Midnights Review

After the release of her album Evermore two years ago, fans have been desperately waiting for a new album and it finally came: Taylor Swift’s new Midnights 13-track album was released October 21, 2022, which she described as “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.” Breaking records, she is the first artist to occupy all Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

With Midnights being Taylor Swift’s first album to entirely be recorded with Jack Antonoff, they both experimented and let the album consist of sounds that are more interested in creating mood rather than following trends, built around vocal effects, emotion, thoughts, and antique synths.

“They [the 13 songs] are a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams,” Swift said.

Her albums have shown us a perspective on what it’s like to live as a closely observed person who is continually talked down by others, mostly fans, where at times there has been a painstaking recitation of pure love, while at others a flashback of past romantic humiliations. Midnights is different; it feels like an acknowledgement to an older, safer idea of Swift, full of songs that are complacent and comfortable. Swift combined her past styles and delivered vulnerability with her strong writing, versatility and openness. This may be her best album yet.

Midnights included the pop sounds of her past album 1989 while also including the electronic style of Reputation, one of her greatest hits, and the poetic lyricism of Folklore and Evermore. Songs like Maroon, Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey), and Question…? offer Swift’s signature tenderness and themes of love. Indisputable pop smashes include songs like Lavender Haze, Karma, my ultimate favorite, and Vigilante Sh**. Swift also referenced her mental health difficulties and fears, which she also showed in her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, through the songs Anti-Hero, You’re On Your Own Kid, and Bejeweled.

Swift’s romance with Joe Alywn is alluded to in Mastermind, which examines the uncertainty and insecurity in her relationship with him. Swift outlines each step she took in preparation for their relationship throughout the song, but in the bridge, she discusses her problems with being a people-pleaser and feeling appreciated. This song is a love song that somehow portrays a letter written to Alywn, her lover, but it also gives fans a glimpse into her head, letting us see a softer, more vulnerable-to-love side of Swift.

And just like Mastermind, Sweet Nothing gives off the same type of love-letter-style. Unlike Mastermind, Sweet Nothing portrays her happiness in her relationship with Alywn simply because there’s no pressure to meet expectations by the public or pressure by the public since Swift and Alywn have kept and hope to maintain their relationship private.

With Anti-Hero being number one on the Billboard Hot 100, I must say it most definitely does not deserve to be sitting that high on the charts. Although the song itself is catchy, I don’t think the lyrics are creative enough to bring a significant feeling to the listener. The lyrics itself don’t make sense to me: “It’s me / Hi! / I’m the problem, it’s me / … / I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror / It must be exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero” [lyrics to Taylor Swift’s song Anti-Hero].

In contrast, when you analyze You’re On Your Own, Kid, not only does it contain the most heartbreaking verses on the album, but it’s a song that tells the story about Swift’s own self-reflection and trauma she’s had by being one of the world’s most famous celebrities. Yet, it manages to blend her strengths: “From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes / I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this / I hosted parties and starved my body / Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss” [lyrics to Taylor Swift’s song You’re On Your Own, Kid].

I truly believe this album is not just any other album; it’s a work of art. Not only does it give us a glimpse of Swift’s thoughts and life, but it shows us a more mature version of her; it portrays her strength to overcome such difficulties. The songs were perfectly thought out; in fact, in my opinion, they’re the best lyrics she’s ever written. Midnights touched my heart in many ways, and not only made me connect to Swift, but it also helped me see her through a different perspective, not just a celebrity I fangirl about.

From her first album Taylor Swift to Midnights, Swift has never disappointed fans with her music. She repeatedly demonstrates that she is more than just a “break-up song girl;” she is an artist. For a songwriter who has made progression her trademark, the album is a bright, luminous and astonishing advancement, which prompts the question of where Swift’s pop star career will take her after this album.