A Totally Unbiased Swiftie's Review of Midnights
A month has passed since Taylor Swift's much-anticipated album, Midnights was released. The entire wait had been a whirlwind for Swifties turning the Ticketmaster queue lines into a warzone. Critics across the globe were met with polarization when reviewing the album and each track, so let's take a deeper look into Midnights and the future of pop music.
As the clock slowly approached midnight on October 20, Swifties bubbled with adrenaline and anxiety. Before the release, Swift had merely teased the album via "Midnights Mayhem with Me," A TikTok series where she gradually released track names through a bingo draw. Right before the album's release, Swift posted three videos on Instagram with a brief description of three songs: "Anti-Hero," "Lavender Haze," and "Snow on the Beach." The cryptic nature of each description left fans confused as they formulated theories and predicted melodies amongst the fandom.
Once the album was officially released, the first song fans were exposed to was "Lavender Haze." Hearing the track alone in my room, my jaw dropped. I immediately tossed all my speculations regarding this release out the window, and I was certainly not expecting the greatest pop album of the year to be this one. "Lavender Haze" is a perfect opener for this album, and is a guaranteed hit that will leave listeners dancing through Swift's whimsical lyrics and melodies.
While Swift has been actively releasing music for the past two years, this album is her most vulnerable release. Folklore and Evermore were heavily emotional, but most songs in both albums describe fictional events. Her rerecorded releases, Fearless (Taylor's Version) and Red (Taylor's Version) were nostalgia trips that don't necessarily count as new releases. The release of Midnights highlights Swift's humanity; she's just like all of us, and we're just like her.
In an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Swift speaks on this level of vulnerability even further.
"It's my first directly autobiographical album in a while [...] So I'm feeling like—I'm feeling very overwhelmed by the fans' love for the record."
The lead single, "Anti-Hero," strays away from the usual topic of pop songs like love and heartbreak. "Anti-Hero" emulates feelings of insecurity and being the so-called "problem" in a relationship. In my years of discovering and listening to new and old music, I've never heard a song boldly claim that "I'm the problem" in such an upbeat manner. The contrast between the instrumentation and the lyrics is beautifully haunting, leaving fans dancing with tears in their eyes.
The producer credited throughout most of the album is Jack Antonoff, a longtime friend of Swift. Although there are mixed reviews of his work, I think his contribution to Midnights is spectacular, to say the least. This album is filled with beats that are consistent with his past work and perhaps one of my favourite albums of all time, Melodrama by Lorde. Antonoff's familiar production style combined with Swift's lyricism allowed her to have her very own Melodrama. Sonically, Midnights is an album packed with emotion despite a more upbeat approach. You can safely take this album with you to a party and still manage to cry in the bathroom about its contents.
Swift collaborated with other musicians for this album: Zoe Kravitz, Mark Spears, Sam Dew, and more. The creative input that each musician had allowed this album to stand out from Swift's entire discography.
Just when fans thought the album was over, Swift announced a repackaged deluxe, Midnights (3am Edition), that features bonus tracks and more. Before listening, I decided to check the song credits of each song. One thing that surprised me was Aaron Dessner's name on most of the bonus tracks. Dessner and Swift previously worked together on Folklore and Evermore, so dedicated Swifties were surprised about his absence for Midnights.
The bonus tracks off the 3am Edition emulate the spontaneous strings of thought that keep us up in ungodly hours. Although each track in Midnights encapsulates the feelings we may feel at the time—such as love, nostalgia, vengefulness, regret, loss, etc.—the 3am Edition adds another layer to the late-night experience, amplifying the gutwrenching nature of sleeplessness.
Midnights proved to the world that Swift is here to stay as the popstar of our generation. To live in a time where Swift is constantly breaking records and boundaries for pop music is a privilege I should stop taking for granted. As of writing this article, Swift holds the record for the most streamed album in 24 hours on Spotify. She is also the first artist to hold all ten spots on the Billboard Hot 100. Midnights deserved the praise it got, and I can confidently say we are amongst a living legend.