Words by: Catherine Hogan ’24
Image Courtesy of: Spotify
After two months of waiting, it’s finally “midnight.” Taylor Swift’s long awaited album “Midnights” was released at midnight on Oct. 21. After releasing her two re-recorded albums of “Fearless” and “Red,” she has shared new music with her fans, known as “Swifties.” They stayed up past their bedtimes to hear the dreamy, mystical music Swift created for all to hear.
I gave the album a listen, and here is a track-by-track breakdown of my thoughts.
This track is very pop and upbeat to begin the album with. “Meet me at midnight,” Swift sings as she introduces the album to the listener. Lavender haze likely refers to a strain of marijuana, which is uncommon as Swift does not usually mention drugs in her songs. It can also refer to a saying from the 50’s about being in love.
Named after one of my personal favorite colors, it looks like Swift has graduated from singing about the color red to a more mature and darker version of it, maroon. The line “The burgundy on my t-shirt when you splashed your wine into me and how the blood rushed into my cheeks so scarlet” has great imagery. The listener can visualize the picture Swift paints with her use of colors in the lyrics.
This song includes the lyric “I should not be left to my own devices.” It was revealed in Times Square on a sign days before the album release. The lyric “sometimes I feel like everyone is a sexy baby and I’m a monster on a hill” was very random and unexpected in a Taylor Swift song. However, upon researching I realized it refers to a joke from the show 30 Rock. I like how honest Swift is with herself when she sings “It’s me, hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.” This song is a self loathing anthem.
Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)
Lana Del Rey has a distinctly different sound and aesthetic from Taylor Swift, so I was surprised that they were doing a collaboration. Del Rey’s music is usually sad and nostalgic, while Swift ranges from country to pop and indie. Swift and Del Rey’s voices blend nicely together on this track, but I wish there was a solo verse with Del Rey. I think the lyric “snow on the beach, weird but f***ing beautiful” was not that well written, but the lyric “like flying in a dream” somewhat makes up for it.
You’re On Your Own, Kid
The rhythm in this song is great. There are great vocals as Swift sings about her summers and parties she has hosted. It is cynical as she sings about wearing a “blood soaked gown.” She reflects on her past as she sings “you’re on your own kid, you can face this.”
This track starts off with weirdly warped vocal effects. I can see what Swift was trying to do, but I didn’t like this addition to the song. In this song, Swift sings about how she is different from her lover: how “he was sunshine/I was midnight rain”.
“Can I ask you a question?” this song asks. It’s about a relationship between a girl and boy, and Swift is the onlooker. The chorus “Can I ask you a question… Did you ever have someone kiss you in a crowded room” is catchy as Swift sings about the turmoil in the relationship.
Reminiscent of Swift’s album “Reputation,” this song gives off the same edgy vibe, especially with the lyric “I don’t dress for friends/Lately I’ve been dressing for revenge.” Swift has sung about revenge before in her album “Speak Now” with the song “Better Than Revenge.” It is a common theme for her, and both songs are about a woman scorned looking for revenge.
Coming from the same singer who sang “I like shiny things but I’d marry you with paper rings,” Swift sings about how she is “still bejeweled” and “can make the whole place shimmer” in this song. “Bejeweled” is about how Swift still shines even if she’s alone. When asked if she has a man in the song, she says she “doesn’t remember.” This highlights her independence, which is especially important for her because she is often known for being a serial dater.
This is a crooning track where Swift sings about letting someone go and falling for someone new. The lyric “you know how much I hate how everyone expects me to bounce back just like that” likely refers to how the media expects her to move on quickly from romances.
This song is about, you guessed it, karma. Karma is relaxing to Swift because her and karma “vibe like that.” It could be that she’s singing about how her past relationships will have karma depending on how they ended.
Swift reflects on another summer in this song. It starts with her singing about playing a game of “I Spy.” The other person in the relationship wanted a “sweet nothing” from her. She seems to be aware of this and knows the relationship is doomed but remains with the person.
The final song is about how Swift is a “mastermind.” This reinforces how Swift is in control of the situations she is in. There’s no surprises with her because she is behind everything that happens, specifically the person that she is trying to get into a relationship with.
At 3 AM, Swift released seven more additional songs to the album, called the “3am edition.”
The Great War
Swift compares her relationship to a war in this song. The relationship is difficult, but because her and her lover both survived, they are meant to be together. Swift sings “I vow I will always be yours” at the end.
Bigger Than The Whole Sky
This song is about the end of a relationship. “Goodbye goodbye goodbye, you were bigger than the whole sky” refers to final goodbyes, and Swift acknowledges how important the person was to her. She refers to a later song when she sings “What could’ve been would’ve been should’ve been.” This song has resonated with women who have had miscarriages, which shows its range of interpretation.
Swift is in love in this song and relates it to being in Paris. I like the lyric “I’m so in love I might stop breathing” because it’s dramatic and gives insight into how Swift views herself in love. Paris is a popular song topic, but Swift leaves it to her own interpretation in this song.
Similar to the song “Illicit Affairs” from “Folklore,” this song is about cheating in a relationship. She references the press with her line “Do you really want to know where I was April 29th?” This is when Calvin Harris’ song “This Is What You Came For” was released in 2016. It was also three days before the Met Gala when Swift was seen dancing with Tom Hiddleston, showing that her relationship with Calvin Harris was over.
This song starts with the lyric “We were supposed to be just friends.”The relationship turned into something more, even romance, so much so that it was a “glitch.”
Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
Swift sings about a loss of innocence in a relationship using religious undertones. She refers to her hope of the relationship with her prayers, “Ooh all I used to do was pray, would’ve, could’ve, should’ve.” The lyric “I damn sure never would have danced with the devil at nineteen” is likely referring to her relationship with John Mayer when Swift was a teenager.
The title of this song refers to the novel “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. The final paragraph in the novel is “dear reader, I married him.” This song is presented as advice from Swift to the listener. She encourages them to reinvent themselves, “desert all your past lives” and be flexible: “bend when you can, snap when you have to.” These are her final words as the album concludes.
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