“Midnights” by Taylor Swift is One of Her Best


Courtesy of Taylor Swift's Instagram

Taylor Swift and her producer, Jack Antonoff, pose with collaborator Lana Del Ray.

Taylor Swift released her tenth studio album Midnights this past Friday, October 21, and on that day, it broke the record for the most streamed album in one day on Spotify. It’s no surprise that Swift’s album was streamed upwards of 200 million times – it’s one of her best.

In late August, Swift announced that Midnights would be coming on October 21st. With this being the first album in years with a proper announcement (both folklore and evermore were released as surprise albums), fan anticipation was through the roof. I was stoked for this album, especially given that the vibes looked to be much different than the alternative, fantastical vibes of Swift’s past two albums. I stayed up and listened to the album just as it dropped – here are my thoughts.

Track One: “Lavender Haze”
“Lavender Haze” started Midnights off incredibly strong. This song is upbeat and funky, and I was physically dancing around the room the first time I listened to it. It’s fun, flirty, and definitely one of my favorites on the album. I rate it a 10/10.

Track Two: “Maroon”
“Maroon” is a slower paced song with hard-hitting bass meant to represent the leaving of a partner in a relationship. The deliberate past tense used in lyrics such as, “The lips I used to call home / So scarlet, it was maroon,” hits you in the gut and adds to the chaotic, sad, and scream-worthy vibes. I rate it a 10/10.

Track Three: “Anti-Hero”
“Anti-Hero” is not a song for the weak. Swift characterized this song as the deepest she’s ever delved into her insecurities in a piece of music, and boy, it hits you where it hurts. The crux of the song is that Swift herself is the problem, and she has to come to terms with this realization and the lack of self-esteem it brings. Lines like, “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror,” showcase Swift’s battle with her insecurities and the psychological damage this brings. “Anti-Hero” is truly a work of art. Some parts are just a tiny bit cringey, but the message is just too good to focus on that. I rate it a 9/10.

Track Four: “Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Ray)”
Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with “Snow On The Beach” because I love Lana Del Ray. Ray is only featured in whispers of background vocals, but that’s her style so I suppose it’s fitting. The concept of the song itself is really beautiful, as it’s about the feeling when the person you love has the same feelings towards you, and how that feeling is as crazy as if snow were to fall on the beach. I rate it an 8.5/10.

Track Five: “You’re On Your Own, Kid”
Swift’s fifth tracks are notorious for being the saddest on her albums, and while “You’re On Your Own, Kid” has an upbeat rhythm that might not seem sad, it is. This song is a bittersweet remembrance of Swift’s past and her uncertain future that hits really hard as I’m a senior in high school. Thanks, Taylor! I rate it a 10/10.

Track Six: “Midnight Rain”
“Midnight Rain” is definitely a bit out of Swift’s typical pop range, but I love it. It’s almost a little futuristic, but I just want to scream and dance to it. I was initially a little caught off guard by her robotic pitched down voice that begins the song, but it’s so cool and a ton of fun, and it’s really high on my list of favorites. I rate it a 10/10.

Track Seven: “Question…?”
“Question…?” is a classic Taylor Swift pop piece. It’s upbeat, with a catchy rhythm and easy to follow lyrics. The storyline follows a broken up couple and their lives after the breakup. Though the topic may seem sad, the execution of the song is clearly one for dancing and having fun. It’s not super deep, like other songs, so the lyrics are a little vague and boring, but that’s no big deal. I rate it a 9/10.

Track Eight: “Vigilante Shit”
Taylor Swift is a baddie. “Vigilante Shit” starts with Swift powerfully stating, “Draw the cat-eye sharp enough to kill a man.” I mean wow. If this song means one thing, it means don’t mess with Taylor Swift. This isn’t my typical favorite style of music, but it’s cool to see Swift experimenting. I rate it an 8/10.

Track Nine: “Bejeweled”
“Bejeweled” is the ultimate strut song. This song is the definition of a bop! It’s adorable, and as previously stated, perfect for strutting out your best model walk. And no one can resist throwing up some jazz hands when Swift sings, “Shimmerrrrrrrrrr,” drawing out the word so it’s (quite literally) music to my ears. The lyrics are a little surface level, but who cares? It’s just meant to be fun. I rate it a 9/10.

Track Ten: “Labyrinth”
“Labyrinth” has actually been stuck in my head for a good few hours now, but this is in no way a disappointment. This song is amazing, and another beautifully done love story by Swift painted through lyrics such as, “Oh no, I’m falling in love again / Oh! I’m falling in love.” Not many other songwriters out there can remove one single word from a phrase and have its entire meaning change…but of course Taylor Swift can. I rate it a 9.5/10.

Track 11: “Karma”
I feel on top of the world when I listen to “Karma.” This song genuinely makes me feel like I’m ascending and am completely untouchable. “Karma” is a hot girl anthem – matter of fact, THE hot girl anthem. I can’t even begin to go into detail about how good this song is, because I don’t think I’ll be able to stop. Definitely a (if not the) favorite of mine on the album. I rate it a 10/10.

Track 12: “Sweet Nothing”
If you thought Swift couldn’t get any better at love songs, think again. “Sweet Nothing” was co-written by Swift and her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn (who goes by the alias William Bowery when working directly with Swift), and boy does it make me believe that love is real. Here’s just one lyric as an example: “On the way home, I wrote a poem / You say ‘What a mind.’ This happens all the time.” Just beautiful. It’s a little slow, so on the surface it can seem boring, but once you dig in it’s a touching track. I rate it an 8.5/10.

Track 13: “Mastermind”
I’m often amazed by Swift’s brain, but this song really blew me away. “Mastermind” is all about planning out every little detail of your life to ensure it goes perfectly – until someone finds you out. Heavy bass beats, fast-paced rhythms, and syncopated lyrics make up this “Master-piece,” if you will, and I love it so much. I relate to it a bit too much…oops. I rate it a 9/10.

Midnights was set to be released with 13 songs total, and was really only one event in a week full of a Midnights Manifest. Swift posted a calendar online detailing the breakdown of release week, and at 3:00 am on Friday morning, Swift labeled the calendar with, “Special very chaotic surprise.” What could this surprise be, you ask? Fans were in the same boat. No one knew until 3:00 am – until Swift released Midnights (3am Edition).

Surprise! Here come seven more jaw-dropping tracks thanks to this new edition of Midnights: let’s break them down.

Track 14: “The Great War”
Swift’s storytelling is top-notch in “The Great War.” It’s a relatively chill song, but the message about a couple surviving war peeks through this seemingly low-key song. This is a prime example of Swift’s artistry shown through her songwriting. I rate it a 9/10.

Track 15: “Bigger Than The Whole Sky”
This song made me want to cry about something I’ve never even experienced. “Bigger Than The Whole Sky” tells the story of someone, or something, who didn’t have a long time on this Earth, and the resounding impact they made. Again, a slower beat, so it’s a bit harder to really enjoy it. I rate it an 8.5/10.

Track 16: “Paris”
“Paris” sounds like it should be part of a Barbie movie soundtrack in the absolute best way possible. It’s nearly impossible to listen to this song without smiling because that’s just how fun it is. Give it a listen and be prepared to be nodding your head and tapping your foot – this one’s a catchy bop! I rate it a 9/10.

Track 17: “High Infidelity”
“High Infidelity” gives kind of the same vibes as “Mastermind.” Chill on the surface, but deep and almost chilling once you get into it, complete with strong background beats. Take the lyric: “You know there’s many different ways that you can kill the one you love / The slowest way is never loving them enough.” Okay Taylor! I rate it an 8.5/10.

Track 18: “Glitch”
“Glitch” sounds robotic and futuristic; it’s definitely out of the box for Swift. But, of course, she can do it all, so this song is executed really well and is super cool to listen to. It’s not necessarily my style, but it’s still a really unique take on Swift’s typical pop genre. I rate it a 7.5/10.

Track 19: “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”
I can’t even form words about this song. It’s so, so, so, SO good. Swift poured her heart, soul, and memories into this piece – it’s all about the trauma from her relationship with ex John Mayer. She was only 19 at the time (hence the track number!), and it is heartbreaking how she was so little compared to him being 13 years older than her. I mean, this lyric makes me want to scream and cry: “Living for the thrill of hitting you where it hurts / Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.” The pain in her voice is so real throughout this whole song, and if I ever see John Mayer, he better run if he knows what’s good for him. Currently listening to this song on repeat – I rate it a 10/10.

Track 20: “Dear Reader”
“Dear Reader” is a peaceful, serene way to end the album. It’s an advice-giving song, where Swift gives the listeners life lessons taken from everything she’s seen throughout her career. I think this song really shows the range of emotions Swift can cover when compared to other hard-hitting songs on this album. I do find it a tiny bit boring at points, but this just shows that Swift really is the music industry! I rate it a 7/10.

Midnights is one of my favorite Taylor Swift albums, and I encourage everyone to go listen to it. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. It’s one of her best, and I love it so much. Well done, Taylor!