Eight Songs That Feel Like Taylor Swift But Aren’t

If Olivia Rodrigo is pushing your Taylor Swift buttons, here are seven other artists to fill your need for clever, emotional pop songs with a story to tell.

Taylor Swift, in a golden sequinned dress and bright red lips, with loose blonde hair, shrugs and looks to the top right.
Credit: Taylor Swift by Eva Rinaldi is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We all like Taylor Swift. That’s just a fact that became even more true in 2020. But what if we wanted to listen to music that felt like Taylor Swift but was not, in fact, Taylor Swift? I’ve got you covered. Here is my entirely unscientific run down of ‘Songs That Make You Feel Like Taylor Swift Songs Make You Feel’ marked on their lyrical specificity (the ‘All Too Well’ of it all), the Love Story (self-evident), how country it is (I know this is a bit retro but I’d like to present ‘no body, no crime’ and ‘right where you left me’ in my defence), and the extent to which it makes me dance around the kitchen in the refrigerator light like I’m 22.

drivers license – Olivia Rodrigo

This week, people have been lauding 17-year-old Olivia Rodrigo as “the new Taylor Swift” as her debut single, this sweet, sad breakup song spilling tea about her Disney Channel star ex-bf, has broken a bunch of chart records. It gave me all the feelings of some of Taylor’s early work (specifically ‘Forever & Always’ and ‘Last Kiss’, thank you for asking) and is also Taylor-approved, so even though it’s bullshit every time a woman is compared to a semi-similar adjacent woman… I see it.

Lyrical specificity: 10
Love Story: 8
Countrification: 3
Dancing Around The Kitchen?: 5

Yeah Boy – Kelsea Ballerini

This could have been an album track on ‘Taylor Swift’ or ‘Fearless’. It’s a country-pop song with fun lyrics and a cute little twist in the chorus. It’s also Taylor-approved – you can see a clip of them singing it together backstage in 2015.

Lyrical specificity: 7
Love Story: 6
Countrification: 9
Dancing Around The Kitchen?: 8

Reasons – Jillian Jacqueline

The tale of the end of a long-term relationship, this raw but jaunty track recounts all the little reasons why it feels easier to stay together (“I don’t wanna tell my parents, don’t wanna tell my sister, you don’t wanna tell your friends”) even when you know it’s over.

Lyrical specificity: 9
Love Story: 7
Countrification: 8
Dancing Around The Kitchen?: 7

Winterbreak – MUNA

It’s Taylor Swift’s ‘tis the damn season but released four years earlier and queer. I don’t make the rules.

Lyrical specificity: 9
Love Story: 7
Countrification: 2
Dancing Around The Kitchen?: 6

If You’re Over Me – Years & Years

Hear me out: this is a fantastic song and these lyrics are Swiftian as fuck. 

“One minute, you say we’re a team / Then you’re telling me you can’t breathe / Well, you should set me free / Baby, if you’re over me”

Lyrical specificity: 9
Love Story: 8
Countrification: 1
Dancing Around The Kitchen?: 9

It Ain’t Me – Kygo & Selena Gomez

Taylor’s bff makes the list with this upbeat 2017 track solely based on the line “I had a dream / We were back to seventeen / Summer nights and The Libertines”. When I was seventeen it was wall-to-wall Taylor Swift and The Libertines so it IS me.

Lyrical specificity: 8
Love Story: 8
Countrification: 4
Dancing Around The Kitchen?: 10

Wild – Catherine McGrath

Catherine McGrath, a 23-year-old country singer from Northern Ireland, has a whole album of early era Taylor Swift-style songs, and this one is like a combo of ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’ and ‘You Belong With Me’ with added Coldplay lyric puns.

Lyrical specificity: 8
Love Story: 7
Countrification: 10
Dancing Around The Kitchen?: 5

Me & You Together Song – The 1975

It doesn’t sound like Taylor but it sure feels like being a teenager and that’s what counts. Plus, it rhymes “I think our story needs more pages” with “I’ve been in love with her for ages”: case closed.

Lyrical specificity: 9
Love Story: 7
Countrification: 5
Dancing Around The Kitchen?: 8

Author: Jodie Manning

Hello! My pronouns are she/her and I am an enthusiastic opinion-haver, mostly-amateur writer, once-published poet, and the person who makes 99% of the Taylor Swift references on The Phase. You can find me not on Twitter at @JodieKate and occasionally writing on Medium and jodiekate.com.

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