Taylor Swift’s 8 Best Bridges

Her bridges not only exalt her melodies, but are often the key to the emotional meaning behind her songs.

by Sophia June

There are a few things in life Taylor Swift loves more than writing a bridge — not even winning a Grammy tops the sensation, she said onstage at the 2024 awards. “I'd love to tell you that this is the best moment of my life,” she said while accepting the Album of the Year award for Midnights. “But I feel this happy when I finish a song; or when I crack the code to a bridge that I love.”

She had a point: Her bridges are some of the most revered parts of her songwriting, as well-spun and memorable as her verses and choruses — if not more. They often mark the delicious twist of a song, wherein Swift taps into some deeper meaning that recasts a previously established narrative in new light. And though her best ones don’t necessarily always come from her most beloved tracks, her bridges have often been the yardstick to which I measure her work because they hold the key to that Swiftian je ne sais quoi — the thing that gets me to press repeat again, and again.

Below, find NYLON’s top 8 favorite Taylor Swift bridges.


“Right Where You Left Me”

The bridge for “Right Where You Left Me” is, as far as I’m concerned, where all the storytelling happens on the evermore bonus track. After a simple chorus (in which Swift’s just echoing the song title), the bridge finally peels back the emotional layers as she slips into the third person to explain the psychological underpinnings of the “girl” in the song, like performing an inspection on her younger self. As a bonus, Swift even creates a kind of in-bridge chorus, with the repetition of “twenty-three inside her fantasy.” Pure poetry!

Did you ever hear about the girl who got frozen?

Time went on for everybody else, she won't know it

She's still twenty-three inside her fantasy

How it was supposed to be

Did you hear about the girl who lives in delusion?

Breakups happen every day, you don't have to lose it

She's still twenty-three inside her fantasy

And you're sitting in front of me


“The Last Great American Dynasty”

Swift’s chronically underrated folklore track tells the real-life story of St. Louis heiress and socialite Rebekah Harkness. Unlike much of her confessional songwriting, on “The Last Great American Dynasty” it’s not until the bridge that Swift brings herself into the equation, revealing the juicy twist that it is now she who now owns that “saltbox house on the coast.” It makes you think about her identification with Rebekah, another powerful and villainized woman, inspiring an immediate replay.

They say she was seen on occasion

Pacing the rocks, staring out at the midnight sea

And in a feud with her neighbor

She stole his dog and dyed it key lime green

Fifty years is a long time

Holiday House sat quietly on that beach

Free of women with madness, their men and bad habits

And then it was bought by me



The bridge on Reputation’s “Dress” is not only where Swift’s vocal chops shine the most on the relatively sparse banger, but it also exemplifies her ability to chart the emotional history of an entire relationship. In a few lines, Swift takes us back to when she and a lover first met, both granularly (hairstyles) and in broader strokes (rebounds, earthquakes) to give weight to the relationship’s significance. The rest of the track is pretty sexy, but the bridge gives the story that punch-in-the-gut feeling — and is why we keep coming back.

Flashback when you met me

Your buzzcut and my hair bleached

Even in my worst times

You could see the best in me

Flashback to my mistakes

My rebounds, my earthquakes

Even in my worst lies

You saw the truth in me

And I woke up just in time

Now I wake up by your side

My one and only, my lifeline

I woke up just in time

Now I wake up by your side

My hands shake, I can’t explain this, ah, ha, ha, ha-ah


“Out of the Woods”

Here’s my hot take: 1989’s “Out of the Woods,” with its relentless repetition, is a little annoying. That is, until you get to the bridge, which breaks the chains on its relentless chorus to reveal what Swift is best at: writing precise lyrics that feel almost like a short story. This bridge takes you not only on an emotional journey, but also a trip down the rabbit hole of figuring out who it’s about.

Remember when you hit the brakes too soon?

Twenty stitches in the hospital room

When you started crying, baby, I did too

But when the sun came up, I was lookin' at you

Remember when we couldn't take the heat?

I walked out, I said, "I'm settin' you free"

But the monsters turned out to be just trees

When the sun came up, you were lookin' at me

You were lookin' at me, oh, you were looking at me


“Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve”

If you’ve never SoulCycled your heart out to this Midnights banger, can you even call yourself a Swiftie bridge connoisseur?! “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve” is a slow burn romp (in BPM and narrative pacing), but on the bridge, Swift finally lets it all go, singing, “I regret you all the time” at an almost breathless pace. There is much speculation about the song being about John Mayer, particularly because of the line: “I damn sure would’ve never danced with the devil at 19,” the age she was when they dated. Knowing that context, the bridge feels like the dam filled with decades of regret and sadness that finally bursts.

God rest my soul

I miss who I used to be

The tomb won't close

Stained glass windows in my mind

I regret you all the time

I can't let this go

I fight with you in my sleep

The wound won't close

I keep on waiting for a sign

I regret you all the time


“Champagne Problems”

In a 2020 interview with Apple Music, Swift said the bridge to evermore’s “Champagne Problems” is one of her favorites: “I really love a bridge where you really shift gears... I’m so excited to, one day, be in front of a crowd when they all sing, ‘She would’ve made such a lovely bride, what a shame she’s f*cked in the head.’” Eras Tour attendees — can you confirm?

Your Midas touch on the Chevy door

November flush and your flannel cure

"This dorm was once a madhouse"

I made a joke, "Well, it's made for me"

How evergreen, our group of friends

Don't think we'll say that word again

And soon they'll have the nerve to deck the halls

That we once walked through

One for the money, two for the show

I never was ready so I watch you go

Sometimes you just don't know the answer

'Til someone's on their knees and asks you

"She would've made such a lovely bride

What a shame she's fucked in the head," they said

But you'll find the real thing instead

She'll patch up your tapestry that I shred


“All Too Well”

Show me any ranked list of Taylor Swift’s songs without some version of “All Too Well” (it doesn’t exist). The fifth track of Red is one of her most beloved for a reason and a large part of that is due to its bridge, which triggers the song’s tonal flip from wistful nostalgia to righteous anger. It contains some of Swift’s most vulnerable — and screamable — lyrics: “And you call me up again/ Just to break me like a promise/ So casually cruel in the name of being honest.” She was a little too real for that one.

Well, maybe we got lost in translation

Maybe I asked for too much

But maybe this thing was a masterpiece

'Til you tore it all up

Running scared, I was there

I remember it all too well

And you call me up again

Just to break me like a promise

So casually cruel in the name of being honest

I'm a crumpled up piece of paper lying here

'Cause I remember it all, all, all

Too well


“Cruel Summer”

Swift’s bridge on “Cruel Summer,” the Lover track that is Swift’s most-streamed song on Spotify, might be one of the bridges that’s even more recognizable than the chorus, partly because it packs such a melodic punch. It makes me think Swift intentionally saves her best melodies for the bridges, which is partly what makes them so dynamic. If you disagree, I urge you to remember: “I'm drunk in the back of the car/ And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar/ Said, I'm fine, but it wasn't true/I don't wanna keep secrets just to keep you.” (Yes, I transcribed that completely from memory).

I'm drunk in the back of the car

And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar (oh)

Said, "I'm fine," but it wasn't true

I don't wanna keep secrets just to keep you

And I snuck in through the garden gate

Every night that summer just to seal my fate (oh)

And I screamed for whatever it's worth

"I love you," ain't that the worst thing you ever heard?

He looks up grinning like a devil

See our full ranking of Taylor Swift’s From The Vault tracks.