Taylor Swift - “Midnights” Album Review
Taylor Swift asked listeners to meet her at midnight this Friday for her new album “Midnights,” which sees the singer-songwriter make her return to pop music.
Swift is no stranger to pop music from her grammy award-winning “1989,” iconic “reputation” and, most recently, “Lover,” which was released only three years ago.
Despite having only three years since “Lover,” Swift has released four albums, indie-pop sister albums “folklore” and “evermore” and also the re-recordings of “Fearless” and “Red.”
However, those four projects departed from the pop-princess persona Swift was associated with before the pandemic.
Swift has labeled “Midnights” as a collection of stories from her sleepless nights. Themes vary from falling in love, getting revenge, self-loathing and recounting old relationships.
According to Swift, her “co-pilot” on this project was her frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff who produced most of the album.
The original track list included 13 songs, but Swift being the chaotic woman that she is, added seven songs for the “3 AM” version of the album, which saw “folklore” and “evermore” collaborator Aaron Dessner in writing and producing credits on these tracks.
Some tracks off “Midnights” have a similar sound to Swift's previous pop records, utilizing synth-pop, which was heavily featured in “1989.”
However, very few of the tracks feel like they would genuinely belong on another Swift album. Instead, Swift is applying the lessons she learned while making those albums to create a new one.
Considering the album’s concept reflects on sleepless nights throughout Swift’s life, thematically, certain songs feel like callbacks to previous work, having matured mindset and lyrical ability this time around.
“Midnights” opens with one of Swift's strongest tracks on the album “Lavender Haze,” where Swift describes wanting to protect her love life from public criticism.
The lyrics are clever, with a fun, addictive and unique rhythmic pop instrumental.
Comparably, “Paris” offers a giddy account of the initial bliss a blossoming relationship can offer. Even though Swift was not in the City of Love, spending time with her partner made her feel like she was “somewhere else.”
However, not every song on this album is about how in love Swift is. Despite the upbeat "Midnights" sound, Swift has some of her most vulnerable tracks on this album.
In “You’re On Your Own Kid,” Swift explains growing up in the spotlight and developing her calculated nature, a trait many have criticized her for.
The simple instrument swelling into a cathartic bridge was perfect and highlighted some of Swift’s best lyricism on the album.
In “Mastermind,” Swift admits, “I’m cryptic and Machiavellian because I care,” further exploring her need to be liked, this time in a relationship as she reveals to her lover she immediately knew they would be together.
The 3 AM track “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve” recounts how Swift deeply regrets a toxic relationship in her youth and begs the offender, “Give me back my girlhood / It was mine first.”
It is an understatement to say that Swift’s lyrics are relatable. This album especially brings out heavier lyrics that resonate with fans and are more emotional and vulnerable.
However, while reading the lyrics to songs on “Midnights,” one might think it is a slower album while a majority of the songs are upbeat.
One of the songs that features this sense of opposition the most is “Anti-Hero.” The main line of the chorus is “It’s Me, Hi, I’m The Problem,” which, upon first listen, is surprising, but there’s little time to question it because the song goes quickly into another upbeat verse.
This song has several lyrics that have already grabbed the internet’s attention.
Specifically, “Sometimes, I feel like everybody is a sexy baby, and I’m a monster on the hill.” There is, of course, a deeper meaning to this lyric, but upon first impression, it’s confusing.
“Question..?, ”“Glitch” and “Dear Reader” are weaker entries on “Midnights.” None are bad songs; in a weaker album, they could’ve been highlights, but the nature of Swift's discography makes them rather forgettable.
Many newer fans disappointed with “Midnights” were expecting another “folklore.” Despite noticeable genre differences, Swift, like always, did not let the “pop” label affect her lyricism which is still strong as ever.
Is “Midnights” Swift’s magnum opus? No, that would disputably go to “1989,” “folklore” or “Red (Taylor’s Version),” depending on the listener.
Swift’s legendary discography shouldn’t distract from the fact that “Midnights” is an innovative and catchy new sound for Swift and an overall exceptional album.
Sophia’s Takeaway: The pop sound distracts people from the fact that “Midnights” is some of Swift’s most mature and vulnerable work to date.
Favorite Songs: “Mastermind,” Labyrinth,” “Lavender Haze” and “You’re On Your Own Kid”
Least Favorite Song: “Dear Reader”
Kaitlyn’s Takeaway: With “Midnights,” Taylor Swift proved even further that she will make the music she feels right making at this point in her life. She can be a 32-year-old woman releasing a pop record and will no longer be defined by society’s view of what she “should” be doing. “Midnights” is a diverse body of work that fits nicely with her discography.
Favorite Songs: “Labyrinth,” “Paris,” “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve”
Least Favorite Songs: “Glitch,” “High Infidelity”
Savannah’s Takeaway: Since the album's release, the internet has been divided about Swift’s “new” sound. While this is not her first time entering the pop genre, it is a different feel. “Midnights” has similar lyrical depth to “Folklore” and “Evermore” and the pop feel of “Lover.” Overall it was done really well and depicts how Swift is the music industry.
Favorite Song: “Anti-Hero,” “Snow on the Beach” “Vigilante Shit”
Least Favorite Songs: “Glitch”
Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Savannah Swartz is a second-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year from Allentown, New Jersey. She is now a communications (undecided) major at Penn State University. Sophia intends on pursuing a career in journalism. Sophia writes for the CommRadio Arts department.
First year / Advertising and Public Relations
Savannah Swartz is a first year communications major, focusing on advertising and public relations. She is a member of the arts and photo department.