Despite my father buying me a copy of “1989” on vinyl for my ninth birthday, I have never identified as a Swiftie. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a phone so I wasn’t in on the lore, or because I was a simple-minded fourth grader who just liked jamming out to “Style” in her mom’s car. Either way, I wasn’t the biggest Taylor Swift fan. Only recently have I listened to an album other than “1989,” and I have loved it. My obsession with her recent albums has bred a new sense of anticipation of the release of “Midnights.”
“Midnights” is Swift’s 10th studio album following the release of her sister albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” “Folklore” is my favorite of all of her albums due to its reliable ability to put me in the perfect chill mood. To prepare for the release of “Midnights,” Swift began a series on her TikTok titled “Midnights Mayhem” where she revealed the 14 track titles over 14 days, along with some other clues surrounding what songs would get music videos.
The Swiftie fan base is known for being sleuths. Swift loves to leave easter eggs about her music in her tweets and Instagram captions, and her fans love it. One of the most prominent of those clues for “Midnights” is inside her “Midnight Mayhem” videos. When she reveals the song, she puts a rotary telephone up to her ear to announce the title, but some songs are revealed when she is holding the telephone upside down. Fans believe those tracks are the ones to be turned into music videos. “The stories of 13 sleepless nights, scattered throughout my life,” is how Swift describes the album in an Instagram story. “[It is] a journey through terrors and sweet dreams, the floors we pace and the demons we face.” The album follows five themes including self-loathing, fantasizing about revenge, wondering what might have been, falling in love, and falling apart.
On release day, Swifites were chomping at the bit. When the album came out, initially only 13 tracks were included, but at 3am ET “Midnights (3am Edition)” was released, adding seven more tracks to the album. Now with a 20 track album, Swifties are in heaven.
My headphones were glued to my ears for two days. This album is very strong overall. Swift has songs sprinkled throughout “Midnights” that pay ode to her previous eras, most prominently “1989” and “Reputation.” While the album has a pop focus, there is something unique about this piece as it shows a sense of maturity throughout. Swift has been criticized for blatantly calling out her past exes in her songs, but this album speaks of her personal development and to my amateur knowledge, she is speaking of her internal growth.
My one conflict with this album is the inconsistent energy between the songs. I cannot rely on this album to serve me for one specific mood. Never in one sitting will I desire to listen to a song like “Vigilante Shit” and “Bigger Than The Whole Sky” unless I plan to rob a bank and cry about my past love in the same hour, which could happen I suppose.
Now, for the part you’ve all been waiting for, my rankings. I will say, this has been incredibly challenging. With 20 tracks, all pleasurable in different ways, I simply could not create a hierarchy. Instead, I will share the songs that were my favorite, and the songs that did not stand out to me. I am incredibly terrified of the people I could offend, so please, be kind, I am only an amaeteur.
“Karma” is truly the bop of the century. An ultimate ode to the haters. From its electric beat, captivating chorus, and relatable bridge, there is nothing you can’t love. It’s a true scream in your car kind of song. One of my favorite lines is, “Sweet like justice, karma is a queen/Karma takes all my friends to the summit.”
“You’re On Your Own, Kid” hurts. Many people can understand how unrequited love can consume your entire being. Everything in you changes. It’s a sad, but true, reality. “You’re On Your Own, Kid” details the length this desire can take you, as portrayed in the lines “I hosted parties and starved my body/Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss.”Although the song follows her through heartache, it displays how Swift eventually learns that she is more than the boy she is obsessed with. She grows comfortable with the idea that she is on her own, hence the track title.
“The Great War” was another strong contender. While the song just follows a couple growing to deal with conflict and move past it, something about this song is so cathartic. If I were to ever be fighting with my boyfriend I can rely on this song to be there for me to scream out my agony.
I was not ready for “Bigger Than The Whole Sky.” It is a true reckoning to my emotional stability. While this song is a tad repetitive, it hits the exact spot you need it to. For those days when you’re reminiscing about your past love or past infatuation, “Bigger Than The Whole Sky,” has your back.
Now, for some of my least favorite songs. While some of these songs aren’t terribly bad, they just did not stand out compared to the other tracks.
“Anti-Hero” is honestly a skip for me. I really do not relate to it and the song is just weird. The music video does not help. I felt like it could have used a couple more edits, especially this line, “Sometimes, I feel like everybody is a sexy baby/And I’m a monster on the hill.” I do feel guilty for hating on a song that reflects on everything she hates about herself, but I just did not enjoy it.
“Glitch,” “Question…?,” “Midnight Rain,” and “Dear Reader” all didn’t stand out to me. With a 20 track album, it’s hard to make everything unique, but I felt these songs were lackluster.
I will say after being in about three group chats and numerous conversations about this album, there is one common consensus: everyone has different favorites. I believe this speaks to the album’s diversity of sound and taste. I thoroughly enjoyed ”Midnights” and I am eagerly awaiting to dive deeper into these songs as more music videos and information come to the surface. When looking at this album as a whole, I still enjoy “Folklore” and “1989” more, but a couple of the tracks on “Midnights” compare better individually. I definitely foresee listening to my top tracks on “Midnights” for the next couple of months. “Karma,” “Maroon,” “Vigilante Shit,” and “Snow On The Beach” have already shown up on my “On Repeat” playlist.