Midnights- A Taylor Swift Album Review

Mallory Graybeal and Whitney Graybeal

Taylor Swift described her newest album, Midnights, as being “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout [her] life.” Midnights is Swift’s 12th studio album. The 11 time Grammy winner has explored multiple genres throughout her previous albums, including country, pop, country pop,  and alternative. Midnights is Swift’s return to pop music after her previous two alternative albums, folklore and evermore. Swift also released a second version of her newest album a few hours after the original and titled the new version Midnights (3am Edition).


Mallory’s Review

Before this album’s release, I had heard rumors that Taylor Swift was returning to pop music, but without a single it was hard to be sure, and I just brushed it off as rumor. Upon my first listen of Midnights, I was surprised and thoroughly impressed to hear it was true. The first track, “Lavender Haze,” was the perfect choice for the opening. I am a big believer in tracklist order and think that the first song on an album needs to be really good. In Swift’s previous albums, I found that “State of Grace,” from Red (Taylor’s Version), had a type of perfect sound that is unique enough to draw the listener into the album, but also capture the album essence as a whole. An opening track that is too basic or that strays too far from the vibe of the rest of the album will completely ruin it for me. “Lavender Haze” was the obvious choice for an opening track. It’s upbeat enough to immediately clue the listener in to the fact that Swift has moved back from the alternative energy of her previous two2 albums to upbeat pop music again. Upon hitting play, I was surprised and excited to hear the rest of the album, and I was not disappointed. 

“Anti-Hero,” one of the singles from Midnights, lyricism thoroughly impressed me. As an ‘English kid,’ I am especially geeky about symbolism and hidden meanings, and Swift always delivers. In “Anti-Hero,” Swift says “Sometimes, I feel like everybody is a sexy baby/And I’m a monster on the hill.” I believe that Swift’s use of the term “sexy baby” refers to infantilization of women, specifically in the music industry. Swift has talked, including in her song “Nothing New” from Red (Taylor’s Version), about how she constantly feels as though she is just going to be replaced by an artist who is younger, new to the industry, and ‘the next big thing.’ This leads me to believe that Swift describing herself as a “monster” refers to her age and the length of her career in the music industry. I also think that she could be referring to her height and weight, as those are things that she has openly spoken about struggling with, as they have been frequently criticized in the media.

I have been a Swift fan since I was a child, as my mom also loves Swift and has bought and played her music around our house since my birth, and I found Midnights to be more emotional due to my knowledge of Swift’s past. Tracks like “Karma” make references to Swift’s past that any dedicated fan would have picked up on. The track itself has lyrics such as “Karma’s a relaxing thought/Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?” and “Karma is a cat/Purring in my lap ‘cause it loves me.” These lyrics show growth in Swift’s view of the things that have happened to her in the past, specifically events that are believed to have inspired Reputation. A lyric from “Look What You Made Me Do” on Reputation says “The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama/But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma/And then the world moves on but one thing’s for sure/Maybe I got mine but you’ll all get yours.” Swift’s new track has a similar message as “Look What You Made Me Do,” that those who have wronged her will eventually receive punishment for lying and ruining her reputation, but with a more mature and healed outlook. Instead of having an angry tone, “Karma” is extremely upbeat and fun. By comparing the concept of karma to her favorite animal, a cat, and referring to it as “her boyfriend,” Swift shows that this song is significantly less serious than “Look What You Made Me Do” is. Swift has previously described some of her songs as having been written in “glitter gel pen” and categorized “Karma” as one of them via her Apple Music playlists. She explained that “glitter gel pen” songs have “lyrics that make you want to dance, sing, and toss glitter around the room” during her Songwriter-Artist of the Decade acceptance speech at the Nashville Songwriter Awards. For an extremely dedicated Swift fan, hearing her healing from events in her life that I practically experienced with her is extremely emotional and added to my experience of listening to this album. 

Midnights is the album that Swift fans have needed. Her return to pop music is momentous and has already broken several massive music streaming records, including becoming the most streamed album on release day in history on Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music. On October 31st, Swift also became the first artist in Billboard history to claim all top 10 spots of the Billboard Hot 100. 

“Dear Taylor Swift,” I said in a letter that I had planned to send to Swift in 2015. “You are my role model! You are so nice! If I could meet you I would DIE!!”


Whitney’s Review

This album completely surprised me. Since Taylor Swift writes and sings in every genre of music, I had no idea what kind of style or feeling this album would have. I was expecting some slow, heart-wrenching songs. While the lyrics of  “Anti-Hero” and “You’re on your own, kid” are absolutely heartbreaking, they were upbeat and not what I had in mind, but this was for the best.

This album had the feel of Reputation, Lover, and folklore  all in one, because it had songs that were very much telling the truth,  like “Anti-hero” and “Karma.” This album also has songs with that folk soul beat like “mirrorball” on folklore. All of the love songs on this album are similar to Lover. Some fans on TikTok even recognized the fact that the song “Lavender Haze” on Midnights and “I think he knows” from Lover have the same beat. 

Some people were saying that every song sounds the same, and while most of the songs had the same feeling, they all told completely different stories, melodies, and aesthetics. 

Taylor Swift is very good at making a vision and theme for her albums. Midnights are very dark and mysterious but also shiny and sparkling. Some of her other albums like folklore and evermore tell stories when you listen to the album  in order. Midnights might not flow the same way or have ‘characters’ but this album tells a story as well. A story about how society sees love, a story about grief, and finding  yourself.  

The fans who love Folklore and Evermore will most likely not love Midnights at first because it is so different, but if you keep an open mind and really digest it, you will realize the album tells a story and that “Bigger than the Whole Sky” has emotions just as much as “Champagne Problems,” and “My Tears Ricochet” do. 

Midnights is very different from any other album she has, and it might take time to grow into loving it, but overall this is a masterpiece that Taylor Swift has worked hard and put a lot into.  She has been busy re-recording her old albums for Taylor’s Version and still found time to write 21 songs for Midnights. 

My first time listening to Midnights was at midnight when it first came out. My initial thought was that it was different. This album is unlike anything she’s done. Now that I have taken the time and listened to Midnights many more times, I have grown to love it and understand the concept and story behind each song. 

Taylor Swift has such an impact on society. When Midnights was released, Apple Music crashed. She is always trending on Spotify, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and every social media or music app. Whether you liked Midnights or not, she is breaking records. Every Taylor fan is going to listen to the album, so no matter what her numbers will be high. Her fan base is very supportive of her.

Overall I loved Midnights. This album gives us everything. I can always find the right song to fit my mood.  I was not disappointed.  My favorite song changes every day because there are so many good options.  This album deserves all the records it is breaking.