Album Review: Midnights
Review by: Risha Chada
Artist: Taylor Swift
Self-loathing, fantasizing about revenge, wondering what could have been, falling in love and falling apart.
Through 13 beautifully crafted new songs, Taylor Swift’s new album, Midnights, delivered on every single one of these five emotions. The album created an array of sounds and feelings that encompass the idea of “midnight.” Three hours after her 12 a.m. release, Swift released 7 additional songs, shocking self-proclaimed Swifties everywhere.
The album begins with “Lavender Haze” and, when factoring in the surprise release of seven additional songs on Midnights (3am Edition), ends with “Dear Reader.” Certain songs from the album bring past Swift eras into new limelight: “Paris” has the reminiscence of young love that gives it an honorary place on the Lover album, and “Vigilante S***” could come straight out of Swift’s Reputation era with its starting line “Draw the cat eye sharp enough to kill a man.” Despite this nostalgia, however, Midnights ultimately still stands on its own as her first original album release since 2020.
Swift continues the juxtaposition between melancholy, happiness, revenge, and confusion through the variety in her album sequencing. Swift’s songs alternate from lighter, fast-paced pop songs to harsher, deeper songs with underlying themes of self-loathing (“Anti-Hero”) or heartache (“Great War”).
Swift’s trademark ingenious lyrics show her newfound maturity and allow her to create an album that contains 20 songs, each unique in their own regard. Her lyrics range from distinctly feminist with lines like “No deal, the 1950s sh** they want from me” (Lavender Haze) to empathetically hopeless and despairing with lines like “and the voices that implore ‘You should be doing more’” (Sweet Nothings) and “I drew curtains closed, drank my poison all alone” (Great War).
The additional 3am Edition songs create a bittersweet ending, perfectly encapsulating one’s feeling at the hour: knowing the night is almost over, dreading the morning to come, yet remaining stuck in the past. Taylor crafts “Great War” and “Paris” to transport us somewhere in another world she creates with her music. “Dear Reader” brings the album to a perfect close with its soft piano notes that signal the night’s end.
Although the majority of the album retained the maturity that comes with the themes of nostalgia, heartbreak and regret, her biggest mistake was including “Vigilante S***” on the album. Placed in between lighter songs like “Question?…” and “Bejeweled,” “Vigilante S***” felt very out of place, and despite the song being good, would have fit far better on Reputation.
Don’t get me wrong, this one minor flaw does not define the album. Swift’s latest songs are still masterful, highlighting the whirlwind of emotions that flit through one’s mind at midnight.