Rating Every Time Taylor Swift Laughed in Her Songs

Written by Renée Borcas

December 27, 2020

With nine studio albums to prove it, Taylor Swift has proven that she is one of the best songwriters of our time. Fans appreciate her attention to detail and know that everything Swift does is thoroughly thought through, whether it’s the pins on her denim jacket or the emojis in her Instagram posts. 

Like many artists, Swift has used laughter across her discography—it is the best medicine, after all. I’ve searched out every instance of Taylor Swift laughing, chuckling, chortling, or cackling, and ranked them from worst to best, based on their significance and believability.

9. “Speak Now”

When: 3:17

Believability and Significance: 4/10

As a listener, I’m not completely sure that I’m on the side of the narrator of this song. “Speak Now” describes the game plan of a girl interrupting a wedding to profess her love for the groom. Does it make for a fun and catchy song? Absolutely, but the laugh in this song is wrapped in the sickly sweetness, and the laugh makes me like the narrator even less. It makes me see her as someone who is full of jealousy and vanity, rather than an empathetic hopeless romantic.

8. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

When: 1:17

Believability and Significance: 5/10

The laugh in WANEGBT is subtly placed in the background of the lyrics “And you would hide away and find your peace of mind with some indie record that’s much cooler than mine.” I had to listen through the song a few times to actually notice it. Because of how easy it is to miss, it doesn’t really add anything to the track, but neither does it take anything away from it. The laugh itself doesn’t seem necessary where it is placed and could potentially fit better elsewhere in the song, and for that its rating is in the middle of the road.

7. “Shake It Off”

When: 2:34

Believability and Significance: 5.5/10

Swift’s performance is never its strongest when she’s rapping, but it does often peak when she is sharing pure joy. “Shake It Off” is an anthem of not caring what others think and being true to yourself. Once again, the laugh in this song is quietly in the background, but it stands out to me as a testament to the excellent mixing of “1989.” My experience of this song would not likely change if it was suddenly removed from the song. I likely wouldn’t even notice. “Shake It Off” is a song that is meant to be listened to too deeply—you should dance to it instead!

6. “Ours”

When: 3:11

Believability and Significance: 6/10

“Ours” puts the whimsy, challenges, and commitment that come with a long distance relationship on display. The laugh comes in the back end of the song as a reference to how the narrator doesn’t care what her father think’s of her partner’s tattoos because she loves him regardless. The joke is a little bland for a lyricist as acclaimed as Swift, but the laugh is cute and adds to the song, invoking the euphoria of romance.

5. “Better Than Revenge”

When: 0:09, 2:12

Believability and Significance: 7/10

With two laughs, “Better Than Revenge” supposedly details Swift’s relationship with Joe Jonas and the girl he dumped her for, actress Camilla Belle. Both laughs in this song represent the satisfaction that comes with getting the last word in a dispute. These laughs are full of spite, vindication, and aren’t hidden behind the good girl persona Swift portrayed early in her career. They add intrigue to a song where Swift is already crossing into the unfamiliar territory of pop-punk music.

4. “Hey Stephen”

When: 2:54

Believability and Significance: 7.5/10

“Hey Stephen” captures the unabashed excitement of a crush. The laugh occurs about three-quarters of the way through the song and expresses the feelings of trying to impress your crush without making a fool of yourself. The narrator is confident and excited about the potential of this love, and the laugh enhances the fun and wit that come with this song. While a little cheesy, the timing is well placed and the laugh succeeds in getting its message across and adding to the song.

3. “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”

When: 2:32

Believability and Significance: 8/10

“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is an often overlooked track off of “Reputation,” but it is another classic Taylor song where she addresses the haters. It comes in a sarcastic moment where she ponders forgiveness before quickly shutting down the idea of it. It comes off as an honest expression of frustration that fits with the mood of the song, even if it seems a little forced in the recording itself.

2. “I Forgot That You Existed”

When: 1:59, 2:17

Believability and Significance: 8.5/10

The opener on the “Lover” album is another letter to a hater. Embracing the pop genre, this song exemplifies the freedom that comes when you finally get over someone who has wronged you. With more masterful mixing, the laughs in “I Forgot That You Existed” amplifies the exuberance who has evicted someone who was living rent-free in their thoughts and is prepared to move on with the lessons they learned in tow.

1. “Stay Stay Stay”

When: 3:19

Believability and Significance: 10/10

“Stay Stay Stay” is a classic Taylor Swift song because of its quirky country pop styling and songwriting. This song is catchy and exuberates pure joy, which can most potently be experienced through the laugh included at the very end of the song. While it may be cringey for some, it seems to me like a genuine moment that keeps me smiling even after the song has come to a close—and might even have me reaching to start the song all over again.