Review: Taylor Swift’s latest album, Midnights

By Madeleine Spanbauer, Staff Writer

Image created through DALL·E 2 by Megha Khemka

On Friday, October 21, Taylor Swift released her tenth studio album titled Midnights.

The album, which Swift announced at the 2022 VMAs, has been highly anticipated by both Swifties and critics alike. Midnights has already broken the record for most streamed album on the day of release, and she became the most listened to artist in a day on that day as well. Swift is using this album to transition from her re-recording era of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version) and into her Midnights era, packed with images of starry nights and dimly lit rooms. While this album had no singles, her song “Anti-Hero” quickly rocketed to the top of the charts, accompanied by the music video that has already received millions of views.

Taylor Swift is known for switching between genres, with everything between her self-titled debut album and Red being country, 1989, reputation, and Lover being pop, and folklore and evermore being more folksy and alternative. Midnights definitely fits into the pop category, however some of her 3am tracks on the deluxe edition of the album have a more soft, alternative feel to them. Swift drew inspiration from many sources for the album, diving into her own insecurities and past relationships.

Lyrically, Midnights is a lot more deep and thought provoking than it seems on the surface. Many of the songs have heart-wrenching lyrics accompanied by a strong drum beat and major chords. Swift began a series on her different social media platforms dubbed, “Midnights Mayhem with Me,” in which she shared different track titles from the album leading up to its release. She did not, however, reveal that there would be a “3am” version of the album with seven additional tracks. On the calendar for the release week of Midnights, she described the release of the deluxe version of the album as a “special, very chaotic surprise.”

Midnights is already home to some of my favorite tracks of hers. The album starts with “Lavender Haze,” which is a very upbeat track reminiscent of “I Think He Knows” from her 2019 album, Lover. Swift said on an Instagram reel that she came up with the concept for the song while watching Mad Men, and that the phrase “lavender haze” comes from a popular term used in the 50s and 60s, meaning that you were in love. 

The next track on the album is titled, “Maroon.” This track is one of my personal favorites because of its creative chorus, catchy melody, and lyrics that fit satisfyingly together. 

The third track is “Anti-Hero”, which has already been skyrocketing to the top of the Spotify charts. It had 17 million streams on the day of its release, accompanied by the music video that dives deep into Swift’s own insecurities. The song is thought-provoking and deep in a way that is hard to catch on the first listen.

“Snow on the Beach,” “Labyrinth,” and “Sweet Nothing” are all much slower than the other songs on the album. “Snow on the Beach” starts with ethereal vocals that draw the listener in, and has themes of falling in love. “Labyrinth” also has beautiful vocals in it, and touches on the feeling of falling in love after a heartbreak. “Sweet Nothing” continues with the romantic feeling, and plays with the idea of finding peace with your partner while in the public eye.

Track 5, which has the reputation on all of Swift’s albums to be the most heartbreaking, is titled, “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” The song captures images of yearning for a loved one, as well as ideas of self-reflection. This song, while not seeming emotional throughout the verse and chorus, has a truly emotional and raw bridge that is guaranteed to leave you tearing up. 

“Midnight Rain,” “Question…?,” “Bejeweled,” and “Karma” all have upbeat melodies with catchy beats. “Midnight Rain” starts with an edited, synthesized voice that definitely spooked listeners when they heard it for the first time. “Question…?” poses Swift asking her partner if they were cheating on her, saying, “It’s just a question.” “Bejeweled,” has inspiring themes of remembering that you don’t need a partner in order for your personality to shine. Finally, “Karma,” which many Swift fans were especially excited about because of many hints Swift dropped to there being a scrapped album with the same title, is less about sinister revenge and more about how the best revenge is moving forward with your life. The song is much more upbeat, and many fans anticipated it to be much more sinister.

Track 7 is titled “Vigilante S***,” and it definitely has the villain energy that fans were hoping to find somewhere in the album. Some fans speculate that it is about Swift revealing Scooter Braun’s affair to his wife with the line, “She needed cold hard proof, so I gave her some.”

“Mastermind” is the final track on the main album, and it touches on ideas of wanting a relationship with her current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, as soon as she met him with the line, “What if I told you none of it was accidental and the first night that I saw you, nothing was going to stop me.”

Ultimately, Swift’s 10th studio album, Midnights, is definitely a contender for one of the best. As a lifelong Swiftie myself, I have to say that I admire the way that she opened up about her own personal life in a raw and emotional way. I would highly recommend the album to anyone looking to have a good time, and maybe shed a few tears in the process.

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