Taylor Swift’s Songwriting and Production Analyzed: 13 Secrets to Her Chart Success

“The ideas are my favorite part of everything I do. That moment where you’re like, ‘Oh, I know what it’s called,’ or ‘I know what the hook is now.’ ”

Taylor Swift mused about her creative process upon the release of her 2020 documentary, Miss Americana.

“I remember when I used to get an idea when I was 12 years old in my room,” Swift continued. “I used to get an idea and I’d be like, ‘Yes, idea!’ And then I’d get this fear and almost sorrow that no one was ever going to hear it. ‘I’m never going to get to make this into something. It’s just mine.’

“There’s something cute about that … but I want to make something.”

Swift has tallied 263 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including 164 top 40 entries and 59 top 10s (all of which she has written or co-written, and the bulk of which she has co-produced) – all the most among women in the chart’s history (through the survey dated May 4, 2024). Of those, 12 have hit No. 1.

After arriving on the Hot 100 dated Sept. 23, 2006, with her debut single, “Tim McGraw,” Swift first reached the top 10 on the chart dated Aug. 30, 2008, with “Change”; five weeks later, she returned to the region with “Love Story,” with both songs from her sophomore album, Fearless. In 2022, she became the first artist to infuse the Hot 100’s entire top 10 in a single week with 10 tracks from her album Midnights.

On charts dated May 4, 2024, Swift earned her latest chart achievements with the arrival of her album The Tortured Poets Department at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and its single “Fortnight,” featuring Post Malone, atop the Hot 100, with, in a Hot 100 first, Swift claiming the chart’s top 14 positions.

How has Swift’s songwriting and production evolved over the decade-and-a-half-plus since she first hit the Hot 100’s top 10? What stands out as unique in her craft? And, what techniques has she employed that have helped make her The Eras Tour groundbreaking?

Hit Songs Deconstructed, which provides compositional analytics for top 10 Hot 100 hits, recently held a masterclass, studying Swift’s top 10s from Fearless through Midnights, followed by the April 2 release of its complimentary 93-page report, “The Taylor Swift Evolution.”

Via insights from David Penn, who co-founded Hit Songs Deconstructed with Yael Penn, here is a look at 13 secrets to Swift’s historic Hot 100 success.

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