time like it’s the first time.

God-tier songs: “Cruel Summer,” “Lover,” “The Archer,” “Cornelia Street,” “Death by a Thousand Cuts”

Worth listening to: “The Man,” “I Think He Knows,” “Soon You’ll Get Better (featuring The Chicks),” “False God,” “Afterglow,” “It’s Nice to Have a Friend,” “Daylight”

Background music: “I Forgot That You Existed”

Skip: “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince,” “Paper Rings,” “London Boy,” “You Need to Calm Down,” “Me! (featuring Brendon Urie)”

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6. “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)”

taylor swift speak now taylor's version cover

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“Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” was released in 2023.

Taylor Swift/UMG



Final grade: 9.8/10

For much of Swift’s career, “Speak Now” was her most underrated album. Sandwiched between the commercial juggernaut “Fearless” and the fan-favorite “Red,” it seemed to fly under the radar for many of her casual listeners.

The “Speak Now” lore is essential to note. Swift was the only songwriter credited on the original 14-track album. She doubled down on “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” discarding the cowritten bonus cut “If This Was a Movie” and only adding songs “from the vault” that she wrote by herself.

“I didn’t want to just be handed respect and acceptance in my field, I wanted to earn it,” she explained in the album’s prologue. “I figured, they couldn’t give all the credit to my cowriters if there weren’t any.”

“I had no idea how much this pain would shape me,” Swft continued. “This was the beginning of my series of creative choices made by reacting to setbacks with defiance.”

Indeed, “Speak Now” is a portrait of a precocious young woman, hungry to prove herself. It’s also a curious paradox; for someone so preoccupied with being perceived as a “good girl,” her only self-written album is surprisingly fierce, strong-willed, and gutsy.

The title track casts Swift as a rebel with a cause, itching to interrupt her soulmate’s wedding, while “Dear John” is an unforgettable takedown of a man who should’ve known better.

She confronts her critics on “Mean” (“All you are is mean, and a liar! And pathetic! And alone in life!”) and scathes a vintage dress-wearing saboteur in “Better Than Revenge.” Even with the now-infamous lyric change, the song is still packed with quick jabs and pithy one-liners — including one that feels downright prophetic today (“You might have him, but I always get the last word”).

Other highlights like “Enchanted,” “Haunted,” and “Long Live” further reveal the album’s emo-rock roots. For “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” Swift brought her influences to the foreground, enlisting Warped Tour icons Hayley Williams and Fall Out Boy as featured artists.

Unfortunately, the vault tracks aren’t all winners (hurting its new score), and a few key moments in the original tracklist lost their sparkle (RIP to the shaky inhale in the bridge of “Last Kiss”). But Swift’s mature voice was able to breathe new life into others.

“Innocent,” which I used to consider a skip, is truly sublime when delivered by an actual 32-year-old who’s still growing up, now. Once dedicated to a man who didn’t deserve it, the song now shines in the afterglow of self-reflection, as though teenage Swift is reaching through time to comfort her future self.

“Speak Now” was always an album about making mistakes and overcoming shame, about “reacting to setbacks with defiance,” in Swift’s own words. “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is the physical embodiment of that spirit. By reclaiming ownership of her music, Swift made sure her words would ring truer than ever.

God-tier songs: “Dear John,” “Enchanted,” “Long Live”

Worth listening to: “Mine,” “Sparks Fly,” “Back to December,” “Speak Now,” “Mean,” “The Story of Us,” “Better Than Revenge,” “Innocent,” “Haunted,” “Last Kiss,” “Electric Touch (featuring Fall Out Boy),” “I Can See You,” “Castles Crumbling (featuring Hayley Williams)”

Background music: “Never Grow Up,” “Ours,” “When Emma Falls In Love,” “Foolish One,” “Timeless”

Skip: “Superman”

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5. “1989 (Taylor’s Version)”

taylor swift 1989 album cover

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“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” was released in 2023.

Taylor Swift/UMG



Final grade: 10.2/10

This is where we cross into stratospheric territory.

Because my Swift-specific grading system gives an extra point to the best songs in her catalog, the top five albums have all scored above a 10 because their gems outweigh their duds. (If you have a problem with this system, you’ll be happy to know that it’s made up and just for fun! Take it up with your therapist.)

Initially, “1989” managed to edge out “Lover” as Swift’s best pop album by sheer force of concision. The standard tracklist is just 13 songs, allowing for a cleaner listening experience overall (pun intended).

Even taking into account the three deluxe songs (one fine, one good, one God-tier), the original album still clocked in two tracks shorter than “Lover,” raising its score.

Upon its release in 2014, “1989” was a meteor strike: conceptually and sonically focused, creating a profound crater that set the scene for Swift’s risky reinvention. We all remember the shift in atmosphere when she became a full-blown pop star; to put it in Twitter-stan jargon, everybody moved.

Nearly a decade later, Swift unveiled “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” with five additional tracks. Luckily, the integrity of the album remained intact. The extra length didn’t harm its standing because every new song is excellent, slotting nicely into a saga of youth and reckless euphoria and romance at any cost.

In fact, the final grade got a little boost from “Is It Over Now?” — already one of the most thrilling songs Swift has ever made.

Only Swift could cut heaters like “Say Don’t Go” and “Now That We Don’t Talk” from her tracklist — and sit on them for years — because her album was already stuffed with career highlights.

At 24 years old, she wrote lyrics like “You kissed me in a way that’s gonna screw me up forever” and “You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor” and then she left them behind like it was just another day. For her, I guess, it was. “Being this young is art,” she croons in “Slut!” — and when it comes to Swift, she’s absolutely right.

The word “iconic” is thrown around a lot these days. But “1989,” in all its iterations, truly deserves it.

God-tier songs: “Blank Space,” “Style,” “Clean,” “New Romantics,” “Is It Over Now?”

Worth listening to: “Out of the Woods,” “All You Had to Do Was Stay,” “I Wish You Would,” “Wildest Dreams,” “This Love,” “I Know Places,” “Wonderland,” “Say Don’t Go,” “Now That We Don’t Talk,” “Suburban Legends”

Background music: “Welcome to New York,” “You Are In Love,” “Slut!”

Skip: “Shake It Off,” “Bad Blood,” “How You Get the Girl”

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4. “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology”

taylor swift the tortured poets department deluxe album cover

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“The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology” was released in 2024.

Beth Garrabrant



Final grade: 10.5/10

With 31 tracks and a two-hour run time, “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology” requires a certain level of endurance.

However, for those who are eager to dive in, the depths are immensely rewarding.

It’s true that many of these songs invite surface-level speculation: Who is the “tattooed golden retriever” mentioned in the title track? The resentful man in the house by the Heath? The vipers dressed in empath’s clothing? The answers are pretty obvious if you care about that sort of thing.

But the album also resists a simple, linear narrative. Fans will twist themselves into knots trying to plot every detail on a timeline, but Swift’s muses, acquired like bruises, all share one thing in common: the author’s exacting lens. It’s Swift’s pen, and therefore her perspective.

And Swift never pretends to be a reliable narrator. For a self-described tortured poet, emotion takes precedence over reality. It’s not about what happened, but about how it felt, and Swift refuses to filter herself.

Swift knows she sounds unruly, manic, even petty at times: “Everything comes out teenage petulance,” “Growing up precocious sometimes means not growing up at all,” “I sound like an infant, feeling like the very last drops of an ink pen.” The mess is the whole point.

Unlike her more polished pop releases, “The Anthology” is more concerned with confession and catharsis than mass appeal. That could alienate some listeners, but it’s ultimately better for Swift’s legacy and long-term artistic growth.

A fourth-place ranking may strike some fans as premature, but this album is destined to get better and better with every listen, as subtle allusions, double meanings, and layers of humor are slowly peeled back. When Swift sings, “Put narcotics into all my songs / And that’s why you’re still singing along,” she may be teasing, but she isn’t wrong.

God-tier songs: “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”, “Loml,” “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” “The Black Dog,” “The Prophecy”

Worth listening to: “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys,” “Down Bad,” “So Long, London,” “But Daddy I Love Him,” “Fresh Out the Slammer,” “Florida!!! (featuring Florence + The Machine),” “Guilty as Sin?”, “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can),” “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” “Clara Bow,” “imgonnagetyouback,” “The Albatross,” “Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus,” “How Did It End?”, “So High School,” “I Hate It Here,” “I Look in People’s Windows,” “Cassandra,” “Peter,” “The Bolter,” “The Manuscript”

Background music: “The Alchemy,” “thanK you aIMee,” “Robin”

Press skip: “Fortnight,” “The Tortured Poets Department”

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3. “Evermore”

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“Evermore” was released in 2020.

Beth Garrabrant/Taylor Swift



Final grade: 10.9/10

As BI’s music team wisely noted in our review, “Evermore” isn’t as good as “Folklore,” but it’s still better than what everybody else was doing in 2020. The sister albums were released just five months apart because, as Swift put it, “we just couldn’t stop writing songs.”

She reunited with Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff to create another collection of mythic, intricate songs, which usually double as stories and sometimes as diary entries. This collection is more varied and less reliable than its predecessor; Swift tends to lose focus in the latter half of the tracklist.

But still, “Evermore” is far from lacking feeling or ingenuity. It bears some of the most visceral turns of phrase to ever spring from Swift’s brain: “Your Midas touch on the Chevy door / November flush and your flannel cure,” “I don’t like slow motion, double vision in rose blush / I don’t like that falling feels like flying ’til the bone crush,” the entire bridge of “Marjorie,” the entirety of “Ivy.”

God-tier songs: “Champagne Problems,” “Tolerate It,” “Ivy,” “Right Where You Left Me”

Worth listening to: “Willow,” “Gold Rush,” “‘Tis the Damn Season,” “No Body No Crime (featuring Haim),” “Dorothea,” “Coney Island (featuring The National),” “Cowboy Like Me,” “Marjorie,” “Evermore (featuring Bon Iver),” “It’s Time to Go”

Background music: “Happiness”

Skip: “Long Story Short,” “Closure”

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2. “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Taylor Swift Red (Taylor's Version)

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“Red (Taylor’s Version)” was released in 2021.

Taylor Swift/UMG



Final grade: 11.1/10

For many years, it was hard to imagine a time when “Red” would be dethroned as Swift’s best album.

Now, even knowing that Swift’s creativity and ambition seemingly know no bounds, it’s still hard to imagine a day when it won’t at least land in the top three. It has always held a special place in the hearts of Swifties, and the exhilarating release of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” cemented that legacy.

The album is equipped with a not-so-secret weapon: “All Too Well,” the single best song Swift has ever released.

Hell, it’s so good that both versions — the original as well as its long-awaited extended counterpart — are scored as God-tier in this ranking, earning an extra point apiece. “All Too Well” is a triumph of brevity, a burst of longing that still manages to tell a complete tale, while “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” is a glorious unspooling that reveals additional scenes of hurt and betrayal.

But of course, the power of “Red” isn’t drawn entirely from one source. In fact, it’s a testament to the album’s holistic brilliance that even “All Too Well” can’t eclipse its fellow tracks. The vast majority hold their own; only a handful fail to satisfy Swift’s promise of “miserable and magical.”

And unlike some of its rerecorded peers, all nine vault tracks are unique and worthy additions, adding new layers to the story of Swift’s early-20s spiral.

God-tier songs: “State of Grace,” “Treacherous,” “All Too Well,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Holy Ground,” “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”

Worth listening to: “Red,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “22,” “I Almost Do,” “Stay Stay Stay,” “The Last Time (featuring Gary Lightbody),” “Everything Has Changed (featuring Ed Sheeran),” “Begin Again,” “The Moment I Knew,” “Come Back… Be Here,” “State of Grace (Acoustic),” “Ronan,” “Better Man,” “Nothing New (featuring Phoebe Bridgers),” “Babe,” “Message In a Bottle,” “I Bet You Think About Me (featuring Chris Stapleton),” “Forever Winter,” “Run (featuring Ed Sheeran),” “The Very First Night”

Background music: “The Lucky One,” “Starlight”

Skip: “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” “Girl at Home”

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1. “Folklore”

taylor swift folklore

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“Folklore” was released in 2020.

Taylor Swift/UMG



Final grade: 12.4/10

What can I say about “Folklore” that hasn’t already been said? It’s a folk-pop monument, a feast of narrative twists and poetic winks. Even the worst song on the album is a masterclass in musical storytelling.

It was the best album of 2020 and reigns as the best album of Swift’s entire career thus far — the ideal blend of artistry, listenability, critical acclaim, and cultural impact.

God-tier songs: “The 1,” “Mirrorball,” “August,” “This Is Me Trying,” “Peace”

Worth listening to: “Cardigan,” “Exile (featuring Bon Iver),” “My Tears Ricochet,” “Seven,” “Illicit Affairs,” “Invisible String,” “Mad Woman,” “Betty,” “Hoax,” “The Lakes”

Background music: “Epiphany,” “The Last Great American Dynasty”

Skip: N/A

*Final album score based on songs per category (2 points for “God-tier song,” 1 point for “Worth listening to,” .5 for “Background music,” 0 for “Press skip”).

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This post was originally published on Insider

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