The 13 Shows & Movies That Made Taylor Swift's Songs Even Better
Who else is obsessed with the Bridgerton version of "Wildest Dreams"?
For a true Swiftie, there’s no surprise more magical than when you’re watching one of your favorite TV shows or a new movie and suddenly, a Taylor Swift song starts playing. In an instant you realize your whole image of that song is about to change forever — well, if it’s done right, that is. When a scene perfectly matches up with Swift’s carefully written melodies and lyrics, it’s a transcendent experience, and these are the scenes that succeeded in elevating Swift’s songs to whole new levels.
Swift’s music has been popping up in soundtracks and scores ever since she first stepped onto the scene as an up-and-coming country star. Now, everyone in the world knows all the words to her chart-topping pop bangers. So it’s not enough for a movie or show to just throw one of Swift’s songs into the mix out of nowhere — there needs to be an artfulness to how it’s used and reinterpreted.
The best Swift-scored scenes add a special new layer to the songs fans have known by heart for years. Here are the moments that managed to pull off the impossible: enhancing an already-perfect Taylor Swift song.
1. Bridgerton — “Wildest Dreams”
As if “Wildest Dreams” wasn’t already swoon-y enough, Bridgerton managed to turn up the romance even more with a lush, orchestral arrangement of the love song. The reworked string version of the song scored a montage of Daphne and her new husband Simon settling into married life together and getting steamy in the bedroom. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful interpretations of a Swift song.
2. Grey’s Anatomy — “White Horse”
This is probably the soundtrack moment that Swift herself loves the most. She’s been a vocal Grey’s Anatomy superfan all her life, so she gushed that she’d achieved her “life’s goal” when she found out her song “White Horse” would be featured on the medical drama in 2008.
The wistful ballad played towards the end of Season 5, Episode 2, as Izzie had to give some tough news to a patient with memory loss, and Bailey and Alex made the decision to bend some rules to help out another patient.
3. Heartstopper — “Seven”
Every Heartstopper episode will leave you in tears, but it was the Season 2 finale that really tugged at Swifties’ heartstrings. One of the final scenes made perfect use of Swift’s most emotional folklore track: “seven.” After Darcy opened up to her girlfriend Tara about her abusive home life, the sweeping choral began, with Swift singing about a childhood friend she later realized was similarly suffering in private.
4. You — “Exile”
You is one of the ultimate Swiftie-coded shows. It’s not only the fact that Penn Badgley lip-synced “Anti-Hero” in character as Joe Goldberg, or that there are Swift-related Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the series. It’s also the soundtrack, which has featured a couple of Swift’s hits.
The Season 4 finale was scored by the all-too-appropriate “Anti-Hero,” but it was Season 3’s final moment that really gave one of Swift’s heaviest tracks an unforgettable scene. As Joe burned down his suburban home — with his wife Love’s body still inside — Swift and Bon Iver’s tragic dirge “exile” played, forever associating the song with Love Quinn’s demise and Joe’s ultimate betrayal.
5. The Hunger Games — “Safe & Sound”
It’s one thing for a familiar song to play in a movie, but when The Hunger Games hit theaters in 2012, Swift released a brand new track that was literally tailor-made (or Taylor-made) for the dystopian drama. “Safe & Sound” didn’t actually play during the movie, which meant Swifties diligently sat through the end credits to fully experience the folksy new song.
6. The Bear — “Love Story”
Scream-singing to “Love Story” in the car has never been more relatable than when down-on-his-luck restaurateur Richie did just that on Season 2 of The Bear. After finally finding his place in the restaurant and moving on from his ex, Richie experiences his first truly euphoric moment and breaks down into tears of happiness while belting one of Swift’s best known love songs. It’s a scene that will make you appreciate the cathartic power of Swift’s music so much more.
7. Fifty Shades Darker — “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”
Swift understood the assignment when she was writing her song for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, and produced what is probably her sexiest song ever. The sultry collab with Zayn Malik turned up the heat in the 2017 erotic drama even more.
8. New Girl — “22”
New Girl has an extra special relationship with Swift. In Season 2, Episode 16, Nick did a goofy dance to Swift’s song “22” to try to cheer Jess up, prompting Jess’ now-iconic response: “I just wanted to listen to Taylor Swift alone!” Just nine episodes later, Swift actually showed up in New Girl. She played Elaine, a woman who ran off with Cece’s fiancé on their wedding day.
9. Dickinson — “Ivy”
The penultimate episode of Dickinson ended with Emily Dickinson sleeping with her secret love Sue Gilbert, and after the sex scene, Swift’s yearning evermore track “ivy” played. The selection was a perfect fit, especially since Swifties had already theorized that the song was inspired by Dickinson’s love letters to Gilbert.
10. Where the Crawdads Sing — “Carolina”
Swift wrote one of her most haunting songs specifically for the 2022 film adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing. “Carolina” is a sparse but ethereal Appalachian folk song that perfectly fits in with the fable-like world of the movie.
11. Killing Eve — “Look What You Made Me Do”
Naturally, “Look What You Made Me Do” would be Villanelle’s theme song — she was in her Reputation era all throughout Killing Eve. But what made the song’s appearance in a 2020 episode of the show even more surprising was that it wasn’t the album version. At the time, Swift tweeted the cover is by a band called “Jack Leopards & the Dolphin Club,” which didn’t seem to exist. It didn’t take long for Swifties to theorize it was Swift herself and her brother Austin re-recording the song a year before she’d embark on her album re-recording process.
12. The Wilds — “Epiphany”
The Wilds chose a very specific Swift song to open its second season. In the first episode of Season 2, the folklore ballad “epiphany” played as the group of stranded girls began to realize there was more going on with the island than they had thought.
13. The Summer I Turned Pretty — “Invisible String”
OK, you knew this one was coming. There’s no way to talk about Swift’s music being used in TV without mentioning The Summer I Turned Pretty. The teen romance’s soundtracks are basically entirely made up of Swift’s songs, but the best Swiftie moment of all was in Season 2, Episode 2. As Belly and Conrad finally hooked up for the first time, their constant connection throughout the years was highlighted by “invisible string” playing in the background.