Taylor Swift’s Midnights: worth the late-night listen?

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Photo provided by: Avery Ranum

A student listen’s to “Karma” off Taylor Swift’s 10th studio album Midnights, released on Oct. 21, 2022. The album is already breaking records, with it becoming the most streamed album within its first 24 hours of release on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

Avery Ranum, Editor-in-Chief

In the classic fairy tale Cinderella, the strike of the clock at midnight symbolizes a momentous event as Cinderella finds herself racing against the clock to escape the ball and back to her mundane reality. In today’s context, the strike of midnight takes on a whole new meaning. To fans of country-turned-pop singer Taylor Swift, the change in time meant the release of Swift’s 10th studio album, Midnights. Unlike Cinderella, the bewitching hour instead offered fans an escape from their reality and into a new fantasy: Swift’s mind. Across 13 songs, Swift encapsulated “13 sleepless nights,” ranging from her deepest insecurities to her hopes for the future. Although upon first listen Midnights seemingly falls short of the impact of Swift’s preceding folklore and evermore era, with a mix of both upbeat and soothing melodies and down-to-earth, purposeful lyrics, Swift’s work once again highlights her as a musician and a storyteller. 

I have been a hardcore fan of Taylor Swift since the 1989 era of 2014 and a casual fan since before I can remember. My favorite albums have been Swift’s pop albums 1989, reputation, and Lover respectively, so upon hearing that Midnights followed this genre is one of the many aspects that got me excited for its release. The album’s intro song “Lavender Haze” is arguably Swift’s best track one song, with the quick “meet me at midnights” lyric a nice nod to Swift’s use of the line throughout the promotion of the album, and the melody consisting of fun, jazzy melodies. Track five, “You’re On Your Own, Kid” not only provides an instrumental that paired with any sort of lyrics would make it a top song for me, but the lyrics hit home, especially coming from someone who will be forced into adulthood shortly. Songs like “Bejeweled” and “Mastermind” both have an empowering tone, and with “Bejeweled” having a rhythmic bass, it is a song I have already strutted to on beat on multiple occasions. Even Midnights slower tracks, such as “Sweet Nothing” and “Snow on the Beach (feat. Lana Del Ray),” are musically soothing and lyrically beautiful, both poignantly capturing the theme of love in an appealing way. 

The main problem I find myself having with the album is the familiarity the album has, mostly in how some of the songs almost feel sampled from Swift’s previous work. “Lavender Haze” features an ending melody that closely resembles Lover’s “I Think He Knows;” “High Infidelity” has a rhythm that I nearly mistook for folklore’s “long story short;” “Karma” feels similar to 1989’s “I Wish You Would,” making me feel the track better fits that album rather than Midnights. It almost feels as if Swift is ripping off her own work, or at least reusing it, which initially disappointed me. However, these tunes work; although done before, these familiar melodies are used well, so hearing them again by Swift is something I have grown to appreciate. 

Midnights is an essential listen for any fan of Taylor Swift, casual or die-hard. I am excited to continue streaming the tracks and find new things to love because that is something that Swift’s music consistently emulates: there is always something to love, and there is always something for everyone. It is my hope that many find Midnights to become an album they love as much as I do.