Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”: Fan Fave or Flop?


Emily Asselin, Staff Writer

Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album, Midnights, was released on October 21, at midnight, in true Taylor Swift fashion. When promoting her tenth album she painted the album as a collection of thirteen stories that haunted her in the middle of the night, keeping her awake. These stories told the tale of inner turmoil, a good girl on the outside and an non-traditional one on the inside. To uncover these stories, Swift used a mashup of styles ranging from her old 1989, reputation, and lover personas. Needless to say, Swifties were expecting the album to be a complete reinvention in style and person. However, Midnights is not a reinvention, it is a reflection.

For many people who cannot accept this artistic transition, the album is deemed controversial. In fact many people claimed it was one of Swift’s worst albums. However, when you examine the songs lyrically and creatively, you can recognize that the album on the whole is a masterpiece of growth and reflection, which anyone who can appreciate the feeling of being an “Anti-Hero” can find comfort and musical bliss in when listening to the 13 songs that comprise Midnights.

Swift uses the setting of “midnight” to paint a vivid picture of inner and outer turmoil. She encapsulates her struggles in a light-hearted way through synthetic pop beats and dichotomous lyrics. Like many of her other albums she tells tales of broken and beautiful relationships and the highs and lows of life and love. Midnights adds a different approach, not only focusing on her relationships with others, but also her journey to love herself.

As we begin our journey to meet Taylor at midnight, we begin with “Lavender Haze,” a jarring depiction of ignoring what people think and embracing love. Swift opens the album with a shoutout to her haters, defying peoples’ expectations for her relationship with British actor, Joe Alwyn and embracing the “lavender haze” that their relationship provides her.

“Maroon” is a stark contrast. Instead of continuing the mechanical menace of “Lavender Haze,” it presents a mellow melancholy of remembrance, something of which Swift is most famous for. “And I lost you / the one I was dancing with / In New York / No shoes / Looked up at the sky and it was maroon,” she sings in recognition of her past relationship.

The third and most beloved song on the album “Anti-Hero” is not for a shallow reason. The self-condemning ballad is most relatable because many people can relate to feeling like an “Anti-Hero” at some point in their life. Whether on a large or small scale, not many people have seldom thought they were never the problem. Although the song delves into heavy topics such as Swift’s eating disorder, she counteracts this by soothing her problems with an undeniably catchy beat.

For the fourth track on Midnights Swift teams up with fan favorite, Lana Del Rey to create a soothing introduction into her “weird but beautiful” relationship. While the song comforts the soul, creating a picture of happiness with complementary lyrics and a vivid mental image of “Snow On The Beach,” Del Rey played a much more minor part in the song than many fans wanted.

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is another heartbreaking ballad of inner turmoil and feeling like you’re fighting the world all alone and also a very Swift-like Track 5. The song is representative of Swift’s lonely early years as a young teenager in Hollywood trying to achieve her dreams despite the opposition of more experienced people. It is another favorite because of its relatability, saying “From sprinkler splashes / And fireplace ashes / I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this.” Under a mellow beat Swift justifies her early years to her older self saying “You’re on your own kid / You always have been.”

Track 6, “Midnight Rain” provides listeners with a certain power, telling the tale of a love she gave up in order to seize her opportunities and launch her music career. With mechanical undertones, Swift captures listeners with the album’s namesake. “Question…?” comes in traditional Taylor Swift fashion, returning to an old, failed relationship and posing an unasked question to her lover from years past, while of course, adding a sprinkle of self-pity under an upbeat silhouette.

Track 8 transports Swifties back into their Reputation eras, with the pressing vengeance and revenge of “Vigilante Sh*t.” After the brooding nature of Track 8, “Bejeweled” makes a sparkling entrance into a welcome world. The fan favorite immediately captures fans with its glamorous lyrics and synthetic beat. Swift gives fans a boost in serotonin singing “Best believed I’m still bejeweled / When I walk in the room / I can still make the whole place shimmer.”

“Labyrinth” enters listeners into a peaceful bliss with its sympathetic lyrics and mellow tune, transporting them into Swift’s shoes when she says “Uh oh / I’m falling in love / Oh no / I’m falling in love again / Oh / I’m falling in love/ I thought the plane was going down / How’d you turn it right around.” “Karma” bounds in to reflect on all the times she has been screwed over in the music industry. Its upbeat and vengeful but light sound has made listeners fall in love with her energetic and positive outlook on karma.

As the album is a juxtaposition between light and dark, Swift follows the dark undertones of “Karma” with the hopeful and lovely “Sweet Nothing.” The heart-warming ballad captures your attention with its poetic language and sweet sentiments.

Finally, “Mastermind” is a culmination of the classic mastery of Taylor Swift and her music career. It ends the album with a scheming outlook on love, tying the strings together in a neat package and confirming that Swift truly is a mastermind. Regardless of your taste in music and personal opinion on Taylor Swift you should listen to Midnights. Wherever you are in life, the songs can resonate with you whether you are in a relationship, not, or you simply want to contemplate your life. Regardless of what you’re feeling take an hour and a half of your time to reflect with Taylor Swift on the stories that keep you awake at midnight.